Spotlight On...

Mary Malcolm Duncanson

by Gina Lee Nelson

Who influenced you to become a writer?

Judy Blume. Tiger Eyes was the first book I read that made me want to write. I fell in love with that book when I was eleven years old and wrote my first book when I was thirteen. Other than that, my parents, though it took them about fifteen years after that first book to come around...

All of us have those books we’ll never forget. What are your favorites?

Catalyst, Flight, She’s Come Undone, The Almost Moon, White Oleander, The Road, Kite Runner, Almost all of The Best American Short Stories books...

How would you describe your writing schedule?

Willy-nilly, for the most part. Some days I wake up and I’m ready to kick into gear, other days I wake up and it takes me about sixteen hours to kick into gear. Sometimes I can write huge chunks within an hour or two, and it’s all nearly perfect, sometimes I can stare at my manuscript for a week straight and not like a single line.

All of us face challenges we have to overcome to write. What are yours?

My biggest challenge is the constant fear that someone’s going to figure out I’m a fake. Every time I write something I always have this panic in the back of my mind that someday someone will realize I have no idea what the heck I’m doing and pull the plug. I think a lot of us have that fear.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Writing is my favorite. I’m a pantser so I never quite know what’s going to happen next. I love coming to the end of the book and discovering something about the characters that I never planned on. Wowza, talk about fun!

You submitted many manuscripts in a short amount of time. What led to your first sale?

Actually, NTRWA! Maybe not a sale, per se, but my first published anything was in the anthology Love, Texas Style, my short story Someone to Run To. Talk about a huge boost to my ego! I read it now and squinch my eyes a bit, but at the time I thought I was hot stuff!

How did you find your publisher?

My current publisher is Entangled Publishing and I found it through one of my critique partners. First as a publicist (a stint that lasted oh, about a month), and then their New Adult line. It was kismet, really. I blasted through my book Trouble Comes Knocking just as Entangled got ready to start acquiring titles for their New Adult line, Embrace. They loved the series idea, loved the first book and now I’m one of the launch authors!

Do you have an agent? If so, which came first agent or contract offer?

I don’t have an agent. I’ve thought off and on for years about trying to get an agent but had some really not-so-great experiences submitting to them for a while so kinda backed-off. For me, it’s been fine so far. If ever I have to negotiate a six-figure contract, I might rethink...

What are you currently working on? Current goals/dreams re: writing?

My contemporary romance, The Texas Millionaire’s Runaway Wife, came out in July, and my very first new adult novel, Trouble Comes Knocking, comes out on November 11! I’m currently finishing up book two in that series and will be starting book three around the first of the month. As far as goals, dreams, all that jazz, really I want people to fall in love with my Trouble character, Lucy. I’ve never written anything before that feels more like my voice, and right now I can’t imagine not writing about her.

Tell us more about Trouble Comes Knocking.

It’s the first book in my Trouble series. Here’s the blurb for it!

A girl who can’t forget… Twenty-two-year-old Lucy Carver is like Sherlock Holmes in ballet flats, but her eidetic memory is more albatross than asset, and something she usually keeps hidden. When she notices that something’s amiss at her dead-end job, she jumps at the chance to finally use her ability for good. That is, until, a man is murdered, and she becomes the target of the killer.

A detective on his first case… Detective Eli Reyes is overbearing, pompous, way too hot for Lucy’s own good, and seems as determined to ruin her relationship with her boyfriend, John, as finding the murderer. He brings Lucy in on the case, thinking she can help him get to the truth, only to cut her loose when he realizes he’s gotten far more than he ever bargained for.

A past that won’t go away… When memories from her childhood invade her present, Lucy discovers a mystery bigger than she could have imagined. With the killer still after her, and Eli nowhere to be found, she takes things into her own hands, determined to expose the truth no matter what—before trouble comes knocking...again.

How much time do you spend on marketing, social media, etc.?

Ugh! Oh so much. Especially right now. As I’m writing this, I’ve been working on social media and promotional stuff for the past seven hours straight. And I still haven’t started writing for the day. Still, if people don’t know who I am, they won’t know how amazing my books are!

Any words of encouragement?

I just want to encourage others to keep writing those books. It didn’t take me a whole lot of years to get here, but I’ve been writing non-stop since I started. A lot of us fall into the hole of writing that first book and working to perfect it for years. I say forget that! Write that first book, send it out into the universe and then write the second. Every one of my books has been better than the last. I think the best way to become a better writer is just to write.

Oh! Also, I’ll be teaching a workshop about Three Act Structure on Candy Haven’s Write Workshop late in November. Keep an eye out for it! It’s free and, if I do say so myself, definitely worth your time.

Let’s support Mary by buying her books and finding her on the web!

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