Dear Readers, you are in for a treat this month. Duncan Ralston is a great friend and great writer. Brilliant, funny, witty, and one of a kind. 🙂 If you are into suspense and horror books, you are gonna love his books.
Duncan has a couple books out and many stories in anthologies. No matter which story you read, you will read a great story.
Some of the anthologies that Duncan took park in …. EASTER EGGS & BUNNY BOILERS, THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS, & WHAT GOES AROUND.
Titles of Duncan’s books include SALVAGE, WOOM, EVERY PART OF THE ANIMAL, SWEAT & BLOOD, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE, AND GRISTLE & BONE.
I have read SALVAGE. A ghost story, a story with heart, a heart racing story. I could not stop reading this book, until I hit the last page.
Owen, after a death in the family, follows in their footsteps to see if he could find out the truth behind it and his past. Seeing ghosts, from his past and present. Non Stop, heart racing, and heartbreaking from start to finish. Twists and turns that I never saw coming. More death and sadness, some tears, and some smiles.
Thirty years earlier, the town of Peace Falls had been flooded to build a hydroelectric dam, and its ruins remain below the surface of Chapel Lake. The strange disappearance of the town Pastor, along with many of the parishioners, still haunts the citizens of Chapel Lake. But does the church haunt the lake itself? Is Owen really seeing ghosts… or has he descended into the depths of madness?
A brilliant debut book by Duncan.
EVERY PART OF THE ANIMAL is Duncan’s latest release.
A hunter’s world is turned inside out when brash young pop megastar Rainey Layne visits her small Alaskan town threatening Bo’s way of life and her fragile ten-year-old son, Caleb. Pushed to the brink, Bo will show Rainey just how far a mother will go to protect her son.
EVERY PART OF THE ANIMAL is the first of several standalone Crime Thriller novellas exploring the darker side of love, from horror author Duncan Ralston.
One I am very looking forward to reading.
Only $2.99 on Kindle
Duncan took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions…..
1. Did you always want to be a writer?
After I wanted to be a firetruck, and an architect for a short period when I was five, I think writer was the next possible career on the list. I used to write most days from the age of 15. I didn’t start taking it seriously though, until I was in my 30s. That’s when I won an award for a pitch I wrote for a TV series, and I went out very shortly after to get all the supplies I’d need to be a screenwriter: the brass brads, the red pen, the printer ink and paper, the thick cover paper, etc. The bill for all of this junk came out to $111.11 so I thought that was a good sign. I was big into that sort of magical thinking back then. Not exactly superstitious, more like when a ball player wears a lucky t-shirt or something under his jersey. Or a Qray bracelet.
2. What drew you to writing?
I love reading. Always have. When I was in my early teens and very sick, I’d read most of the summer away: novels, plays, you name it. I always enjoyed school writing assignments. But oddly, I didn’t start writing for myself until my younger brother wrote a story on his own time, for himself, and the idea suddenly seemed like a thing someone could do. So I guess I owe it to him (not to mention Stephen King and Clive Barker, my favorite writers at the time). But my parents have always been supportive, even when they wanted me to go outside instead of sit in front of the computer. I learned you should always balance real life with your aspirations.
3. How many books do you have available?
Three at the moment, but more are coming down the pipeline. My short story collection, Gristle & Bone, has been out for just over two years now. Salvage, my debut novel, came out last November. My first foray into Crime Thrillers, the novella Every Part of the Animal, was just released at the start of June. I’ve also got a novella coming out from Matt Shaw Publications in the infamous Black Cover series, called WOOM. It’s dark and funny and really grotesque. I’m working on a super secret project with The Sinister Horror Company, as well—hoping for a late-summer, early fall release with that. I also have shorts in several anthologies, from the charity anthology The Black Room Manuscripts to Extreme Horror Author Matt Shaw’s Easter Eggs & Bunny Boilers.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a series of thematically related crime thrillers. The first was Every Part of the Animal, about a hunter battling it out with a pop megastar who threatens to take away her son and her way of life. The second is The Method, about a couple on the brink of divorce who take the advice of couple friends who seemed to have experienced miraculous results at an intensive, unconventional couples therapy camp. The third is untitled, but it’s about a couple whose relationship fell apart after the murder of their daughter, who have to come together when they discover her murderer has escaped from prison
5. What do you love most about writing?
It’s the thrill of telling myself a story, knowing that someone out there might read it and maybe enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
6. Anything you hate about writing?
Not much. Really, even if I was stranded alone on a desert island with no possibility of rescue, if there was a typewriter and some paper, I’d be writing.
7. If you could be one of your characters… who would you be?
That’s a tough one. Most of them don’t get off too easy. There’s a bit of me in most of my characters, but I guess if I had to pick someone, I’d pick Owen Saddler from Salvage. Mostly because he gets to scuba dive in a lake with a ghost town under the water, and I think that would be really cool, despite the circumstances of why he’s there.
8. Live in a book for a day. What book would you pick?
I’d love to inhabit Stephen King’s Needful Things on the last day of Castle Rock. A lot of King fans dislike that novel (even King himself has said “I guess it didn’t work,” or something like that), but I thought it was brilliant satire with some of the most fully realized characters in all of his books. Plus, it’d be cool to snort coke with Ace Merrill.
9. Do you like music playing or silence as you write?
Silence. I used to listen to soundtracks, but I found they influenced what I wrote too often.
10. Typical day of writing look like?
I know “There is no typical day” is cliché, but really: there is no typical day. 11. How many edits do you do before you send your book off? That’s a trade secret.
12. Anything off limits to write about?
Nothing. Horror (like comedy) is about pushing boundaries, breaking taboos. If you set limits, you stifle yourself right from the get-go.
13. Do you have a favorite time of day to write? A favorite place in which you write?
Any time of day into the late night. No favorite places. Although these days I’m writing at the dining room table.
14. How much research do you do for your books?
Depends on the subject. I did a ton of research into Christianity for Salvage, since it featured a cult. I did a bit of research for WOOM, to my displeasure—and disgust. I don’t like to use a ton of research. I hate the “info dump.” I’m not writing non-fiction or an instruction manual. The point is to entertain.
15. Any new releases coming up?
WOOM from Matt Shaw Productions. This is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever written, even more so than a scene I wrote in an old novel involving a blood orgy at an old folks’ home.
16. When not writing, what do you like to do?
Read. Hike. Walk the dog. Swim. Get out on a lake. Watch movies. Play video games. I like to travel, but now that I’m a homeowner (and laid off), it won’t be feasible for a while. In the winter, when I can, I like to ski and ice skate.
17. Did you read a lot growing up?
I read a ton until college, when I picked up the habit of reading screenwriting manuals instead of books. In high school I’d read ten to twenty books a year (not including course stuff, and mostly over the summer). Between then and 2006, I read maybe three or four fiction books a year. Now I’m up to about 30, depending on time constraints.
18. Do you have a favorite book / author?
Always King. Favorite book….? Too many good ones to choose. Top three are The Stand, Pet Sematary and Desperation. But my most recent favorite is the Bachman Book, Roadwork. It’s a really well-written modern tragedy, King’s Death of a Salesman.
19. Describe your perfect day.
Reading, writing, hanging out with the family in the sunshine. Maybe a swim. A couple of drinks while the sun sets. I feel like this answer is very Playboy Centerfold of me.
20. How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
I usually celebrate with a cigarette and a bottle of Dom Perignon. I really don’t do much. Usually I’ll have a celebratory drink, not that I don’t drink otherwise. Sometimes I’ll take a day or two off writing, and other times I’ll start a new story right away. There’s no “ritual.”
21. Which POV to you tend to write in? Why?
Third person limited. Feels more like a movie that way. And it works to parcel out only information necessary to tell the story. Also works well in a mystery when you know only as much as the protagonist.
22. What is the scariest book you have ever read?
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Because it’s so horrifyingly plausible, and because it gets you right inside the mind of a serial killer to the point that you (almost) sympathize with him.
23. If you were not an author, what would you be doing?
Still working in television, likely.
24. Any advice for future writers?
If you love to write, keep writing. Even if it’s just for you. It’s a tough business, and I’ve only just gotten my foot in the door, so I can only imagine what it’s like for people who’ve been plugging away forever with little success. Also, writing is work, sure, but I’ve always felt it should also be fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong, or you’re in the wrong business. Brett Hull once said (and the only reason I know this is because I was in television, not because I’m Canadian and a hockey fan by nature), “I don’t like hockey. I’m just good at it.” I suppose there are writers for whom this sentiment is true. I feel bad for them, because writing should be a joy (unless they’re rich writers, in which case, fuck ’em). Sure, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but the act of telling yourself a story should be exciting. If it’s not exciting for you, how can you expect it to be exciting for the reader? And why the fuck would you want to keep doing it?
Thanks a million Duncan. It’s a joy and a pleasure having you as my June Author Spotlight.