Sunday, May 24, 2009


Christine Duncan is an Arvada, Colorado mystery writer. She got her start in writing for the Christian market, writing for Sunday School magazines. Her credits include Accent Books and Regular Baptist Press. Although the Kaye Berreano mystery series is set in a battered women's shelter, Ms. Duncan's husband wants the world to know it's not because of anything he did!
How long have you been writing? Do you write only mysteries?

I'm one of those people who have always written--always wanted to write. Although I do write some devotional material, I primarily write mystery.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

Ooh, this is a hard question! How do you choose? I am a big fan of many mystery authors: Margaret Maron, Sarah Graves, and Barbara Michaels. I really liked Joyce and Jim Lavene's Wicked Weaves; I'm hoping there is a sequel to that. Oh, and Diana Killian's Corpse Pose. I also love reading S/F--Connie Willis is a favorite author there. As you can probably tell, my house is filled with books.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a writer? Do you set any daily page or word-count goals?

From what I hear from other writers, I think we all face the same challenges and I think it can be summed up pretty neatly as balance. It is so hard to have a day job, a spouse, and a family and write on your time off. What time off? When you throw in promotion for a new book, time just flies by--and before I know it, I haven't gotten anything on my To-Do list done. Sometimes, I just have to sit myself down and stay there until I write. But most days, I get by with a page or two a day. No word count. I just don't go to bed until I've written something, even if it seems like complete drivel.

I had to learn to turn off the internal editor. A writer I know helped me a lot there. She named her internal editor and started talking back to her. She named the editor Millie, which just happens to be my mother's name. After I heard that, all I had to do was keep a picture of my mother near my computer. Internal editors tend to disappear when you are laughing.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it's about and let us know where we can buy it.

My new book is Safe House. Kaye, my heroine, is doing a balancing act herself, trying to juggle being a newly single mom along with her very challenging job as a counselor at a battered women's shelter and--on top of that--trying to date. Like many of us, she feels as though she can't possibly keep all the balls in the air--something is bound to get dropped. Then a neighbor girl is found dead. There is nothing like death to give focus on what's important. It will be available at all the usual on-line stores, as well as from the publisher's website.

Tell us why you chose the theme of battered women for your books.

So often, we assume that the problem of domestic violence has been solved because we have shelters, right? Women can find a place safe to go. And that's true. But I want to give readers a glimpse into those shelters. I think people are curious and want to see that. Shelters are all about safety. But they can also be noisy and, many times, so crowded that there is no place to be alone. And it can be a lot of pressure on the women in the shelter. They have a lot to think about and to do. They may need to make some changes for themselves and their children. And they typically have a limited amount of time to decide what to do. In the format of these mysteries, I try to give the reader just a hint of what that can be like--but from the point of view of one of counselors.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important "tip" you can give to a new writer?

Never ever give up. I've seen lots of writers with talent who will never be published because they gave up.

Here's your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I love hearing from reader and other writers. Feel free to contact me at or visit my blog at I am also available to talk at libraries or book clubs.

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