Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Ed Duncan

*No Spoilers for The Last Straw*

1. Your novel discusses how some kids leave street life behind as Mr. Elliot did, and how some kids never escape it. Was this something you witnessed yourself growing up?

Mr. Duncan: Yes, I did witness this.  I grew up in Gary, Indiana in the 1950s and 1960s.  At that time it was a booming steel town and was home to one of the largest steel mills in the country.  I lived in a lower middle-class neighborhood.  However, despite an abundance of jobs in the steel mills, there were nevertheless stubborn pockets of poverty within my neighborhood and on its edges.  Most of the boys who got into to trouble with the law and who, in those days were called “juvenile delinquents,” lived in the poverty-stricken areas of the city, and some of them were my friends, schoolmates, and neighbors.  Too young and stupid to know better, I occasionally joined them in some of their less serious infractions.  Fortunately, as we grew older, our paths diverged.  While I (and others) concentrated on school, some boys I considered to be friends graduated to more serious crimes.  A handful ended up in prison for varying lengths of time, up to and including life, and a few even died in street violence.  Maturity and parental guidance were part of the reason I escaped their fate, but another part was luck.

2. Do you feel like you connect more with Mr. Elliott or more with Rico?

Mr. Duncan: Paul Elliott was always meant to be the hero of the novel because he is a highly idealized version of me!  Like me, he comes from a working-class family, he did well in school, and he became the first black partner in a large majority law firm.  However, the more I developed Rico’s character, the more he fought to become the central focus of the narrative.  The more I tried to rein him in, the more he resisted.  Although I didn’t surrender, I like to think we fought to a draw.  By that, I mean that Paul is at least arguably on par with Rico as the driving force in the novel.  So the answer to your question is that, while I understand that readers will feel that Rico is the more riveting character (as do I), I actually connect more with Paul.

3. Are you part of a writing community?  If so, how do they help you to become a better writer?

Mr. Duncan: No, I’m not a part of a writing community. However, I regularly attend writing conferences.

4. What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Mr. Duncan: I would have to say that How Green Was My Valley is my favorite in that category.  I believe I’m correct that it’s underappreciated today.  Although it was adapted into an academy award winning movie in the late 1930s or early 1940s, I don’t hear much about it today.  It is exquisitely written and the coming of age story is achingly beautiful.

5. Do you want The Last Straw to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a series?  I honestly felt like The Last Straw could be its own standalone novel, or it could be part of a series.

Mr. Duncan: I’m happy that most people think the novel works well as a standalone.  However, it is the second in a trilogy.  The first is Pigeon-Blood Red, which was originally published in 2015 and was later published by my current publisher Creativia in 2017.  I’m currently working (too slowly!) on the third in the trilogy, Rico Stays.  Incidentally, I’ve also written screenplays for all three novels (I completed the one for Rico Stays before writing the novel), and I hope one day to be lucky enough to have them produced.  It’s a long shot but I have my fingers crossed!

Well, Thanks Mr. Duncan for taking the time to answer my questions as well as introducing me to your novel!

Read My Review of “The Last Straw” Here!

Buy “The Last Straw” by Ed Duncan Here!

Posted in Personal Blogs

Major Update: I am Going Back to Work!

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I just want to start off by saying, things are finally looking up for me in my personal life. I just received confirmation from the company that I will be starting work soon!

Now, with that being said, I’m trying to create as big of a backlog as I can so I’m not missing my deadlines for book reviews. I am a loyal and reliable person, and I do my best to make things happen.

I am so excited to be going back to work. Even if I don’t pass the probation phase, at least it’s something to add to my resume.

So next month might be sparse for book reviews, I’m not sure yet and I will keep this updated. I know I have a small following now, and I can’t let my regular readers down!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

REVIEW: 2018

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We have come so far in the past year! I started this blog as a hobby, and I’ve been sticking with it! I am so proud of myself for accomplishing so much in just a year!

But enough about me, we’re here to talk about books.

I read a lot of books, comics, and manga that it seems a little overwhelming. I’m going to list the most memorable reads of 2018. These are oldest to newest.

Shark Island by Chris Jameson is the novel that started this crazy ride. It was a fun and thrilling read. Even though it was a bit ridiculous, I still felt the intensity of it all.

Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns when I saw the recent Aquaman movie I instantly thought of this comic. It was so refreshing to see a movie stick to the source material.

The High Climber of Dark Water Bay by Caroline Arden One of the first Advanced Reading Copy novels I read. I loved this novel, and it’s one that I’d like to reread in the future. A good novel for an outdoor-lover.

Delicious in Dungeon Vol. 1 by Ryoko Kui This manga takes a unique take on the dungeon crawler genre. I enjoyed this manga, and I’m eager to read more from this series in the future!

Four Months in Brighton Park by Larry Ehrhorn I was requested to read this book by Mr. Ehrhorn. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It needs more attention and recognition, so I highly recommend if you love a good “coming of age” story!

2018 was a great year! The start of a reading adventure, and hopefully a future full of more fun and books! Cheers! I hope to see you in 2019!

Posted in Personal Blogs

Holiday Break

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I will have two more book review going up and then I will be taking a break for the holidays.

I will continue to post about various things, but no book reviews until January.

I hope everyone understands and I just want to say, this year has been fantastic! I am looking forward to reviewing my favorite books I’ve read over the year and to share more with you!

Thanks for the love and support!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media!

Twitter: @elishasbooks
Instagram: @elishasbooks
Facebook: Elisha’s Book Review

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: Christmas is Upon Us

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Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is less than a month away. With the upcoming holiday and New Year, I’d like to reflect on this year and plan for the upcoming months.

I started this blog in January of this year. I felt like it’d be a fun side project to distract me from reality. It was a rough start, still kneading out the bumps, but more or less I have a rhythm going.

Hopefully, I’ll be still keeping this blog going for days to come. I enjoy being able to share my thoughts about the books I have read. Even the off topics discussions are fun too!

My plans so far for the next year is going through my “to be read” list. I have crates of books that I’ve purchased and I’d like to try and make a dent on that massive list.

I would also like to review books that I’ve read in the past. I like the Harry Potter series, but the later books are long and massive. I’ve read so many it’d be difficult to pick which ones I’d reread.

So those are my thoughts and ideas at this point in time. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday/Christmas/whatever holiday you celebrate! Thanks for reading my blog!