“If history is written by the victorious, what if the victors lied?”
To Purchase a copy, go to: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/shadows-book-of-aleth-part-one. It is also available at multiple online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble as well as Christian Book Distributors (CBD) in both print and e-book formats (i.e. Kindle and Nook).
OK. Now let’s take a peek into the personal side of Michael Duncan…
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a “normal” workday. I get up with my wife at 6:30am so that we can have coffee and devotions in the morning. She is a teacher at the local elementary school and so when she’s out the door I get the kids up. We home-school our children (ages 12, 13 & 17) and I spend the better part of the morning planning and teaching the kids. As a pastor, I spend a significant amount of time working on the various studies and messages that I bring to my church. So the second half of the day is preparing and planning the various services that we have. Along with that, I try to call my church members, pray with them and counsel with them as they grow in the grace of Christ. Because my wife works fulltime, I take care of many of the “household” duties (i.e. laundry, cleaning, etc. though the kids are very good at pitching) and now that winter is coming on, I have to make sure that we are stocked up with enough firewood.
My wife is home around 5pm, and, unless we have an evening meeting for church, we will sit down and relax or take a walk in the garden just to “unwind” the day. Then its dinner, evening prayers, and the kids are off to bed. Patty and I will spend the final hour of her day talking with each other or watching a little television. She’s in bed by 10pm and that’s when I will take the time to write. I usually will work until 12:30am or 1am, and then I collapse and wake up the next day to start it again.
However, there are times when my schedule gets all jumbled around and we will do some home-schooling in the evenings if I have a morning meeting to go to or a counseling session for one of my church members. Then, again, I may write while the kids study during the day. I try to get about 1000 words a day written, though I don’t beat myself if I don’t make it. Sometimes it’s less than a hundred words, sometimes I’ve written entire chapters in one setting. I delightfully live in a state of controlled chaos (as my desk can attest) and trust that those moments that seem like interruptions to the day often become Divine encounters along the way.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Hmmm… That is an interesting question. If I understand what you mean, do I plot out in advance or do I fly by the seat of my pants, I’d have to say a little of both. I will drive a singular thread of the story through plotting, but the scenes unfold in my imagination as I write them. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, the singular thread is: there is a ring, it’s evil and it must be destroyed. Everything else hangs upon that singular thread, but to read Tolkien’s writings about writing, he didn’t know how it would all play out until it found its way on paper. For my first book series, the singular thread is: there is a book that can save the nation and the book is lost. So, with that, I tied my main character to its discovery and then sent him into his world to find it.
Often, I’m not sure what will take place until I arrive at the scene with my main characters. I love the excitement of being able to watch in my “mind’s eye” the world unfold before me as I type it. One of the first things I do, however, is to draw a rough map of the world that my characters live in so that I have a place to start. I’ve found it to be a great advantage to know the layout of the world before I try to write about it.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not writing? (I see golf mentioned in your bio.) Least favorite?
Yes, golf is a favorite of mine. There was a time when I had thought about trying my hand at becoming a professional golfer, but those days are behind me now. I still love to get out on the links and stripe a ball 300 yards down the fairway. I am huge movie fan, and we will do “pizza-and-a-movie” nights at our house. I love redemptive movies and movies that have an adventurous bent. I love to be on the water. I grew up on Puget Sound in Washington and I love to take long ferry rides to the various sundry islands. My wife and I enjoy walks together and will stroll around our little mountain community. Games are a staple in our house and we will enjoy a heated game of Nintendo bowling or a board game of 221B Baker Street (If you don’t know what that is: it is a “Clue” type game that involves Sherlock Holmes).
Perhaps my least favorite thing to do is yard work! I hate pulling weeds and flower beds are just a waste of good grass space. I will try to avoid yard work with all diligence. I also hate working on cars. Yes, I know that it’s un-American for any man to hate working on cars, but I have never developed an affinity for getting my hands covered in grease and my knuckles bloodied with every thwack of the wrench. Don’t mistake animosity, however, with lack of ability. I’ve done those dreaded duties and though bruised and battered for my efforts, I came out victorious.
If you had a Friday night all to yourself, what would you do?
Can I have my wife with me? If I can, then we’re off to dinner and a play. We love to take in a live-action play rather than a movie. But, if a movie is all that’s available, then we will take in a movie. But I love to have Friday nights with her. Now, if I can’t have my wife with me, and am truly all to myself, then it is spent writing. I’m working on several manuscripts at once—some fiction, some non-fiction. I love to study the Scriptures, and will pour myself into the text of God. If I was truly all by myself on a Friday night, I might try to catch a local church event or simply enjoy reading through one of many books I’ve not delved into yet. If I had the opportunity, I would preach somewhere – but then I wouldn’t be all by myself.
The things that I love to do are preaching/teaching God’s word, writing and golfing. The people that I love to “hang” with are my wife, my kids and my church. If my Friday night involved any of these activities or people, I would call it an enjoyable night.