Interviewing Lois Duncan

I am beyond excited to have Lois Duncan here!  As you know, her books are some of my very favorites.

1)  In I Know What You Did Last Summer, what happens? Did [killer’s name redacted] get away? Do Julie and Ray get back together?

I never answer ‘what happened next?” questions. LOL. When an author completes the climax of the story — (in this case, it’s when Ray saves Julie and the double identity of Collie/Bud is exposed) — I think it’s time to stop.  From there on it’s up to the reader to use his or her imagination to figure out “what comes next.”

2)  What’s your favorite movie adaption of your books? Is there a book you wish would be adapted that hasn’t been yet?

My favorite movie adaption was the “made-for-TV” film of KILLING MR. GRIFFIN. I wish that had made it to the Big Screen.

I’d love to see THE THIRD EYE and LOCKED IN TIME made into movies.

(Me: I would pay SO MUCH to see a Locked in Time movie! SO MUCH.)

3)  Many of your books have a supernatural aspect, either overtly (Locked in Time or Down a Dark Hall) or almost as a subplot (IKWYDLS).  Is that a deliberate choice?

Metaphysical subject matter interests me, so I enjoy employing it in plots. But with the YA novels, I try to alternate between that and the traditional view of reality such as KILLING MR. GRIFFIN, THE TWISTED WINDOW, IKWYDLS, RANSOM, etc.

4)  Do you have a favorite of your novels?


However, the book that means the most to me is ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER, as it’s the true story of our family’s on-going personal investigation of the murder of our 18-yr-old daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette.

5)  What are you reading?

I read a couple of books per week, and they vary, but I’m primarily drawn to psychological suspense. I’m interested in how people’s minds work and what causes them to do what they do. At the moment, though, I’m reading something totally different–THE UNFORTUNATE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY by Amanda Filipacchi. I can’t imagine what caused me to take it off the shelf at the library, because it’s not at all what I normally read, but I’m finding it hilarious. Then, after that break, I’ll probably go back to psychological suspense. I also enjoy both reading and writing poetry.

6)  What are your five favorite books?  You can do authors, if that’s easier.

Ira Levin and William Goldman would be at the top of the list. After that, there are too many to count. Many of the British novelists are excellent.

7)  If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be and why?

ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER, because we want our child’s case to be solved!

8)  A prominent part of your life/recent writing has dealt with your daughter’s murder.  What is the status of the investigation now?

Well, I jumped the gun and have already started talking about it. After reading ONE TO THE WOLVES, I hope you will visit Kait’s investigative Web Site at That will bring you up to date on almost everything. The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute has recently launched their own investigation–unrelated to that of the police–so that has bolstered our hopes. (The CCIRI is a collaboration between over 20 colleges and universities across the country with approximately 2000 criminology students and over 600 experts in an assortment of areas including forensic specialists, attorneys, crime scene analysts, specialists in Vietnamese crime, specialists in drive-by shootings, etc.)

While you’re on that page, please click on “like.” We want all the “likes” we can get.

(Me: For more information—besides the Facebook page—click here.)

9)  Are you working on anything now?

Nothing I feel free to talk about at the moment.

10)  Locked in Time is my absolute favorite of yours (and it’s my best friend Jen’s favorite, too).  What was the inspiration for that?

I got the idea for the plot of LOCKED IN TIME when one of my daughters was thirteen years old, unhappy with her body image (zits, no boobs yet, etc.), and the fact that she was still too young to drive or date, and taking everything out on her mother — me.  I told myself, “Oh, well, it’s only a stage.  She’ll soon outgrow it and become my best friend again.”  And then — as writers will — I asked myself the “What if” question.  “WHAT IF she never outgrew her adolescence?  What if I was stuck forever “‘raising’ this same snarly, resentful 13-yr-old, and there was no end in sight?  And what if I BROUGHT IT ON MYSELF?” That’s how fiction writers get ideas for their novels.  By asking themselves “What if?”

Thank you again, Lois!


4 thoughts on “Interviewing Lois Duncan

  1. What a fantastic interview! My son has read Ms. Duncan’s books (which I bought for him!) but I have not because I often shy away from anything psychologically scary… O.o Not as a kid/teen, I didn’t, ironically, but as an adult. NOW I need to go read ALL her books!!!

    On a related note, seriously, finally someone else who sites William Goldman as one of her favorite writers!!! Kelly, do you know he is probably the biggest inspiration for me wanting to write?!

    Oh, I love this interview!

    Am going to like the Facebook page (what a tragedy I didn’t know about… ) and learn more about Ms. Duncan. Thanks for this interview.

    1. Fun fact: I actually meant to text you about your shared love of William Goldman. But I forgot because I am feeble. :)

      Start with Locked in Time! That’s my favorite! (I think I’ve said so about 15 times now, over the course of this month.)

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