Carly M. Duncan is a television producer and author of two novels, Marcie and Behind You. She has produced for numerous networks including MTV, Food Network, TLC, HGTV, FYI and more. She has always been a storyteller, whether directing home videos with her siblings as a middle-schooler or blogging her way through high school. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children and is working on her third novel, scheduled to release in the winter of 2015.
About her latest novel, Behind You:
When a mysterious attack lands Heather in the hospital on the brink of death, her family rushes to her side. Through an inconvenient maze of shadowed memory and family secrets, Heather can trust only herself to discover if her husband, parents, sister or aunt tried to kill her. During the course of their own narratives, each character confesses to their various crimes of passion, envy and ignorance, weaving Heather’s mystery into an untraditional tale about seizing the opportunity to start over.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Behind You. When did you start writing and what got you into mystery?
I started writing a mystery novel because I love reading them! I like playing out every scenario possible in advance as the story unveils itself along the way. I love the anticipation you feel, the thought required and I wanted to create something that would leave people on the edge of their seats, yearning to find out what would happen next.
What was your inspiration for Behind You?
The idea for Behind You came to me when I was home alone, taking a shower, when I heard a loud noise. It sounded like someone was in the house, though I knew no one should be. I started working out various escape and defense plans, but by the time I realized how silly I was being, how quickly my imagination began to unravel, I also realized I had an idea for the beginning of a who-done-it. This is exactly where Heather’s story begins.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
Obviously, I hope that they will be entertained by the story, but I also hope they will relate to the characters. I can’t say much without giving major plot items away, but each of the characters are flawed and they all get the opportunity to start again in a variety of ways. At the heart of Behind You is a message about being strong enough to take control of your own path.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?
I suppose there is a certain nervous energy as I approach the keyboard, knowing an intended goal, but unsure of whether or not what I produce will meet my own expectations. Sometimes the hardest part is just to begin and, once the first shaky sentences are out of the way, my imagination can really open up when I find myself back in the land of my characters.
How do you define success?
Success for me means finishing a particular project. It means sharing what I create with other people who (hopefully) will enjoy it. Whether tens or tens of thousands of readers read my books, I hope I’ll be equally as proud.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
My advice for aspiring authors is to write. Make writing part of your regular routine and exercise that function the way you might regularly work out or socialize. Treat it as something that is important to you and grant it the focus it deserves. If you nourish your writing and your writing process, it will become stronger.
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Comments?
I don’t know if I’d ever put it so dramatically, but I do agree. The entire writing process is mystifying when you think about it. Where do these situations and people come from? And why do I feel compelled to put it all to paper? But the urge is always there for a writer and, while I might not completely understand what drives me, I’m going to keep writing until all my stories are out of me.
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