Putting the world to write!
I aim to feature prominent authors who can provide real insight into what it takes to be a successful author. Please return soon and discover new authors and books right here!
Duncan Whitehead is the author of the Amazon best-selling trilogy The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, which has over 11,000 Facebook likes! Multi-talented Duncan is also a comedy writer who is a finalist for a forthcoming international humour award. I am delighted he agreed to be my first guest author and he certainly brings his wacky sense of comedy to this page!
Q:So Duncan, you are an Amazon best-selling author with your title The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, and a finalist in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite annual International Award Contest in the humour category! How did you react when you discovered this nomination?
A: I was thrilled, but of course I expected it. I had no doubts that my fantastic book would win an award…no, seriously……I was very pleased, for 10 minutes immediately after I heard the news I jumped up and down and shrieked at the top of my voice “I did it” before ripping of my shirt and crazily swinging above my head, which was maybe a little inappropriate as I was at a funeral. No, seriously…this is the real seriously. I felt proud and and extremely pleased!
So did you propose yourself to this award or did others? What will it mean if you win, seeing as how much of a comic you are?
This was my first contest I entered and I entered the book myself. I would be very thrilled indeed if it won and would probably inspire me to write more!
So tell us, how did it all begin? What inspired you to write?
I was inspired by the fact that every book had ever read, be it Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens or anyone…I thought I could do better. So I did….okay, the truth is I was inspired by several author friends who encouraged me to write and convinced me that the stories and ideas I had were good and people would buy them.
Agatha and Dickens are classic choices for a modern writer. What is it you like most about those authors?
I love Dickens for his characters. He created memorable and fantastic charters. Christie was simply, for me, the queen of mystery.
You have done some really interesting things in life, including a successful career in the military serving in British Embassies throughout South America and active service in the Gulf War, before joining the world of super yachts, and a stint as a stand-up comedian! What has been your most exciting job? And why?
I was once Whitney Houston’s bodyguard, that was pretty exciting, hold on, no, sorry, that wasn’t me, that was Kevin Costner…was I once a Top Gun Pilot? No…Tom Cruise. I think my most exciting job was working aboard warships. I loved it.
Tell us more about what makes this so exciting – surely it can’t be too much fun for you to spend so much time crushed into a sardine can? Is it something you might want to write about?
I would not want to write about it as it is a unique experience and hard to explain to a reader the dynamics of life at sea (for me anyway). But the excitement is the fact that you are on board a state of the art warship, with a lot of responsibility, surrounded by friends and people with the same mentality – it is exciting not knowing how different one day will be from the next.
You are a Brit who retired to Savannah, Georgia, and then wrote a trilogy of “The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club,” inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of your neighbourhood. How has that gone down in your town?
I have no idea as I have been banned from returning. They must like it though because they had a huge bonfire and asked everyone to bring a copy of my book to throw on it…like some pagan ritual I guess to bring luck. I think it has been received well, some people obviously think that a certain character is based on them and some hate the thought of their neighbourhood fictionalized but apart from those few hundred who hate it, about 12 were thrilled. No, once again I am joking! I believe it has been well received and I did a local TV spot and the interviewer actually once lived in the neighbourhood and he loved it!
You have also penned a comedy set in Manhattan called “The Reluctant Jesus” and written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles. Which genre do you prefer to write?
Dark Comedy – with multiple sub plots and characters linked together resulting in back and forward flashes that tie up the story.
What was the last book you read? What are you currently reading?
Ah, I am reading a few books right now. Blue Coyote Motel by my friend Dianne Harman was the last book I read.
If you could go back in time, which period would you like to visit?
Roman times. As I would make a hell of a Gladiator.
You have travelled the world, but is there any country you still want to visit and why?
I would like to visit Nigeria, you see I sent a Nigerian Prince about $5,000 in the promise he would send me $1,000,000 and we lost touch so I would like to go there and kick his a**!
But seriously, why Nigeria?
I have only ever been to North Africa and never Africa in general. Lagos seems a vibrant city and I would love to travel through Africa.
Why did you decide to self-publish, and what advice would you give to authors considering that option?
I decided to self-publish because my book was simply not good enough to be traditionally published. It is riddled with bad grammar, spelling mistakes and typos. No publisher or agent in their right mind, would go near it…..no, seriously, after speaking to authors, traditionally published authors, many were complaining that they were doing as much work marketing their books as “indie” writers but receiving a smaller % of royalties…..it is simple maths – cut out the middle man. Please get that quote correct. I did not say cut up the middle man!
But you have to do all your own marketing and selling which takes you away from writing. Do you have a regime for writing time and time allocated to promotion as some authors do? What tip could you offer to someone considering the same route? What would you say are the pitfalls?
I have barely written anything since my book was released. The time consuming factor is promotion and marketing. I did hire publicists which alleviated some of the work of marketing but I would recommend that writers try and split their time between writing and marketing. The pitfall for me is the time involved.
How do you feel about promotion? Some authors seem to hate it. Is it a necessary evil or just something all authors can enjoy if they put their minds to it?
It is time consuming and you never really know what is working as you try many different modes of marketing – I can’t say that I enjoy marketing and though it is necessary…I wouldn’t call it an evil. I mean, no one else will do it for you and we have to put our money where our mouths are….which in the case of myself is very true as I designed the first mouth wallet…where you keep you money in a little baggie and hide it under your tongue – to fool would be muggers and wives and girlfriends looking to buy shoes.
That sounds like it could make a funny sketch! What do you enjoy most about the marketing? Surely doing Q&As must be a highlight!
Yes, Q and A’s like this I really enjoy. I enjoy interacting with readers and other writers, so that is a great upside to marketing.
Many thanks for being my guest author and best of luck with the competition!
If anyone wants to find out more, about Dunca here are his links:
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