A Conversation with S. L. Duncan

SLDuncanThis month, we celebrate the release of The Salvation of Gabriel SalvationGA_252x406Adam, the second book in S. L. Duncan’s YA fantasy series, The Revelation Saga. The series follows teens Gabriel Adam and Micah Pari, who’ve recently learned they’re archangels, toward the final battle for Earth. “This second book in the series packs many punches and ups the ante for action. . . . Readers who enjoy biblical lore and storytelling will not be disappointed as Micah and Gabe fight to save the world from apocalyptic defeat. Ending just as quickly as it began, readers will be awaiting the next installment” (Stephanie Wilkes, Voya). Get to know author Stephen Duncan.


What inspired you to write The Revelation Saga?


The source material, really. I had an interest in religious history in college. That led me to read a lot. I found it incredibly interesting how the Bible came to be the Bible, and the politics and machinations that picked those specific books out of a voluminous collection of ancient books. Most of what I read was noncanonical but incredibly interesting. These ancient texts read, some of them at least, like the best sellers of their time. I wondered what would happen if those stories took place today. And from that came Gabriel Adam’s story.


Which part of The Salvation of Gabriel Adam challenged you the most?


Middle books are hard. They have to be interesting and necessary and have a story in their own right but must also propel the large narrative toward the final chapter. I also wanted Salvation to be different in tone and structure. I wanted the characters to be affected by what happened in the first book and not just leap to the next adventure. A large part of the story is about consequence of choice, which is much different from the story of making the choice told by the first book.


What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on The Salvation of Gabriel Adam?


That I am capable of meeting a deadline. Kidding (but not really). I learned that these characters are more alive than I had thought. They really moved the story forward and grew in surprising ways.


Three words to describe your writing?


No idea. I’m a bit hard on my work, so those three words might not be nice.


Charles Bukowski said, “Bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.” How do you personally push through self-doubt to write a novel?


I think Charles is right. For the most part, I embrace my self-doubt. In a way, this is my internal editor. If I’m reading something and a voice tells me that what I’ve written is no good, I listen. Usually, it’s right. So it’s not really a matter of pushing through but a matter of using it like a tool. Once you’ve done all you can do with a book and exhausted your efforts to make it better, you may still hear that whisper of doubt. I do. Its power to pull you back, however, is usually balanced by the knowledge that you did your best. The rest you leave to fate.


What elements make for good fantasy fiction?


I think it is the same as the elements of any good writing for any genre. Avoid the tropes. And when that can’t be done, do it differently and in an original way.


Where can we find you and your work online?


Twitter: @SLDuncanBooks

Blogging at www.FromtheWriteAngle.com




Rapid-fire 7:

1. Favorite fantasy writer?


2. Favorite movie?

Raiders of the Lost Ark

3. Favorite place to write?

Urban Standard Coffee House

4. Title of your first published work?

The Revelation of Gabriel Adam

5. What book do you wish you’d written?

Jurassic Park

6. Favorite music artist?

This is hard. U2. Or John Williams.

7. What are you currently reading?

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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