Phyllis A. Duncan

I’m a retired fed, lover of aviation, spoiler of grandchildren, published author, short story writer, and aspiring novelist. And I’m opinionated–really opinionated.

Six-word bio: “I never took the expected path.” Now, you know where the blog name comes from.
About the Author: Phyllis Anne Duncan is a retired bureaucrat with an overactive imagination–at least that’s what everyone has told her since she first started making up stories in elementary school prompted by her weekly list of spelling words.
A commercial pilot and former FAA safety official, she lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A graduate of Madison College (now James Madison University), she has degrees in history and political science. History and politics feature prominently in her work.
Her first print collection of short stories was the 2000 paperback, Rarely Well Behaved, which, in 2012, became two separate, reissued books, Blood Vengeance and Fences. In December 2012, she published Spy Flash, a collection of espionage flash fiction stories. In 2015 The Better Spy, a novel in stories, came out, as did two novellas: My Noble Enemy and The Yellow Scarf. A sequel, of sorts, to her upcoming novel, A War of Deception, was published in 2016: A Face in the Crowd. In early 2017, she published the first of a two-novelette series about the 2016 election, Who Watches the Watchmen? Its sequel, Hidden Agendas, is due out later in 2017.
Other short stories have appeared in eFiction Magazine in 2011 and 2012; in the 2013 Blue Ridge Anthology; and in the 2013 1 x 50 x 100 Anthology, a collection of 100-word flash fiction; in the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Skyline Anthologies. A short story, “Marakata,” submitted for WriterHouse’s 5th Anniversary Short Story Contest, won third place. Her short story “Man on Fire” was a finalist in the Press53 AWP Flash Fiction contest and later published in Prime Number Magazine. A short play, “Yo’ Momma,” won the Ampersand Arts Bar Hopping Contest and was staged in April 2014 in Staunton, VA. Her short story, “Reset” won the Virginia Writers Club Golden Nib Contest in 2016.
Ms. Duncan has studied writing at the Gotham Writers Workshop,, and Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. End Times, book one of a four-book series on domestic terrorism, was a semi-finalist in the 2011 James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel contest. Her freelance, feature articles on life in the Shenandoah Valley have appeared in the Staunton News-Leader. She is a member of WriterHouse, James River Writers, Virginia Writers Club (currently President of the Board of Governors), Blue Ridge Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, SWAG (Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta Group) Writers, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
When not writing, reading, singing in a UU choir, rooting for the Yankees, or cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., she delights in spoiling her grandchildren.
Another new interview on the Flash! Friday page.
A new interview with me by romance (yes, romance!) author Margaret Locke!
Here is part one of an interview with me at Flash!Fiction, regarding my winning story for the second annual Flash!versary Flight Fiction Contest.
Here is an impromptu interview with me for the podcast “Summer Books.”
A very short interview with me on the Shenandoah Valley Writers site.
An audio interview with me about my book, Spy Flash, done at The Bookcast.
An interview with me about my experiences at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2013 Conference in Boston, MA, by writer friend, Jan Bowman. (Click on the word “interview” to go to the, well, interview.)
A two-part interview with me by my good writer friend, Jan Bowman: (Part 1) (Part 2)
Here is another interview with me featured on Writers Block.
Here is an interview with me featured on the James River Writers web site:
Pets at home: Alas, none. I’m allergic to cats and dogs; fish are too high maintenance. I like to look at the farm next door and see the cattle, knowing I have to do nothing about them, unlike when I grew up.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: As a person/employee/manager, advice my Dad gave me: Treat everybody the way you want to be treated, and never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do. As a writer, advice from Sara Paretsky: They’re your characters. Write them exactly the way you want to write them.
Favorite motto or quote: My clan motto is Disce Pati, or “Learn to Suffer,” but that’s a bit of a downer. I prefer my six-word biography: “I never took the expected path.”
Favorite Author: Too many to list.
Recent read: A fascinating biography of the early life of James Madison, Becoming Madison by Mike Signer.
Must-see TV: Just about anything on the Science Channel (I’m a frustrated astrophysicist.) and The History Channel 2. I won’t be happy until Keith Olbermann returns to television.
Dream Conversation: Vladimir Lenin
If you had the opportunity to sit down with President Obama, what would you say to him? I’m going to miss “No drama Obama.”
What’s on your bucket list? A trip to Ireland
Guilty Pleasure: Maker’s Mark
Dream Vacation: Participating in an archeological dig
Pet Peeve: Hypocrisy
If you could go back in time and experience life in another era, what would it be? As a historian, I’ve considered that; I even wrote a story about it, which appeared in eFiction Magazine. So, I’ll give the same answer: the moment the Big Bang erupted, so we could end that eternal debate.
Favorite Music: It depends on my mood, but it can vary from classical to country to hard rock to songs of the Irish Revolution to rock to opera, but no pop.
Favorite Food: French, hands down.
If you could own a famous work of art, what would it be? Picasso’s Guernica
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d never change a thing about myself or my life. That all combined to make me who I am now, and I’m pretty pleased with that. I wouldn’t mind, however, to have been luckier in love.
Thanks to the Staunton News Leader for the format of the profile.
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