Today marks the official kickoff of the Once Upon a Lane Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and we’re thrilled to welcome Duncan Wilson as we showcase his Slice-of-life Suburban Gothic Horror tale! I’m excited to hear what our hosts have to say about Once Upon a Lane in the coming days, so stay tuned for a fantastic week ahead.
Duncan stopped by to have a chat about what led to the creation of this book of his, what he believes makes for a great story, what lies ahead, and more! Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, and check out the fantastic interview.
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Once Upon a Lane. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
MARCH 10TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Beneath a Thousand Skies
Dream Come Review
Out of This World SFF Reviews
Jess Likes to Read (IG: @jesslikestoread253)
Her Scribbled Thoughts (IG: @hersribbledreviews)
MARCH 16TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
“There once was a lane, filled with well-tended lawns and well-fostered friendships, of well-appointed houses all neat and tidy and those that live within, of stories and mysteries that manifest for only fleeting moments for the few who pay attention. This is one such tale. A tale about pleasant people, about the lives they live, about their wants and dreams, about their loves and losses, their joys and hates, about their days and nights in the company of cherished companions in the houses they call home. In this tale of the happy little lives of blissful simple folk, there are monsters, to be sure. But this is not the story of monsters, this is not the tale of their evil deeds, this is the tale of those they make suffer. In this tale, the monsters have no names. The monsters do not deserve names.”
A character driven slice-of-life story that follows the humble lives of the residents of a suburban neighborhood as they live and love, and about the house with the dead yard, a vacant lot, that sits among their homes, inert and immobile, yet intimidating and terrifying to any who look at it too long. The children of the lane are not the only ones who are fearful of the anomaly in their midst. Every adult upon the lane wonders why the structure still stands, with no known owner and no reason to be. The lingering question is not who owns the house, but why no one ever goes in or comes out, and why there are such ghastly noises emanating from within. Day by day, the happy people of the lane go about their tasks and trials, and day by day, the house with the dead yard seems a little more ominous, a little more intrusive, and a little less ignorable than before.
Meet the Author
Duncan Wilson has been writing since childhood, having fallen in love with the written word at a very early age. Having spent his formative years in various libraries, he can bore his friends on a variety of subjects. Inspired by the natural world and the splendors of the heavens, he writes primarily science fiction and paranormal stories. He has a novel and two novellas published on Amazon and Smashwords, and an additional novella and several short stories published on Patreon.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Duncan. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
A forger of fiction, painstakingly permeating my prose with poetry.
Give us an idea of how Once Upon a Lane came to fruition.
My journey upon the Lane started at a saunter. As I met each new inhabitant, their stories had to be told in turn, each and every one adding to the life of the lane, and to each other as well. What seemed like a simple short story grew into a novella before I knew what I had. But as I introduced each new character and fell in love with the neighborhood that I realized how much more I had to write before the story could be concluded. My first novel only became a novel in my mind when I admitted no novella could be so long.
Can you share with us something about Once Upon a Lane that isn’t in the blurb?
Everyone on the lane, good, bad, or inscrutable, are merely human, They have flaws and foibles, dreams and desires, and each wants to live a happy, fulfilled life, or at the very least a life without bother or inconvenience. But it is in pursuit of this happiness that they are willing to overlook, or even ignore, the shadows around them and the sinister surprises that lurk therein. They are human, far too human, and are willing to tolerate a little tension, and perhaps a little terror, if they can turn away and hide themselves in the security of their own homes.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
Anything and everything about the human condition, as well as the darker edges of our reality that we have traditionally shied away from, the hidden places we dare not go, and the tangled thickets where we imagine all manner of dangers lurk. While our own world is every day more evident and explicable, on the lane, I can manifest our subtle suspicions in supernatural shapes, giving physical form to our innate, if inaccurate, instincts about the world we call home and allowing the doubts we all have about the truth we live to hide and hunt as they wish.
What do you hope your readers take away from Once Upon a Lane?
That the world they take for granted, that the beautiful, seemingly serene setting of our lives can still hold mysteries, can still sustain secrets, and can still amaze if only one is to watch and wonder. But they should also be aware that as placid and pristine as we have made our surroundings, there are still dangers, and there are still those who would do harm upon any unwary and unwilling to confront what lurks behind them.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Both are vital to any story. Without a good plot, your characters have little motivation to develop, and without interesting characters, your plot may as well be so many moves on a chessboard.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
It is hard for any writer to play favorites with their characters, but if pressed, I would have to say CJ Hoyle, the protagonist of my 2nd novella, The Essence of Life. Most of my characters are equally introspective and engaged with their worlds, aware of their own role in their lives, often learning by the end of the narrative just how much they are their own antagonists. CJ, on the other hand, is blithely unaware of either the machinations of the world around her, nor the pivotal position she plays in the plot, until the very end of her story, cluelessly careening into danger, unconsciously uncovering the devious designs of the villain by mere happenstance. A studied academic, she is nonetheless unprepared for the real world and the evils therein that confronts her in the field during her research. Such a distracted scholar was amusing to guide through her mystery.
What do you think makes a good story?
When the author gives themselves the freedom to wander about in their world and explore. All too often in modern fiction, the motto is ‘cut anything not directly advancing the plot or developing the major characters’. All too often this restrains the writer’s creative instincts, forcing them into the barest of passages, all bereft of flavor. Such stories may move swiftly from beginning to end, and may indeed hold the readers’ attentions as they are rapidly swept through the action along the tightly woven arcs and acts, but upon conclusion, the stories are forgotten, just one more generic adventure without distinction. The memorable stories are lovingly layered and full of fabulous detail that only the author can convey.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I would attempt to approach agents and publishers instead of tackling the marketing all by myself. In the year since its publication, I’ve had to adopt the motto, “I’d rather be writing.”
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Set a goal, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or other. Strive to achieve that goal, but do not punish yourself when you inevitably fail to reach it. Simply start again as if you had never tried before, no repercussions or recriminations.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Both, as well as guarana, gauyusa, kola, yaupon holly, and of course chocolate, often all brewed together. (But not yerba, as I do not care for the taste of grass.) As caffeine is my only drug, I have explored it extensively.
Winter or Summer?
Winter by all measures. The cold never bothered me, and even if it did, I can always don more layers. I cannot peel off my skin in the heat of summer.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Audiobooks for all those times when the tasks at hand have no need of my brain, ebooks for the idle times in waiting rooms when my hands are not busy, and physical books for bed and couch in the comfort of my own home.
Mountains or Oceans?
Mountains next to oceans, for that warm fog rolling up the slopes and raining down in sheets upon the valleys beyond.
Beer or Wine?
Neither, as I do not drink.
Books or Movies?
As with any author, books by far, but movies and television (and comics and radio and live theater and….) have their place as well. All mediums hold merit, but books will always be my first love.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
The country for the wilds about me and the privacy of the pines, but the city for its resources and my favorite coffee shops.
Work hard or Play hard?
My work is my play, so both.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Duncan. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Later this month I will be publishing my 4th novella, A Random Tavern. My 5th novella, Twenty-Four Seconds, will be released mid-summer, and my 6th, Beyond the Reach of Mortal Man, comes out in the early fall. My second novel, The Great River of the Abyss, will be available for purchase sometime in the late fall of this year, in time for the holiday season. In the next few years, I will be finalizing and publishing between one to four volumes of short stories, many of which are being initially released for preview to my Patreon supporters, one per month.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Once Upon A Lane tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/02/05/tour-schedule-once-upon-a-lane-by-duncan-wilson/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!