The Spark That Lit My Writer’s Flame
The first inkling that I might someday be able to write something worthy of publication came in the form of a few words penned by my eleventh grade English teacher, which she added to the end of a term paper I’d written. To her students she was plain Mrs. Shropshire but to me her first name, at least, was anything but plain. It was Sadie, an uncommon name then and now, which for me evoked the image of a seductive singer plying her trade in a bar on an exotic, far-away island somewhere in the South Pacific. That was because the only other woman named Sadie I’d ever heard of or seen was the temptress portrayed by Rita Hayworth in the movie, Miss Sadie Thompson.
Mrs. Shropshire was no Rita Hayworth and I’m sure she had no desire to be. Probably it would have amused her to know that at least one of her students associated her with the fictional Miss Sadie Thompson. She was a comely, no-nonsense African-American woman I suspect in her mid to late thirties when I was one of her students. She was a stern disciplinarian with a caustic wit, but what was most distinctive about her was her absolute command of English literature and grammar. And so it was with great pride that I read the words at the end of my term paper she felt were warranted by my effort: “Your writing is seldom, if ever, equaled among our students.” Wow!
I kept Mrs. Shropshire’s words tucked away somewhere in a corner of my mind because, you see, I wouldn’t need them for inspiration in the career I had chosen. In my senior year in college I had decided to become a lawyer. As such, I wrote an awful lot of letters, memoranda of law, and trial and appellate briefs. In the last years of my practice I even wrote a legal treatise for judges and lawyers called Ohio Insurance Coverage, which was the field of law I had specialized in. But none of this writing ever sparked my imagination or caused me to draw upon whatever it was that Mrs. Shropshire saw in my term paper now decades earlier.
I also kept my term paper in a cardboard box with other memorabilia, and whenever the thought of writing fiction crept into my mind, I would refer back to Mrs. Shropshire’s words to make sure I remembered them correctly and that she had actually written them.
At a high school reunion years ago I asked whether anyone knew what had happened to Mrs. Schropshire. Sadly, I learned that she had passed away. No one knew any of the details. We hadn’t kept in contact since I graduated from high school and moved away, but the news made me profoundly sad. Now that I have written my first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red, I’m doubly sad because I wish I could have told her that it was inspired by those few words of high praise she wrote on my term paper many years ago.
Pigeon-Blood Red is a fast-paced and suspenseful crime thriller by Ed Duncan. It was released in March 2016, published by Zharmae and is available for sale on Amazon.
Duncan says, “It’s always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer – as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man – and I’m excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally.”
For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.
As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?
Praise for Pigeon-Blood Red
“Pigeon Blood Red has a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, leaving the reader nodding his head with approval.” – Readers’ Favorite
“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.” – Red City Review
“This charming, classically-told crime thriller is a must for noir fans…refreshingly old-school pulp, inhabited by a familiar cast of gamblers, con men and hustlers found in Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard novels” – Best Thrillers
About Ed Duncan
Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/
Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.