SJ Duncan

The Tipping Point Blog


This is cool! The Long Dark Lonesome got a great review in The Horror Fiction Review.




This came as a surprise. It's not something I submitted to. And the review was great.


So, in light of that, I thought I would give you a little backstory on The Long Dark Lonesome.


If you've been following me for any length of time, you probably know that I've always been a writer. I've never really wanted to do anything else with my time, other than music. Writing has always been a way to deal with the world. It's the way I process things. Poems and short stories came easy when I was young, but novels are a different creature. It takes a lot of time to write a novel. And it takes multiple novels to find your voice. This is why most writers find success in their thirties or later. I'm no different in that respect.


So, throughout my twenties I wrote multiple novels. Most of them are good and interesting, but not great. You can tell I was developing my voice in those older works, and there are reasons I've never published those books. Fast forward to the age of thirty, and a divorce.


First of all, the divorce was peaceful and probably the best for both parties. But even a peaceful divorce is hard and heartbreaking. And trying to make it through a divorce without damaging your children is even harder. Long story short, I spent eight months living in the back room of my sister's house, trying to write to save my sanity, and failing. I couldn't write anything of any length. I was depressed. I was lost. My thoughts were short and fleeting and dark. And the thing that I had always used to save myself was failing me.


". . .the long dark lonesome of the title is a recurring theme throughout ... these are the horrors of the soul, of loss and regret, despair, grief, sorrow, the black undercurrents and riptides of the psyche." - Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review


The most I could manage, I discovered, were short little free-verse poems, most of which were less than a page or two long. And most of them were terribly pained. I was in agony, and that agony became a stack of poems pounded out on an old Smith-Corona typewriter (I've always had a thing for old typewriters).


At some point I let my brother-in-law read them, and he was the one who encouraged me to publish them.


This was probably the most difficult time of my life, but suddenly I had a goal and a trajectory. I spent the next year or so revising and reworking the book. I published an early version which was still very rough around the edges, and ultimately did one final revision, along with a new cover. The end result is the book which set me on this journey.



"Maybe I shouldn't have read the whole thing pretty much straight through. . . but I couldn't stop. Didn't want to stop. . . it was that emotional impact, that beautifully done bleeding soul laid bare." - Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review


 So that's the short version of how The Long Dark Lonesome came to be. It was a hard book to write, and an even harder time to live through, but I made it. And more than that, I made something out of it. 


To read the full review, click here, and scroll until you see The Long Dark Lonesome. To read an excerpt or buy The Long Dark Lonesome, click here.





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