Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead

As Thelma Miller's friends and fellow members of the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club come together to mourn her death, the small middle class neighborhood she departed from seems to be home to a seething hotbed of secrets that play out in a delightfully droll way.  Two of her friends compete for the attention of her grieving husband, deceits and lies abound, and a killer from a mysterious organization with links to organized crime stalks the local park.  But this is only a small part of the plot; one that also involves a mysterious European gentleman in South America, a young Italian Count in Paris, an old woman with an infamous uncle who is out for revenge, a retired accountant who is hiding out and an aspiring model who wins the trip of a lifetime.  In the hands of a less capable author it would all be a little too much and probably quite muddled, but this author manages to pull it off with aplomb, making for a delightful, easy and fun read--one that I would definitely recommend.
It is my pleasure to welcome Duncan Whitehead to my blog today for a short interview about this book, his other works, and life in general.
Welcome Duncan.  First just let me say I was pleased to learn from your website ( ) that The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club has turned into a trilogy, with Books 2 and 3 on the way.  Anything you care to share with us concerning the sequels?
Thank you.  The first sequel will touch on the back story of Ignatius Jackson but of course there will be twists and a lot of surprises.  Two new characters will be introduced, including a Detective assigned to investigate the mysterious goings on in Gordonstone. Some characters will not survive the first sequel...and a dog will find a bone in the park……..
Your English humor was in great abundance throughout the book, and you say it was actually inspired by the quirky characters in the neighborhood where you used to live in Savannah, GA.  It has been said that the south is more than a region, it’s a state of mind.  You’ve traveled extensively, do you find the southern ethos a rich one for writers?
Yes I do. Southerners, and in particularly, “Savanahnians” , have a great way with words, they can turn a simple “good morning” into a full blown conversation. They use this great descriptive language when talking, almost poetic, very similar, in my opinion to the Irish (I have also lived in Ireland).  It is my opinion, that Southerners love to talk and I love to listen!
I must admit I was intrigued by the title of the other book you’ve penned, “The Reluctant Jesus” (a comedy set in Manhattan).  Can you tell us a little bit about that one?
The Reluctant Jesus is a comedy. Unlike “Gordonston” there are no dark elements to this novel.  Seth Miller, a confirmed bachelor who is continually harassed by his domineering mother to spawn children, is told that he is the Messiah…he doesn’t want the job, in fact he is extremely annoyed.  This is compounded when he is informed that he has to battle The Antichrist, an equally as reluctant and inappropriate nominee for the role forced upon him (he has allergies and likes video games and makes Woody Allen look like Rocky!).  There are disciples, miracles, an extremely forgetful God and Devil and of course….some twists!
On a personal note, you say you are interested in the Israeli defense art of Krav Maga (that sent me to google to find out what it was—even though I am quite familiar with martial arts and am married to a second degree black belt), and the pressure point martial art Dim-Mak.  Did you get into these when you were in the military, or come to them in some other way?
I began studying Dim-Mak about 8 years ago, and didn’t really understand the concept. A few years ago I found out about a very interesting Australian man, Erle Montague, who really explained the concepts, I took it up again and even created a website (now closed) explaining some very simple techniques.  Of course it is a martial art you cannot practice much, but, it is a good skill to have, especially if you travel to places where you may need to get out of situations quickly.
I took up Krav Maga while living in Brazil.  I was explaining Dim-Mak to a friend of mine, and showed him a few defense techniques.  He then introduced me to Krav Maga, he taught it, once again I became hooked.  I began boxing when I was 14 and took up Judo when I was 11 so I have always been interested in fighting arts. 
 Since I’m all about books on this blog, how about telling me your favorite book of all time (the book you are an evangelist for), your favorite authors, and one of your favorite quotes from a book.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  I love this book because I think the comedy is well written and the characters, while quirky, are actually likeable. However, the reason I love this book is due to the author’s story.  His tragic life and then subsequent discover….after his death….it is kind of a great lesson in why we should never give up.   My favorite author is Agatha Christie…..I love her mysteries, the way she develops characters.  I am a big fan.  One of my favorite quotes from a book is from a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” –  If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended— That you have but slumbered here While these visions did appear. I just love it!
What is one thing your readers might be surprised to know about you?
That I love to cook! I make my own soup and I bake!
Any new projects in the works you can tell us about?
I am working on the sequels to “Gordonston” – I am also developing the first book into a screenplay as well as completing the editing and finishing touches to “Jesus”.  This week I publish a free short story “An Actor’s Life” (A dark comedy with a twist) which is available at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Amazon – for free if you have a device to read it on!
 Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself and your work with us today Duncan.  I'm sure we'll be hearing more from you and about you in the future.

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