Author Tags: Fiction, Kidlit & Young Adult, Women
Born in Vancouver on January 12, 1942, she lived in Saskatchewan as a teenager and Vancouver as an adult. She received her B.A. (English & Psychology) in 1962 and her M.A. (Psychology) a year later at University of British Columbia. "When I went to the University of Victoria," she said, "I chose psychology instead of creative writing because I was scared to show anyone my stuff." She started to write fiction in 1973. Now residing on Gabriola Island, she is a former clinical psychologist who has written several successful books for young readers. In the tradition of her surrealistic, feminist novel, Dragonhunt, she has also written Pattern Makers, about three women and a spider undertaking a healing journey to the ocean. Her most recent novel, Never Sleep with a Suspect on Gabriola Island, is a mystery set on the Gulf Islands off the coast of B.C. Although chiefly known as a writer of fiction, Duncan also wrote a fifth grade science text, British Columbia: Its Land, Mineral and Water Resources. She worked as a Clinical Psychologist in the Greater Vancouver area, 1963-73, and was married to Norman Duncan 1963-80. She has two daughters, Kelly and Kirsten. Her YA novel Gold Rush Orphan is partially based on her grandfather's gold rush journal entries from an 1898 trip to the Klondike. It recounts a teenager's journey from Skagway through the White Pass.
With George Szanto, Sandy Frances Duncan is co-writing a series of mystery novels, starting with Never Sleep with a Suspect on Gabriola Island. Their follow-up is Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island. Both feature West Coast sleuths Kyra Rachel and Noel Franklin of Islands Investigations International. In the second novel, a grieving mother bends over to kiss her son’s corpse at a funeral home viewing, only to shriek: “That’s not Sandro!” Having supposedly died of a heroin overdose, the body of Whidbey Island General Hospital nurse Sandro Vasiliadis is suddenly missing, and his mother is convinced he is still alive. The detectives’ inquiries lead them deep into Sandro’s life and to a medical clinic that specializes in transgendering.
Never Hug a Mugger (2012) was followed by Always Love A Villain on San Juan Island (Touchwood 2013). Promotional materials state: "A case of high-level plagiarism at a local university brings Noel Franklin and Kyra Rachel to San Juan Island to investigate. As they look into the theft, the investigative team get to know the small island’s community. They soon become involved in another, more menacing, crime: The daughter of a professor engaged in highly sensitive research has been kidnapped. And her ransom is a piece of intellectual property that in the wrong hands could lead to catastrophe. While Noel and Kyra navigate the murky waters of university politics and come closer to discovering the origins of the crime and its perpetrators, their lives are first threatened and then terrorized."
Always Love A Villain on San Juan Island (Touchwood 2013) $14.95 978-1-77151-024-0
NEVER HUG A MUGGER ON QUADRA ISLAND, with George Szanto (TouchWood, 2012). $14.95 978-1-926971-49-0
ALWAYS KISS THE CORPSE, with George Szanto (Touchwood, 2010). 978-926741-05-5 : $24.95.
NEVER SLEEP WITH A SUSPECT ON GABRIOLA ISLAND (TouchWood, 2009), with George Szanto
GOLD RUSH ORPHAN Ronsdale Press 2004. 1-55380-012-5
YVONNE mothertongue Press 2003 limited edition chapbook;
Icebox Pictures (Crisper Productions), 2003 movie
CARIBOO RUNAWAY ISBN 1-895110-00-9, 1-895110-47-5 (Pacific Edge Pub. 1997,
1990, Burns & MacEachern, 1976 145 pp.) juv. hist. fiction; movie rights
BRITISH COLUMBIA: ITS LAND, MINERAL AND WATER RESOURCES ISBN 1-
895110-38-6 (Pacific Edge Pub. 1998, 1996, 104 pp.) gr. 5 science text
LISTEN TO ME, GRACE KELLY ISBN 1-55074-012-1 (Kids Can Press, 1990, 261
pp.) young adult novel; Children's Book Centre Choice 1990, a Canadian
Materials Notable, 1990
PATTERN MAKERS ISBN 0-88961-138-6 (Women's Press, Toronto 1989, 206 pp.)
AMANDA ET LE GÉNIE ISBN 0-7773-4433-5 (Les Éditions Heritages, Montreal
1984, 125 pp.) French edition of THE TOOTHPASTE GENIE
FINDING HOME ISBN 0-380-80143-4 (Avon, New York 1982, 190 pp.) novel.
Canadian Library Association 20 Best Young Adult Novels 1986; out of print
THE TOOTHPASTE GENIE ISBN 0-590-71090-7 (Scholastic-TAB, Toronto 1981,
1986, 1989, 1991, 1999, 134 pp.) juv. fantasy. Children's Book Centre
Choice 1982; G.V.L.F. Award 1984
DRAGONHUNT ISBN 0-88961-068-1 (Women's Press, Toronto 1981, 108 pp.) novel
KAP-SUNG FERRIS ISBN 0-7715-9606-5 (Burns & MacEachern 1977, Macmillan of
Canada, Toronto 1982, 1984, 126 pp.) juv. novel, Children's Book Centre
Choice 1979; G.V.L.F. Award 1981; out of print
WITNESS TO WILDERNESS: THE CLAYOQUOT SOUND ANTHOLOGY, Arsenal Pulp Press,
Vancouver 1994, ISBN 1-55152-009-5 co-editor
(f.)Lip, a journal of innovative feminist writing, co-founder and editor
1990 Westword VI, Summer Writing School for Women, Vancouver, BC
1989,90,91,92,93,98,99,01 Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC
1989 Okanagan Regional Libraries, Kelowna, Vernon, BC
1988 Festival of the Written Arts, Sechelt, BC
1987 University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Mb
1986 Westword II, Summer Writing School for Women, Victoria, BC
1984 Richmond Public Library, Richmond, BC
The Writers' Union Of Canada (on National Council 1980-81; 1985- 86;
Co-chair Political Action Committee, 1988-89; Co-chair Status of Women
Writers Committee, 1989-90)
Federation of British Columbia Writers (Founding Chair 1980-82)
Canadian Association of Children's Authors, Illustrators, Per formers
West Coast Women & Words Society (Women's Peace Write Committee; West Word
Summer School Advisory Committee; Women's Voices Advisory Committee) Board
[LITHIS / BCBW 2013] "Fiction" "Women" "Kidlit"
listen to Me, Grace Kelly (Kids Can $4.95)
SANDY FRANCES DUNCAN, NOW LIVING on Gabriola Island, has written a realistic young adult novel, listen to Me, Grace Kelly (Kids Can $4.95), a gripping tale of mysterious revelations and psychological depth. Listen to Me opens with 12-year old Jessica staying with elderly Agatha, a family friend, at an Ontario summer cottage in 1956. Jess's father died when she was eight; her memories of him and their relationship are fragmentary and repressed. As details of his life and death emerge over the summer, Jess confronts nightmarish fears and phantasms rising from her unconscious and linked to her father. The 75-year-old Agatha is a spunky, Emily Dickinson-quoting individualist; intelligent and non-conforming. She chose to live a single life during World War II when this was most uncommon. Jess's middle-aged social worker mother is strong and loving. The physical warmth and emotional bond between mother and daughter is deeply moving an anomaly in young adult fiction. The pattern of growth and change across three generations of women provides a feminist subtext to the novel's surface narrative. The issue of sexual harassment is also explored as Jessica is emotionally and physically threatened by a teenage boy. She fights victimization and confronts her mother with vague memories of her father touching her in bed when she was a child. The final explanation of her father's illness as Alzheimer's Disease and his removal from the family is bleak and poignant, but the question of possible sexual abuse is left unresolved (or blocked) in Jess's memory and the text. This psychological study of family dynamics and the mind struggling to heal itself is accompanied by more typical young adolescent activities: close female friendships, horse riding and imaginary confidences with the perfect 50's movie star ideal of feminine beauty, Grace Kelly: Although dense in sub-plot and surrealistic dream/ memory sequences, the writing style is fresh and invigorating, full of real and unpredictable adolescent energy, humour and emotion. More new kidstuff, in brief: Animals, mythical and real, continue to fascinate young readers. The trickster Raven learns important lessons about greed and gluttony in Anne Cameron's Raven Goes Berrypicking and Raven and Snipe (Harbour, both $5.95). Another coastal bird, Cyril the Seagull (Nightwood $14.95) learns to overcome seasickness to save a friend. An elephant also learns the importance of friends in Hugo Makes a Friend (Hugo Publishing $5.95), one of a series of Hugo books by Bob Schimpf. For young mystery fans there's Jim Heneghan's The Case of the Marmalade Cat (Scholastic $3.95) about a kids' detective agency set in Vancouver's Granville Market; plus Island Feud (Irwin $9.95) by Marian Crook, another in her Susan George mystery series. Boys will be backhoe operators, sometimes with startling results as Howard White relates in Patrick and the Backhoe (Nightwood $14.95). Marilyn Halvorson is back with another young adult novel, Brothers and Strangers (Irwin $9.95) telling the story of a blind girl who discovers freedom through horse riding. Teachers have a new resource for dealing with racism in schools. Pacific Educational Press at UBC has completed a six-year project, Alternatives to Racism, with a dozen new books designed to introduce children to the wonders of other cultures. Titles include More Than Meets the Eye and Apple's not the Only Pie. For Native students, Don Sawyer and Art Napoleon have compiled the NESA Activities Handbook Vol. 2 (Pulp $14.95) designed to get students actively involved in Native culture and political well-being.--by Judith Saltman
[BCBW 1991] “Kidlit”
Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island (Touchwood $24.95)
As a follow-up to their debut mystery, Never Sleep with a Suspect on Gabriola Island, George Szanto and Sandy Frances Duncan have co-written Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island (Touchwood $24.95). Both feature West Coast sleuths Kyra Rachel and Noel Franklin of Islands Investigations International.
In the second novel, a grieving mother bends over to kiss her son’s corpse at a funeral home viewing, only to shriek: “That’s not Sandro!” Having supposedly died of a heroin overdose, the body of Whidbey Island General Hospital nurse Sandro Vasiliadis is suddenly missing, and his mother is convinced he is still alive. The detectives’ inquiries lead them deep into Sandro’s life and to a medical clinic that specializes in transgendering.
Szanto speaks four languages and lives on Gabriola Island. In Szanto’s latest island-based novel, The Tartarus House on Crab (Brindle & Glass $19.95), photographer Jack Tartarus returns to his family’s old home to tear it down. But the people of Crab Island, including his sister, and Turtle—the island’s self-proclaimed guardian—and a beautiful woman he knew long ago, are angrily opposed to his plan.