Thursday, January 26, 2012


Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
More than I care to admit. It’s pretty scary when you fit comfortably inside the head of your villain. But I couldn’t birth any character without imparting my DNA. That means I’m a little bit of everyone. A little Sybil-like.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hitchhiked up I-75 to Atlanta with two University of Florida football players. Purely spontaneous (after losing our ride mid-trip). Purely stupid. And wholly exhilarating, at least for an invincible college kid.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When my ninth-grade English teacher told me I was. So I became an advertising copywriter, newspaper writer, and magazine writer. And then I discovered I liked to make things up—not a respectable trait for a journalist. So I shifted into respectable fiction and conjured my first novel, Mortal Wounds, in 1998. My second novel, Fatal Loyalty, was released last year. And now Kregel is launching my new series with the release of The Sound of Red Returning.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
In fiction, I used to read only Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Patricia Cornwell, John Le Carre, Ken Follett, and other high-suspense authors. Some of my women friends thought that strange. So I tried some of the sweeter, softer novels they liked—and decided to find new friends :-)

Now, though, my reading list is all over the place, from Joyce Carol Oates to Ted Dekker.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I quit running. I’d rather write.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I was driving through the mountains alone when the storyline of my first novel sprang to mind. I pulled over as soon as I could to make a few notes and realized I was in a small cemetery. I took my characters’ names from the tombstones in front of me. 

Since then, the names have come from more conventional sources: seed catalogs, legal notices, members of Congress, Olympic athletes, obits, phone books, old movies, cartoons. You know.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Professionally: the publication of my first book.
Personally: the publication of my first book.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
(Oooh, I hope my answer is better than Miss Oregon’s. Here goes.) An eagle because it stands for power and nobility. Oh, wait. Eagles eat rats, don’t they? Ooooh, disgusting. Can I change my answer?

What is your favorite food?
Blackberry cobbler like my grandmother used to make and nobody else on the planet does. Fresh berries we kids picked in the fields (then clawed chigger bites until we were pulp), fresh milk and butter from her neighbor’s cows, flour and sugar from the circa-1800s country store up the road. No recipe. No discernible measurements.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Time. I was editing a magazine and trying to write novels simultaneously. That tandem effort didn’t work for me. I needed to completely immerse myself in the make-believe world—like disappearing through the back of C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe and letting fiction morph into the virtual. At least until it was time to cook dinner and sort socks. So, I resigned from my magazine position and became writer-in-residence.

Tell us about the featured book.
My new book The Sound of Red Returning is the first book of the Red Returning trilogy. Here’s the storyline:

It’s been fifteen years since famed pianist Liesl Bower saw her beloved Harvard mentor gunned down, since the CIA disclosed his double life as a Russian spy. She was interrogated and released, with no incriminating evidence against her. But now, something has happened to set Russian and CIA agents on her heels. New intelligence suggests that Liesl possesses a coded message critical to a resurgence of Soviet power. 

As global tensions mount, the Russians are in a frenzy to find the code before the Americans. Standing in their way, though, is the young pianist from the tidal creeks and secret-shrouded lanes of old Charleston. As Liesl outruns the tip of the Russian spear, she must reckon with the wounds of her past, the love of a man she never thought could be hers, and the prevailing power of God.

In the final hour, on a world stage, Liesl must deliver a message of her own.

Sounds very interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.


It was just three small paragraphs in the Boston Globe that morning in October 2011:

Slain Professor’s Widow Dies

Eugenia C. Devoe, wife of the late Schell M. Devoe—a prominent Harvard music professor who was murdered in his Boston home in 1996—died of natural causes Friday in Canada. She was 78.

An accomplished musician, Eugenia Devoe had been a popular band director at Boston Central High School for many years. Shortly before her husband’s death, Devoe resigned her position and left the couple’s home near the Harvard campus. Until now, her whereabouts had been unknown.

From Boston, Devoe had moved to the small farming community of Curien, west of Montreal, where she assumed her mother’s maiden name, Holbrook. Neighbors say she rarely ventured from her small rural home, where she taught piano lessons. The couple had no children. Mrs. Devoe had no surviving family.

By dawn the next day, the isolated cottage that had been Eugenia Devoe’s hiding place lay in ruins. Even the boards had been stripped from the ceilings and floors. Yet when the intruders left, they took only one thing from the house—a letter Schell Devoe mailed to his wife just hours before he died.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit my website at I’m on Facebook as well. You can visit my page at Aaaand, I’m thinking about joining Twitter… yes? no? maybe so?

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter. Let me know if you do. My twitter username is: lenandooley

Thank you, Sue, for dropping by and sharing with us today.

Readers, win a Kindle Fire from @SueDuffy2 and @KregelBooks in the "Red Returning" Giveaway! Sue Duffy and her publisher, Kregel Publications, are celebrating the release of The Sound of Red Returning by giving away a Kindle Fire prize package worth over $200 to one lucky winner!!!! (1/23-2/11)

Enter the Sue Duffy’s Giveaway today and you could win:

* A brand new Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi
* The Sound of Red Returning (Book One in the Red Returning series) by Sue Duffy

To enter click one of the icons below. But, hurry! The giveway ends on 2/11. Sue will be announcing the winner of the “Red Returning” Giveaway on February 13th on the Litfuse website!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. 

Readers, in addition, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
The Sound of Red Returning: A Novel (Red Returning Trilogy)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Coolestmommy said...

Sounds like a great read--and I'm glad to hear it will be a trilogy. I bet they will all be exciting.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Katie said...

This book sounds AMAZING! Please enter me. I'm from NC.

God bless!

Alicia said...

My two friends recommend this book. Looks pretty interesting.

Ali from NY

Michelle said...

Sounds like a great book. I love anything Russian. Please enter me.


Aizess said...

This book is very interesting! Please enter me!

I live in New York

Pam K. said...

This sounds like a book that would be hard to put down. I'd love to win a copy of "The Sound of Red Returning."


Jo said...

Sounds like a very interesting read. Please enter me.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Kristie said...

It was quite the leap of faith to quit your day job to write full-time. Your book sounds very interesting. I don't much about Russia and the CIA and the subject of your novel but I'd like to read it. I can learn something useful from fiction. Yes I can! I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Mary Preston said...

I had to laugh!! Best if a journalist doesn't make things up. THE SOUND OF RED RETURNING looks wonderful.

Mary P


Kandra said...

Sounds intriguing! Please enter me!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book it sounds like a great story! Thanks and God bless.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Sounds interesting! Please enter me.
Thanks and God Bless!
Blanch, N.C.

Unknown said...

Ooohhh... this sounds like a great book!!!!! I love anything based in Russia. Please enter me!

Krista from OR

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Melissa M. said...

Sounds interesting.

~Melissa from TX.

rubynreba said...

I've heard that this book is very good and I enjoyed the interview.
Beth from Iowa

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds like an intriguing read. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Unknown said...

Greetings from Arlington, TX. I would appreciate reading this book because I'm trying to cultivate an interest in other genres that I haven't read much of. Thank you for this giveaway and the chance to win.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Janet Kerr said...

I would appreciate winning this book. The whole trilogy sounds great.


Merry said...

Wow, this sounds exciting and full of suspense, please add me!
Merry in TX