Interview with Duncan Whitehead, author of “The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club”

This book takes place in a little southern town, is it true to the town you live in?

The neighborhood, Gordonston does exist, and it is exactly as I describe in the book, tree lined avenues and a private park just for the use of the residences that is quite large and hidden away. Savannah,where the book is set, doesn’t really play too much significance in the book but it is a town where many people know each others business and it is kind of a unique place which fits into the books general theme……….as of the characters and real life people living in Savannah and Gordonston……no, there are no people (I hope) like them!

Seeing as you don’t know any people like this in real life, where did you get the inspiration for writing all these different characters and their separate plots? And are you yourself a dogowner?

I was a dog owner, but sadly he died last year, his name was…..Bern and he was a…German Shepherd!

The inspiration for writing about so many different characters and the separate but intertwined plots came from my personal belief that we are all somehow connected, that our paths may have crossed before, maybe we were once on the same flight, maybe you know someone I do, and those connections fascinate me. I loved the TV show Lost and movies such as Crash, who have this notion. I initially wrote two separate unconnected short stories, both with twists at the end, I decided to re-write them and connect them together via a full novel…in fact each character has a back story, even minor characters, so in the sequels even more “coincidences” and twists occur and seemingly insignificant events, well, let me just say they are not as insignificant as you may think………

That was in fact one of the things that I loved about the book, the fact that everyone, including the minor characters, have a story as it is in real life. So this was your first full sized novel you wrote, how did the process go and was it as you imagined it would be?

As I mentioned I wrote two short stories years ago. When I moved to Savannah I wanted to write a complex but easy to follow mystery with an element of humor. I first outlaid the plot and the characters and then of course the twists, making sure I left clues…the ending, which I think is kind of unique I thought of first…..with the victim, the killer and the final twist being the biggest shocks…..I think it worked.

I think it worked as well! How long did it take you to write this book (from the idea to having the book in your hands)?

Well, I would say 10 years – mainly because of personal circumstances – but if I had stayed on track I think I could have done it a year!

Is it your intention to write more books? If so, would they be in the same genre or would you like to branch out and try something completely different?

Yes, I have written a comedy “The Reluctant Jesus” a novel set in Manhattan, which is totally different from Gordonston, however I also have drafted the next two books in the Gordonston trilogy. I think I would like to continue to write dark humor driven mysteries with twists, I enjoy them!

It’s great to hear that you are planning sequels to Gordonston! What are some of your personal favourite books? Did they play a part in your own writing?

My favorite book is “A Confederacy of Dunces” I find it so funny, I also love anything by Agatha Christie, she is my favorite writer. as I have never read anything like my book I guess the only influences from my favorite books is the humor and of course the “who done it” element of Christie’s books!

Thanks again for the interview Duncan!

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