- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
Self-Inflicted Wounds 1: Welcome to Belgrade; Fiction, Unexpected Paths Publishing, October 1, 2020
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
Welcome to Belgrade is book one of a trilogy dealing with a series of political murders in the then Yugoslavia in the late 1990s and a significant change in leadership in the Balkans in 2000. My main protagonists, a husband and wife spy team, have to stop the murders and convince a reluctant opposition politician to run against Slobodan Milosevic.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
A reader messaged me and said she had learned more history from the book than she ever learned in school. My work here is done.
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Maybe a mash-up between John le Carre’s Agent Running in the Field and Alan Furst’s Spies of the Balkans.
- Why this book? Why now?
I like to write about significant, recent historical events and publish around their anniversaries. The year 2020 was the 20th anniversary of the “Bulldozer Revolution” in Yugoslavia when Slobodan Milosevic lost an election he couldn’t rig and was pushed from power. I actually started the trilogy back in 2001 (at the suggestion of an anonymous friend from an equally anonymous intelligence agency) and finished it to my (and my editor’s) satisfaction about three years ago.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
It’s a toss-up between editor of FAA Aviation News magazine and Chief of Staff of the FAA’s Flight Standards Service.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
From Welcome to Belgrade and the other two books of the trilogy, I hope, particularly now, they learn that democracy wins out even when it appears otherwise and that sometimes you have to fight for democracy, not against it.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Eastern European cuisine: cheese pastries, goulash, red pepper jam, plum brandy
Music: Heavy metal or anything by Balkan Beat Box
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer (nonfiction); Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (fiction)
Learn more about Phyllis on her website.
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Buy Welcome to Belgrade and other titles by P.A. Duncan on Amazon.com.
Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.