In Memorium – Dave Duncan
Last night I heard that Dave Duncan (the author, not the athlete) had passed away. I first encountered Dave’s work when I was in college in the form of his book, The Reluctant Swordsman.
It wasn’t quite like anything I’d ever read before. I can still picture myself reading it on the train home after class. Let’s just say, it really resonated with me.
I read all three (at the time) books in the series and then several more of his books. They were entertaining and thought-provoking. They fueled my own desire to write (although that wouldn’t happen for almost another decade).
Over time I discovered other authors and then, when I started to write myself, I drifted away from his work. I simply didn’t have (or make) the time to read as much as I had.
I Finally Met Dave a Few Years Ago
Fast forward to about six or seven years ago. I had the opportunity to meet Dave at a local writer’s convention. I actually asked him if he would appear on my podcast, which he graciously agreed to. I attended a Koffee Klatch where he talked about writing. It was amazing to hear his journey and bask in his wisdom.
One of my favorite memories of him was when a woman showed up late for the Koffee Klatch. She barged into the room (did I mention she was late – like ten minutes), interrupted the conversation to announce that she was here to talk to Dave Duncan.
Considering it was Dave she interrupted, he was polite to say that he was, in fact, Dave Duncan and he invited her to take a seat. She sat down and started to inform the group of her own wisdom about writing.
Dave politely but firmly shut her down, telling her that it was his Koffee Klatch and we had come to hear from him, not her. If she wanted to run her own, she was welcome to, but not here and not now. (side note: to this day, I have no idea who she was other than a loud-mouthed woman who claimed to be a writer.)
That didn’t entirely shut her down, but whenever she got too obnoxious, he would quietly (and politely and firmly) get her to shut up for a while and we continued to talk with him and ask him questions.
Since that initial meeting, I have talked with Dave almost every year. He was a man confident in his own abilities who could easily walk the talk.
I Want to Be Dave Duncan When I Grow Up
Dave sold his first book at age 53 and somehow managed to write and have published 50 books over his career. That is an incredible number. When he died he was waiting nervously for the announcement of the Endeavour Award winners – he had two books nominated. That’s a career and a longevity that everyone can be proud of.
I hope I do half as well as him.
Well-spoken, prolific and generous with his time, Dave has left a wonderful legacy. I know he was loved by his fans as I was one of them. It is hard to think I won’t see him again at future conventions.
Thank you for being such a great role model, Dave. I will keep pushing so one day I can be half the writer you were.