The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies

By Bernard A. Drew | Go to book overview
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Lois Duncan

Suspense

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 28, 1934

Killing Mr. Griffin

“A writer 'gets started' the day he is born,” Lois Duncan wrote in her autobiography, Chapters: My Growth As a Writer. The mind he brings into the world with him is the amazing machine his stories will come out of, and the more he feeds into it the richer those stories will be.

“I cannot remember a time when I did not consider myself a writer. When I was three years old I was dictating stories to my parents, and as soon as I learned to print, I was writing them down myself. I shared a room with my younger brother, and at night I would lie in bed inventing tales to give him nightmares.”

Born Lois Duncan Steinmetz, the writer described her childhood in Chapters: Aside from tormenting Billy, I had few hobbies. A fat, shy little girl, I was a bookworm and a dreamer. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and spent a lot of time playing alone in the woods and on the beaches.” Both her parents were magazine photographers.

“The books I loved most as a child,” Duncan said in Books 1 Read When I Was Young, were those that contained elements of magic—the whole series of Oz books, Mary Poppins, The Princess and the Goblin—I could name them indefinitely. When I grew up and became a writer, I was told by my editors, 'Children today are too sophisticated for books like those, they want to read about real people involved in real situations.'

“Which was fine, to a point,” continued Duncan. “I did write a number of such books. But the thought kept nagging at me that it

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