SJ Duncan is an author, ghostwriter, and musician.
A native of North Texas, Duncan grew up reading horror and science fiction and began writing at an early age. Though considered bright by his teachers, he would often spend his time writing and drawing while neglecting responsibilities such as schoolwork. His teen years were particularly turbulent, and at 16 he was sent to a military-style state school operated by the Texas Youth Commission. While there, Duncan was given the opportunity to write for a small newspaper in central Texas. He credits writing with saving his life.
A self-taught musician, Duncan spent his early adulthood playing drums, bass, and guitar at various churches. He later joined Bad Moon Rising, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band, as a multi-instrumentalist. Though he enjoyed performing and traveling with the band, he ultimately quit to focus on his writing career.
Duncan’s first collection of poetry, The Long Dark Lonesome, was released in 2012, followed in 2013 by a currently out-of-print novel, One in the Barrelhouse. A second poetry collection, Three Rights and a Left, was released in 2014. Both collections were revised and re-released in 2016, followed by his newest novel, Bash, in 2017. Like a Fire Praying for Rain, a new book of poems and illustrations, was published in June of 2018.
Writing in a postmodern/minimalist style, Duncan borrows elements from both literary and genre fiction. Frequent motifs are nature versus nurture, hierarchy, power dynamics, and the search for self. His work often toys with symbolism and is dotted with satirical jabs, philosophical digressions, and often absurd interactions between characters, who are frequently eccentric or neurotic. Duncan also draws heavily on his time as a performing musician, as well as the turmoil of his youth. Readers and reviewers praise his style, depth, and mischievous sense of humor.
He is currently working on a new collection of poetry as well as a YA sci-fi series with his 14-year-old son.