Guest post by YA Author Lois Duncan: When Fiction Becomes Heartbreaking Fact

I am honored to have children’s and YA author, and adult non-fiction author, Lois Duncan post here today about her writing journey, her daughter Kait’s murder, and how she came to write her newest book One To the Wolves: On The Trail of a Killer, about Lois’ and her family’s personal investigation into Kait’s murder after the police dropped the unsolved case. Ann Rule said One To The Wolves is “chilling…gripping…a riveting true story of a mother’s fight for justice” which sure makes me want to read it! You can be sure I’m buying a copy. Lois also has a website on her daughter’s murder, so if you lived in Albuquerque in 1989 and know anything that might help, please let her know.

I love Lois Duncan’s books–she has written some of my very favorite books that I have read over and over and over again, including Down a Dark Hall, The Third Eye, and Stranger With My Face. They helped me dream, hope, and gave me some escape in the years I was being abused and tortured, and they fed my soul. They still do. I love Lois’ skill as a writer–her books grab me and don’t let me go until the end–and I also admire her for her honesty, courage, and strength in writing about her daughter’s murder in both Who Killed My Daughter?, and now in her newest book One To The Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer. (You don’t have to have read Who Killed My Daughter? to read One To The Wolves.) Lois Duncan is someone I admire and love. I hope you’ll read Lois’ moving post here, and then go buy and read One To The Wolves.

by Lois Duncan

I’m the author of over 50 books, best know for my young adult suspense novels in which teenage heroines are in life threatening situations. Seven of those books (most notably I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER) made it to Hollywood. I enjoyed writing those. I loved creating dangerous situations and building suspense as my heroines fought to save themselves. Of course, they all managed to do that. Those novels had happy endings.

Then, overnight, the subject that I’d been treating as fiction became horrendous reality. My own teenage daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was chased down in her car and shot to death in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The “heroine in jeopardy” was my own child, and I couldn’t re-arrange the plot to make her save herself. I couldn’t produce a happy ending. And, when police dropped off the unsolved case, shrugging it off as a “random drive-by shooting” while ignoring strong evidence that Kait was assassinated because she was preparing to blow the whistle on organized crime, there didn’t seem to be hope for any ending at all.

At that point I stopped writing fiction. I had no heart for it. Instead, I wrote our true story, WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER?, in hopes that it would bring informants out of the woodwork and prevent the facts of Kait’s case from becoming buried.

It accomplished both purposes. It also produced information that we never could have imagined when the first book was published. I discovered, just as Cheryl Rainfield has with her books, that The Power of the Pen is the strongest weapon in the world.

I’ve now written ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER, which chronicles our family’s on-going efforts to put the pieces of this hideous puzzle together. The picture that has emerged is both shocking and terrifying.

ONE TO THE WOLVES has just been published as an e-book. The publisher is Planet Ann Rule, (yes, the nation’s top-selling true crime writer now has her own publishing company). It can be downloaded to Kindles, Nooks, and other such devices. As yet, it’s not available as a hardcopy, although we hope it soon will be.

Lois Duncan and Ann Rule

The wolf on the cover of this e-book is a drawing Kait made at age ten. Apparently she already was having nightmares about a predator who would come for her eight years later.

Thank you, Lois, for your moving, powerful words. They made me cry. I hope you find the person who killed your daughter. I love your strength and courage, writing the books you have. And thank you so much for your kind mention of me and my books!

One To The Wolves is available on:

and other ebook stores.

4 Responses to “Guest post by YA Author Lois Duncan: When Fiction Becomes Heartbreaking Fact”

  1. Yvonne V. Says:

    I’m so sorry that this crime occurred and has remained unsolved.

  2. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Me, too, Yvonne. I know that Lois got a lot of tips from her first book Who Killed My Daughter? Let’s hope One To The Wolves helps even more!

  3. Karen DelleCava Says:

    A great post, Cheryl, with the saddest subject matter.

    I so admire Ms. Duncan’s courage in writing about this terrible, terrible tragedy. I hope this novel helps solve Kaitlyn’s case and the family may begin to heal.

  4. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    I hope it does, too, Karen. I just found out from Lois that they got so many tips from the first book, and their private investigators, that they have very strong convictions about what happened, and hope that the Feds will step in. I really hope they do!

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