Lois Duncan (born April 28, 1934)[1] is an American writer of children's books, best known for young-adult novels ofsuspense. She wrote two early novels under the pen name Lois Kerry.[2][3]

Duncan received the 1992 Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution in writing for teens.[4]

Contents Edit


Life and career[edit] Edit

Lois Duncan Steinmetz was born to photographers Lois Duncan (née Foley)[5] and Joseph Janney Steinmetz.[6] She was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Sarasota, Florida. She started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at age 10 and sold her first story at age 13.[1]

Lois Duncan (left) and Polly Gaines in a motorboat Sarasota, Florida, 1950.

Duncan attended Duke University from 1952 to 1953[1] but dropped out, married, and started a family. During this time, she continued to write and publish magazine articles; she has written more than 300 articles published in magazines such as Ladies' Home JournalRedbookMcCall'sGood Housekeeping, and Reader's Digest. Her first marriage produced three children and ended in divorce. Later she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to teach journalism at theUniversity of New Mexico,[7] where she also earned a B.A. in English in 1977. In 1965 she married Don Arquette; they had two children.[1]

Duncan is best known for her novels of suspense for teenagers. Some of her works have been adapted for the screen, the most famous example being the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer, adapted from her novel of the same title. She in interviews has stated her distaste at her young adult novel becoming a horror comedy film.[citation needed]

In 1989 the youngest of Duncan's children, Kaitlyn Arquette, was murdered in Albuquerque. Who Killed My Daughter?relates fact and conjecture about the still unsolved case.[7] Duncan has said that her "dream is to write a sequel to Who killed My Daughter? to give our family's true life horror story a closure. Of course, for that to be possible, Kait's case must be solved."[8]

The 1971 children's book Hotel for Dogs has been adapted as a 2009 film of the same name starring Emma Roberts. Duncan appears as an extra in the crowd scene.[citation needed]

The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Duncan won the annual award in 1992 and the young adult librarians now name six books published from 1966 to 1987, the autobiographical Chapters and five novels:RansomI Know What You Did Last SummerSummer of FearKilling Mr. Griffin, andThe Twisted Window. The citation observes, "Whether accepting responsibility for the death of an English teacher or admitting to their responsibility for a hit and runaccident, Duncan's characters face a universal truth – your actions are important and you are responsible for them."[4]

Selected works[edit] Edit

This is an incomplete list of Duncan's published works.[9]

Anthologies edited[edit] Edit

  • Night Terrors (1996)
  • Trapped! (1998)
  • On the Edge (2000)

Autobiography[edit] Edit

  • Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (Little, Brown, 1982) ‡
  • A Visit with Lois Duncan (2008), DVD video

Picture books[edit] Edit

Duncan identifies these works as "picture books".[9]

  • The Littlest One in the Family (1959), illustrated by Suzanne K. Larsen
  • Silly Mother (1962), ill. Larsen
  • Giving Away Suzanne (1962), ill. Leonard Weisgard
  • The Terrible Tales of Happy Days School (1983), ill. Friso Henstra (nl)
  • From Spring to Spring (1983)
  • Horses of Dreamland (1985), ill. Donna Diamond
  • Songs from Dreamland (1988), ill. Kay Chorao, with musical CD, vocals by Duncan's daughter Robin Arquette Burkin
  • The Birthday Moon (1989), ill. Susan Davis
  • The Circus Comes Home (1993), photos by Duncan's father Joseph Steinmetz
  • The Magic of Spider Woman (1996), ill. Shonto Begay
  • The Longest Hair in the World (1999), ill. Jon McIntosh
  • I Walk at Night (2000), ill. Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
  • Song of the Circus (2002), ill. Meg Cundiff

Other[edit] Edit

  • Love Song for Joyce (Funk & Wagnalls, 1958), as Lois Kerry[2]
  • Debutante Hill (Dodd, Mead, 1958)
  • A Promise for Joyce (Funk & Wagnalls, 1959), as Lois Kerry[3]
  • The Middle Sister (1960)
  • Game of Danger (1962)
  • Season of the Two-Heart (1965)
  • Point of Violence (1966)
  • Ransom (1966) ‡
  • They Never Came Home (1968)
  • Major Andre, Brave Enemy (1968), ill. Tran Mawicke
  • Peggy (1970) - historical novel
  • Hotel for Dogs (1971), ill. Leonard Shortall
  • A Gift of Magic (1971), ill. Arvis Stewart
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973) ‡
  • When the Bough Breaks (1974)
  • Down a Dark Hall (1974)
  • Summer of Fear (1976) ‡
  • Killing Mr. Griffin (1978) ‡
  • How to Write and Sell Your Personal Experiences (1979) - non-fiction
  • Daughters of Eve (1979)
  • Stranger with My Face (1981)
  • The Third Eye (1984)
  • Locked in Time (1985)
  • The Twisted Window (1987) ‡
  • Wonder Kid Meets the Evil Lunch Snatcher (1988), ill. Margaret Sanfilippo - children's chapter book
  • Don't Look Behind You (1989)
  • Who Killed My Daughter? (1992) - non-fiction
  • Psychic Connections, Duncan and William Roll (1995) - non-fiction[10]
  • Gallows Hill (1997)
  • Seasons of the Heart (2007) - poetry
  • News for Dogs (2009)- fiction- sequel to Hotel for Dogs
  • Movie for Dogs (2010)- fiction- sequel to News for Dogs

Filmography[edit] Edit

  • Hotel for Dogs- extra in one scene