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locally CREATIVE

HAMLIN PARK irregulars wally duff established his successful medical career decades ago, but more recently he’s also become a budding novelist about to publish his second book in a planned series of eight. If you had to decIde between savIng the lIves of your chIldren or thousands of people you do not know—and you have only one choIce—whIch one would you choose?

“I will say this: only a dad could view his daughter as a heroine-in-the-making.

The reader reviews for Wally Duff’s thriller entitled boom-BOOM! are overwhelmingly positive: “Fabulous characters, amazing plot, twists and turns to keep any reader turning the pages.” ”I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.”“Absolutely loved this exciting book.” “Captivating book!! Great and easy read.”

many other smaller life details. But of course it’s not me, as well. My life is far

It’s a little surreal, that’s for sure,” Taylor said. “I mean, it’s me in many ways; Tina shares my vocation, my house in Chicago, my husband and daughter, and more mundane. Typically journalists choose their profession so that they can be the ultimate observers, not the participants. I would vastly prefer interviewing someone about fighting terrorists to actually doing it myself… the protagonist is more the Tina template, not actually me.”

But Wally Duff isn’t a household name—yet. He’s not even a full-time writer, and he’s never done any writing for a living, unless you count medical paperwork. Dr. Wallace Duff is a respected otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor), a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine who’s been in practice in Omaha for more than 40 years. “I love picking noses!” Duff wisecracked. “I’ll never retire. Love my staff, the OR staff and, mostly, my patients.”

Fellow author Dave Russell (The Socratic Contract), who knew Duff when he lived in Omaha during his years as a corporate executive, said he’s eager to read Déjà Boom! after enjoying its predecessor. “boom-BOOM! drew me in,” he said. “I loved the characters and the careful weaving of the novel’s fabric. It’s a really good read; smart, sensitive, terrifying and great escape from whatever vortex you are presently living.”

Although he minored in English, Duff didn’t start writing until 1998, some 20 years post-college. boom-BOOM! is both Duff’s first book and the first in what he plans to be a run of eight in his “Hamlin Park Irregulars” series. His second book, Déjà Boom! will be released in February or March. Both novels are available in paperback from Amazon.

Janzen said she liked Duff’s fast pacing and that her husband, who typically reads only nonfiction, “couldn’t put boom-BOOM! down.” “It’s a fun, fun book,” she said, adding that before reading his first book, she

strange sequence of events

had never pictured neighbor and friend Duff as a novelist. “I was surprised.

The series revolves around former investigative journalist and now full-time mother, Tina Thomas. “Tina is longing for some excitement when she and the other stay-at-home moms of Hamlin Park are jarred out of their mindnumbing boredom by a strange sequence of events in their upscale Chicago suburb,” Duff explained. To find out what’s next? Read the book, of course.

I didn’t know he could write like that.”

an excellent read Duff’s first book has been well-received on a professional level as well. An editorial review from Kirkus Reviews included: “The narrative maintains an

One distinguishing characteristic of Duff’s novels is that he draws many of his characters’ names and qualities from his real-life family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.

impressive momentum with myriad scenes of dialogue and concise chapters.” An evaluation from a Writer’s Digest competition concluded with,

“Some of the people I know, so when he describes them, I’m like, ‘Oh!’” Debbie “Congratulations on an excellent read.” Janzen said. Namesake characters inspired by Janzen and her husband Rody are featured briefly in the second book, and Janzen said the couple were “Reviews terrify me as a virgin in the writing game. It is interesting to read especially happy to be part of the series after reading boom-BOOM!. “It’s clever, them because the books are as much of a mystery as a thriller. I want to know it’s humorous, even though it’s a serious subject… he does such an amazing at what point do they figure it out,” Duff said. “And most have commented job.” that it’s hard to believe that a man can write as a female. Must say something about my character.”

“I have only had one person sort of object and I changed the last name in Déjà Boom!” Duff said. “Actually most people love it, even when I kill them.”

“It’s pretty amazing that my dad has discovered a passion that is so completely

the real tina Duff is especially close to his protagonist Tina Thomas. She’s based on Tina Duff Taylor, his daughter, a former journalist who used to reside in the Hamlin Park area of the Windy City. (He’s also dad to filmmaker son James E. Duff.)


different from medicine. It’s like this whole other side of himself that he’s nurturing, and I think it’s very fulfilling for him,” Taylor said. “I think that is inspiring. We can have second, or third, or fourth acts.”

mquarterly •

SPrING 2018


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