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Duane Laflin: From the stage to the page

What do you do when you want to cut back on traveling for work, but you still want to entertain and connect with people? For Duane Laflin of Branson, the answer was to pick up a pen—or open his computer—and start to write.


For 35-plus years, Laflin enjoyed a career as a professional illusionist, performing in 18 countries on five continents, and in 47 U.S. states. He traveled extensively, and also did theater shows in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, from 2008 to 2010, and then seven years performing in South Dakota, near Mt. Rushmore. Another opportunity in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was derailed by COVID-19 restrictions, leading the Laflins northward again, to Michigan, where Duane set up a small show venue for a while.


While in South Dakota, a search for a slightly warmer place to spend winter months led the Laflins to Branson, so when Duane decided it was time to plan toward retirement from his magician career, Branson was the obvious place. He worked from a small venue in Hollister while continuing to travel for contracted illusionist shows, but he knew he wanted to keep busy even as those wound down. That’s when he decided to try writing.


Laflin’s first novel, titled “Run Right At It,” features Branson-based lead character Eli Brown, an “everyman” who decides to tackle impossible odds rather than run from them. A second book in the Eli Brown series is now ready for release, with a third in the planning process.


While Laflin says he is not a trained writer, he has found the craft comes somewhat readily, as he translates his show business experience to concepts of creating interest and pacing story development. His goal is to write exciting, entertaining stories that hold the reader’s attention without compromising his Christian faith and values; readers who share those values will appreciate that Laflin conveys real struggles with tough situations, while not including profanity or explicit material. “I present morally upright main characters who are realistic but are trying to do the right thing,” he said.


Laflin’s forthcoming Eli Brown novel will be his eighth book so far, including books from three additional series, several with a Branson connection:

·       Carson Gold: An action-packed series about a Homeland Security employee. The main character’s wife brings perspective on law enforcement from her upbringing in Branson.

·       Chance Powers: A Branson-based professional illusionist who uses his stage knowledge and creativity to get the upper hand against the criminals.

·       Biblical character series: Starting with “The Man Who Killed Goliath,” this series will help readers relate to more of the thoughts and struggles of biblical heroes.


Although Duane Laflin keeps busy writing, he also finds time to connect with local audiences by being part of the entertainment rotation at Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Café, located on Hwy. 165 just off 76 Country Blvd. in Branson. He sings a variety of musical styles, and his current schedule is from noon to 2 p.m. Mondays, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays, and 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays.


Connect with Duane at, where you can read more about each of the four-book series, or find his books on Amazon or at 417 Books in downtown Branson.

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