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2017 Derringer Finalist Interviews

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

All nineteen finalists graciously responded, and I've filed their interviews by their award category below, alphabetized by last name. SMFS members are voting for the winners this month. Congratulations and good luck to all.

Update: I've highlighted the winner in each category as announced May 1, 2017. Congratulations also to previous chat guest Robert J. Randisi, 2017 recipient of the SMFS's lifetime achievement award, the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer.

For Best Flash (up to 1,000 words)
Craig Faustus Buck, "Aftermath" (Flash Bang Mysteries, Spring 2016)HERSCHEL COZINE, "The Phone Call" (Flash Bang Mysteries, Summer 2016…
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2017 Derringer Finalist Robert Mangeot

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

Up for Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words) with "The Cumberland Package" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2016), Bob Mangeot is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Backspace, and Nashville Writers Meet-Up, among others. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, neurotic Pomeranian, and an undisclosed number of cats.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

What happens when you chase that unreachable dream. Plus bison cheese.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

Fun stuff first. I enjoyed most letting the cast rip. Everyone in "The Cumberla…

2017 Derringer Finalist Victoria Weisfeld

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

Freelance journalist Victoria Weisfeld won Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words) with "Breadcrumbs", published in the third issue Betty Fedora: Kickass Women in Crime Fiction (September 2016).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

The loss of personal privacy from excessive social media sharing can have unexpected, deadly consequences.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

What I especially enjoyed about writing "Breadcrumbs" was establishing the voice of the first-person narrator. She's a state trooper working in lightly populated southwestern part of Michigan. Most difficult was thinking through how, i…

2017 Derringer Finalist Hilary Davidson

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

2015 Best Long Story (8,001–20,000 words) Derringer winner Hilary Davidson is a finalist in the same category this year with "Swan Song" from Down & Out Books' April 2016 anti-gun violence anthology Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns, edited by the SMFS's Eric Beetner. Hilary's debut novel, The Damage Done, won Bouchercon 2011's Best First Novel Anthony Award. Along with the Derringer, her short stories have won a Spinetingler Award, and two Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Reader's Choice Awards.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

"Swan Song" is about two friends who've chosen different paths; together t…

2017 Derringer Finalist Doug Allyn

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

Doug Allyn's record in the Derringer Awards' 19-year history speaks for itself: Six wins in ten trips to the finals. His eleventh is with "Coup de Grace", from the Septmeber/October 2016 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, contending for Best Novelette (8,000–20,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A war-weary veteran returns to his hometown to renew old acquaintances, and murder his best friend.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

I'm a vet myself, but seldom write about it. It was a dark time of my life and revisiting it is not fun for me. On the other hand...See [my next answer].

Do you hav…

2017 Derringer Finalist Bruce Arthurs

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

With 2017 Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words) finalist "Beks and the Second Note", fantasy and science fiction writer Bruce Arthurs crossed into the pages of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (December 2016).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A man killed stopping a bank robbery had a second holdup note in his own pocket. Detective Beks investigates why.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

I usually try to think stories out in my head, to have a clear idea and plot before putting words onto paper. I call this "writing the second draft first". When it works, it saves a lot of time and wasted e…

2017 Derringer Finalist Meg Opperman

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

2016 Best Short Story Derringer winner Meg Opperman is a 2017 finalist for Best Long Story (4,001–8,000) with the November 2016 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine story "Murder Under the Baobab". Meg is a cultural anthropologist and Africanist by training. A former Fulbright scholar, she has lived in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, but currently resides stateside. Her work as an anthropologist and researcher often informs elements of her short stories.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A bank robber seemingly turns himself into a goat while simultaneously making the bank’s 100 million shillings disappear.

What were the most difficult and most enjoy…