Skip to main content

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.

Hilary photographed
by Travis Richardson
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 they take down a man who's harmed a lot of women.

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

It's always exciting to hear a new voice in my head, a character demanding that I tell their story. I love that part — it's like getting to know a friend. Alice, the narrator, has plenty of secrets, in spite of her easy manner. The tough part was getting her to reveal them. I literally lost sleep because I was trying to figure out the plot. (That's true of most of my stories.)

Do you have a (juicy) story about how the story came to be published?

"Swan Song" had a long road to publication. Eric Beetner asked me to write a story for Unloaded, and I did...in 2014. The collection had trouble finding a publisher, though, because the subject matter made some people skittish. We were thrilled when Down & Out Books took on the project; it finally came out in 2016.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

Amazing! Short stories are my first love, and it's a huge honor to be recognized by people who share that love.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Night of the Flood: A Novel in Stories

The Night of the Flood: A Novel in Stories goes on sale March 5. I invited the editors, E.A. Aymar and Sarah M. Chen, to tell us more about it:

It happened the night Maggie Wilbourne was to be put to death, the first woman executed by the state of Pennsylvania in modern times. That was when a group of women passionately protesting Maggie’s imprisonment struck. They blew up a local dam, flooding the town of Everton and indirectly inspiring a hellish night of crime and chaos.

Fourteen of today’s most exciting contemporary crime writers will take you to the fictional town of Everton, with stories from criminals, cops, and civilians that explore the thin line between the rich and the poor, the insider and the outsider, the innocent and the guilty. Whether it’s a store owner grimly protecting his property from looters, an opportunistic servant who sees her time to strike, or two misguided youths taking their anger out against any available victim, The Night of the Flood is an intricate and…

2018 Derringer Finalist William Burton McCormick

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 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

Published widely and worldwide, Bill McCormick is up for the Best Long Story Derringer (4,001—8,000 words) with the chilling "Matricide and Ice Cream" from The CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour (November 2017).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

An American man bumps off his mother on a Ukrainian train. It seems the perfect crime until another passenger starts snooping-around.

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

The story…

Robert B. Parker's Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins

Twenty-five years after the brazen theft of three of its paintings, Boston's Winthrop Museum receives fresh leads in the unsolved case. Succumbing to cancer, art crimes investigator Locke trusts Spenser to pick up the trail.

Spenser rose to fame as a man in the mold of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in the time and place Robert B. Parker lived, fighting its crime. The series grew to thirty-nine books in Parker's lifetime, but Spenser stopped aging in his forties, the later books no longer reflecting the changing times but drawn mostly from Parker's imagination.

Rather than keep things timeless in his continuations, Ace Atkins takes Parker's original approach, setting Spenser in the present day, somewhat older, still ably plying his trade. This has allowed Atkins to put his own stamp on the series, basing the new cases on compelling true crimes like the unsolved 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft.

Atkins' earlier continuations proved how well he know…