Skip to main content

2017 Derringer Finalist Libby Cudmore

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 Short Story (1,001–4,000 words) with "YOLO", which appeared in May 2016 on BEAT to a PULP, Libby Cudmore is a reporter for The Freeman's Journal and Hometown Oneonta newspapers. Her debut novel, The Big Rewind, was published by William Morrow in February 2016. I've known her since my days as fiction editor at Thrilling Detective.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A woman proves her love for her friend by helping him enact vengeance after his brother is killed.

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

My friend Jason and I have this little game we play over text messages; one of us will say something innocuous, like "Today was miserable, my darling," and 15 messages later, we're describing the ache of our arms as we're digging a grave for this imaginary person who pissed us off at this imaginary bar where we're having imaginary drinks. It's always a fun little reveal because we never know where the story is going to go, we just trust that the other person will uphold their end and keep it moving -- that's a bit what writing "YOLO" was like.

For months, all I had was the opening line, "The room was spinning the night Lennox asked me to marry him" in a Word document. I didn't know anything about this story or these characters, I went in without even the faintest hint of a plan. But little by little by little, things revealed themselves to me, like what happened to Xander. I remember writing that line and thinking "What have I gotten these two into?"

It wasn't easy. "YOLO" took about six months to write, which is about five months longer than I usually spend on a short story. But when it finally clicked into place what had to happen, I knew I had written something incredible, something unlike anything else I had ever written. It was such a rush.

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

"YOLO" took a LOT of rejection. I had more or less given up on it getting published and had moved onto other things when David Cranmer, editor of BEAT to a PULP, asked if I would submit something. I sent it along, fully expecting him to politely pass—but he didn't! This story means a lot to me, it's one I'm especially proud of, and I'm glad it found a good home.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

It feels awesome! I'm really honored to be considered among such fantastic stories. My story "Spare Change" was nominated several years back, and it was a thrill then—now it feels a bit like coming home to find an amazing party waiting in the dark.

Comments

Art Taylor said…
Congratulations on the story--and enjoyed the interview too!
jrlindermuth said…
Always interesting to read how someone develops a story. Congratulations.
Catherine Dilts said…
Nice to learn how much time and effort went into your Derringer nominated story. Congratulations!
Earl Staggs said…

I'm always amazed when a story is rejected over and over again, as you said YOLO had been, and then is finally published and goes on to be nominated for a prestigious award as YOLO has been. That's a good reminder to all of us to not give up after a rejection but to suck it up and submit it again. And again...and again...and again...

Good luck in the Derringer voting, Libby.

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…

2018 Derringer Finalist Patricia Dusenbury

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.

Patricia Dusenbury is up for the Best Flash Derringer (Up to 1,000 words) for her Flash Bang Mysteries story "Cold Turkey".

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A man in love gives up smoking and discovers his best friend cannot be trusted.

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

Difficult: telling a story in 750 words. Enjoyable: telling a story in 750 words. Flash fiction is fun and challenging, especially for someone who started writin…