Skip to main content

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 Cumberland Package" is their own cocktail of self-aggrandizement and moral compromise. Much comic grist for the mill. Which all sounds like literary la-tee-da until the murders start.

Difficulties. Top of the list: sticking with the story each time it came unstuck. Also, how strictly to hold with legal procedures or run with creative license. And going round and round on Vernon's moment-of-crisis fugue. It's a safe bet that no writer buddy, had I asked, would've advised I make absolutely sure the protagonist had an extended out-of-body sequence. And yet the story dragged Vernon there, and every time I cut it, the story wanted to fall apart. Eventually, go-big-or-go-home won out.

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

Here’s the juiciest my non-juicy life permits: "The Cumberland Package" comes from the ashes of a 2011 NaNoWriMo crash-and-burn. In it, the antagonist needed a morally-challenged lawyer to help hatch a scheme. Enter minor character Vernon Stagg. For some reason, that mystery of fiction I guess, whoever read a Vernon chapter forgave him anything he said or did. They rooted for him. Okay then. I would set him loose on a short story.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

I’ll tell you when I can stop pinching myself. So many crime stories out there wow me with the creative talent on display. To have a story of mine thought near that level is beyond an honor.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Hawke

Sunday, August 26, 2007 Participants Tim Cockey (writing as Richard Hawke) Gerald So Brian Thornton

Robert B. Parker Continuation News

USA Today and international bestselling author Alison Gaylin yesterday tweeted this Publishers Weekly book deal news : In a world rights deal endorsed by the Robert B. Parker estate, Ivan Held and Danielle Dietrich at G.P. Putnam’s Sons bought two books by Mike Lupica and one by Alison Gaylin for three of Parker’s series. Parker died in 2010, and the books Lupica is penning will be new installments in the Spenser series and the Jesse Stone series. Lupica is a sportswriter and was friends with Parker; he’ll be taking over the Spenser series from Ace Atkins, whose final Parker title will publish in January 2022. Gaylin ( The Collective ) will write a new installment in Parker’s Sunny Randall series; in doing so, she will become the first woman to take over a Parker series. Lupica was represented in the deal by Esther Newberg at ICM Partners, and Gaylin was represented by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (which is part of ICM Partners). Successful in several categories of cri

The Future of Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randall

When Mike Lupica picks up Spenser from Ace Atkins in 2023, Alison Gaylin will pick up Sunny Randall from Lupica. I emailed Alison for a short interview about joining the Parker continuation effort: Gerald So: To introduce yourself to Parker fans and new readers, tell me a bit of your history reading Parker. Did his work influence your writing before you were asked to continue Sunny Randall? Alison Gaylin: I think I'd be hard-pressed to think of a mystery writer who doesn't owe a debt to Parker, and I'm definitely one of them. Though my more recent books tend to be a bit darker, the structure and vibrance of his Spenser books have long been an influence. He could have taught a master class in character creation and dialogue. And though many years have passed since his books were first introduced, they remain relevant. I was a Spenser fan, but only recently discovered the Sunny Randall books. She is a wonderful character. I love her, as well as all of her friends—espec