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2017 Derringer Finalist Terrie Farley Moran

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.

Terrie Farley Moran won Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words) with the Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine story, "Inquiry and Assistance". Terrie also writes a Florida cozy novel series whose protagonists own the Read 'Em and Eat bookstore cafe, "where murder and sweet tea are always on the menu." The first in the series, Well Read, Then Dead, won Malice Domestic's 2014 Best First Novel Agatha Award.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Tommy Flood, down on his luck but high on self-confidence, invents a career, deflects a beating, and solves a crime.

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

The most difficult part of writing “Inquiry and Assistance” was meeting the high (for me) word count that the original requesting editor required. I had never written a story longer than five to six thousand words, so at the time, those extra three thousand plus words seemed daunting. Fortunately, the most enjoyable part of writing the story was hanging out with Tommy and his cousin Luke. I had so much fun that the words did flow and the story ended at just over nine thousand words.

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

Why, yes, yes I do. Over time I had written several well-received stories set in the 1930s. More than a few years ago an editor invited me to write a Depression era story for an historical anthology. I submitted the story. It was accepted for the publication and then the project languished. And languished. And languished. Years passed. Finally, the editor moved on to another job but not before telling the authors that the anthology was never going to see the light of day. So I took “Inquiry and Assistance” back and am thrilled that it found a home in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

It is indescribably delightful. I should tell you I was a Derringer judge for the first time in, I think, 2007 and in various years thereafter. Each time I was awed by the quality of work Short Mystery Fiction Society members produced. With that experience behind me, I never seriously imagined that I would one day write a story that would receive a Derringer nomination. I am overjoyed.


Hi Gerald,

Thank you for this opportunity to chat.


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