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2018 Derringer Finalist Elizabeth Zelvin

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.

Elizabeth Zelvin
Elizabeth Zelvin is contending for Best Flash Derringer (Up to 1,000 words) with the Twist of Noir story "Flash Point".

She also edited the New York Sisters in Crime anthology Where Crime Never Sleeps, which yielded a contender for the Best Short Story Derringer (1,001—4,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A seemingly perfect marriage cracks under the weight of codependency and an unrealistic diet. Which spouse will break first?

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

I had a lot of fun taking the deteriorating relationship between the husband and wife as well as her dieting and his furtive eating over the top. The hardest part was deciding which of them ought to be the murderer and which the victim. I suspect my solution to that dilemma is what took the story into the finalist category.

Describe your approach to editing Where Crime Never Sleeps.

I wrote a whole blog post for SleuthSayers back in September 2017 titled Editing An Anthology Electronically: Stronger Stories, Deeper Relationships. To sum up, I used MS Word Track Changes, including marginal comments and questions and supplementary emails, through several rounds of editing to maintain a continuous dialogue with the author of each story. I'm a psychotherapist who's been working online for 17 years, so I know how expressive and intimate relationships in text can be. I've been killing my own fictional darlings for more than a decade and editing prose my whole life, more or less, including a long period as an editorial professional in the 1960s to the 1980s. Crime fiction is a lot more fun than accounting textbooks. With Where Crime Never Sleeps, I found the whole editorial process exciting and absorbing.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

I love being a Derringer finalist, and in such good company too. If the vote doesn't go my way, I won't mind losing to Pat Dusenbury, Alan Orloff, Travis Richardson, or Earl Staggs, all of whose stories are terrific. It's my third Derringer nomination, which is something I really wanted, so I feel like a winner already.


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