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2018 Derringer Finalist Rusty Barnes

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. A vote of eligible members will determine the winners, to be announced in May.

Rusty Barnes
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.

First-time finalist Rusty Barnes lives in Massachusetts and edits Tough, a blogazine of crime fiction and occasional reviews. He maintains webspace at Fried Chicken and Coffee and his latest novel is Knuckledragger. His May 2017 BULL story "El Asesino" is contending for Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Kraj assassinates a sleeping man, and there are consequences. Bad consequences.

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

The most enjoyable part is always getting the story down. Then comes the difficulty of getting it right. I'm really good at the former, and getting better at the latter. This particular story came in one of those white-hot moments writers dream about, when the stories just keep coming and you just have to get them down. Of course, then there's the getting right—the eternal process.

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

i wrote this in Fall of 2015, and it took a while before it got published, as I was trying all the wrong markets. This was the second or third story I submitted to Bull, and the first one accepted. The lesson? Keep the stories in the mail.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

I haven't gotten this close to an award since my daughter nominated me for best Dad and I lost. Seriously, though, it's a great honor to be among this year's finalists, and I appreciate the opportunity to go before the voters now. Thanks to Ben Drevlow at BULL for publishing it and Rod Siino for making me aware of the journal initially.

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

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