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2018 Derringer Finalist Cathi Stoler

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.

Cathi Stoler
Up for the 2018 Best Short Story Derringer (1,001–4,000 words) with “Every Picture Tells A Story” (Sisters In Crime New York/Tri-State Anthology, Where Crime Never Sleeps, Murder New York Style 4), Cathi Stoler won in the category in 2015 and was first nominated in 2012. Cathi is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in New York City with her husband, Paul.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Young woman becomes the muse of older photographer, falls in love, leaves him for younger man. Photographer takes his revenge.

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

The fun part was describing the attitudes, clothes and culture of the 1960s.

For those who remember that time, I hope it takes you back. The '60s were a time of change, things were happening in politics, fashion and in art, and photography was coming into its own at exhibitions at new galleries and museum such as MoMA.

The difficult part with "Every Picture Tells A Story" was making the protagonist, Chloe, come across as a sympathetic character rather than a callous one. She knows what eventually happened was the result of her actions and she has spent most of her life dealing with the consequences.

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

I wrote the story as a blind submission for the Sisters in Crime Anthology: Where Crime Never Sleeps, Murder New York Style 4. The guidelines stated that the story take place at a well-known location in New York City. I had recently viewed a Helmut Newton exhibition and thought, hmmm, photography could be the perfect hook.

Those black and white photos from the '60s are gorgeous. And, since I love fashion and always have, I decided to add that to the mix, and tell the story from the point of view of a naïve young model who's ill-equipped to deal with fame and what it brings her.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

I'm really over the moon! There are so many good stories out there and to think that mine was chosen as a finalist, is amazing. It was a great surprise, as well, to read down the (alphabetically ordered) list of Best Short Story finalists and come to my name at the end. Being recognized for your work is always an honor.

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