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2018 Derringer Finalist Andrew McAleer

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.

Andrew McAleer
Andrew McAleer is a finalist with "King's Quarter" in the Best Novelette category, from Down & Out Books anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, for which he also had an editorial role.

How did you come to edit the two Coast to Coast anthologies? Tell us a bit about the editing process.

One of my favorite legal thriller writers William (“Bill”) G. Tapply, author of the Brady Coyne series, generously contributed a short story to a crime fiction magazine I edited devoted to short mystery stories called Crimestalker Casebook. When Bill passed away in July 2009, I thought his story was too good to be hidden away in Crimestalker, so I asked his widow Vicki Stiefel (also a great thriller writer) if I could use Bill’s story in a short story anthology I wanted to compile. Vicki gave me the go ahead and I recruited Los Angeles Shamus winner Paul D. Marks to help me compile and edit the volume. I had met Paul during my Crimestalker days and admired his work—especially since he always contributed flawless stories! While editing the first volume, Coast to Coast: Murder from Sea to Shining Sea, Paul and I would joke how we were sending the next round of revisions ”coast to coast” since I’m from Massachusetts and he’s from L.A. With the success of the first volume, thanks to great stories from giants like William Link, Bill Pronzini, and Bill Tapply, the publishers at Down & Out Publishing invited Paul and me to compile and edit Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea. The editing process was a breeze working with Paul. I think that’s because we both love short stories, have similar tastes in fiction, and both took the time to meticulously plan how we would approach the specific authors we hoped would contribute.  Honestly, the contributors to both volumes are all professionals and while we had to knock in few boards, the actual line editing went quite smoothly. In fact, I felt like I got to read a dozen great stories for free!

Describe "King's Quarter" in up to 20 words.

“King’s Quarter” is a fictitious Portland, Maine setting where PI Donnie Shepherd, an Afghanistan War Veteran, tackles the opioid epidemic.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing “King’s Quarter”?

Like many of my stories, I had to start and restart King’s Quarter.  Oddly enough it began as a comedy and then morphed into a story about death and dying.  It is the first piece of fiction I wrote since returning from my own deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.  I feel like I sort of bumped into Donnie and was glad I did since he really wrote the story, whispering in my ear about all the places he wanted to visit in King’s Quarter and how he wanted to go about thwarting the conflicts.  He did a great job describing the setting to me because several people have asked if King’s Quarter is a real place.  I haven’t told Donnie yet it’s not, because I’m afraid he might not visit me anymore. I think the most enjoyable part of writing King’s Quarter was visiting its unique places, people, and history. I also enjoyed the unexpected one-liners from Donnie’s Uncle Buddy, his street–wise, knock-around “partner.” Sadly, Buddy died about a year before we meet Donnie, but Buddy’s advice and love for the King’s Quarter community lives on in Donnie’s memory and Buddy’s acts of goodwill.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist not only with “King’s Quarter”, but also having produced an anthology that yielded three more finalists from its contributors?

I am excited, thrilled, and blown away for all the contributors and Derringer finalists.  The Short Mystery Fiction Society has been fighting hard since 1996 to help provide homes for short story writers and it’s so rewarding to see so many finalists in so many different and respected outlets. Remember 1996!  Good luck finding a short story outlet—slim pickings indeed. The mystery short story is alive, doing well, and available today thanks in no small part to the SMFS.  Paul and I are honored and appreciative to everyone at the SMFS. I joked to Paul (or was it Donnie) that my story appears last in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, so the other stories must have been great or the judges might have called it quits before reaching mine.

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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 4, the Society announced the finalists for its 2019 Derringer Awards. A vote of the membership will determine the winners, to be announced in May.

In the meantime, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

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2019 Derringer Finalist Alan Orloff

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 4, the Society announced the finalists for its 2019 Derringer Awards. A vote of the membership will determine the winners, to be announced in May.

In the meantime, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

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