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2018 Derringer Finalist Travis Richardson

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.

Travis Richardson
Travis Richardson becomes a thrice-consecutive Derringer finalist with The Flash Fiction Offensive's "Final Testimony" up for the 2018 Best Flash Derringer (Up to 1,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A cop, corrupted by his obsession to catch a serial killer, faces a defense lawyer’s intense cross-examination in court.

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

I enjoyed taking a story that could have been 3,000–5,000 words or longer and compressing it to 999 words. However it was tough to cut some sections about Hatcher’s personal life and how the case was a national sensation causing people to protest (and support) him outside the courthouse.

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

The story had originally been rejected because I didn’t explain how a gun made it into the courthouse. Writer Sarah M. Chen has a personal connection to a police officer who told her that officers have to relinquish their firearms in Federal Court, but not in local. I added the metal detector/ankle holster scene to make everything work. (Also, the defense attorney Martin Dies shares the name of the first chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities. It was hard to resist a name like that.)

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

Awesome. It’s my third time to be a finalist, and I’ve been grateful every time. It reinforces a feeling that my writing is effective and I'm doing something right. (Especially since writing shorts can be a lonely career choice.)

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