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Kaye George, 2020 Derringer Finalist

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. The SMFS's 2020 Derringer Awards voting ends April 29 and winners will be announced in May. In the meantime, I've invited the finalists for interviews.

Kaye George
Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill", from Darkhouse Books anthology A Murder of Crows, is up for Best Short Story.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A beekeeper's new neighbor is as obsessed with her lawn as he is with his bees. Conflict ensues.

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

I loved researching how to collect bee venom. It's really not that hard. Maybe crawling inside the heads of my characters was hard, but no, I loved that, too. Writing short stories is just downright enjoyable.

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

I have a round about story--not sure how juicy it is. For several years, I've been trying to work in a honey poisoning. That's an involved process, since you have to use non-American bees. Our bees avoid oleander, since it makes them sick. But there are some in other parts of the world who have built up immunity and can collect nectar from those plants, which are highly poisonous to humans. I was trying to work that in, but when I saw that "grist" was a collective term for bees, a new idea was sparked. The honey poisoning will have to wait.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

Terrific! I feel bad that I was squeezed in due to a disqualification of another writer, through no fault of the writer, but my elation is only slightly dimmed. This is a first for me, being a finalist here. It feels great!


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