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Michael Bracken, 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.

Michael Bracken
2016 recipient of the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement Michael Bracken's "Love, Or Something Like It", from Wildside Press's time travel-themed anthology Crime Travel, is up for Best Short Story.

Michael also edited Down & Out Books anthology The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, which yielded two 2020 Derringer finalists.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

"Love, Or Something Like It" is about how love and obsession work hand-in-hand.

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

I sat with Barb Goffman and another writer (unfortunately, I don’t remember her name) in the lobby of the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Fla., during Bouchercon 2018, and we discussed my original story idea. What I had at that point was like a jigsaw puzzle with the final piece missing. The three of us came up with several ideas, but when I finally sat down to write, none of those ideas fit. Even so, I was glad to have had the discussion because it helped me narrow my options until I was left with just the right piece.

The most fun was creating the name of the academic paper delivered by the protagonist in the first paragraph. It’s so over the top I can actually imagine a real academic paper by that name.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

This is my fourth time to be a Derringer Award finalist (with two wins), but the thrill of having my work recognized by my peers never gets old.

Feel free to add a few words about The Eyes of Texas' 2020 Derringer finalists "See Humble and Die" by Richard Helms and "Lucy's Tree" by Sandra Murphy.

The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods contains seventeen amazing stories, every one of which deserved to be nominated. I think Richard Helms’s story and Sandra Murphy’s story are both amazing, and I’m glad my story isn’t in the same category as theirs.

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