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Sylvia Maultash Warsh, 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.

Sylvia Maultash Warsh
Sylvia Maultash Warsh's "None Shall Sleep", from the music-themed anthology In the Key of 13, is up for Best Long Story.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

An opera singer who is abused while imprisoned in a Soviet labour camp gets her revenge many years later.

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

My favorite part of writing this story was playing around with the two parts of it --1950 and 1979-- creating connections between them, often going back and forth to drop in a new detail here and there. I also enjoyed the research I did to learn about the labor camps in the Soviet Union. I read several memoirs of women prisoners that opened up a whole new world for me.

The most difficult part was deciding to remove a key character. Originally the protagonist had a daughter in the labour camp, but it complicated things needlessly so I took her out, rewriting the first 5 pages.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

I'm thrilled to be nominated. It's an honor to have my story chosen from so many exceptional ones submitted. A glimmer of light in the current murk.


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