Monday, March 30, 2020

An Interview with the 2020 Agatha Short Story Nominated Authors!

by Paula Gail Benson

Even though we mourn the cancellation of this year’s Malice Domestic, that’s no reason not to celebrate with the Agatha nominated authors! This year’s nominated short stories offer intriguing characters facing unique situations and are written by masters of the craft. While we all have a little extra reading time, why not check out each of these delightful tales (listed in alphabetical order) at the following links:

"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)

Welcome Barb, Art, Kaye, Cynthia, and Shawn to Writers Who Kill!

How important is a plot twist in a short story?

Barb Goffman
Barb Goffman:
A plot twist can be a great way to make a short story work. You want your story to linger in the reader’s mind, and a plot twist can certainly help make that happen. That said, a plot twist isn’t essential. A great short story can have another type of ending, as I address in the next question.

Art Taylor:
Honestly, I think it can be a mistake to focus too much attention on crafting a last-minute plot twist—writers aiming for something O’Henryesque maybe but instead delivering a punchline. And to stick with that metaphor, once the punchline is delivered, the joke is over. I’ve suggested before the idea of a character twist instead: some revelation at the end of a story that helps readers to see not just a character in a new way—some submerged desire or fear, some twist of motivation—but also the entire story with a renewed perspective, letting a story linger a little longer in the mind.

Kaye George
Kaye George:
Very, very, very important. I don’t ever like to write a short story without one. Or a novel, either, for that matter. If I can do a double or triple twist, that makes me a very happy writer. To me, this is how you keep the reader interested. I never want them to be bored.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Stories without twists can be fulfilling if we admire the voice, structure, style, theme, etc. But I do adore a good twist—love being surprised. If I can guess everything that is going to happen, it often leaves me wanting more, somehow.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
I love a good plot twist and it’s a goal of mine to always try to come up with ways to surprise the reader—I’ve always been a fan of stories where I think things are going a certain way and then they end up heading in an all new direction—that’s the most fun, I think.

What makes a satisfying conclusion to a short story?

Barb Goffman:
All of these can make a satisfying ending to a short story: A plot twist that makes the reader’s mouth drop open; a revelation that allows the reader to see the story from a different light; character growth; justice; and, simply, a conclusion that makes the reader feel something.

Art Taylor
Art Taylor:
It’s a cliche, but I think that the best endings are ones that seem both surprising and inevitable at the same time. Some of my favorite stories are ones where, when you reread them, you see the groundwork for the endings laid right there in the first lines of the story. Poe championed the idea of the single-effect story, where every aspect—every word—of a story offers service to a single effect on the reader. A satisfying ending—whether happy or sad, inspiring or tragic—is one where it’s connected to everything else in the story, all the elements working in some kind of harmony.

Kaye George:
What I strive for is a last minute twist that makes them jerk up their head and open their mouth. (Yes, I’ve embraced the singular “they” pronoun—see how useful it is? I can’t assume my reader is a male or a female, an alien, or anything else.)

Cynthia Kuhn
Cynthia Kuhn:
There’s a sense of completion—not necessarily in the protagonist’s situation but in the rightness of that final moment, image, or phrase.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
I’m satisfied if I’ve answered at least one question the character is asking. It might not be the answer they were looking for when they got things underway, but it’s an answer that makes sense.

If a movie were made of your nominated short story, do you have an actor/actress in mind to play one of the characters?

Barb Goffman:
When I think of Maxwell, the dog in my story, I picture my late dog Scout, who was a lab/shepherd mix. But I can’t think of any famous lab/shepherd dogs. That said, if Buddy the dog from the movie Air Bud were still alive, I think he could do justice to Maxwell’s part, which requires being both athletic and cute as a button.

Art Taylor:
Oh, I’m so bad at this kind of question! But in an attempt to play along: Paul Rudd as my journalist narrator (or some slightly younger Paul Rudd? I don’t know who that would be) and Emma Stone as the bar owner who’s his love interest.

Kaye George:
My movie knowledge is rather dated, so you’ll have to reach back for these. Oscar Madison/Walter Matthau of the Odd Couple should be my MC, Kevin Grady. His neighbor could be Ellen Burstyn if she could stoop to being a cranky old woman. Okay, any two cranky old actors, one male, one female.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Allison Janney could transform into either one of the main characters. Not that she resembles them but because she’s incredibly talented!

Shawn Reilly Simmons
Shawn Reilly Simmons:
If it could be anyone (alive or dead), I’d want it to be John C. Reilly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the two friends from culinary school who are meeting over a special dinner to discuss the various events that have happened to them over the years. When I was living in New York many years ago, they starred together on Broadway in True West and they would switch roles from time to time throughout the production. “The Last Word” has a similar dynamic to it, where there are two characters who know each other very well, mostly talking—I think those two actors would really be great in the roles, if they could be together again.

What is the most intriguing crime you have heard of, written about, or thought of writing about?

Barb Goffman:
My story “Christmas Surprise” from my collection Don’t Get Mad, Get Even involves someone trying to break into a house by climbing down a chimney, which was partly inspired by news stories of similar attempted crimes with similar outcomes. Hint: Don’t try this yourself!

Art Taylor:
I have two here that I’ve thought before about writing. The first is the 1994 murder of Beth-Ellen Vinson  an aspiring dancer who became an escort/private dancer to help pay her way from North Carolina to New York, dreams of Broadway on her mind; her murder remains unsolved. The second is darker: the 2014 murder of a British woman by two young teens, who took Snapchat selfies and posted pictures on social media while they tortured her for several hours; coincidentally, there’s a recent film based on that murder that looks at some of the issues which drew me to this case—the social media angles specifically.

Kaye George:
I watch a lot of Dateline (love Keith Morrison’s voice!) and 48 Hours, so probably every other one. A few of my short stories were written in response to particular events. “Twelve Drummers Drumming” is supposed to be an exposure of and protest against big game hunting. “The Bathroom” was inspired by Kait Carson’s experience of getting shocked by the faucet and thrown across the bathroom, just before I took a nasty fall in the tub (using new, very slippery gel junk) and tore my rotator cuff. A lot of my stories are written for the theme for an anthology, but most of them have an origin in my own experiences…somewhere.

Cynthia Kuhn:
The 1843 double murder upon which Margaret Atwood’s amazing book Alias Grace is based. It was sensationalized in the news of the day and involved multiple love triangles, a case of amnesia (perhaps), and even a potentially supernatural explanation. I wrote about her fictionalization of the real events in my dissertation—it is an unforgettable story.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
This is a tough one because I’ve been fascinated by crime, both true and fictional, for as long as I can remember. I listen to True Crime podcasts and have seen every episode of Forensic Files…and my bookshelves are 98% crime fiction… I’d have to say the case that I’ve read the most about, and still wonder about on a frequent basis is Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia. I continue to hold out hope that someday her killer will be revealed.

Thank you all for taking the time to be with us, answering questions, and all the wonderful stories you have written! And, thank you for letting us celebrate with you digitally until we can be together in person!


Barb Goffman:
Barb Goffman edits mysteries by day and writes them by night. She’s won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and she’s been a finalist for national crime-writing awards twenty-eight times, including thirteen times for the Agatha (a category record). Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery MagazineBlack Cat Mystery Magazine, and the 2019 anthology Crime Travel, which Barb also edited. To support her writing habit, Barb runs a freelance editing service, specializing in crime fiction. She lives with her dog in Virginia.

Art Taylor:
Art Taylor is the author of the story collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First NovelHe won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for "English 398: Fiction Workshop," originally published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and his other awards have included the Agatha, the Anthony, the Derringer, and the Macavity.  He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University. 

Kaye George:
Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (latest is Revenge Is Sweet from Lyrical Press). Her short stories have appeared online, in anthologies, magazines, her own collection, her own anthology, DAY OF THE DARK, and in A MURDER OF CROWS. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter, Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, Austin Mystery Writers, and lives in Knoxville, TN.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries: The Semester of Our Discontent, The Art of Vanishing, The Spirit in Question, The Subject of Malice, and The Study of Secrets. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award (best first novel), William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations (best humorous mystery). Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. For more information, please visit

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of The Red Carpet Catering Mysteries featuring Penelope Sutherland, an on-set movie caterer, and of several short stories appearing in a variety of anthologies including the Malice Domestic, Best New England Crime Stories, Bouchercon, and Crime Writers' Association series.

Shawn was born in Indiana, grew up in Florida, and began her professional career in New York City as a sales executive after graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in English. Since then she has worked as a book store manager, fiction editor, mystery convention organizer, wine rep, and caterer. She serves on the Board of Malice Domestic and is co-editor at Level Best Books.

Shawn is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the U.K. 


GoMovies said...

 This is a great article and your blog is also very interesting. Thank you.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Thank you, GoMovies. Please join us any time.

Cynthia Kuhn said...

Thank you or hosting us today! So much appreciation to you, Paula and Writers Who Kill!

Loved seeing everyone's responses--especially the plot twist question. :)

Cynthia Kuhn said...

Correction to previous post (sigh): Thank you FOR hosting us! :)

KM Rockwood said...

Such a great set of stories by such talented authors. Hard to chose a "winner," when they are all "winners."

Grace Topping said...

They all sound like terrific short stories. Thank you, Paula, and all the authors for the interesting interviews.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Cynthia, we are so happy you all could be with us. Kathleen, Grace, and Warren, aren't these stories terrific?

Barb Goffman said...

Thanks again, Paula. In this time of anxiety and reduced concentration, short stories are the perfect reading length. I'm glad all five nominated stories are available free online.

Kaye George said...

It's great to be here! Thanks, Paula, for this interview. Until we connect somewhere, someday, hugs to all my fellow nominees, Paula, and everyone who appreciates short stories. (Okay, typing "fellow nominees" was really fun! But seeing you would be better.)

Paula Gail Benson said...

Barb and Kaye, it's so great to have you here, but I am really looking forward to seeing you on a live panel in the future. Many congratulations!

mj said...

It was admittedly a stale job and the monotony can really get to you because you’re doing the same thing over and over again, just with a few different faces to spice up the mix. field engineer schlumberger

Sophia Smith said...

Hi everybody, here every one is sharing such knowledgeable and best content for me, so it’s fastidious to see this website blogs and, I used to visit this website daily such a good releases. Thanks So Much For Sharing Such a Very Valuable Content with Us And Amazing Information With Us. university assignment help australia - best assignment help australia - Assignment Help Melbourne

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this case study based informative content

The Growth of the internet and mobile technology has encouraged online advertising.
This Sort of marketing is economical as well as efficient to get a list of SME companies. Data plays an essential part in the industry of digital marketing.

Abbie Wright said...

I have to thank you so much for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website many articles. I am hoping to see the same high-grade subjects blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, I am also write this topic post after reading your this release. Thank you and Have a nice day. argumentative essay help - finance assignment help - book report help

Assignment Achievers said...

You rightly mentioned it! Thank you for sharing Outstanding writing work and way better.
All the best, connect with online assignment help writing service
and shed your burden on assignment helper with qualitative assignment help services.
Australian Assignment Help
Essay Writer
Dissertation writing service
Assignment Help Canada
Coursework Help
Taxation Law Assignment
Matlab Assignment Help
Research Paper Help
Law Assignment Help
SPSS assignment help
Homework helper

assignment help said...

myassignmenthelp Now is a valuable source of getting experts’ help for academic papers. Connecting with the well-qualified professionals helps you to score top grades. Students who have no ideas about how to start their papers, they can search for our superior assignment help service to compose their documents.

s said...

dust mask and are made to keep you safeguard from viruses, bacteria, dust, and other harmful particles. There are several types of face masks available in the market serving different purposes. Our n95 mask online is one of the most protective and laced with innovative technology available in the market at the lowest price. The replaceable n95 filter, pollution mask, silent fan, environment friendly, and cost-effective n95 mask online ensures soothing airflow without compromising safety.

s said...

What is Step Down Transformer ? Well, we can say it is a device that converts high primary voltage to low secondary voltage. In this transformer, the primary winding of a coil has numerous turns than the secondary winding. The prime purpose of the transformer is that it reduces the voltage and is used in all household’s electronic appliance. Our life today is heavily dependent on electricity, and thus, we must know about every electrical appliance or devices before we purchase.

s said...

Sabyasachi - Buy Sabyasachi lehenga, sabyasachi lehenga , Sharara Set more online at panache haute couture. Shop from the latest Sabyasachi collection online now and give a dreamy start to your second inning of life. You will receive on-time delivery at your doorstep.Sabyasachi Mukherjee is an Indian fashion designer from Kolkata. Since 1999, he has sold designer merchandise using the label Sabyasachi. Mukherjee is one of the Associate Designer Members of Fashion Design Council of India and the youngest board member of the National Museum of Indian Cinema. It is a dream of every girl to walk down the aisle in your vague bridal lehenga. Shop online the best of Sabyasachi Lehenga, Sabyasachi Sarees, Sabyasachi Anarkali & Sharara Set with Panache Haute Couture. Shop now with us online and avail the best of Sabyasachi Lehenga and give a dreamy start to your second inning of life.

s said...

cutting corrugated plastic not only have these wonderful qualities but also are super easy to cut. With the right kind of tools, You can quickly cut these sheets using the following Corrugated Plastic sheets comprise of three layers- two flat plastic sheets with a wave-like ribbed center layer. The two flat plastic sheets are generally referred to as twinwall plastic. The Corrugated Plastic sheets may also be like sheets of plastic that have a wave-like structure that might have chopped glass fiber reinforced in it

jeewangarg said...

JeewanGarg is a provider of the best SEO Services in Delhi and SEO Services in India. This digital marketing agency is based in Faridabad and now holds a decade of experience in SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC, Web Development, Conversion, Optimization, etc. Jeewangarg serves a variety of clients in a range of industries. With splendid technical knowledge and industry expertise, JeewanGarg, the leading provider of SEO Company in India, has run extraordinary
successful campaigns for clients. If you want to be the king of SERPs, let JeewanGarg take charge of your SEO campaign to overcome a blend of solutions.

Lola Nickson said...

For a very long time, I have not read anything more interesting than your blog. For me as for the professional writer and authors of a number of different stories, articles and books was quite crucial to read the information which you get from interviewed different writers and their thoughts concerning their writings and how they write. Moreover, the detective genre is my favorite one and most of the book reports for college students which I prepared for my clients and which you can find at my writing service most on the thriller or detective genres, but of course you can find many others.

Rose Black said...

Marketing assignment includes many topics and extensive research, which makes the hectic burden on the student’s head. If you are a student and want help with marketing assignments., it is better to help an expert. Students primarily seek the best marketing assignment expert to help the students get good grades without any tension. An essential part of seeking help for the assignment is hiring the right one. The Internet provides you various kinds of information. It offers several services, and you have to verify the company's details before assigning your marketing assignment to the service.

corpac said...

plastic corrugated sheets - Corpac is India’s No.1 Plastic Corrugated Sheets & Box Manufacturer, suppliers in Qatar, New Zealand, Germany, Philippines, UK and Spain.

jeewangarg said...

We are PPC Expert in Delhi, India, Pay Per Click or Google Adwords has an instant impact and gives your brand a much larger reach and exposure as a result of first page on major Google search. Jeewangarg has vast experience in providing best PPC services provider in Delhi,India. We are a team of Google certified Partner based in Delhi, providing PPC service in Delhi/NCR.Call +91-9350809090 for Free Google AdWords Consultation from Google Partner.

matrimonialsindia01 said...

Matrimonials India is one of the most reliable and trusted Australia Muslim Matrimony
that provides services for millions of Indian worldwide. This portal is the largest Australia Muslim Matrimony with several successful marriages and that comprises an extensive database of NRI Muslims from Australia. Matrimonials India has already helped several people in finding their Australia Muslim life partners.

Gregory J. Trujillo said...

I loved what you shared with us and will appreciate you if you keep on posting more blogs like these. It tells us about much insides of others. You know, I could not read your blogs for a couple of days as I was busy with my academic writing services provider who worked too well for me. Though, now that I have time I will read the books you have suggested.

bhimakeupacademy said...

BHI Makeup Academy is the leading best Makeup Academy in Mumbai. It provides long term, short term along with the advanced courses in makeup, hair care and beauty therapy. Grab your seat in top-rated pro courses, world class makeup hair training and become a pro makeup artist along with the skilled and proficient knowledge.

Rahul Saxena said...

cbse residential school in varanasi
best cbse boarding schools for boys varanasi
weekend getaways near Delhi

Vipul Singh said...

Nice one, keep producing the type of content.
ENT Specialist in Meerut
CBSE Affiliated School in Meerut

Unknown said...

wilson joy said...

coinbase pro login

Najaf Qureshi said...

I just visit your website and I found it very informative. Please share more content just like that. I want to read more content so please upload more articles. Thanks in advanced.

Packaging Host

Die Cut Stickers

Static Cling

Cheap Latest Products

Property Saga

Lahore Smart City

Nova City Islamabad

Park View City Islamabad

Al Noor Orchard Lahore

wrecking ball said...

Hey friend, it is very well written article, thank you for the valuable and useful information you provide in this post. Keep up the good work! FYI, please check these depression, stress and anxiety related articles:
Why Not Me by Anubhav Agarwal PDF Free Download , How to create apple id without credit card, Essay on Diwali Festival

Anonymous said...

In India’s pursuit for getting encyclopedically competitive, high minister Narendra Modi has pitched for‘ Make in India’with‘Zero Disfigurement, Zero Effect Vision (ZED)’ culture with binary focus – on guests and on society. By zero disfigurement, he means that the quality of the products has to be veritably high and by zero effect he means that there should be no adverse effect on the terrain by manufacturing. This highlights the government’s hot desire to pay particular attention on manufacturing as a means to sustainable growth in order to transfigure the course of frugality.

Essien said...

This is so educative, great post! I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly loved browsing your blog posts. Thank you for sharing. Also visit free bua post utme past questions

Nageen Group said...

Best cbse schools in Meerut
Best Boarding school in India
Best girls boarding school in india
Recourses for Schools
Teaching and learning material for schools

Mark Watson said...

If you are a user of Linksys Router, you must have encountered problems related to Linksys e1200 default password or when you try to log in. Now, if you wish to log in, you are supposed to open a web browser, now type, and then the default username for your Cisco Linksys- E1200 is admin. By following the above-stated steps, you can simply log in manually. If you are stuck, follow and implement the steps.

custompackagingexpert said...

Benefits of Garnier BB Cream in Pakistan SPF 24 PA++ which protects aiwah pakistan the skin rom harmful UV rays. Almond Extract that moisturizes and nourishes the skin.Vitamin C and Mineral Pigments that brightens the skin and diminishes dark spots. How to Use the Garnier BB Cream?

rainbow linen said...

Rejuvenate your room and make your sleep more comfortable with a luxury classic online bedding sheet sets. We at Rainbow Linen offers the best-in-class bedding sheet set

olivila jhon said...

Make sure the surface where you are placing the printer is clean and close to Pc or laptop.Check the shipped components with your inkjet printer
http //,
https //ij.start.cannon

ethan potter said...

Canon IJ Network Tool will get you through the network settings uninterruptedly. It is essentially required when you are attempting to get your printer connected to a different network because a new network tends to reset the printer’s existing network settings.The Canon IJ Printer Utility can be used to keep a check on your printer’s ink levels and cartridges and clean the ink tanks and paper feed rollers. Also, you can make adjustments to your Canon printer’s power settings.

Anonymous said...

This is really nice.
Disneyplus com login begin

baccaratsite•biz said...

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!

text blogs said...

canon printer provides an answer for all type of canon printer problems by which you can undoubtedly figure out how to set up from canon and improve insight. canon.come/ijsetup | |

Jessica Lucas said...

The new report by Expert Market Research titled, ‘Global Data Integration and Integrity Software Market Report and Forecast 2022-2027’, gives an in-depth analysis of the global data integration and integrity software market, assessing the market based on its segments like deployment models, components, industry verticals, enterprise sizes, and major regions. The report tracks the latest trends in the industry and studies their impact on the overall process integration software market. The major players in the market are SAS Institute Inc., Oracle Corporation, Informatica LLC, SAP SE, Talend Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., TIBCO Software Inc. (Information Builders), Microsoft Corporation, IBM Corporation and QlikTech International AB (Attunity), among others. The report covers the market shares, plant turnarounds, capacities, expansions, investments and mergers and acquisitions, among other latest developments of these market players.

Procurement Blogs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
먹튀검증업체 said...

Hi there, I simply hopped over in your website by way of StumbleUpon. Now not one thing I’d typically learn, but I favored your emotions none the less. Thank you for making something worth reading. 먹튀검증업체

Green Box Intitute said...

PPC Expert in delhi is a PPC company in Delhi that specializes in PPC campaigns for leading brands and organizations. They help their clients with their digital marketing strategies and help them get the best out of every dollar they spend on digital marketing.

Anonymous said...

شركة تنظيف مجالس
تنظيف مجالس

Decorative Concrete said...

Thanks for sharing with us. The blog and data are excellent and informative as well. Concrete is no longer plain, grey & dull. With endless possibilities for designs and patterns, turn any plain concrete surface into stone, slate, brick & more!

William Kelly said...

helpfull blog thank you for sharing
Article Submission Sites

coastalsystem said...

Workers Comp Brokers provide a valuable service by helping injured workers uncover their rights and find out what they can do to get the best treatment. They also provide guidance on how much compensation or benefits will be paid out for each injury and what kind of steps need to be taken for that particular claim. The role of these brokers is very important in today's society where businesses are increasingly using technology to streamline their business processes

Greg Williams said...

Thank you for sharing continue to share more Suede jacket, new blogs we are very grateful to you.

Diploma Assignment Help said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T20 world cup said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. home & student 2019 said...

How to activate Disney plus-com-begin
Open the your streaming device. write down the Login/begin Enter
on your PC or mobile browser.