In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.
I first met Kristin Kisska in person at the Raleigh Bouchercon—though we’d already been working together closely for several months in advance of that meeting. Kristin had submitted her story “The Sevens” for that year’s Bouchercon anthology, Murder Under the Oaks—an anthology I was editing. The story stood out when I read it in the pile of blind submissions—its atmosphere, its historical detail, its tension—so I was thrilled to accept it for the collection, and Kristin was such a pleasure to work with as the editorial process continued from acceptance through publication.
By the time we met in Raleigh, I felt like we’d known each other for a long time—but there was one thing I didn’t know until then: “The Sevens” was Kristin’s first fiction publication ever!
While I so much enjoyed working with some of the star authors in the collection—Margaret Maron and Tom Franklin among them—helping to introduce a new talent to the mystery world gave me a whole nother level of pride. And as it turned out, Kristin was one of three authors making their crime fiction debuts in Murder Under the Oaks—Karen E. Salyer and J.D. Allen were the other two—and I’ve been glad to stay in touch with them since then, to keep up with them both as writers and as friends.
And Kristin has certainly done well in the last few years, with stories appearing in several others anthologies, including two volumes of the Malice Domestic anthology: Mystery Most Geographical and Mystery Most Edible. And she’s hard at work on longer-form fiction too—just as I loved celebrating her short story debut, I can’t wait for her first novel too!
In the meantime, enjoy the glimpse below at her latest story, “Unbridled,” from the anthology Deadly Southern Charm. You can also read the full story for free, linked from the “Books” pages of Kristin’s website. And be sure to check out essays from the three other contributors to the anthology whom I’ve hosted recently at the First Two Pages: Heather Weidner, Bradley Harper, and Mollie Cox Bryan.
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.Kisska-Unbridled-First-Two-Pages