Thanks to Ed Aymar for inviting me to reflect on “How It Happened” at The Thrill Begins—though the question of what “It” is posed some problems… and the length of time over which “It” happened, as you’ll see in my essay.
Here’s an excerpt:
To circle back to the question underlying this essay series: How did “it” happen? Well, surveying those last 25 years, I’m not even sure what “it” might be: the first story in 1995? My first book, in 2015 (twenty years later)? That first award in 2011? The Edgar last year?
In the introduction to my just-released collection The Boy Detective and the Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense, I write about that first story for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine—“Murder on the Orient Express” in the December 1995 issue—and my surge of confidence that I’d broken through. My career had begun! More stories would roll out ahead, a book and more books, fame and fortune and…you name it, I dreamed it!
“It.” Many “its,” in fact—many that might well have happened.
But then my second submission to EQMM earned a rejection. And my third too. Ultimately, nearly 12 years blinked past before I’d appear in those pages again.