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.
Commemorating Independence Day this past weekend, editor Mysti Berry released a second volume in her anthology series Low Down Dirty Vote. This new collection focuses on the theme “Every stolen vote is a crime” and features stories by Faye Snowden, Stephen Buehler, Tim O’Mara, Jackie Ross Flaum, Stormy White, M. J. Holt, Frank Rankin, Bev Vincent, David Hagerty, Puja Guha, Gary Phillips, James McCrone, Madeline McEwen, Robert Lopresti, Camille Minichino, Jim Doherty, Terry Sanville, Ben Harshman, Sarah M. Chen, Gabriel Valjan, and Travis Richardson. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s programs to fight voter suppression and defend voting rights.
Last week, the First Two Pages hosted Low Down Dirty Vote contributor Jackie Ross Flaum for an essay on her story “Two Dead, Two Wounded,” and this week, we’re welcoming David Hagerty from the anthology. What’s particularly interesting in having these essays back-to-back is that both authors were inspired by people from their personal history in crafting their story—in Hagerty’s case, his mother, as you’ll see in the essay below.
The main character in Hagerty’s story, Duncan Cochrane, is also the protagonist of his novels, political thrillers set amid the crime and corruption of his native Chicago; the latest in the series is They Tell Me Your Are Cunning. Hagerty has a short story featuring Cochrane in the first Low Down Dirty Vote anthology as well, and his short fiction has also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’ Mystery Magazine, among other print and online venues. He is currently at work on a series of linked stories about a Navajo man accused of killing his white employer.
Check out Hagerty’s essay below, and check back next week when we welcome James McCrone to wrap up the series.
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.Hagerty-Low-Down-Dirty