The First Two Pages: “You Know How Actresses Are” by C.M. Surrisi

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 had the pleasure of chatting with C.M. Surrisi at her first Malice Domestic, which she attended as an Agatha Award finalist in the Best Young Adult Mystery category for her book A Side of Sabotage. After that convention, she and I stayed in touch, talking about short stories, and I was excited when she told me she’d submitted a story of her own for the anthology Malice Domestic: Murder Most Theatrical—then thrilled when the story was accepted. It’s a pleasure to host her here today talking about that story, “You Know How Actresses Are.”

The full anthology features a great line-up of contributors: Frances Aylor, Anne Louise Bannon, Michele Bazan Reed, Cindy Brown, M. E. Browning,  Karen Cantwell,  R. M. Chastleton, Leone Ciporin, Carla Coupe, Susan Daly, Phillip DePoy, Margaret Dumas, Elizabeth Elwood, Daryl Wood Gerber, B. J. Graf, A. P. Jamison, Maureen Jennings, Margaret Lucke, Jaquelyn Lyman-Thomas, Sharon Lynn, Cheryl Marceau, Deborah Maxey, Adam Meyer, Raquel V. Reyes, Merrilee Robson, Lee Sauer, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Lynn Slaughter, C. M. Surrisi, Elaine Togneri, Arthur Vidro, Mo Walsh, James Lincoln Warren, and Carol L. Wright. It was edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons.

This is the third essay featuring contributors to Mystery Most Theatrical. Check out Frances Aylor on her short story “The Rock Star” and Leone Ciporin on “When the Wind Is Southerly” as well.

This is also the final First Two Pages essay of 2020. It’s hard to believe I’ve been curating the blog series here for more than three years now, but I do so appreciate everyone who’s contributed to the series during that time and all the readers who’ve turned in each week. I’ve learned a lot myself and found a lot of great reading to add to my own TBR list, and I hope others have as well.

Happy Holidays—and Best Wishes for 2021!

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.


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