The First Two Pages: “Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach” by Richie Narvaez

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.

Richie Narvaez and I have never met in person—unless there was some Bouchercon bar meet-and-greet that I’ve missed or misremembered—but through our interactions on social media, our correspondence on email, and the resonance of our views on our shared genre, I feel like he’s already a friend. This year particularly we’ve crossed paths on a couple of awards slates—including Richie being a finalist in two categories at the upcoming Anthony Awards: his book Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco has been nominated for Best Juvenile/Young Adult Novel (and already won the Agatha Award in the same category), and his collection Noiryorican is up for Best Anthology or Collection—the only single-author collection in that category. A collection I edited, California Schemin’: Bouchercon Anthology 2020, is also a finalist on that same slate, and Richie and I toasted from afar—and then commiserated over our decisions to back out of going to New Orleans, even before Bouchercon made the official announcement.

But with Anthony Award voting coming up and the awards themselves just on the horizon (Saturday, August 28, and free for all!), I’m pleased to host Richie at the First Two Pages, talking about a story from Noiryorican: “Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach.”

In addition to the two books already mentioned, Richie has two earlier books—Roachkiller and Other Stories and Hipster Death Rattle—and he’s been published widely in magazines and anthologies too. He’s a teacher as well, teaching writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and an active member of Mystery Writers of America.

Find out more about Richie at his website and enjoy this preview of his work below. And good luck to him at the Anthony Awards ahead!

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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