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.
Earlier this month, Cynthia Kuhn debuted her second mystery series, the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries, with How to Book a Murder, featuring “small-town bookseller and literary event planner Emma Starrs… out to close the book on a killer intent on crashing the party.” I couldn’t have been more excited about the new book and new series, having been a fan of Cynthia’s Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries, beginning with The Semester of Our Discontent, which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel—a much deserved honor! And right on the heels of that second-series debut, what a pleasure to host Cynthia talking about her short story “There Comes a Time” in the new Malice Domestic anthology Mystery Most Diabolical.
Last week, Marco Carocari wrote about his story “All in the Planning” for the First Two Pages, and the full anthology also features short fiction by Leah Bailey, Paula Benson, Mary Alyce Blum, Michael Bracken, Susan Breen, Mary Dutta, Christine Eskilson, Nancy Gardner, Barb Goffman, Alexia Gordon, Beverly Graf, Maurissa Guibord, Victoria Hamilton, Kerry Hammond, Peter W.J. Hayes, Smita Harish Jain, Margaret Lucke, Sharon Lynn, Tim Maleeny, Jeff Markowitz, Lisa Q. Mathews, Adam Meyer, Alan Orloff, Rita Owen, Graham Powell, Keenan Powell, Lori Robbins, Cynthia Sabelhaus, Nancy Cole Silverman, Shawn Reilly Simmons, C.J. Verburg, and Andrea Wells.
Like me, Cynthia is a college professor—a career she drew on for her Lila Maclean books—and in her essay below, she gestures toward the classroom as well with a reference to “English classroom parlance” and a sureness of purpose in her analysis. What a joy to get the best of both worlds here: a great writer and a great teacher!
Find out more about Cynthia at her website, and get your copy of Mystery Most Diabolical to find out what happens next.
And there’s still time register for Malice Domestic 32, 33, and 34—with registration before the end of the year ensuring you can nominate your favorite books and authors for the Agatha Awards ahead as well!
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.Kuhn-There-Comes