The First Two Pages: “Green and California Bound” by Curtis Ippolito

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.

Bouchercon in San Diego was overwhelming in many ways—both star-studded and action-packed—and in the midst of all the goings-on, it was too easy not to see everyone we might’ve wanted to, but I’m glad I got to chat even a bit with Curtis Ippolito, a novelist and short story writer whose career is continuing to climb in thrilling ways, including earning this year both his first Anthony Award nomination (for the short story “The Estate Sale” in Vautrin) and his first Derringer Award nomination (for “Where Palms Sway and the Surf Pounds” in Shotgun Honey) —and I emphasize that word first because Curtis is a writer to keep your eye on, for sure.

Curtis and I have actually crossed paths before Bouchercon. We both had stories in the anthology Trouble No More, edited by Mark Westmoreland—a collection which also earned an Anthony Award nomination—and we’ve liked and shared and chatted on social media too. And I wish we’d had more time for chatting and sharing and liking in person in San Diego.

Today, we’re celebrating a next step on Curtis’s rise—his debut in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine with the story “Green and California Bound” in the September/October 2023 issue. Congratulations to him—and a such a bonus for us to be able to sample the opening to the story here and some behind-the-scenes about how it came together. And please do check out Curtis’s debut novel, Burying the Newspaper Man, and his other short fiction on his website here.

Hope everyone enjoyed their time in San Diego!

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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