The First Two Pages: The County Line by Steve Weddle

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.

Like so many others in the crime fiction world, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Steve Weddle’s new novel, The County Line, officially released February 1—a long-awaited follow-up to his 2013 debut book, Country Hardball, a novel-in-stories that the New York Times called “downright dazzling.” I loved that first book, taught it in my “Crossing Genres” course at George Mason University soon after it was published, and was grateful to Steve for Skyping in to talk to the class. (And right there’s an indication of how long we’ve been waiting for this new book, Steve—Skype!) Two years ago at Do Some Damage, Steve teased us with a glimpse at his work-in-progress, then called Cottonmouth Tomlin and the Last Outlaw Camp, and then in January of this year, The County Line was an Amazon Reads pick, and preview readers sent the book soaring up several Amazon bestseller lists: literary fiction, historical fiction, heist, romance (romance?!), and more.

Eryk Pruitt hosted Steve for an interview at Do Some Damage earlier this month, and it’s a real honor to welcome Steve here today for another kind of preview of the new novel—an essay of how he’s bringing readers into the world of the novel and glimpsing at the conflicts ahead.

Eagerly awaiting February 1!

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.