The First Two Pages: “And Now, An Inspiring Story of Tragedy Overcome” by Joseph S. Walker

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’m a fan of long titles for short stories, and today’s post by Joseph S. Walker begins with a great title: “And Now, An Inspiring Story of Tragedy Overcome.” I’m also a fan in general of Joe’s stories, and I’m not alone there; among many other honors, he’s earned an Edgar Award nomination and been featured regularly in both the Best American Mystery and Suspense anthology series and The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year series—in one case with the same story in each anthology! And widening the scope, I’m a long-time fan of the anthologies that Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley have been editing for nearly two decades (!) now—and Joe’s new story here appears in the latest anthology: Three Strikes—You’re Dead! out today from Wildside Press.

The new collection features a great variety of writers, including William Ade, Kathryn Prater Bomey, Maddi Davidson, Lynne Ewing, Barb Goffman, Sherry Harris, Smita Harish Jain, Adam Meyer, Alan Orloff, Rosalie Spielman, Shannon Taft, F. J. Talley, Robin Templeton, and Joseph S. Walker, and I’ll be hosting two more of these authors over the next couple of weeks here at the First Two Pages.

In the meantime, enjoy this first glimpse at the new book courtesy of the essay below—and pick up the full collection at your local bookstore. Support your neighborhood bookseller always!

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.