Ruth M. McCarty

Ruth M. McCarty’s short mysteries have appeared in all Level Best Books anthologies.  She received honorable mentions in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, N.E.W.N., and for her flash fiction and won the 2009 Derringer award for BEST FLASH STORY for her story “No Flowers for Stacey” published in Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers. Visit Ruth’s website at

Your story in Thin Ice, “Changes” is so incredibly dark, but everyone who knows you describes you as one of the nicest people they know.  Where does the dark come from?  How do you get to that place?

Many of my ideas come from newspaper articles that either get me upset or intrigue me.  I try to put myself in the position of the protagonist, and picture what I would do in that particular situation.  I really agonized over the ending of “Changes” and finally realized that I had to leave it alone.

You started as a Level Best contributor, then became an editor.  Now you’re a contributor again. How does it feel to be back in the writer role?  What do you miss and what don’t you miss?

It feels great to have more time to write.  I normally would be reading 250 or more stories at this time of year.

Level Best Books published my debut my first story in Undertow and it’s a feeling you never forget.  I’m thrilled that I, along with editors Kate Flora and Susan Oleksiw, was able to launch many new writers, including Mark Ammons, whose story won the Robert L. Fish award and was a finalist for an Edgar for Best Short Story.  It was a very proud moment and I’ll miss being a part of it.

I’m not going to miss sending the dreaded rejection letter.  It was one of the hardest things to do, especially if the story would have been a part of the anthology if we’d had more space.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a short story to submit to the MWA anthology and making great progress on my novel Presumed Missing.

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