Michael Nethercott

Michael Nethercott has published stories and plays in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; Crimestalkers Casebook; Plays, the Drama Magazine; and various anthologies including Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year; Thin Ice; Dead Promises; and Gods and Monsters. He is a past recipient of the Black Orchid Novella Award for traditional mystery writing and has an upcoming novel published by St. Martin’s Press. His website is   www.michaelnethercott.com and he blogs at http://michaelnethercott.blogspot.com

Your story in Dead Calm, “Plain Vanilla,” takes place in a very specific time.  A lot of the utter fun of it is that’s in written in the style of it’s time.  How did you find this story’s distinctive voice?

I knew I wanted a narrator who’d present the tale in a quirky, quick-witted way. That became  the Wheelman –this streetwise, cocky, funny low-level criminal type. This was one of those cases where I latched early on to a character who knew what he was about and could babble on relentlessly, and my job was basically to hang on his coattails to hear what the hell he had to say. I don’t know that I did much plotting with this story; I just let the Wheelman say his piece

You also write plays and had one produced this summer.  How does play writing inform your short story writing? 

I’d say it gives me a sense of dialog flow that’s helpful when working in prose form. The nice thing with play writing is that you don’t have to mess much with exposition. Outside of a few stage directions, you can just let your characters tell their tale without interruption. In fiction, of course, you need to set the table, so to speak, to support the dialog. Still, once you have two or more of your people engaged in conversation, it’s basically the same dance of dialog as in a play.

You’re multi-published in multiple genres.  What’s new and what’s next?
I have a few projects in mind for the coming year. I direct theater as well as write for it, so I’m weighing what I’ll put my hand to in the coming months. One thing I’m certain of is that I’ll be writing my next traditional mystery novel. I just struck a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press for which I’m very excited. The first novel’s complete; the second is waiting for me to coax it into the light. Onward!

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