Friday, November 13, 2020

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: So I was sitting on the train from New York to Boston. I love the train. Sadly, though, on this particular day I did not get a seat on my beloved quiet car, and yikes. The woman in front of me was a talker. A LOUD talker. On the phone. She was absolutely insufferable, and I could hear every nasty and pompous word. It drove me crazy, until I realized how fascinating and, well, sinister it was. I started taking notes like mad.

And I remember when an announcement came over the PA about arriving at some station, I was annoyed. I thought-- Be quiet! I need to hear this woman!


Here are just some of the actual notes I took in my little red notebook. Someday, I thought, this’ll be a story.

And now, indeed, it is the perfect germ of “All Aboard,” which takes place entirely on a train. The outcome is not the same as in real life--although, trust me, the outcome IS what I was tempted to do.

Sound interesting? Well, I am so thrilled to say it’s part of a spectacular collection of short stories from a terrific list of authors--including Rhys! And Jeffery Deaver (who edited) and John Lescroart and Linwood Barclay and Shannon Kirk and DP Lyle. And more! It’s fantastic, and the brainchild of Suspense Magazine's CEO and publisher.



It's called Nothing Good Happens After Midnight.

And we are so thrilled to get to talk with him today! And ooh, there’s a giveaway.

HANK: Where did you get the idea for the title and theme? Did that come first?

JOHN RAAB: Shannon (Shannon Raab, Suspense Magazine’s Creative Director) Rand I went to visit D.P. Lyle at his house. We were sitting around talking and the book came up. Shannon and I were struggling with different themes, etc and all of a sudden Doug said "Nothing Good Happens After Midnight" and that was it. We had our title and then started to work on the list of authors we wanted to contact. Sometimes sitting around watching football, having a cigar can make all the difference in the world.


HANK:. Wow, Jeffery Deaver as editor! How did that happen?

JOHN RAAB: That's sort of a funny story. We had a short list of three authors that we wanted to be the main editor of the book, based on the theme. I was sitting on the train in the morning heading to downtown LA, when I got the email back from Jeff asking some questions about the project. I answered them back and he responded right away and said "Let's do it, I love it." And that was that. I called Shannon first thing and told her. She was speechless for the first ten seconds or so and then just went "Are you F'ing kidding me?" I said, "Nope, unbelievable right?" and we had a moment with me on the train.

HANK: What was it like to open the short stories as they arrived and read them for the first time?

JOHN RAAB: That was really, really fun. What was really cool was seeing writers, like Rhys stepping outside their normal genre and doing something different. We were loving them all and just had to pinch ourselves that we were actually editing stories from thirteen of the top thriller / suspense writers out there. It was both a fun and scary experience, because now we had to edit the stories and didn't know how the authors would react, but all of them were so wonderful and so gracious, it was such a great experience, that have decided to do it all over again next year, with Catherine Coulter, more on that later! But we all must have done something right to get a starred review by Publishers Weekly.

HANK: So, Rhys, yeah. Your story is terrific. Where did the idea come from?

RHYS: When I heard ‘after midnight’ my first thought was Cinderella. What happened to her after the coach turned back into a pumpkin? How did she get home? Surely it was dangerous. So I took the story and twisted it. Then I moved Cinderella to the present. Lost girl trying to get home. And then I turned the whole thing upside down

HANK: This story is a little out of your element, as John says. How was that to write?

RHYS: What I love about short stories is that I can leave my comfort zone. I can go really dark because I know I won’t have to spend six months in darkness. I love being able to play with a reader’s emotions, make them believe something then twist it.

HANK: And John, you have to choose short stories for your wonderful Suspense Magazine all the time. Do you get a lot of submissions? What do you think makes a good one?

JOHN RAAB: Short stories can be very challenging, especially to authors that are used in writing stories of 80 - 100K words. Now we tell them, ok bring this story in under 10K. We get about a thousand short stories submitted to the magazine each year and the ones we pick are the ones that make you think you are reading a 100K story. They are clear, they have good complete characters, not a lot of characters, just complete ones. The plot is well structured and laid out, so the reader is still going on a journey. We have seen a lot of reviewers saying that certain stories need to be laid out in a whole book, and to me that's a huge compliment. That means that story has given the reader an emotional reaction, something every writer aspires to do to the reader, I believe.

HANK It feels like the perfect time for short stories--do you agree? Why do you think that is?

JOHN RAAB: I think because it's a snap shot of a time in the characters life. I think that's why reviewers want to see more from the stories, because they want to know more about them. When you bring a story down to a basic scene or instance you really have to pack in the power of the dialogue and amp up the action. Picking a theme like "Nothing Good Happens After Midnight," there are so many ways the author can go and that's why this is a great theme.

HANK: Reds and readers, this book is terrific. What’s the BEST short story you’ve ever read? Or, if you don't have one--tell us: do you think it was the Lady? Or the Tiger?

And a copy of Nothing Good Happens After Midnight to one very lucky commenter!


The book is available in HardCover, Paperback, Amazon Kindle Unlimited (means Ebook is on Amazon only) and audio book. The best place to purchase the book is here: https://amzn.to/2JTHs5h


There's also a webpage just for the book, so go to http://www.suspensemagazine.com

"Suspense Magazine was started in 2007 with the mission that every author should have a voice. In 2010 we started to publish Ebooks and have published over 150 books to date. We have a podcast called Suspense Radio, where we bring you the best author interviews. Suspense Magazine does what it can to cover the suspense / thriller / horror / mystery genre, with articles, reviews, interviews, short stories and much more."

83 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved the stories in “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight” . . . it’s a wonderful anthology.

    The best short story? Had to think about that for a minute . . . it has to be Ray Bradbury’s haunting “All Summer in a Day” . . . .

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    1. Oh, Joan, that's such haunting story. To read it once is to remember it forever.

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  2. Sounds interesting for sure. I'm going to have to check this out. But for now, it is getting close to midnight my time, so I should had to bed.

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    1. "Nothing good happens after midnight" does not apply to those of us who like to sleep soundly, Mark!

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    2. Yes. But if I'm awake, nothing good would happen. And considering my typo, I'm not sure anything good was happening just before midnight. :)

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  3. Congratulations to all! After midnight is a great theme. Like Rhys, I like writing short because I can go way darker than my books are. I really look forward to reading each of these.

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    1. I should add "The Telltale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado" as a couple of favorite shorts.

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  4. What I like best is the typo in today’s Jungle Reds title: Nothing Good Happens after MINDnight.

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    1. well, almost....I'll fix it more later. :-) I'm afraid the whole thing will delete.

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    2. Understand that fear of deleting the whole thing. The mindnight brought a smile and curiosity to my day. Thanks.

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  5. I can't pinpoint a single short story to single out as a personal favorite. Unfortunately, I don't read a lot of short stories. I have some anthology collections but most are still sitting in the TBR corner of my room. I simply lack a big range of short story reading experience to give a definitive answer as to FAVORITE.

    I did get the issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine that featured Edith Maxwell's rather dark tale "One Too Many" and loved that. Oh, and the SHOTS FIRED collection of short stories that C.J. Box did.

    That said, I'm planning on getting this book (and would love to win the giveaway copy in print form) since it does have stories from Hank, Rhys and Jon Land.

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  6. What a great title - and cover! My all-time favorite for short stories is "Gift of the Magi," but a couple of Art Taylor's run very close second.

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    1. Ary Taylor's English 365 (or whatever the title is) is an absolute classic. Complete genius. ANd the one with the woman cooking dinner. He is astonishing.

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    2. Yes - the woman cooking dinner a la Julia Child! Love, love, love that one.

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  7. How exciting, Hank. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight is a great theme. And your story, inspired by a loud and "nasty" stranger has diabolical potential! The list of authors included in this project, well, just wow.

    My favorite short stories definitely Sherlock Holmes. Another one that made a huge impression on me when I read it years ago was Red by Somerset Maugham. "The tragedy of love is indifference."

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  8. Fabulous theme and I can't wait to read all the stories. I still think my favorite short story, among many, is The Open Window by Saki. What was the name of the story about a murder by a frozen leg of lamb? That one was really good.

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  9. Fabulous title. My favorite shorts are those by Poe. The man delivered in the spooky category. Looking forward to reading Nothing Good Happens After Midnight. It's a true gift to read an author writing against type, and shorts provide that venue.

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    1. Kait, I recently reread the Masque of the Red Death. I don't think I had looked at it since high school. It was amazing how chillingly apt and atmospheric it was!

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    2. Masque of the Red Death could be written right now. SO scary.

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  10. "The Gift of the Magi" is so good, classic. And "The Ransom of Red Chief" will always be a favorite story.

    I opened a Little Free Library a few weeks ago, and so far every anthology I've set out there has vanished. That was a surprise to me.

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    1. That is SO intersting! I wonder if it's an attention span thing. And Red Chief--you know, I think of that all the time.

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  11. Congratulations on the anthology release!
    Conrad Aiken, "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" which has obsessed me since high school.
    Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O."
    Tillie Olson, "I Stand Here Ironing"

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  12. Kudoes to John Raab and Suspense Magazine! And Hank, I love the premise of your story. Sounds like a splendid anthology.

    A classic short story and one of the first I ever read, "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. First published in 1892. You can read it on Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm - I also adore the Agatha Christie's Miss Marple short stories (I think the character originally appeared in a short).

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    1. Oh, I didn't know that about the short stories! Yay.

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  13. Oh, you are all naming such great short stories! I was all in on Saki's "The Open Window" but then Sherlock Holmes, and "Why I Live at the PO," and we must include Poe and Twain and . . .

    I think short stories, novelettes, and novellas are enjoying new popularity partly because of e-books. You can download a single shortie by an author you enjoy, and read it while waiting at the doctor's office or the DMV. Plus your author can get a new short story out more often than a new novel, and with an e-book you can buy just the one thing very inexpensively.

    But an anthology! Lots of short hits of excitement, plus the opportunity to discover writers you haven't read before. That sounds like tons of fun to me. I can't wait to find out how Rhys goes dark, and what Hank did to that woman on the train.

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  14. How exciting! I go through periods when all I read is short stories, and then I put that aside for very long novels. Variety is the spice of life yada yada yada.

    Congratulations on NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT. These days I have to agree. I look forward to reading this collection.

    My favorite short story? Ah, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. Incomparable imho.

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    1. Ann, I remember one of my kids reading that for the first time in high school and FREAKING out. "How can that be the ending!"

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    2. Oh the Lottery--you get chills just thinking of it!

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  15. Congrats on what sounds like a terrific anthology. I'm not a natural fan of short stories, but am always happy to make an exception for exceptional story telling. Sounds like this is that.

    Warning: Shameless plug here for a Canadian award winning short story collection. On Monday of this week, HOW TO PRONOUNCE KNIFE by Souvankham Thammavongsa won the Giller Prize for Fiction. Her stories are poignant and revealing about immigrants' experience of their new lives in Canada. I recommend it.

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  16. Most of my favorite and most memorable short stories come from science fiction. Joan mentioned "All Summer in a Day," by Ray Bradbury. Two more: "The Ones That Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursala LeGuin and "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin.

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    1. I'll have to find that Bradbury--Joan mentioned it too!

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  17. Congratulations on this amazing anthology. Anthologies are always a surprise and a delightful one for me. My favorite short story is The Lost Heifetz. Simply wonderful and very unique.

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    1. I don’t know that one! This is so great… I to find it!

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  18. Short stories hold my interest and are unforgettable. Koanim by Michael Tabor is a short story which I will always remember.

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    1. Another new one! I am beginning to feel unworthy :-)

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  19. AND Tobias Wolff's wonderful A BULLET TO THE BRAIN. I had the great honor of interviewing him at an event for Book Passage and I got to ask him about how he came to write that story. Such a wondrous snarky narrator (unreliable writ large!)

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    1. Oh, WOW. Lucky you. I LOVE that story. The man with the gun...

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  20. I love the theme for this anthology as it was a catchphrase of my mother as I was growing up.

    My favorite short story may be A Rose for Miss Emily by William Faulkner

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  21. Congratulations on the Anthology release!

    Since I read Nothing Good Happens After Midnight advance copy from Net Galley, I got to read Hank's story and Rhys' story. Great stories. The midnight theme was perfect.

    Diana

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    1. Oh! How wonderful of you! Thank you thank you thank you!

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  22. Anything Ray Bradbury, one of my favorites is "A Sound of Thunder". Stephen King is a master and his anthologies are great. And of course anything by Poe or O.Henry. This anthology seems to be something that I would enjoy.

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  23. Looks like I’m here!

    I’m really bad with titles but I love Edith Maxwell’s short stories! And Hank, there was one of yours I got for my Kindle several years ago that stayed with me.

    I’d like to write more, but I’m afraid Blogger might expel me again!

    DebRo

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    1. Yay! So great so great to see you! Do you mean “On the House”? Xxxx

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  24. This anthology sounds like it could go everywhere! A lot of short stories have already been mentioned. Many are classics we all read in high school. For sheer pathos Saki's The Last Leaf is a killer. Poe and Bret Harte were masters. I can't remember J.D.Salinger's To Esme With Love and Squalor but I sure remember the title. I think I need to reread it. I've read a lot of scifi in the past. P.G. Wodehouse short stories are a delight. And F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a funny one called The Camel's Back. As usual, if anyone asks me what my favorite (fill in the blank) is I can't name just one thing.

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    1. Oops. That's O.Henry, not Saki re The Last Leaf.

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  25. I love all Ray Bradbury. What a master of the genre! The Veldt is one of my favorites. The lions are restless tonight

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  26. Great, as always, discussion.
    I'm not a big short story reader. I like to be in for the long haul.
    But reading what Rhys said, I'm intrigued and want to try this out.

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  27. OMG, I just remembered, Kurt Vonnegut, Welcome to the Monkey House. Thank You For The Roses. What a compelling storyteller!

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    1. That reminded me how much I loved Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron!

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  28. I just finished The Silence of the Loons and Resort to Murder, both anthologies of short stories by Minnesota crime writers. Some excellent stories in both!

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  29. I am so into reading anthologies right now. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight sounds like a really good book to read. I'm going to check it out right now for my Kindle. No need to put me in the drawing.

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  30. Fantastic! I love listening to other people's conversations (my grandmother just rolled her eyes in a "where did I go wrong" way -- Sorry, Gram!) but it's so true. It's amazing what people just say out loud as if no one else can hear them! Can't wait to pick up this collection!

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    1. You cannot believe what this woman was saying! It was unbelievable. It was all I could do not to do something about it. Truly .

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  31. For short stories, Shirley Jackson is my go to gal. Love her.

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  32. Sounds like a great anthology. I like reading short stories and discovering new authors.

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  33. The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey by Dorothy Sayers. Absolutely brilliant!

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  34. Years ago I read Agatha Christie and Isaac Asimov's collections of short stories. I remember one about a dentist and one about wallpaper from Agatha Christie. Stay safe and well.

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  35. I like any short story by Stephen King or Ray Bradbury. I think the lady was behind the door. This anthology sounds great, I've read most of Rhys Bowen and Jeffrey Deaver's books.

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  36. the tiger, of course. Wow, this collection... what a lineup! Sounds like a must-read.

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