- Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
One of the best anthologies from 2016, a year of great anthologies, was Mississippi Noir. The stories included in the collection took a hard, if sometimes romantic, look at the underbelly of the state and many of the people who live on its fringes. Many of the writers included, like Megan Abbott and William Boyle, dig in to the psychology and circumstance behind characters’ emotions.
We caught up with the editor, lauded author Tom Franklin, to talk about putting together this noteworthy anthology, released as part of the Akashic Noir series, wherein each volume focuses on crime stories set in a different unique locale.
MysteryPeople Scott: My guess is that you got half your authors by stopping by Oxford’s City Grocery bar. How close am I and how did you go about gathering the rest?
Tom Franklin: Well, it happens that I know a lot of writers; and a lot of them live in Oxford; and we do love the City Grocery! So your guess is correct. But I also reached out to writers I don’t know personally. I reached out to writers I’d met on the road. I reached out to the big names, John Grisham (didn’t have a story at present), Greg Illes (working on his trilogy), Thomas Harris (no answer). I reached out to a couple of writers who never responded. Also, not wanting to rely only on my own devices, I asked the publisher to help me find contributors. Johnny Temple at Akashic found writers and we used some of their stories. Mississippi is just so chock-full of great writers that, in the end, we had more stories than we would use for the anthology. In the interest of fairness, I send the publisher all the stories we’d got together, gathered, and asked that he choose. And he did. He chose, almost entirely, what I’d have chosen.