Meet the Winners of Inkitt’s Midsummer Mystery Writing Contest!

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Congratulations to Steve Gee, 2nd place winner of Inkitt’s Midsummer Mystery Writing Contest!

Welcome Steve! Can you tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I am Australian born, residing in Australia. As for writing, I am self-taught, evolving and learning as I go. Aged in my 50’s I still work full time so my fiction story writing is a hobby.

My passion is writing crime fiction stories in the murder mystery/thriller genre, through which I draw on my law enforcement experience. Accordingly, my stories have a strong focus on the murder investigation to unravel the plot.

My manuscripts feature a mix of stories with protagonists from various locations within the USA, as well as story lines featuring protagonists based in Australia. Due to my past and present employment, I write under the pseudonym – Steve Gee to maintain my anonymity.

Can you tell us a little about your winning entry, The Coastal Killings?

An elusive killer, on the loose in San Diego, is targeting young single women who live alone. When each of the crime scenes is found to be too clean, investigators question whether the killer could be someone with strong knowledge of crime scene forensics; someone like a cop.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing my first story around 2012. My motivation was simply a strong desire to try my hand at writing a story. I had an idea for a story line, so I decided to have a go and see where it went. I have written a further 9 stories since then, with my most recent story (10th) being completed in August this year.

Where did the idea for this particular story come from? Did you have the ending in mind when you began, or did it surprise you?

I am a ‘seat of the pants’ writer, rather than someone who creates and follows a strict writing plan. This means I create a basic idea of the story line/plot, any twists I want to weave into it and the eventual ending. The rest is created on the fly. Once I start writing I immerse myself into the story and let it take me on the journey.

The idea for The Coastal Killings was created the same way. I have been to the west and east coasts of America on holidays, however I have never been to San Diego where The Coastal Killings is based. So for realism of the story I had to do a little geographical research to familiarize myself with the region.

What does success as a writer look like to you?

Success to me as a writer is receiving feedback that someone who read one of my stories enjoyed reading it, or they found it a page turner, or couldn’t put it down. I particularly enjoy the feedback from readers who tell me, “I never saw that twist coming.” That sort of feedback is very rewarding because, apart from the myriad of challenges around weaving a plot together, that is why I write stories – reader enjoyment. So success to me is simple – being able to achieve reader enjoyment of my stories.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how to you move past it?

I have been fortunate because writer’s block is not something I have struggled with. When I am working on a story I often find my mind moving faster than my fingers can type. That being said, there are times when I do hit a stage in the story where my inspiration stalls. But when this occurs, it is often because I have been away from writing the story for a while due to work or other priorities. I find once I simply immerse myself back into the story and re-visit where I am heading with the story line and how I want to get there, my inspiration returns and flows from there.

My mind is always working on ways to seamlessly weave in another twist, or some other incident to keep the reader wondering.

How did you feel when you learned you were one of the contest winners?

It is humbling to receive any recognition for a story I have written. But given the sheer volume of talented writers on Inkitt, it is also satisfying and a little flattering to have a story judged in some capacity and recognized as a contest winner.

Congratulations again, Steve, and good luck with your future projects!

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About Author

Tabitha Lord is the award-winning author of the HORIZON series. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, four kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab.

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