Notes from the author about
writing Inside Dumont.
WHILE WORKING toward my MFA some ten years ago, I became acquainted with and fascinated by an emerging hybrid medium sometimes referred to as “linked short stories” or a “novel in stories.”
The idea is simple enough: while a traditional novel consists of chapters (which cannot stand alone), the hybrid consists of linked stories (which can stand alone). Taken as a whole, the collection tells a larger story with the scope of a novel. The link can be a character, location, theme, or just about anything, and when the stories are read in sequence, they take on the feeling of episodes. A particularly fine example of this medium is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2008), which won a Pulitzer Prize.
Most of my previous writing has been in the realm of murder mysteries, but I had a serious itch to try something new, and the result is Inside Dumont. Writing it was an absolute joy, as it allowed me to move from narrator to narrator, from third person to first, from past tense to present, all while maintaining the link, which is the character Marson Miles. In some stories he is front and center; in others, just passing through. The collection was not planned, but grew organically as one story suggested another. This is my first book written without an outline.
As a nod to my roots as a mystery writer, however, I also devised a fully plotted murder mystery (in this case, an attempted-murder mystery) within the condensed confines of a single short story. It turned out to be the longest of the twelve, titled “Carpet Queen.”
While working on Inside Dumont, I felt that something really clicked for me as a writer. I hope you’ll enjoy the results.
— Michael Craft