Jacqueline Freimor


In 1995, Jacqueline Freimor won first prize in the Unpublished Writers category of the MWA's 50th Anniversary Short Story Competition, which included publication in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Since then, her stories have appeared in both print and online magazines and have been reprinted in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year: 2021 and The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022. Her novella "The Case of the Bogus Cinderellas," which won the 2022 Black Orchid Novella Award, was published in the July/August 2023 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and her story "Foreword," originally published in Vautrin, currently appears in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2023.

Q: Tell us about your journey as a writer (How did you get started? What propelled you into the industry? Were there pivotal moments or key inspirations?)

I was always an avid reader--in fact, I remember the day in first grade when I realized I could read--but I didn't think I could write, because writers were geniuses whose stories and books flowed from brain to pen fully formed. Becoming an editor in my twenties gave me permission to write, because I discovered that the writing part of writing is actually editing. Once I realized that I could rewrite and edit and rewrite and edit again, I signed up for a creative writing class, and I've been writing ever since. I started submitting my short stories to magazines and journals and was roundly rejected until about thirty years ago, when I submitted a short story to the Mystery Writers of America's 50th Anniversary Short Story Competition. My story won first place in the unpublished writers category and was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. That was the encouragement I needed to continue writing and submitting my work.

Q: What genre/s do you write in? What aspects of this genre or genres captivate you most?

Mostly crime and mystery fiction and occasionally speculative fiction.

Q: What do you write? (short stories, novels, poems, etc.)

Primarily short stories, but I've also written one and a half (thus far unpublished) novels.

Q: What does your creative process look like for coming up with ideas? How do you get started? Are there specific experiences or themes that fuel your creativity?

I'm a fairly obsessive collector of facts, and many of my stories are spurred by news items about weird and wonderful objects or events that I've never heard of before. I do a lot of reading, and inevitably a few of these interests begin to coalesce, and I find myself thinking, "What if...?" I've also had stories sparked by a title that pops into my head or, as in the case of a story currently in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, a first paragraph or two. I have no idea where those come from!

Q: What is your favorite part about being a writer?

I love creating worlds in my imagination and then doing research in the service of reproducing them on the page. I also love setting writing challenges for myself, such as, Can I write a story in the second person and make it work? Can I write a story in which one of the narrators has had a stroke and developed aphasia? What would that language sound like?

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Never give up. Seriously. For several years, I sent the story that ultimately won the MWA competition to every single magazine and journal in the crime and mystery genre, and it was rejected by everyone--including the magazine that eventually published it as part of my prize package! Oh, and also make sure that your submissions are formatted properly and that you are polite to the people who are considering publishing it.

Q: How do you overcome writer's block? Can you share personal strategies and experiences?

One trick I use on myself is to always end a writing session mid-sentence, paragraph, or page, not at the end of a section of a story or a chapter of a book. I find a fresh, blank screen daunting, so if there's already a sentence waiting for me when I next open the file, I can jump right back in, even if I end up deleting the sentence. It's like a little writing prompt.

Q: What motivated you to write for Storiaverse and how does the platform align with your goals?

When I learned about the platform, I was intrigued by the challenge--again, I like challenges!--of merging language and art (and sound? touch?) to tell a story.

Q: Tell us about the most recent story you have written for Storiaverse? What themes or elements can audiences expect? Why did you want to tell this particular story?

My story uses one of my favorite writing techniques (I'm not specifying it; no spoilers here) to explore the effect of social media on our ideas about relationships and reality. I studied anthropology in school, and I find myself constantly speculating about the effects of technology on human societies.

Q: What do you like about the opportunity to merge reading with animation?

I confess that I'm not a fan of graphic novels (gasp!), because I'm always distracted by the art. As a reader, I think that Storiaverse’s use of animation during the reading of a story will work much better for me in integrating art and the written word.

Q: How important is diversity and representation in writing? And how do you approach it in your work?

I think it's important to incorporate diverse characters in my writing because the world is diverse, and I'm trying to describe it authentically. In doing so, however, I know that I risk appropriating a culture that is not my own or falling back on stereotypes, both of which I consider lazy writing practices. To prevent that, I do as much research as I possibly can, including talking to people who have different ethnicities or backgrounds from mine.