Interview with mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk

Today’s special guest is debut mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk. We’re chatting
about her new novel, The Hanged Man’s
Noose.




During her
virtual book tour, Judy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s
choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance
to win, use the form below. To
increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Bio:
Judy Penz Sheluk’s
debut mystery, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery was
released in July 2015 through Barking Rain Press. Her short crime fiction
appears in The Whole She-Bang 2, World Enough and Crime, and Flash
and Bang
.
In her less
mysterious pursuits, Judy is the Senior Editor for New England Antiques
Journal
and the Editor for Home BUILDER Magazine. Judy is a member
of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers,
and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Find Judy on her website where she blogs about the
writing life and interviews other authors.

Welcome, Judy. Please tell us a little
bit about the book.
Small-town
secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in a tale of high-stakes real estate
wrangling gone amok.

Journalist
Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based
in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful Canadian traitor. As
she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns
that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans
to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is
Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, who
will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic
Main Street.

But
Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter at a
town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another
body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s
journalistic suspicions are aroused.

Putting
her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to
discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme—before the murderer
strikes again.
What inspired you to write this
book?

The Hanged Man’s Noose started life
as a short story in a creative writing class. As a short story, it wasn’t
particularly good, but I loved the world I’d started to create. In my heart and
head, I believed it could be the beginning of a series.

Excerpt from The Hanged Man’s Noose:
Arabella Carpenter arrived at the Glass Dolphin to find a
slender woman in a thin coat shivering by the front door. Arabella had made
similar wardrobe miscalculations in November, a month where the prevailing
Lount’s Landing winds could be as unpredictable as an eBay auction.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, but we’re not open until
Saturday.” Arabella pointed to a sign in the window. Something was vaguely
familiar about the woman, though she couldn’t stick a pin in it. Early
thirties. Hazel eyes with a bit of a fleck. Dark brown hair tied into a
ponytail, a red knit beret sloped back from her forehead. She wears it well,
Arabella thought with a touch of envy. Her own attempts at beret wearing had
resulted in the rather unflattering look of a Victorian shower cap crossed with
a tea cozy.
Mind you, the Coach handbag Beret Girl carried was
definitely a knockoff. The single rows of Coach’s signature C’s, versus double,
the way the C’s didn’t quite line up at the center. It was a dead giveaway.
Arabella prided herself on her ability to spot the real from
the reproduction. The antiques world was full of fakes. But not the Glass
Dolphin. Within her walls, everything would be original, from the exposed beam
ceiling and the carefully restored pine plank floors to the merchandise she
sold.
Authenticity mattered.


What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’m working
the second book in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series. In The Hanged Man’s Noose, the protagonist is Emily Garland, a
freelance journalist, and her sidekick is Arabella Carpenter, the owner of the
Glass Dolphin Antiques Shop. This time, the protagonist is Arabella Carpenter,
and Emily Garland is her sidekick. My plan is to have another major character
take over the protagonist role in book three. I’m working towards a 2017
publication date for the sequel.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?

I’ve always
written stories in my head but of course, it’s rather difficult for people to
read them in there. In 2002, I enrolled in an online creative writing
certificate program, and in 2003, I followed that up with another creative
writing course taught by Barry Dempster, an award-winning poet and novelist.
That year, after being downsized from my corporate job, I decided to try my
hand at freelance writing for magazines and newspapers. By 2005, I’d developed
a reputation as a reliable writer and accurate researcher. I think it was
easier, then, to break into the business: print media was still thriving, and I
had a lot of “right place, right time,” kind of luck. I also had a couple of
short stories published in THEMA, a New Orleans literary publication. From the day
I left my corporate job, when people asked me what I did for a living, I would
always answer, “I am a writer,” even when I only had one published clip to my
credit. You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, who will?

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

Yes, in that my day jobs are Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal and Editor for Home BUILDER Magazine. Folks often think editing is just that—editing
other people’s work, and there is a lot of that, but there’s a lot of writing
to do as well, both features and basically everything that isn’t bylined. I
used to freelance for a couple of other publishing companies, but stopped that
in 2015 in order to concentrate on my fiction writing.
Balancing
the work of two magazines, one monthly, one bi-monthly, plus writing novels and
short stories, plus marketing the current books, plus having a life outside of
writing can be a challenge. However, I do try to write something on my
work-in-progress every day. It doesn’t always work out, but most days it does.
I set a weekly word count goal, vs. a daily one, because that keeps me on track
without forcing me into an unrealistic mindset.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Not sure if it’s a quirk, but I write listening to talk radio, either
Newstalk 1010 Toronto or Talk 640 Toronto, depending on the host and the topic.
Maybe it’s because I worked in the corporate world for years, and there was
always background noise: people chatting, phones ringing etc. Besides which, I
get a lot of great ideas from talk radio!



As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
That would depend on the day you asked me! A part of me always wanted to be
a writer, because I’ve always loved reading. My earliest memories of my mother
are her reading Heidi to me. Later,
she worked in the toy department of a department store, and she would bring
home sale copies of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys (a corner dented, or
what-have-you). But there was also a time I wanted to be a geologist. My
parents had bought me a board that had different semi-precious gems glued to it
(in their raw form). I remember there was amethyst, which was a beautiful blend
of purple and clear crystals. After that, my dad would bring home a different
rock or stone in his lunch pail (mica, fool’s gold, quartz) and we started a
new board, though as I remember, they never stayed stuck onto the cardboard.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Yes, thank you for asking. I have a newsletter. At this time it is only three
times a year (March, July, November) but it includes things not on my
website/blog. If anyone wants a back issue (July 2015 and/or November 2015),
I’d be happy to send it to them (email: newsletter at judypenzsheluk dot com).
Or they can sign up here for the March
newsletter
. You can unsubscribe at any time and I don’t sell your email
address.

I also have
an active blog, where I write about the writing life and interview other
authors, editors etc. There is a link on my website to sign up. As with my
newsletter, you can unsubscribe at any time and I don’t sell email addresses.
Links:
  
Social Media Links

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

Thank you,
Lisa.


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14 thoughts on “Interview with mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk, author says:

    HI Mai,
    I'm a definite pantser. I have a vague idea of the premise (i.e. greedy developer comes to town with plans to build a mega-box store) but beyond that, I just go chapter to chapter. With short stories, you have to be a bit more outline-driven (to keep it short) but I'm still very loose with the outline. Thanks for asking!

  2. Judy Penz Sheluk, author says:

    Thanks Victoria and Ree. Nice to see you both again!

    Thanks Joanne and Rita! I appreciate your kind words.

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