Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Judy Penz Sheluk and I’m older than the protagonists in my novels (all in their mid-late thirties). I’d tell you my actual age, but then I’d have to kill you.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and though I’ve moved many times, I’ve always lived within a two-hour drive of Toronto.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married, no kids, four Golden Retrievers over the years. My current Golden is Gibbs (named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS – do you have that TV show in Scotland?). He is 2 ½ and loves to sleep under my desk as I write. Before I became a writer, I worked as a Credit Manager. I’ve been a freelance writer and editor since 2003, and my first mystery novel was published in 2015.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest book, #2 in my Glass Dolphin Mystery series, is A HOLE IN ONE. It was released March 2018 from my publisher, Barking Rain Press (www.barkingrainpress.org). You don’t have to know anything about golf to read it, but if you do, it’s an added bonus!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing stories inside my head since I was a kid. I started writing them down in the early 2000s, and had some luck getting published. I love reading mysteries, and so decided to write a mystery I’d like to read. That was 2012. I’ve never looked back.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know when exactly, but it’s certainly how I define myself now. I can’t imagine not writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was Christmas Eve 2011 and I had 2 weeks off all of my freelance gigs. My first thought was, “What am I going to do?” My second thought was, “I’m going to try writing a book.” It took about a year to finish that first draft, but I was hooked.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE is the name of a local pub in the book. The town, Lount’s Landing, is named after Samuel Lount, a real life 19th century politician who was hanged for treason.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m a total pantser but I always write listening to talk radio…I can’t tune out music!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I see, hear, and experience is grist for the mill, even though I write fiction. I think my biggest strength as a writer is dialogue. I’m a big eavesdropper!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I set my books in fictionalized towns I’ve lived in. And I do mean fictionalized.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Craig Jennion for THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE. Stephanie Bibbs for A HOLE IN ONE. Sara Garcia for SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC. All three are under contract with the publisher, Barking Rain Press.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Arabella Carpenter, my protagonist in my Glass Dolphin mysteries, and a walk-on in my Marketville mysteries, has a motto. Authenticity Matters. I like to think that message runs throughout my books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
LOVE Fiona Barton, who is brilliant. I nominated her for “Best First” at Malice Domestic and Bouchercon. Long-term, I loved the late Sue Grafton and read every one of her “alphabet series.” It saddens me that it ended at “Y.”
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I suppose my publisher, Sheri Gormley, who owns Barking Rain Press. Otherwise, no one.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. It’s my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, finishes the book.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Anyone! Because it would mean I had a film contract!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, finishes the book. I know I’ve said it before, but there’s no magic bullet.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Help me break into the UK market. I’m getting good traction in U.S. and Canada, but UK has been stubborn!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
An oldie by Simon Brett, SINGLED OUT.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
On my own? Probably something with Nancy Drew. I’ve always loved mysteries.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m very emotional but I do tend to keep it contained. But I love old movies. THE WAY WE WERE made me laugh and cry, and still does.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Truman Capote. I read IN COLD BLOOD as a young girl, and again as an adult. He showed me the power of words before 24/7 news cycles.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a passionate (if not great) golfer, I run a few k a week (used to do marathons but I’m over that insanity), and I’m an avid reader.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything with a mystery/suspense bent. And even though in Canada we get years-old reruns, anything with Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer. I even mentioned Location, Location, Location in SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in my Marketville Mystery Series.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Cheese pizza, blue, country.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would take painting (art) lessons.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my husband and dog, watching the water on Lake Superior, where we have a small cabin.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She made a difference.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
www.judypenzsheluk.com is my website and blog. I host “New Release Mondays” and blog about the writing life. There are links on there to my blog and my newsletter, which is sent out whenever the mood strikes me.