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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

ℚ The Hanged Man's Noose: Glass Dolphin Mystery [1] - Judy Penz Sheluk

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Hanged Man's Noose (, Barking Rain Press, 180 pages), a Mystery, book one of the Glass Dolphin Mystery series.

“A well-crafted mystery in the classic tradition. A small town with a dark past, inhabitants full of secrets, a ruthless developer, and an intrepid reporter with secrets of her own come together to create a can’t-put-down read. I look forward to the further adventures of Emily Garland and Lount’s Landing.” —Vicki Delany, author, Constable Molly Smith series

In her début thriller, Judy Penz Sheluk introduces us to Emily Garland, a feisty reporter sent to a small town to uncover the fraudulent schemes of a big city developer. But everyone, including Emily’s boss, has a secret agenda. And some of those secrets are deadly.” “—Janet Bolin, author, the Threadville Mysteries


Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


A very warm welcome to Judy Penz Sheluk; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

What was the inspiration for The Hanged Man's Noose?

"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 town (Lount’s Landing) and the feisty antiques shop character (Arabella Carpenter) that I’d created.  In the book, Arabella becomes sidekick to Emily Garland, a freelance writer on assignment, but without Arabella, and that short story, there would be no book, and no Emily."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"My protagonist, Emily Garland, is a freelance journalist who gets a lucrative undercover assignment as the editor of the local paper in the small town of Lount’s Landing.  I’ve been a freelance journalist and editor since 2003.  Although I’m still waiting for the lucrative assignment, and I’ve never been undercover!  Emily is also a bacon-eating vegetarian.  I gave up beef and pork many, many years ago—long before it was a trend and around the time people looked at you oddly if you said you didn’t eat beef or pork—but I’ve never quite been able to entirely give up bacon.

Emily’s sidekick is Arabella Carpenter, the owner of the Glass Dolphin antiques shop.


I’ve been the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal since 2007, so I have a fair amount of antiques knowledge, and some of that finds its way into the book through Arabella.  Arabella also loves shortbread cookies, and so do I.  Then again, who doesn’t?"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Hanged Man's Noose - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love this question!  The artist for my cover was Craig Jennion, who is brilliantly talented.  I blogged about the cover process and how we ended up selecting it here.

The blue martini is a Treasontini, the signature drink of The Hanged Man’s Noose, the local pub.  The cocktail peanuts add to the bar theme.  The blueprints represent the greedy developer who comes to town to build a mega-box store."
Why should we read The Hanged Man's Noose and what sets it apart from the rest?
"I like to call Noose an amateur sleuth with an edge.  There is the requisite small town setting, there is no overt sex, violence or bad language, but unlike a more traditional “cozy” there are no cats, crafts or cookie recipes, and the plot is fairly complex.

The reviews have been really good, in fact, Canadian Antiques & Vintage magazine compared it to the Lovejoy mysteries, which is heady stuff, and Jack Batten (Toronto Star, Whodunit) wrote that I set the record for the most skeletons in the closet.  There’s no question that pretty much every character, right down to Emily, is hiding something."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Hanged Man's Noose, its story and characters?
"My favorite book as a child was Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables). It’s the story of a Emily Starr of New Moon, Prince Edward Island, and how she wants to grow up to be a journalist.  I still have that book on my bookshelf, many moves (and moons) later.  It seemed only fitting to name my protagonist Emily.  And I was named after Judy Garland.

The small town, Lount’s Landing, is loosely (and I do mean loosely) based on Holland Landing, the town I was living in when I wrote it, and the Main Street inspired by the neighboring town of Newmarket’s Main Street.


Lount’s Landing is named after Samuel Lount, a real 19th century politician who was hanged for treason.  In Holland Landing, there is a plaque outside the community centre dedicated to Samuel Lount (history has since restored his reputation).  I’ve written about Samuel Lount on my website.  There’s even a picture of the plaque on there."
Who would you recommend The Hanged Man's Noose to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who enjoys a good mystery; as noted earlier, there is no overt sex, violence or bad language, so it’s age appropriate from 16 to 116!"
If you could / wished to turn The Hanged Man's Noose and the Glass Dolphin Mystery series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I get asked this a lot, and honestly have no clue.

In my head, Levon Larroquette (Arabella’s ex-husband) looks like a young Kris Kristofferson, and the greedy developer, Garrett Stonehaven, looks like a 40ish Chris Noth.

But as I always tell folks: I’d be thrilled with whoever they picked, because it would mean my book was going to be made into a movie!"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"For now, I’m sticking with mysteries.  I have some short crime fiction stories in anthologies, and I’ve recently published Live Free or Tri: a collection of three short stories.

In my day jobs, I’m an editor/freelance writer, where I write only non-fiction articles.  I’d love to do a true crime novel some day, based on interviews.  Sort of a modern day In Cold Blood.  But that sort of opportunity hasn’t come to me yet."
What is your writing process?
"I’m a complete pantser.  I have a vague idea, i.e. for Noose, it was “What if a greedy developer came to town with plans to build a mega-box store and the local shopkeepers were none too pleased.”  But beyond that, it’s word by word, page by page.

The first draft is always a surprise to me, and sort of fun.  The subsequent drafts are pure revision and lots of hard work.

Something that people always find odd is that I work with talk radio on – Newstalk 1010 Toronto and Talk 640 Toronto.  I don’t work well with music in the background."
What is in store next?
"My second novel Skeletons in the Attic is currently under publishing consideration.  It is a Marketville Mystery (another series) vs. a Glass Dolphin Mystery, although Arabella does make a brief appearance.  I’m currently working on the sequel to The Hanged Man’s Noose and hope to have it ready for a 2017 publishing date.

I’m planning on taking a playwriting course.  I have a short story that I believe would make a great short play.

I’m going to be attending Malice Domestic mystery conference in Bethesda, Maryland, this April, and I’m very excited about it.  It’s my first Malice and my first visit to Washington, DC."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I don’t have a picture of me with him, but I will attach a photo of Gibbs, my (in this photo) three-month-old Golden Retriever (named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS TV show).  Gibbs was born on October 21, 2015 (Back to the Future Day) and he loves to lie underneath my desk while I write.
Gibbs is my fourth Golden Retriever (fifth if we count Sandy, my mixed breed from when I was a kid).  I’ve also included a photo of Copper, who we had from the age of eight months until he died, December 2014, at the age of 12 ½.  Their predecessors were Einstein (who sadly died at 18 months of cancer) and Ranger (who lived to be 10 ½).
Wonderful dogs and companions each and every one of them.  Thank you for asking about them."
Brilliant pictures, thank you for sharing them with us, especially Copper.
Hello Gibbs, you adorable gorgeous pup!  Lots of belly rubs to you from all of us!

Do visit Judy's Facebook page for many more pictures of Gibbs, and see just how much he has grown!

The Hanged Man's Noose
Available NOW!

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8 comments:

  1. Thank you for this interview. You put in so much work with all the photos and the research you've done to make it really special. I am happy to answer any questions or comments.

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  2. Excellent interview and pictures! Best of luck with sales, Judy :)

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    1. Thanks Joanne. I love the pix they came up with (though that is an old photo of me -- not quite so unlined these days!)

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  3. I see that you love Golden Retrievers. I see that dogs have been an intricate part of your life. Do you include animals in your stories?

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