What do you write, and why?
I write crime fiction. My novels are what I like to call “amateur sleuth with an edge.” That means my protagonists are amateur sleuths and the books are set in the requisite small town but there are no white picket fences, cats, crafts or cookie recipes. My short crime fiction is varied.
When and where do you write?
When I’m working on a book, I try to write a chapter a day, though it doesn’t always work out that way. I’m also the Senior Editor of New England Antiques Journal and the Editor of Home Builder Canada (string enough writing jobs together, you can almost earn a living…emphasis on the almost), so the time of day I write fiction fluctuates based on my deadlines for the magazines.
I always write in my home office, on my iMac, with talk radio on. I can’t imagine writing in a coffee shop.
How do you write?
I’m a complete panster. The chapter a day thing works for me because I have no idea where I’m going with my story, so I try to leave each chapter with enough of a hook that I’ll want to come back and write the next day. When I’m writing a short story, I’ll try to get the basic draft done in a couple of days. Then I get to work.
What do you read, and who?
Primarily mystery and suspense, though I also read other fiction. My favorite current-day authors, in no particular order, are: Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Tana French, Sara J. Henry, Louise Penny, Sue Grafton and Kristina Stanley. I grew up on Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Ed McBain, Dick Francis and John D. MacDonald. I’ve read every book by every one of those authors.
When do you read, and why?
I read every day, usually after dinner. It relaxes me. Reading is also the best teacher. When I decided to try my hand at short stories, I read several anthologies.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced when writing your last book?
Finding the time every day. Some days, it’s really hard…
Give aspiring writers some good advice.
I always quote Agatha Christie whenever I’m asked this question: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”
Plug your next book.
Skeletons in the Attic: A Marketville Mystery (#1) [August 21, 2016: Imajin Books]
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?
Tell me something funny.
A few years ago, a friend asked me to come to her Girl Guide troop’s career night to talk about being a writer. I was ridiculously excited about it. After all, I wanted to be a writer since reading Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery, and I’d been about nine at the time. Maybe I could inspire a young girl!
It turned out that the other career night speaker made dolls. That’s right. Dolls. Dolls who had hair and eyes that could be interchangeable to match their owner’s hair and eyes. Let’s just say I did not have the troop leaning on my every word!
SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle for the special introductory price of .99 (reg. $4.99). Find it here :http://getbook.at/SkeletonsintheAttic
Judy Penz Sheluk, Author
The Hanged Man’s Noose (July 2015): Now available at all the usual suspects.
Skeletons in the Attic (coming August 21, 2016)