Before the main event, a little something to get the juices flowing. Luca Veste's debut novel, DEAD GONE
is available for free today if you don't already have it. You should snap it up as soon as you see this.
And now, the main event. A big welcome to Judy Penz Sheluk. If you have any questions, pop them in the comments. Here goes. Enjoy the dance...
Well, first off, I’m not a very good
dancer. Think of Elaine on Seinfeld
and you’ve got the general idea, but I’m practicing in case I ever get an
invite onto the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
(Hey, you put an idea out in the universe…) Anyway, with that in mind, I’m
going to ask myself the sort of questions Ellen might ask:
did you come up with the premise for The
Hanged Man’s Noose?
I always start every story with a “What if
this happened?” The Hanged Man’s Noose (US, CAN) tells the story of Toronto journalist Emily Garland, who is sent on assignment
to the small town of Lount’s Landing. Her objective is to cover the story of a
proposed mega-box store on the town’s Main Street. Emily quickly learns that
not all the local business owners are on board and some, to their great
misfortune, are more vocal than most. Murder and mayhem ensue.
I’ve seen firsthand how development can
divide a community. I simply took that premise, asked myself “What If?” and took
it one step—okay, a few steps—further.
much of Emily is based on you and your life?
Emily is a freelance writer/journalist.
I’ve been a freelance writer and editor since 2003, so we have that in common,
though I’ve yet to be offered a lucrative assignment. Emily is a runner, and
I’ve plodded my way along a few marathons, half marathons, and 10k’s over the
past fifteen years. Emily is a bacon-eating vegetarian. I’m not a diehard
vegetarian, though I do try to eat mostly vegetarian. That said, I’ve never
quite been able to give up bacon. As for her age, Emily is thirty-two—and I
used to be.
does the title come from?
The Hanged Man’s Noose is the name of the
local pub on the town’s Main Street. The town of Lount’s Landing is fictional,
but it is named after Samuel Lount, a real life Canadian politician who was
hanged for treason in the nineteenth century. The bar’s owner is a bit of a
categorize The Hanged Man’s Noose as
an “amateur sleuth mystery with an edge.” What do you mean by that?
When people think of amateur sleuth
mysteries, they often think of the traditional cozy, the sort of book where
there’s a white picket fence and a cat on the cover. The Hanged Man’s Noose shares some cozy traits—the protagonist and
her sidekick are amateur sleuths, in this case a journalist and an antiques
shop owner, there’s minimal bad language, and the violence takes place off
screen. But there are no cats, crafts or cookie recipes, no ghosts to help
solve the crime, and the plot is a bit twisty. So I came up with the label “an
amateur sleuth with an edge.” I even created a Goodreads Listopia category for
it. Maybe the term will go viral!
the best writing advice you have ever received?
A few years ago, author Greg Fallis was my
instructor for Mystery II in the Fiction Writing certificate program at Gotham
Writers Workshop. He critiqued a short story I had written and commented:
“Remember, to your characters, this isn’t a story.” I’ve never forgotten that
is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
Definitely my own advice, which was, “You
can always write a book later.” It would be many years before later came.
you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Join an association that ties into the
genre you write. I personally belong to Sisters in Crime
(International/Toronto/Guppies), Crime Writers of Canada, International
Thriller Writers, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Each of these
organizations has offered me opportunities, information, resources, and most of
all, the friendship and support of like-minded individuals. Membership really
does have its privileges.
blog is a sounding board for new and established writers, and you speak
candidly about the publishing process. What do you hope readers take away from
Ideally, my blog offers other writers equal measures of reality, inspiration, advice, and above all, hope. Writing is a lonely pursuit. There’s plenty of rejection. It’s important to know we aren’t alone. I also interview other authors to learn more about their work and their experiences so my readers are offered more than just one perspective. In the new year, I’ll also be interviewing some publishers.
you have anything else to add?
Hmmm. Well, it would be great if folks
wanted to read The Hanged Man’s Noose.
I’d also love to invite anyone interested in the writing life to sign up for my
blog at www.judypenzsheluk.com. It’s a weekly blog, I never sell or share
emails, and you can unsubscribe at any time. What’s to lose?
not much on leaving her office, but she is a bit of a social media butterfly.
Find her on:
Triberr (you might want to follow or join her tribe, The Writing Journey)