My guest this week is Judy Penz Sheluk who writes in one of the most popular genres – crime mysteries. I’ve not read her books yet, but after now, they are firmly on my TBR list. Great news is that her latest book is out tomorrow – just in time to snap up for the weekend.
Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short stories appear in several collections.
Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario. She splits her time between Alliston, Ontario, and her property on Lake Superior, with her husband, Mike, and their golden retriever, Gibbs.
As an author, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most popular is, “Where do you get your ideas?” While each author’s answer will vary, I typically reply “From life,” and then I’ll usually cite the premise behind my 2015 debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose:
A greedy developer comes to town with plans to build a mega-box store on the fictional town of Lount’s Landing’s historic Main Street, thereby threatening the livelihoods of all the indie businesses. That one was inspired by the goings-on in my actual town of Holland Landing (with one major exception: no one in my town was murdered over it).
The idea for my latest book, Past & Present, however, was inspired by death. Gosh that sounds macabre doesn’t it? And yet, it really isn’t. You see, I was trying to come up with a plot for book two in my Marketville Mystery series (the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic) and I was completely stuck. And then, on September 21, 2016, my mother, Anneliese Penz, passed away after a lengthy battle with COPD and a multitude of other health-related issues.
Going through her bedroom closet, I came upon a train case, the sort of case you’d have taken for toiletries and the like back in the 1950s. Tucked inside were a variety of documents, including her passport and immigration papers from 1952, documents from the ocean liner she came from England to Canada on (the TSS Canberra), old pictures and postcards…well, you get the idea. The thing is, I’d never seen any of these things before, and my mom never talked much of her life before coming to Canada to marry my father. In short, it was a mystery and the writer in me had to know more. I couldn’t ask my dad: he’d passed away from stomach cancer in 1970 at the age of 42.
I decided to start by researching the Canberra, reaching out to a friend who collects ocean liner memorabilia, and before long, a story was brewing. The end result was Past & Present, and while the story is fiction, the research undertaken by my present-day protagonist, Callie Barnstable, mirrors my own, right down to the occasional (and frustrating) roadblock as she digs into the past of one Anneliese Prei, who came to a “bad end” in 1956.
I’ve dedicated Past & Present to my mother, and the release date falls exactly two years after her passing. I like to think she’s with my father again, watching over me as my journey continues. It’s not exactly like life on an ocean liner, but some days it feels every bit as turbulent as a wild storm at sea…
About the book
Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…
It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?
Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.
It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.
Judy Penz Sheluk’s latest book in her Marketville Mystery series launches Sept. 21st and is available on Amazon in trade paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited: http://authl.it/afj
I checked out Judy’s amazon author page and see she has written quite a few books – so lots for me to add to the list. You can also find her on her web page at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com.
Thank you Judy for being my guest.