Interview with Judy Penz Sheluk

IMG_4063Tell us about your publishing journey… 

I’ve blogged extensively about this on my website, My best suggestion is to go to archives, Select: One Writer’s Journey, and then the subhead, “My Publishing Journey.” It’s an unvarnished look into my experience so far, blemishes, bumps in the road, and all.

What do you love about being an author?

I love being able to create stories from nothing but my imagination. I love doing research. I love seeing my random thoughts turn sentences, paragraphs, pages and chapters. Erica Jong said it best, “When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it’s a wonderful way to spend one’s life.”

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat? 

I’d love to eat at Rosie’s with Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mysteries. We’d have white wine and whatever Rosie told us we had to eat. 

If your book/ story was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?attachment

I was just asked this question at a book club meeting (the group had picked The Hanged Man’s Noose as their September read, and I agreed to visit with them—had a blast). Anyway, I told the group that I really had no idea. I have images of the characters in my head, of course (for example, Garrett Stonehaven is a 40ish Chris Noth), but I don’t have every role in my head cast as a real-life actor. Someone in the group replied, “But then what if they cast an actor you don’t like.” To which I responded, “My book as a movie, are you kidding me? Where do I sign?” 

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters? 

Sexy leads, absolutely. 


 What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner? 

Agatha Christie said, “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” It’s another way of saying, “don’t wait for the muse to show up, but be there when it does.” I expect I spent a fair bit of my life waiting for the muse to show up without making any effort to invite her in.


Where do you write best? 

In my home office, on my iMac. My walls are painted Philipsburg Blue, a comforting and creative color (thank you Benjamin Moore!). I work best while listening to talk radio in the background (Newstalk 1010 Toronto and Talk 640 Toronto). I can’t imagine writing in a coffee shop! 

Cover -WEACWhat was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it? 

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. It was one of the finest books I have ever read. The storytelling is inspired, the characters fully drawn and the richness of the descriptions reminded me a bit of In Cold Blood, which I’ve always considered a masterpiece. 

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why? 

Something comforting and connectable, and by that I don’t mean a self-help book. For example, I read Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain shortly after we had to put our 12 ½ year old Golden Retriever, Copper, down. The ending of that book was so comforting to me, but the entire book was filled with moments like that.

Where can fans find you online?

You can find me on my website, My blog covers the life of a writer, from my perspective, and I also interview other authors, as well as publishers. I’m on Facebook at, Twitter is @JudyPenzSheluk, and Pinterest is


The Hanged Man’s Noose (July 2015) is available at all the usual suspects, including Amazon ( and directly from the publisher,, where you can read the first four chapters free.

Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime (Carrick Publishing, Nov. 14), The Whole She-Bang 2 (Toronto Sisters in Crime, Nov. 14), and in the Short Fiction Mystery Society’s first crime fiction anthology, Flash and Bang (Untreed Reads, Oct. 15). Find them all at

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