Judy Penz Sheluk is a former journalist and magazine editor and the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Where There’s a Will is the third Glass Dolphin Mystery.
Three books from the start
Judy said that while Where There’s a Will is a cozy mystery, there are no cats, crafts, or cookie recipes. At just 48,000 words, Judy describes the book as a fun, but fast-paced, story in which readers will learn more about ‘Bully’ (pre-emptive real estate offers), wills, holograph wills, and estate law.
“From the time I wrote the first book in the series, The Hanged Man’s Noose, I knew it would be a three-book series,” Judy said. “I also knew how it would end…at least from my main characters’ perspective. I’m usually a complete pantser, but in this case, I actually wrote the last 3 chapters first, though I did do a bit of editing by the time I got back there. I also knew I wanted to do something along the lines of an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ style appraisal day, with Arabella Carpenter hosting it, and I wanted her business partner, Emily Garland, house hunting. The way all of it converged was fun to write.”
Judy added that while this is the third book in the series, she believes readers can read it as a standalone, also. “Of course, as the author, I’m always hoping folks read the entire series, because I’ve done a fair bit of character progression,” Judy said.
A research tip
“I do a lot of research,” Judy said. “In this case, I interviewed two realtors: my nephew, Brian Sametz, and a friend, Carole McGill Plant. Both gave me plenty of material to work with. I also interviewed Daniel Fiorini, who is an estate lawyer. Dan said something that changed the course of the story: The dead can’t reach out from the grave. I loved that…even though it didn’t fit with what I’d originally had in mind for the plot.”
Judy also said that because she was a journalist for many years, she learned the importance of good research. “I love talking to experts in their respective fields. You can Google and Wiki search all day long, but 15 minutes with an expert will give you ten times the information, and tidbits and trivia you’d never find on your own – and it will be accurate. “
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