Dearly Departed: Judy Penz Sheluk’s Glass Dolphin mysteries

New year, new Dearly Departed! This time we’re taking a peek behind the antique lace curtains at the Glass Dolphin books.

1) Tell us about the Glass Dolphin mysteries. What was the premise? Who were the characters?
The Glass Dolphin is an antiques shop, named after owner Arabella Carpenter’s first antiques find: a pair of Boston & Sandwich dolphin-shaped candlestick holders. Readers can find out more about the company on the Facts in Fiction area of my website.
The main characters are Arabella Carpenter, a heart-on-her-sleeve, authenticity matters, no-nonsense late 30s (end of series early 40s) woman with an expertise in antiques (hence the antiques shop). Emily Garland is a journalist who eventually becomes Arabella’s partner. She’s a few years younger, and comes to Lount’s Landing (where the book is set) to find out the true story about a shady real estate developer who’s come to the town with dubious intentions. Levon Larroquette is Arabella’s on-again, off-again ex-husband, an antiques picker (think American Pickers) who taught Arabella everything she knows about antiques…and a few other things. There’s a fun romantic tension between them throughout the series.

2) What, or who, was your favorite part of the series?
I love Arabella Carpenter. Of all my characters, she’s the most like me. Loves shortbread and chardonnay. Always trying to lose 10 pounds and never quite getting there. A hopeless romantic who refuses to admit it. I used to be the Senior Editor of New England Antiques Journal (2008-18) until it folded, so I have good knowledge in antiques that I incorporate into the books. In fact, I love Arabella so much that I gave her in a small, but important, role in all three books in my Marketville Mystery series.
I also love Emily, a runner (I’ve run several half marathons and four marathons) and freelance writer (I was a freelance journalist from 2003-18). But even though we have that in common, I’d say she’s less like me than some might think. As for Levon, in my head he looks like a young Kris Kristofferson. Not a bad vision to have!

3) Why did it end?
From the beginning, I knew this would be a three-book series. I am a complete pantser, and never know the end when I start writing, but with Where There’s A Will (book 3), I wrote the end first. I knew where I wanted to leave Arabella, Emily and Levon in their lives. I LOVE the ending of Will, just love it, mainly because it echoes book 1 (The Hanged Man’s Noose).

4) Would you ever resurrect the series?
My mother had a saying, “Never throw never far away, or you’ll pick never up one day.” So, I won’t say never, but at this point, there are no plans to revisit it. That said, the characters might pop up in another book…and it’s possible I might look back in 5 or 10 years and think, “what are they doing now?”

5) Does anything from the series show up in any of your other writing?
Yes! As noted earlier, Arabella is in my Marketville series. But Levon, her ex, is also part of A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in Marketville. Seems he knows a lot about tattoo flash (art). I love when authors do that, bring characters from one series to another. Michael Connelly does that with great expertise.

6) Did you learn anything from writing the series?
I learn from every book that I write (and read). I do think I’ve become a much better writer over time. I’m more willing to “kill my darlings” to quote Stephen King, and more willing to take chances.

7) What are you working on now?
I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you! Seriously, I’m crazily superstitious when it comes to talking about my works in progress, but I will say I’ve started book 1 of a new cozy mystery series and I’m also working on a standalone suspense. Then, there’s my latest multi-author anthology, to be published under my Superior Shores Press imprint. Moonlight & Misadventure will be out in June. The first two in the series, The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense and Heartbreaks & Half-truths: 22 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, have been very well received, so fingers crossed!

Nothing like ending an interview with a threat on my life. That’s what happens when you work in the mystery community!
Thanks for talking with me, Judy. And good luck with the mystery projects!

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. She splits her time between Alliston and Goulais River, Ontario. Keep in touch with Judy on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

I think three is a nice number, don’t you? Maybe it’s because I was raised on trilogies a la LotR. Are you an antiques fan? Did you also learn something interesting about antique glass today? Let me know!

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