An Interview with Calamity Barnstable
Amazon International bestselling author Judy Penz Sheluk first appeared on Rocco’s blog last year after the release of her debut mystery, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery. Judy’ latest release is Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in the Marketville Mystery Series. The protagonist in Skeletons is Calamity (Callie) Barnstable, a thirty-six-year-old woman from Toronto. Rocco recently sat down with Callie in her new home to find out why she moved to the commuter town of Marketville, which is located about an hour north of Toronto.
Rocco: You’re thirty-six and single. By your own admission, Marketville is the sort of town where folks with two kids, a cat, and a collie come to live. Why the move?
Callie: Trust me, it wasn’t my idea. My father died recently in an at-work accident and he left me this house. I didn’t even know the house existed, if you can believe that. On top of it all, in order to inherit, I have to live here for a year.
Rocco: The house needs some work, but how bad could it be? Plus I caught a glimpse of your next-door neighbor. He’s handsome in that hunky reality TV handyman sort of way, and I didn’t spot a wedding band.
Callie: That would be Royce Ashford, and yes, he’s hot and single. [blushes] But you didn’t let me finish. In order to inherit, I have to try and find out who murdered my mother thirty years ago.
Rocco: Wow. Your mom was murdered when you were six? That must have been hard on you and your father.
Callie: I’m sure it was hard on my dad, especially since her body was never found and he was considered a suspect. But until the reading of the will, I always thought my mother had left us for the milkman or some other male equivalent. So the big shocker was finding out that my dad had kept the true story away from me all these years. I suppose that’s why we moved to Toronto when I was seven. I don’t have any real memories of living here, though I’m starting to get the odd flashback.
Rocco: Why would your father put that clause in the will? Do you have a background in investigation?
Callie: Hardly. Before I moved here, I worked in a bank call center. But I’ve already found a few things in the house that have provided clues to my mother’s past. [shivers] Not everything was a welcome find. One of the things I found was a skeleton in the attic.
Rocco: A skeleton? In the attic?
Callie: Uh huh. Among other things. I’d rather not say any more about it. Can we switch subjects?
Rocco: Of course. Do you have anyone helping you?
Callie: [laughs] There’s this self-proclaimed psychic, Misty Rivers. She managed to convince my dad that she could help find out what happened to my mother—for a fee, of course. As if I was going to fall for that.
Rocco: This sounds like it would make a great book.
Callie: Thank you so much, Rocco. That’s what Judy Penz Sheluk thought, so she decided to write Skeletons in the Attic. It’s getting some great reviews from readers and reviewers. It’s all been very exciting.
Rocco: Where can people find the book?
Callie: It’s available in print at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, AbeBooks.com, Chapters.indigo.ca and some independent booksellers. http://www.imajinbooks.com/skeletons-in-the-attic. It’s also available on Kindle on Amazon. http://getbook.at/SkeletonsintheAttic
Rocco: Where can people find out more about Judy?
Callie: Her website, www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she blogs about her writing journey, interviews other authors, and has this great series called New Release Mondays, where she lets people know about other great new books. She loves new blog followers!
Rocco: Thank you, Callie. Would you mind sharing an excerpt from Skeletons in the Attic?
Callie: Happy to. Here you go!
Leith Hampton placed the will in front of him, smoothing an invisible crease with a well-manicured hand, the nails showing evidence of a vigorous buffing. I wondered what kind of man went in for a mani-pedi—I was surmising on the pedi—and decided it was the kind of man who billed his services out for five hundred dollars an hour.
He cleared his throat and stared at me with those intense blue eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready, Calamity? I know how close you were to your father.”
I flinched at the Calamity. Folks called me Callie or they didn’t call me at all. Only my dad had been allowed to call me Calamity, and even then only when he was seriously annoyed with me, and never in public. It was a deal we’d made back in elementary school. Kids can be cruel enough without the added incentive of a name like Calamity.
As for being ready, I’d been ready for the past ninety-plus minutes. I’d been ready since I first got the call telling me my father had been involved in an unfortunate occupational accident. That’s how the detached voice on the other end of the phone had put it. An unfortunate occupational accident.
I knew at some point I’d have to face the fact that my dad wasn’t coming back, that we’d never again argue over politics or share a laugh while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Knew that one day I’d sit down and have a good long cry, but right now wasn’t the time, and this certainly wasn’t the place. I’d long ago learned to store my feelings into carefully constructed compartments. I leveled Leith with a dry-eyed stare and nodded.