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Lefty Awards and the Debut Author of Hot Water

Award season has begun!

The Lefty Awards are fan awards from Left Coast Crime. Anyone registered for this year’s LCC or who attended last year can nominate books published in 2018. Attendees of the 2019 conference will vote for the winners during the conference March 28-31.

Awards will be presented at the Saturday night banquet.

But first, let me introduce you to debut author JJ Shelley . . . who knows, maybe next year we will see her debut on the list for 2020!

The Author

JJ Shelley (a nom de plume) is a filmmaker and the author of several screenplays who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Her awards include an Academy Award nomination, the Edgar Dale Screenwriting Award and a New England Women in Film Screenwriting Award.

She holds a certificate in Professional Investigation from Boston University. Hot Water is her first novel.

To find out more about JJ, click here for a link to her website.


The Book

Part mystery, part revenge dramedy, this sparkly debut novel introduces Sylvie Wolff, pampered suburban housewife and devoted mother of two who wakes up one morning to discover that her husband has cleaned out the bank account and abandoned the family, leaving them homeless and penniless.

Determined to regain her former lifestyle, Sylvie confronts a twisted web of industrial espionage and squares off against her enemies only to be faced with the question—is her old life still the life she wants?

To buy the book, click the link here.


The Interview

Describe your publishing journey:

Hot Water is my first novel, though I have published a children’s book and a nonfiction book using legacy publishers. As an independent documentary filmmaker, I also purchased the rights to a nonfiction book. Unfortunately, none of my experiences with legacy publishers were particularly positive. It was hard to get them to even respond to phone calls when I wasn’t one of their bestselling authors. I’ve always been more successful when I’ve worked independently, so working through Amazon publishing seemed more efficient.

What inspired you to write this novel?

Long ago, when I was in college, a friend of mine received a call from her mother in the middle of the semester, telling her to pack up and come home. Her father had deserted the family and his affluent family had been left penniless. Their house was under foreclosure, the furniture was repossessed and they all had to move in to a tiny one-bedroom apartment along with another friend who had been kicked out of her family because she had recently come out of the closet.

While the mother stayed home to take care of the three-year-old brother, the three girls went to work in menial jobs to pay the rent and buy food. The father had also taken out credit card debt in the oldest daughter’s name and she had to either pay off the debt or send her father to jail. Meanwhile, the father moved in with his wealthy mistress of seven years.

I wasn’t aware of the desperation of this family until years later when we all gathered for a weekend on an island in Florida. I’ve never forgiven myself for my cluelessness at the time. I suppose this story is an attempt to confront the pain and betrayal my friend suffered as I went about my college years, focusing on my own trivial teen-age dramas.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing the second Sylvie Wolff novel, “Deep Water,” about a real ship that disappeared without a trace. In order to research the ship, I took a six-month course in private investigation. Fun fact: a session with a medium led me to an obscure intelligence report that ultimately led to what I believe is the dark secret behind the ship’s disappearance.

Congratulations JJ!

2019 Lefty Award Nominees

To learn more about any of the authors & their books, click on their names.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel

Ellen Byron, Mardi Gras Murder (Crooked Lane Books)

Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Ending (Midnight Ink)

Timothy Hallinan, Nighttown (Soho Crime)

Leslie Karst, Death al Fresco (Crooked Lane Books)

Cynthia Kuhn, The Spirit in Question (Henery Press)

Catriona McPherson, Scot Free (Midnight Ink)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960

Rhys Bowen, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Berkeley Prime Crime)

David Corbett, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday (Black Opal Books)

Sujata Massey, The Widows of Malabar Hill (Soho Crime)

Ann Parker, A Dying Note (Poisoned Pen Press)

Iona Whishaw, It Begins in Betrayal (Touchwood Editions)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel

Tracy Clark, Broken Places (Kensington Books)

A.J. Devlin, Cobra Clutch (NeWest Press)

A.J. Finn, The Woman in the Window (William Morrow)

Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder (Kensington Books)

Aimee Hix, What Doesn’t Kill You (Midnight Ink)

Keenan Powell, Deadly Solution (Level Best Books)

J.G. Toews, Give Out Creek (Mosaic Press)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel

Lou Berney, November Road (William Morrow)

Matt Coyle, Wrong Light (Oceanview Publishing)

Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind (Minotaur Books)

Lori Rader-Day, Under a Dark Sky (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Terry Shames, A Reckoning in the Back Country (Seventh Street Books)

James W. Ziskin, A Stone’s Throw (Seventh Street Books)

Congratulations to all the Lefty Award nominees! See you in Vancouver!

Header Photo courtesy of Pixabay, click here for more info.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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