The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Welcome Champagne Books author, Gwyneth Greer aka Judy Nickles!

Hi Gwyneth or Judy! I wasn't sure how to introduce you at the top because you are here promoting a Gwyneth Greer story but have supplied your Judy Nickles website addy, so I'll leave you to explain, lol!

Over to you...

1) Did you set any goals for 2012?

After 5 traditionally published books, my goal is to go “indie” in 2012 with a 6-book cozy mystery series set in a small (mythical) Arkansas town. The Penelope Pembroke stories will include lots of humor, romance, and suspense in what I hope will be a winning combination. The books are written, have been critiqued, and now need to be revised and edited prior to making their way online.

2) What is the best part of the writing process for you?

The best part of writing is having an idea slowly expand itself into a complete story. It’s also fun to have those ‘aha’ moments when everything falls into place.

3) The worst part?

The worst part of writing for me is when I lose my motivation to keep going. Sometimes I’ve bored myself—other times it’s real life intervening.

4) What is the book you wish you’d written?

There are so many great books out there—but I’ll leave them to their individual authors. My own ‘great American novel’ has been brewing for twenty-plus years—and it may never be finished. But I’ve loved writing it.

5) Favourite author/s & book/s?

I enjoy all of John Grisham’s novels. Before that, I was really into Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. Mostly I read non-fiction—history and biography.

6) Tell us about your latest release?

The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall came to life after I visited a restored bordello-turned-visitor center and saw pictures of some of the ‘girls’ who worked there. First of all, it broke my heart to think of the lives they led for whatever reasons—and then my genealogical muse kicked in, and I wondered, “What if someone came in here and recognized great-grandma’s picture on the wall?” Which is, of course, what my protagonist does in Miss Fanny. It’s romantic suspense with a historical background.

7) Tease us with a blurb/short except

On Monday afternoon, after dumping Lynn on our doorstep after school, I raced back to the courthouse before it closed at five. Within half an hour, I had a copy of Miss Fanny’s death certificate and her eight-page will and scuttled out just ahead of closing time. In my excitement, I ran up against the broad chest in a tan uniform.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I…”

“Well, well, Miss Sally Sleuth.”

I looked up into Dale McCord’s dark eyes, and my heart turned over.

“Oh,” I said, tightening my guilty grip on the papers in my hand, “it’s you.”

“What have you got there?”

“None of your business.”

He laughed. “I could arrest you.”

“On what grounds?”

“Interfering with an investigation.”

“You wouldn’t do that…would you?”

“If you keep on like you have been, you’ll be safer locked up in jail than on the streets.”

“What do you mean?”

“I know about your little sortie with Sandra Broome last weekend, and I’m guessing those papers you’re clutching to your heaving bosom have something to do with Miss Fanny.”

My temper rose. “You don’t have time to call me, but you’re spying on me?”

“I was out of town.”

“So you say.”

He shrugged. “And I needed some time to cool off after what happened.”

“I hope giving me the silent treatment for two weeks helped.”

He took my arm, a little roughly. “You’re playing with fire, Tessa. I don’t want to see you get burned.”

“Trite, trite, trite,” I taunted him.

He shook me a little. “I’ve asked you nicely. Now I’m telling you. Stay the hell away from that place.”

“Don’t talk to me like that. You have no right…”

He tightened his grip on my arm and pulled me down the steps. “Where are you parked?”

“In the back.”

Once he’d practically thrown me in my car, he said, “I need a woman, Tessa, not a little girl who plays games. If you ever grow up, let me know.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” I shot back.

He whirled and strode away. I wanted to run after him, tell him I was sorry, that I could be everything he wanted and needed. I had my hand on the door when my wounded pride kicked in and kept me frozen behind the wheel until he’d disappeared around the side of the courthouse.


Read the first chapter at

Read a five-star review at

8) What is your favourite attribute of the hero and heroine?

I like Tessa’s determination—although it comes close to getting her killed. Her love interest, state police Sgt. Dale McCord, appeals to me because of his strong sense of justice—and his vulnerability as a man in love.

9) What’s next?

Years ago I wrote a novel based on snippets of information I unearthed in the course of genealogical research. It’s based on my great-grandfather killing his stepfather—the how, the why, and the aftermath. I’ll never know the complete story, of course, so I took what I knew and wove the ‘what-ifs’ into the facts. I’d like to find just the right publisher for Four Summer Days—maybe a university or regional press. But for now, I’m going to concentrate on getting the Penelope Pembroke series out there and then work on finding homes for some short stories.

10) Tell me where you write?

I never leave home without a notebook because I’m a people-watcher. But when I settle down to serious writing, I work at the desk in my study with the dog (usually) at my feet.

11) Where would you like your career to be in 5 years?

I don’t know I really consider that I have a writing ‘career’. I’m a writer, yes, but at this stage of the game (retirement), I’m in it more for enjoyment and self-satisfaction than a second career.

12) Where can we find you?

Here’s the list! Thanks so much for having me today—and one name will be drawn to receive a free copy of The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall. Commenters be sure to leave some contact information if you want your ‘name in the pot’. (featuring resources for writers)

Great to have you here Judy! Really great title and excerpt, looking forward to reading this one :)

Okay, bring on the comments!


  1. Thanks for the information! I just downloaded your book, The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall, from Champagne books and look forward with a great deal of pleasure to reading it! Thanks, January Bain

  2. Loved the excerpt, Judy. Writing is a great way to gain some self-fulfillment, isn't it. Wishing you great success.

  3. Thanks, January! I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  4. Yes, it is, Vonnie. When I get frustrated with all the necessary promotion, I have to step back and remind myself that it's my sense of satisfaction that's more important than the sales...though, of course, those are important, too! I just have to take a deep breath and smile and say, "I'm having so much fun!"

  5. Lovely interview, Judy. I too loved Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart! This is one of the most appealing sounding books I've yet to read. And I like the sound of your Penelope Pembroke series.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Rosemary. Hopefully Penelope and Company will be up before 2012 is over!

  7. Great interview, Judy. How fascinating to visit a former bordello and to have pictures of the girls who once worked there. Enjoyed your excerpt too. Hope you have much success in your writing. :o

  8. It was a beautifully restored Victorian structure with gorgeous stained glass. You can "visit" it by typing in Miss Laura's, Fort Smith, AR.