The MYSTERIOUS Judith Arnold?

What's this?  USA Today Bestselling, award-winning Judith Arnold doesn't write mysteries.  She writes books about friendship, loss, and the healing power of love. 

She's sold more than ninety novels with more than ten million copies in print worldwide. She's been a multiple finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA ® Award and the winner of four Reviewer's Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews and the Bean Pot Award from the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Publishers Weekly named her novel LOVE IN BLOOM'S one of the best books of the year, and her novel BAREFOOT IN THE GRASS has appeared on recommended reading lists at hospitals and breast cancer support centers.

Before she turned to fiction writing, Judith was a playwright. Her plays have been staged in California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C. and off-Broadway in New York City, as well as in Calgary, Canada.

But mysteries? 
 Au contraire, GLIAS readers, you heard it hear ... well, pretty darn close to first ... that Judith Arnold writes mysteries.  Introducing Judith Arnold's Still-kicking mystery series, and you get to read all about it!  Please welcome the prolific and talented Judith Arnold.
About Dead Ball:

She's got to solve this murder. The soccer team's schedule depends on it.

So, who pulled the trigger of the nail gun that killed construction tycoon Arthur Cavanagh? His widow, who'd sworn to kill him if he ever cheated on her? His hostile teenage son, who felt neglected by his father? His foreman, who'd regularly fought with his boss? The angry environmentalists, protesting his latest development? Or the blond mystery woman who'd been seen with him the night of his death?

Lainie Lovett needs to find the culprit before the bumbling local police charge her with the murder. They're determined to pin it on her after she was caught snooping around the crime scene. All she wanted was information on behalf of the victim's wife, her friend Patty. After all, getting Patty off the suspect list was a friend's duty-not to mention that if Patty were charged, the Colonielles might lose her for an entire season.

Lainie has three passions in life: her nearly-adult children, her job as a fourth grade teacher in the very rich and very historic Massachusetts town of Rockford, and the Colonielles, her team in the Under-Fifty Women's Soccer League.

Before she can call, "Penalty!" Lainie is up to her shin guards in trouble. Charged as an accessory to murder, Lainie is suspended from her job. She needs to clear her name, reclaim her classroom, and figure out whether she's ready to start dating again, especially when the object of her affection-sexy foreman, Bill Slavik-may have set her up to take the fall for Cavanagh's murder.

DONNELL:  Yay!  Judith, welcome back!  Whenever I see how many books you’ve written, I’m tempted to grab the smelling salts and lie down.  You’re obviously disciplined, you run every day, and now you’re writing a mystery series?  Is this a first, have you written mysteries?

JUDITH: Donnell, thanks so much for inviting me back to “Get Lost in a Story!”

 My first mystery was a story I wrote when I was eight years old, called Mystery in Pennsylvania. (Growing up in New York, I considered Pennsylvania quite mysterious.) Mystery in Pennsylvania deals with a woman whose diamond ring goes missing. Her children fly to Pennsylvania to find it. (Airplanes seemed as mysterious to me as Pennsylvania, so I included a long, fanciful chapter about their flight. Not long after writing this masterpiece, I experienced my first plane trip and discovered that airplanes were not mysterious at all, and were in fact rather boring.) Thanks to a few remarkably convenient clues left in their path, the children find their mother’s ring and fly home in triumph.

 As far as books I am actually not embarrassed for people to read, however, Dead Ball is my first official mystery. I’ve written a few romances which include mystery or suspense elements, but they’re still essentially romances. Dead Ball is a mystery with a romantic element.

DONNELL:  I’m a huge fan of soccer.  Do you play?  What sparked the idea for this story?

JUDITH: As an athlete whose enthusiasm and team spirit fail to compensate for my pathetic lack of talent, I didn’t play much soccer growing up. However, I raised two sons who played soccer, and I spent many afternoons of my life standing on the sidelines and cheering. I loved the idea of Lainie Lovett, Dead Ball’s heroine, playing soccer. It helps her stay fit and offers her—a middle-aged widow—a healthy social outlet. Soccer also provides her with some physical skills that wind up keeping her alive when she finds herself on the wrong end of a loaded gun.

 DONNELL:  Naturally, DEAD BALL is set on the East Coast.  Would you say this is your favorite part of the country?  What other areas do you love?

JUDITH: I do love New England, and I’m grateful to have been able to live here for more than thirty years. Rockford, Massachusetts, the setting of Dead Ball, is based on my small, Colonial-era-obsessed town. I’ve traveled around the country, and I can’t say there’s a region I’ve ever visited—East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Hawaii—that I haven’t loved. But I don’t know that I’d want to live anywhere else. New England has everything: ocean beaches, lakes, mountains (folks in Colorado might call them hills, but we call them mountains!), rolling farms and orchards, old-growth forests, cities teeming with vibrant history and cultural riches, and four glorious seasons (although this year, we had perhaps a bit too much winter.)

DONNELL:  I see Lainie has “nearly adult” children.  Now, yours are grown right?  What would you say is the most important thing your children have taught you?  Then turn this.  What’s the most important thing that you’ve taught them?

JUDITH:  The most important thing my sons have taught me is love. Not romantic love but the kind of love so strong and fierce that I would lay down my life for them. The kind of love so solid and all-encompassing that nothing they did could ever diminish my love for them. Before my boys were born, I had never experienced that kind of love. But I have now, thanks to them.

I’d like to think I’ve taught them many things: I’ve taught them to think for themselves, to seek knowledge, to treat respectfully even those with whom they disagree, and to help those less fortunate. I’ve taught them to love music; they are both talented musicians. I’ve taught them to read. I didn’t teach them soccer, though. My husband oversaw all the sports instruction. As I noted above, I’m really good at standing on the sidelines and cheering.
DONNELL:   What would you say is the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve ever learned while doing research?

JUDITH: While writing Dead Ball, I had to do a bit of research on nail guns, since a nail gun is the murder weapon in the book. I found some grisly photos of nail gun injuries, and read stories about construction workers accidentally fastening their hands to boards with nail guns. <Shudder!> I viewed X-rays of nail gun injuries—nails shot through people’s feet, legs, arms, and skulls. I learned more than I needed to know about nail guns, but once you start wandering down a research path, it’s hard to stop. As gruesome as my nail gun research was, it was also fascinating. That said, I would be very apprehensive about using a nail gun. Fortunately, writing books doesn’t require anything more dangerous than a computer and an imagination.
DONNELL:  Answer this question.  I’m most comfortable when . . .

JUDITH:  I’m seated in a beach chair under an umbrella with my loved ones nearby and a good book or my e-reader in my hands. My husband and I take a beach vacation every summer, and our sons usually join us for part of it. We all enjoy lounging on the beach in the shade of our umbrella and reading. Utter bliss!

 Judith, now it’s your turn.  Time to ask the reader a question.   

JUDITH ARNOLD WANTS TO KNOW:  Readers, do you like your mysteries dark or light? I enjoy dark, cynical mysteries on occasion, but in general, I prefer mysteries that have humor in them. Somehow, laughter makes it easier for me to tolerate the blood and gore, and I’ve always believed that humor is the best defense against despair. Which do you prefer? Funny mysteries or dark, moody mysteries?
COMMENTERS WLL BE ENTERED TO WIN a digital copy of Dead Ball.

Twitter:  @juditharnold


  1. Love the title, Judith !
    Thanks for joining us today.

  2. Welcome to Get Lost in a Story, Judith. Welllllll, since you've asked. I like dark and cynical primarily because I come from coordinating the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. I've read Rebecca, let's see, probably 32 times. I love the tortured hero/heroine. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate humor. I can't seem to write all that darkness and not lighten the moment. And I'm adoring Dead Ball. Lainie is a fantastic protagonist! Lifting my coffee cup to many sales.

  3. Funny ones. Life is too dark.

  4. At first, I thought this was going to be a difficult question to answer - over the years, I've enjoyed Robert Parker and Perry Mason with I was thinking were very different but then realized that's not so. I'd have to say I like my mysteries with humor and light on the psychotic. (not a fan of stories about serial killers and the mind games they play.) Gore is a lot easier to deal with in books because one doesn't have to SEE it. But humor makes everything more enjoyable. A little romance doesn't hurt either. I've not yet red Dead ball, but after checking this interview out, I am definitely putting it on my TBR list. It sounds just my speed.

  5. I like both. As long as the plot is interesting and the characters are strong, I'm there!

  6. I like the lighter side of mysteries, just not so light that they are slapstick or silly. This one sounds interesting and I would love to win it!

  7. A little bit of humor, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of suspense - I guess I love the light/medium dark side, but there are a few thrillers that I really enjoyed reading. Mainly don't care to be scared to death or see pages filled with descriptive gore. DEAD BALL is on my Kindle TBR now! Sounds like my kind of reading.

  8. a little bit of everything; depends how it's written

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  9. I'm enjoying your answers to my question! I will confess that I've enjoyed every Dennis Lehane and Laura Lippman mystery I've read, but they're so dark, I just can't read them that often. Another dark writer I read is Lisa Gardner, because she's a long-time friend of mine. She always tells me, "Don't read this--it's too dark for you!" But hey, what are friends for? Donnell's books are dark-ish, but not too dark. That's why I love them!

    1. Ah, thanks, Judith, for the compliment on my not-too-dark-ish books LOL. Love all the authors you mentioned, but I can do without shock and titillation and horror for horror sake does that make sense? I think people grasp evil, unfortunately, we don't have to rub it permanently into their eyes. Dead Ball is just right!

  10. I prefer mysteries that are light and fun.

    yenastone at aol dot com