Wednesday, September 14, 2016

VBT: Secret Lives and Private Eyes by Heather Weidner

Secret Lives
by Heather Weidner


GENRE: Mystery


BLURB: Business has been slow for Private Investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, but her luck seems to change when a tell-all author hires her to find rock star, Johnny Velvet. Could the singer whose career purportedly ended in a fiery crash almost thirty years ago, still be alive?
And as though sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Chaz Wellington Smith, III, a loud-mouthed, strip club owner, also hires Delanie to uncover information about the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz, is the key suspect. Now Delanie must clear his name and figure out why landscaper Tripp Payne, keeps popping up in her other investigation. Can the private investigator find the connection between the two cases before another murder – possibly her own – takes place?


Excerpt One:

“Hey, do you want another drink?” slurred the man on the barstool next to Delanie Fitzgerald.
Delanie leaned in closer. “No, but I’d like to go somewhere and get to know you better. What do you think about that?” she asked, winking at the fifty-something sitting next to her. She tossed her long red curls to one side and tilted her head toward him. She hoped the black dress showed enough cleavage to do the trick.

He smiled. He looked like he was expecting her to kiss him. When she didn’t, he waved to the bartender for the tab.

The man placed two twenties on the bar next to his glass. Delanie slid off the barstool, careful not to cause her micro-dress to creep any higher. Flipping her shiny purse strap over her shoulder, she made her way out through the crowd. Delanie felt his ragged breaths on the back of her neck, huffing and puffing like he’d run three or four laps. He reached out and touched her shoulder, trying to steady himself.

When they arrived at the parking lot, she said, “I’m over there. I’ll follow you. Where to?
“I dunno. I’m not from this part of town.”
“We could go to your place,” she suggested.

“Uh, no. Too far. It wouldn’t be any fun.”

“Well, I’m all about fun. Okay, where then?” She shivered and wished she had brought a jacket, but it would have ruined the effect.

“Uh, I dunno,” he stammered. “I think they’re some places over near the interstate a couple of blocks from here.”

“Okay. I want somewhere nice with a Jacuzzi.”

“I didn’t bring a swimsuit.”

“Neither did I,” she said.

He leered at Delanie, taking in her long legs and short skirt, while fishing through his pockets for his keys.

“I’m in the beige Corolla down there,” he said.

She climbed in her black Mustang and watched him stagger to his car.

Delanie felt a tinge of guilt for letting him drive drunk, but she needed to get him at a motel. She started the engine. He still hadn’t made it to his car. After turning on the lights and the radio, she kicked off the four-inch heels that pinched her feet and made her calves burn. She threw them in the backseat and settled in to watch what he would do next.

He finally backed out, and Delanie followed behind him until he pulled into a small motel at the entrance ramp to I-95. The sign under the neon vacancy advertised Jacuzzis and free breakfast.

He parked and walked over to her car. Rolling down the window a crack, she waited. He leaned forward but didn’t say anything.

“Why don’t you get us a room?” she asked. “I’ll pull around back and wait for you to get everything ready.”

“Okay,” he smiled again and wandered off in the direction of the office. It was twelve thirty-five according to the radio display.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Currently, she is President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, and a member of Guppies and Lethal Ladies Write. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is her debut novel.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Contact Information

Interview with Heather Weidner

As a kid did you write or make up stories?
I did. I loved to write and tell stories. I’ve kept a journal for a long time. I also wrote and designed the artwork for several children’s books when I was in elementary school. (One was even a mystery.)

Where does most of your Character inspiration come from?
I like to people watch. I base my characters on combinations of real people. I keep a notebook with me in my purse and car. I jot down ideas and interesting snippets of conversation. I threaten my teammates at work from time to time that if they don’t behave, they’ll meet a horrible demise in a dumpster in the next book. (I haven’t done that yet. There’s always the next book.)

Do some qualities of your characters come from real people?
Sometimes it’s a specific look (e.g. hair/eye color). Sometimes it’s temperament.  A lot of the time, I hear great lines, and I find a place to slip them in my stories.

What was the inspiration for your book?
I grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I wanted to have a strong, female sleuth that didn’t take herself too seriously. I created Delanie Fitzgerald, PI, and in my mind, she’s a grown up Nancy Drew. She’s sassy and feisty, and she gets into way more trouble than I do. She likes fast cars and guys that are a little dangerous.

What is your favorite spot to write?
I love to write at my kitchen table. I have a pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers, and they keep me company if I’m writing at home. I do parts of my first draft old school on pen and paper, so I can write anywhere. When it’s nice, I like to write outside.

What advice would you give budding writers?
Do NOT give up. If you want to be a writer, you need to hone your craft. Write as much as you can. It is a lot of hard work if you want to be a published writer. You need to be persistent. It is work, but it’s worth it. Also, find a tribe of writers. I am so fortunate to be a part of Sisters in Crime, Guppies (SinC online chapter), and my local Central Virginia chapter. These ladies (and gents) are so supportive and generous with their time. The advice, encouragement, and support is invaluable.


Heather Weidner will be awarding one (1) Set of 4 Nancy Drew Wine Charms (US Only Addresses) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.