Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, Lethal Ladies Write, and James River Writers. Her debut novel is Secret Lives and Private Eyes.
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. Let’s find out what her best, worst, and funniest job memories are before she became an author.
Judy: What was the worst job you ever had, and how has it influenced your writing?
Heather: When I first moved to Richmond, Virginia, in the early nineties, I took a job as Director of Special Projects (aka all the tasks that no one else wanted to do) with a company that did band, choral, cheerleading, and dance competitions. They also did a sleep-over band camp in the summer. They sent me to band camp as an adult. We worked fifteen-hour days and didn’t get much sleep. There were several high schools on the campus at the same time, and we had to monitor teen behavior around the clock. And if that weren’t bad enough, I can’t tell you how many weekends I spent with thousands of screaming cheerleaders. On the plus side, I met some interesting folks at that job, and some of their quirky characteristics have appeared in characters in my work.
Judy: What was the best job (besides being a writer) that you ever had, and how has it influenced your writing?
Heather: In the early eighties, I landed my first part-time job at the Virginia Beach Recreation Center in Kempsville. I was the part-time weekend receptionist. When it wasn’t busy, I could read or do my homework. You don’t have to tell me twice to bring a book. Plus, every teenaged boy within a twenty-mile radius came there to swim; play racquetball, basketball, or soccer; lift weights, or shoot pool. I would have done that job for free. It was such a fun place to work, and I kept it all through high school and college.
There was never a dull moment at this job. I learned a lot about customer service and how to handle a variety of situations. Most of the job was fun, but I often had to call the police, fire, or rescue squad for emergencies that happened. Several of my co-workers, our regular clients, and several funny situations have made it into my Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries.
Judy: What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you at work?
Heather: One Christmas, I volunteered to go with Santa Claus to drop off gifts to one of our angel tree sites in rural Virginia. I reserved my Mrs. Santa suit at the costume store way ahead of time. When I went to pick it up, it was raining, and I cut my tire when I parallel parked. I finally made it to the costume shop, and I was horrified when I found out they didn’t have any traditional Mrs. Santa outfits. The only ones they had on the rack were the sexy, short ones. The racy costume wouldn’t do, so I became a fully dressed elf for the visit. Who knew you had to specify what type of Mrs. Claus outfit you wanted?
Synopsis for Secret Lives and Private Eyes: 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?
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong, female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations.
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