Blogging has been wonderful in bringing me into contact with authors I might never have encountered otherwise. Today I’m delighted to welcome writer Heather Weidner, author of Secret Lives and Private Eyes, to Linda’s Book Bag. As an animal lover I was fascinated that Heather often features pets in her writing and luckily she’s agreed to tell me more about that in a great guest post.
Secret Lives and Private Eyes
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female private investigator who has a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations.
Business has been slow for PI, 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 life was purportedly cut short in a fiery car crash still be alive?
And as if sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Chaz Wellington Smith, III, a loud-mouthed strip club owner, hires Delanie to uncover information on the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz is the key suspect. Now Delanie must clear his name and figure out the connection between the two cases before another murder – probably her own – takes place.
Pet Plots! The Role of Pets in My Mysteries
A Guest Post by Heather Weidner
Thank you so much for letting me visit your blog today. I write mystery novels and short stories. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is the first in the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series. Delanie is a sassy, redheaded private investigator who zips around Central Virginia in her black Mustang. Her partner at her PI firm, Falcon Investigations, is Duncan Reynolds, and his sidekick is an English bulldog named Margaret. Margaret, the slobber queen, is an integral part of the characters’ lives. The brown and white log with legs adds humor, normalcy, and often comfort to the plot line. Writers can use the pet character to lighten the scene, bring comfort in a tense situation, or even as a working dog for search, rescue, and drug detection efforts. Pet sidekicks have been a part of mysteries since the early days, and now there are subgenres devoted strictly to pets.
Heather’s ‘undercover’ pet Riley
When I started writing, I knew I wanted animals to have a place in the story. They have always been a part of my life, so there should be pets in my characters’ lives too. Margaret is part of the family. She has a bed at the office, and she rides shot-gun in her favorite guy’s yellow Camaro. Margaret goes just about everywhere that Duncan does, so it fit that she would be included in the main characters’ daily lives. And she is always underfoot if she thinks she’ll score a snack. Margaret even has a little competition and drama when Duncan finds a steady girlfriend.
In this novel, Delanie and Duncan are investigating John Bailey, who they believe to be ‘80s Rockstar Johnny Velvet. A tell-all author hires them to see if the rocker faked his death and is living incognito in rural Virginia on a farm. His farm is packed with animal companions: a donkey, two alpaca (Myrtle and Joe), and five dogs. The leader of that pack is a Jack Russell Terrier. And the names of the dogs provide Delanie with a clue and an a-ha moment that help her solve the case.
Disney and Riley
My husband and I share our home with two (crazy) Jack Russell Terriers. Disney and her brother Riley have two speeds: turbo-charged and sleep. They love chasing each other, running around, tracking squirrels, and playing ball. And they are such good companions and listeners. They often hang out (sleep) in my writing cave when I’m working on projects. And they let me know when we’ve sat still too long. Everything is a game to these two. Life is always fun with Jacks. They keep us on our toes with their antics and constant quests for fun.
They are such an integral part of my life that it’s just natural for them to have a place in my mysteries. Dogs and cats also appear in most of my short stories.
About Heather Weidner
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.
Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.