Write What (and Where) You Know

Heather WeidnerHeather 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. Visit Heather at www.heatherweidner.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Author Links:

Secret Lives and Private EyesWebsite and Blog: www.heatherweidner.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/crazyforwords13/

Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lives-Private-Heather-Weidner/dp/1633932567

Thank you so much for letting me visit. I’m Heather Weidner, and my debut novel, Secret Lives and Privates Eyes is set in and around Central Virginia, primarily in Chesterfield County, Amelia County, and Richmond.

Tredegar Iron Works

Tredegar Iron Works

My husband and I (and our two crazy Jack Russell terriers) have called this region home since 1991. I’m a transplant from Virginia Beach, but I love the Central Virginia area. The region with its mix of rural, suburbia, and urban neighborhoods is a great place to live and write novels. I work in downtown Richmond on a hill above the former Tredegar Ironworks with one of the best views in RVA. This region is home to the state capital, but in many ways, it’s still a close-knit community. And I’m excited to share the big city/small town feel of the area with my readers.

The location gives me a lot of freedom to develop my mystery in a world with trees, cows, farmland, suburbia, skyscrapers, and the mighty James River. My sleuth, Delanie Fitzgerald, is a spunky private investigator with a knack for getting in and out of humorous situations. She lives in a quaint Sears and Roebuck catalog bungalow that fits her quirky style. While there are some catalog homes in the Hopewell area, I took the liberty of moving one to Chesterfield County for my private eye. From 1908 to 1940, the homes were originally ordered and delivered by rail to the owners who assembled them on their property. Delanie’s home is the Yates model, and new, the price ranged from $1,812 to $2,058 in 1938.

Richmond Skyline

Richmond Skyline

Central Virginia is on the I-95 corridor, close to Washington, DC, the beach, and the mountains. My character zips around the countryside and through the city in her black Mustang. She investigates clues or tails suspects in and around many historic and popular locales, including: Belle Island, Brandermill, Byrd Park, Church Hill, Kanawha Canal, Library of Virginia, Main Street Station, and Shockoe Slip.

Kanawha Canal

Kanawha Canal

My short stories are also set in Virginia. The idea for “Spring Cleaning” (Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II 2016) came when we moved our offices at work. The moving company brought in large rolling bins for packing, and that gave me idea for some office spring cleaning when I realized the bin could hold a body.

Sometimes, I get ideas for crimes and capers from real cases, but I usually take liberties with the details. In my short story, “Washed up,” (Virginia is for Mysteries 2014) a beat up suitcase washes up on Chick’s Beach, and it’s filled with some mysterious contents. Back in the ‘80s, there was a real case where suitcases filled with body parts did wash up on beaches along the East Coast. In my story, I thought it would be interesting for beachgoers to find something old and sinister in an unexpected place.

While the story, characters, and the murders are fiction, many of the locales are real, and I hope it provides readers some insight into a region jam-packed with four hundred years of American history, unique restaurants, and Southern flair.

From inside the Virginia War Memorial

From inside the Virginia War Memorial

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5 thoughts on “Write What (and Where) You Know

  1. Hi, Heather – Great to read a little more about you. I’m also familiar with VA as we lived there (Northern VA) for many years up until 8 years ago when we moved down to SC. Your debut sounds very interesting. 🙂

  2. My debut novel has a lot of real location built into it too. I’ve never been to Central Virginia or anywhere in the state, but you sure did a great job of making me want to go through that area at some point. I like books that emphasis the setting.

  3. I’m another who uses real locales and local history, so you can see what I think. Your new book sounds intriguing, especially so since my little sister was named Delaine.

  4. I also use real locations in my mystery series. I live in a more rural area (the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire) but I find using the same “small town connections” of a close knit community adds depth and dimension to the stories. Your settings sound like they have the best of both worlds – rural and urban!

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