Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Interview with Heather Weidner, Author of The Tulip Shirt Murders

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. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.

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. She blogs regularly with the Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.



Did you like mysteries when you were growing up?

Thank you so much for letting me visit today. I have loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. And I was over the moon in 1977 when the “Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys” TV show debuted. (It didn’t hurt that Shaun Cassidy played Joe Hardy.) My friends and I raced through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys collections at the public library in Virginia Beach. My favorite is still The Crooked Bannister (1971) with its hot pink cover. I loved the plot twists and the double meanings. From that point on, I was hooked on mysteries. From there, I moved on to Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, and all the wonderful mystery and thriller authors that I read today.

What was the first story in that genre that you wrote?

My first (published) mystery story was “Washed up” in the Virginia for the Mysteries anthology. In this short story, a suitcase with a rusty gun and shriveled hand appears in the sand outside of a bar on Chic’s Beach in Virginia Beach. The finder gains instant celebrity, and the bar’s profits soar. The ghostly tale of the suitcase’s owner continues to grow until something ordinary turns out to be the missing piece of the puzzle.

What is your favorite part of writing in this genre?

I love the puzzles and the twists in mysteries. I like creating clues and red herrings (fake clues) and sprinkling them through the story.

What do you find most difficult about writing in this genre?

To do a good job with the mystery and the clues, you need to spread them throughout the story. This can be an issue in editing when you move or delete scenes or make changes. In one round of my final edits/reviews, I always make sure that the clues are where they’re supposed to be.

Is there an author in this genre that you admire most?

I have so many favorites: Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, John Grisham, Sherry Harris, Diane Vallere, Rhys Bowen, and Steve Berry. All do a great job with plot and suspense.

What is up next for you?

I am working on a dog novella that should be out next year. I’m also working on two short stories for mystery anthologies. I have a new cozy in progress, and I’ve got to finish book three in the Delanie Fitzgerald series.

Do you have any advice for anyone aspiring to get published?

Don’t give up. Writing is hard work. And publishing is a business, so you need to think of it in those terms. I love writing and seeing the final product in print. It’s a long process with hours and hours of work, but it’s worth it.

Thank you so much for letting me stop by and talk about my writing.


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