I’m excited to have Heather back, and she’s going to share about her new book, STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES. Isn’t that a catchy title?
Heather took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions.
Why did you decide to write a new series?
I have always loved cozy mysteries, and I have so many ideas for sleuths and adventures (and murder and mayhem). I have two series with Level Best Books, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries. My sleuths have fun jobs that I think about sometimes. Jules owns a camping resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She has restored vintage trailers for the ultimate glamping experience for her guests. She and her boyfriend, the hunky Jake Evans, added a village of tiny houses, themed for famous writers, to the resort for additional glamorous camping experiences.
Jade Hicks owns a Christmas store in the quaint beach community of Mermaid Bay. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and I always loved the Christmas stores that catered to the tourists. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and shopping for ornaments is always a must when we’re on vacation.
Tell us about your new sleuth. What is her career? Why did she decide to solve a murder? My latest mystery is STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES. Jade works really hard to keep her Christmas shop that she inherited from her grandmother solvent in the tiny beach town of Mermaid Bay. She had no intention of sleuthing. She’s too busy with the shop and its online business. But one morning, she and her rollie pollie French bulldog Chloe bump into what washed up on shore, a suitcase full of bones. And it happened on the day that the town’s Christmas in July festival is set to kickoff. The town’s grapevine goes into overdrive, and everyone is concerned about the ominous message. Then local business owners start to get targeted messages and creepy warning posters pop up in front of all the businesses. Panic sets in when the town’s prickly bookstore owner ends up dead behind the hot dog stand. She’s been strangled with a string of Christmas lights. All eyes turn toward Jade and her store, and she becomes determined to solve the mystery before it kills her business.
Jade will appear next in TWINKLE, TWINKLE AU REVOIR and A TISKET A TASKET, NOT ANOTHER CASKET.
How long have you been writing? How many books do you release every year? How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve been writing since the seventh grade. (I wrote the Adventures of Share-a-lot Bones for my 7th grade English class.) I have loved mysteries since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. (Plus, my dad was a police officer, and I thought everyone talked about murder and mayhem at the dinner table.)
I usually have 2-3 publications a year. One novel from each series comes out, and then I’ve been fortunate enough to have some articles and short stories published in anthologies.
Right now, I can write 2 to 3 cozy novels a year. When I started, it took me 5 years to write the first book, and another 2 to get it published. I worked on my writing and found that if I write every day with word count goals, I can finish a first draft in 5-6 weeks. (Now there’s lots of editing and revising after that.)
When the pandemic took over all of our lives, my company let us work from home full-time. I promised that I would use my commute time (about 2 hours a day with traffic) and my lunch hour to write and edit. I was amazed that I was able to write 3 novels during each of those years just by committing to a 3-hour a day schedule.
Thank you so much for letting me share my cozy mysteries with your readers. Both series have pet sidekicks like your fabulous series. The glamping series, features Bijou, the Jack Russell Terrier, and Chloe the French bulldog teases her arch-nemesis, Neville the Devil Cat, at ‘Tis the Season, the Christmas Shoppe.
Heather, thank you for sharing. It’s been fun!
More about Heather:
Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries, all set in Virginia.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries 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.
Social Media Links
Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ