Secret Lives and Private Eyes by Heather Weidner: Except, Interview, & Giveaway

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | |

Please give a warm welcome for our fellow book dragon with her first solo novel!

Today I'm happy to present Secret Lives and Private Eyes by Heather Weidner, a mystery following private investigator Delanie as she searches for a reported dead rock star and one of her clients ends up a prime suspect of murder. I picked an endearing excerpt featuring Delanie and her brother Robbie talking about the no-good client.

Delanie and her fam sound amazing and as I discovered, Weidner really knows her mysteries! I wish I could've reviewed this one with the tour, but I had prior reading commitments and I'm a painfully slow writer. :(

But, I do have an exclusive interview to find out more about her, her writing process, and have some fun. That playlist is rockin'.

Last but not least, there's a fantastic giveaway for 4 Nancy Drew charms. It's all waiting for you below the fold.

Secret Lives and Private Eyes

by Heather Weidner
GENRE: Mystery

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?

Delanie finished filing a broken nail before she reached for the jangling office phone. “Hey, Robbie,” she said, balancing the headset on her shoulder while continuing to file. “’Bout time you called your baby sister.” Robbie, a bouncer at the trendy Club Echo, kept different hours than the rest of the world.

“Sorry, but you know I work six days a week, and I met someone recently.” It sounded to Delanie that he was calling from his car with the windows down.

“So, do I get to meet this one or is she another Miss Right Now?”

“Very funny. You’re one to talk. Are you dating anyone, or are your dates still pretend because you’re stalking them?”

“Hey, I stalk for a living,” she said, working on the nails on the other hand.

“Okay, so what’s new with you? Anything fun or has it been just all work?” asked Robbie, the athletic sibling. He had a baseball stint in the minor leagues until he blew out his knee, ruining his chances of ever being called up to the MLB.

“One of my new clients is a neighbor of yours, and I wanted to get the buzz on him. His name is Charles Wellington Smith, the third.”

“Oh, Chaz. Run away fast. He’s an idiot. Whatever you do, don’t take the job. He’s been in and out of jail since high school. He’s a trust-fund baby who tries to be a big shot. But I’m guessing, you’ve already taken the job, haven’t you?”

“Uh huh. He seemed okay. He’s having trouble getting permits from the city for the new business he wants to open.”

“It’s a strip club he wants to put in the middle of the Museum district. He’s not popular with respectable folks. Most people avoid him like the plague.” Before Delanie could comment, her brother continued. “He thinks he’s a badass. He throws money around and always has to be the center of attention. He got that stupid face tattoo when he was in juvie jail. I don’t think he ever killed anyone. He’s just trying to look tough and to gain street cred without having to do anything. Be careful. He doesn’t bring out the best in others.”

“I will. You worry too much. It seems like an interesting job, but I’ll be doubly careful.”

“When he goes downtown, he always shows up with a posse. They drive around in a caravan, led by that tacky Hummer. He always travels in a pack, and he likes to make a scene.”

“He seems like a colorful guy.”

“Just remember that I’m the cool brother. If Steve finds out you’re working for Chaz, you’ll never hear the end of it.”

Heather Weidner: Thank you so much for letting me visit today. I write mystery novels and short stories. I’ve been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew.

Describe your novel in 5 words:
Sassy PI Gets in Trouble

Panster or plotter?

I’m a hybrid. I start out each writing project with a detailed outline and character descriptions. I even color-code chapters to note where the clues, romance, and humor occur. Then I start writing, and one or two of the characters will make themselves known, and I start writing by the seat of my pants.

Do you use pen and paper, electronics, or a typewriter?

I usually write the first draft with pen and paper. I’m can see errors better on paper than on the screen. But I do all of my revisions (and rewrites) electronically.

Soda, coffee, tea or water?

Coke, Dr. Pepper, and iced tea – When I’m writing, I function better with caffeine and chocolate.

I’ve been perusing your blog and loving it, what’s your favorite post/topic? Which one would you like readers to check out now?

Thank you so much. I blog about the writing journey and things I’ve learned that could help other authors. My latest post is about 7 things readers can do to help their favorite authors:

Who’s your favorite human character in Scooby-Doo?

Daphne – She had long red hair, and I could relate. I loved Scooby-Doo. That’s where my love of mysteries began.

Favorite mystery of all time?

I started reading the Nancy Drew series in the fourth grade, and the one that I still remember is The Crooked Banister. I loved that a teen, female sleuth could solve mysteries that the adults couldn’t. She had great friends, a cool car, and the book had a great hot pink cover. In this mystery, the author (there were lots who wrote Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys) used a lot of foreshadowing, irony, and double-meanings (especially the title). This was my introduction to my mystery habit, and I moved on to Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Dragons or unicorns?

Dragons. I like to think of myself as a book dragon instead of a book worm.

Last song you listened to:

Music is always on when I’m working or writing. The last song that I heard in this playlist was Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.” I have a playlist for just about everything. I listen to fast, loud music for writing. When I’m editing, I listen to softer music. Plus, I’m an 80s girl, so I always have something from that era handy. Here’s my playlist for my book, Secret Lives and Private Eyes:

One thing on your bucket list:

I have always wanted to hang gliding off of Jockey’s Ridge in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Favorite social media site?

I spend most of my social media time on Facebook. It’s where I keep up with what’s going on, but I love Twitter and Pinterest too.

Favorite scene from Secret Lives and Private Eyes:

In one scene, my sassy PI, Delanie Fitzgerald, is following someone she suspects of killing the mayor and she’s been trailing him for a while. She sneaks up behind him at a job site. She’s able to spy on him until he calls what he thinks is his client (her made up cover), and her cell phone vibrates. This leads to a chase, and she has to run for her life. I like how Delanie is able to get herself in and out of trouble.

What was the hardest part writing this novel? The easiest?

The hardest part of writing a novel is getting it ready for publication. The easiest part is writing it. I write the first draft pretty quickly, but I spend months and months on rewrites and revisions to get it polished enough for editors and publishers to review. I am also very fortunate to be a part of a great critique group. They are so helpful and provide feedback on early drafts.

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would like to spend time with Delanie Fitzgerald. I think she would be fun to hang out with. She is always getting herself in and out of humorous situations. She is spunky, and I like her sense of adventure. She has no fear and is willing to try anything to get the job done. In this book, she dresses up as a superhero for a ComiCon, and in the next book, she experiences roller derby firsthand. Our schedules are both pretty packed, so we’d probably meet for iced coffee or lunch.

What’s one thing you want potential readers to know?

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. In this, the first of the series, she joins forces with one computer hacker, one smoking hot Mustang, one sleazy strip club owner, one dead mayor, one dead rock singer, and two alpacas.

About the Author:

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.
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.

Heather Weidner will be awarding one (1) Set of 4 Nancy Drew Wine Charms (US Only Addresses) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to follow the tour & comment to increase your chances of winning!


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