Could the singer—whose career purportedly ended in a fiery crash almost thirty years ago—still be alive?
As if sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Delanie is hired by loud-mouth strip club owner Chaz Wellington Smith, III, to uncover information about the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz becomes the key suspect, and Delanie must clear his name. She also has to figure out why a landscaper 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?
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of difficult, and sometimes humorous, situations.
Q: Heather, thanks for stopping by! Tell us a little bit about your main character, Delanie.
A: Delanie Fitzgerald is my sleuth. She is a sassy private investigator who has a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations. She lives in a Sears Catalog house from 1939. Her partner, Duncan Reynolds, is a computer geek/hacker who has an English bulldog named Margaret.
Q: I love those Sears Catalog Homes! So how much of you is in your protagonist? How would you feel about Delanie if you met her in real life?
A: We are both redheads, and we both like junk food, driving Mustangs, and dogs. But that’s about where the similarity ends. Delanie gets into way more trouble than I ever did. I think she and I would be friends. We have a lot of the same interests. She would be fun to hang out or have adventures with.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: Delanie grows as a character throughout this book and into the next one. In Secret Lives and Private Eyes, she gets into a little trouble by crossing some lines in her investigations. By book two, she’s learned from some of her earlier missteps.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: Hasn’t every mystery writer? I always tell my unruly co-workers that they’re going to end up in a dumpster in a future book. I sprinkle in characteristics of real people in all of my books and stories. Family, friends, and co-workers will probably see names and phrases that they recognize.
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: I write what and where I know. My stories and novels are all set in Virginia. 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, 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 zooms around the countryside and through the city in her black Mustang. She investigates clues or tails suspects in and around many historic places. While the story, characters, and the murder are fiction, many of the locales are real, and I hope it provides readers some insight into a region jam-packed with lots of American history, great restaurants, and Southern flair.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: I think Jennifer Lawrence could play Delanie Fitzgerald. Duncan Reynolds could be played by Brenton Thwaites, Nicholas Hoult, or Ansel Elgort. Client and strip-club owner, Chaz Smith, could be played by Charlie Sheen or Gary Oldman. And 80s rocker Johnny Velvet could be played by Jon Bon Jovi or Johnny Depp.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: The best advice I ever received was “Don’t Give up!” Writing is hard work, and you’re going to need thick skin. If you want to be a writer, be persistent.
I’ve had people make comments about how easy it is to write a book. Well, sort of. I always imagined the life of an author as someone who drank a lot of coffee and wrote brilliant books. I didn’t realize how much editing, revising, proofreading, marketing, and social media go along with the job. I love every minute of it, but it’s not always easy or fast. Publishing is often a slow process.
About The Author
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She currently lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. She is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Guppies, and Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia. Heather’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Her debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, will be published on June 20, 2016.
She is currently President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia.