Write What (and Where) You Know: Location as Character

by Heather Weidner

Thank you so much for letting me visit. I’m Heather Weidner, and I write the Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. All are set in and around Central Virginia, primarily in Chesterfield, Amelia, Henrico, Farmville, Petersburg, Goochland, and Richmond.

My husband and I (and our two crazy Jack Russell terriers) have called his 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.

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, Bon Air, Brandermill, Byrd Park, Carytown, Church Hill, Kanawha Canal, Library of Virginia, Main Street Station, Maymont, the Poe Museum, and Shockoe Slip. In the back of my novels, I always include a short list of the locales that are real.

I also write short stories, and so far, these have all been 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 (Virginia 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.

In “Par for the Course” (50 Shades of Cabernet, 2017), a murder/accident (you decide) occurs on a Richmond golf course. While the city and its surroundings are real, I made up the golf course on the granite cliffs overlooking the James River. I try not to have horrific crimes occur at real locations.

In “Art Attack” in Deadly Southern Charm (2019), the murder takes place in a gallery in the Shockoe Bottom area of downtown Richmond.

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.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

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 University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Synopsis of Glitter, Glam, and Contraband

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleazy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

Book Links for Glitter, Glam, and Contraband

Amazon: https://amzn.to/36kd3ms

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2rxFTB6

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/359T4H0

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/glitter-glam-and-contraband-by-heather-weidner

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/glitter-glam-and-contraband

Scribd: https://bit.ly/35lz83O

Connect with Heather

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

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

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

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2sd357O

Amazon Authors: https://amzn.to/2LITTPh

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

LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/2rpvvLQ

BookBub: https://bit.ly/36lib9P

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/profile/heatherweidner/

YouTube: https://bit.ly/349Wecz

Thanks for visiting, Heather, and best wishes as you continue your launch. I can’t wait to get my copy of Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. -Maggie 





Write What (and Where) You Know: Location as Character — 2 Comments