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****Heather Weidner’s Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is #191 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt. All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? It took about four months to write the book and another six to seven for editing and revising. The book launched November of 2019.
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo? I work out of my home office. We live outside of Richmond, Virginia. My office is on the second floor, and the house is on a hill on a wooded lot. So my view is almost at the treetop level. I love the view, the four seasons, and all the squirrels and birds that hang out in the trees.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? Pre-COVID19, I worked 9-hour days, and I probably commuted another 2 hours. I get up really early and do my social media/book marketing, blogging, writing, and revising tasks. Then I try to write or revise some at lunch. And I work on my writing projects or my social media sites in the evenings. Now that I’m working at home most days, I try to stick to the same schedule. My commute time is now writing time. (Above Right: Heather's writing space)
I have to have music when I write. I tend to listen to louder things while I’m writing, and softer genres when I’m editing. I am an 80s girl, so that’s always my go-to music, but I like a lot of different types of music. (Left and Below Right: View from Heather's writing space)
I try to write on my computer, but there are times when I’m out somewhere, and I do handwrite parts. Caffeine is also a must for writing and revising sessions. (So is chocolate). I like iced tea, iced coffee, and soft drinks (Coke or Dr. Pepper).
What is the summary of Glitter, Glam and Contraband? I write the Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter Glam and Contraband.) Delanie is a sassy private investigator who gets into way more trouble than I do
Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference. This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. This is from the opening scenes of Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. Delanie is a private investigator who often has to do some undercover work to find out information.
Delanie Fitzgerald hopped onto an empty bar stool at Federico’s in Richmond’s East End. The smallish room looked like it had been last decorated when disco balls and pet rocks were all the rage. The bodies, two and three deep, around the bar and two pool tables did not seem to mind the dated décor. They laughed and drank like this was a second home.
“What’ll ya have?” asked the tall bartender. His tight black T-shirt stretched to accentuate his muscles.
“Ginger ale.” She scanned the standing-room-only crowd.
She put a five on the bar, which he picked up when he set the drink down beside it. “A ginger ale for a ginger.” The bartender smiled and left her change by the glass.
She smiled back with a little too many teeth and hoped he did not notice her scowl. Redheaded wisecracks were nothing new.
By the time he moved on to another patron, she had spotted her mark in a booth across the room. The bank executive looked younger in jeans and a teal polo shirt. The photo supplied by her client showed him in a tailored dark suit and the obligatory corporate red tie.
He sat across from a woman with long blond curls and even longer legs that jutted out from her red party dress. They leaned in toward each other. The man smiled at whatever the woman was saying, and they continued their intimate chat. Delanie watched until the woman slid out of her side of the booth and made a beeline for the back of the bar.
Delanie waited to see if his companion would return. When it looked like the other woman was preoccupied, Delanie clicked the button for her video camera in her black clutch and picked up her drink. She eased over to the man’s table. “Excuse me. Do you mind if I join you?”
“That seat’s been waiting for you,” he said with a smile that lingered too long.
She smiled and sat down, setting her purse on the table.
“I’m Fisher. Fisher Benson. And if you’re lucky, I could be your next big mistake.” He took her hand and kissed it.
Delanie batted her eyelashes and smiled again. She stifled a laugh and coughed to try to cover it. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Danielle.” He didn’t waste any time.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? Delanie is a private investigator. She often creates personas or characters when she’s doing undercover work. In this scene, she is pretending to pick up a guy in a bar to find out information about him for her client (his wife).
The Delanie series is fun to write. She is fearless and adventurous. She’s always willing to try new things. Sometimes, she gets herself in trouble by running headlong into situations without much thought for an escape plan. Delanie spends a good chunk of her time in the books trying to get herself out of some humorous situations. It this book, she encounters a strange noise in the ceiling of her attic that turns out to be something unexpected. She is also hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. She has to use her quick wits to function in all kinds of environments.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I don’t save edits. I try to keep one master copy (and a backup). But, if I do cut a large chunk of text from a chapter, I tend to save it. Sometimes, it becomes an idea for later or for a short story. In Glitter, Glam, and Contraband, I had Delanie take on a new client with a missing dog. The storyline didn’t quite fit with her other investigations in the novel, so it was cut after my critique group read it. I saved it, and it eventually became the basis for “Strut Your Mutt” in To Fetch a Villain (Mutt Mysteries October 2020).
In Secret Lives and Private Eyes, chapter one was originally chapter four. My editor and publisher felt the story was stronger by starting closer to the action.
I write my first draft, and it’s pretty sloppy. I do outline initially, but the story tends to go where it wants to when I start writing. After I am close to my word count (70-75k words for novels, 25-30k words for novellas, and 4-5k words for short stories), I begin to edit and revise. This takes me longer than the writing process. Then I submit it to my two critique groups for their review/feedback. Then I make edits, and it’s ready for my beta readers. After the last round of revisions, it goes to my agent (Dawn Dowdle Below Right) for her review. Then it goes to my editor for several rounds of line and copy editing before publication. There’s one last read through when the ARCs (advance review copy) are done.
Anything you would like to add? I also write dog-themed mysteries for the Mutt Mysteries series. My new cozy mystery series, set in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA), launches October 2021. (I also write short stories set in Virginia.)
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. Her Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries launch October 2021.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime Chessie, 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.
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