Jade Hicks is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones, the first novel in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe mystery series.
Welcome, Jade. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too. Hi, I’m Jade Hicks, and my story appears in STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES. It’s part of the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries. I own a tourist shop full of Christmas ornaments and collectibles in the heart of a tiny beach community.
When a beat-up suitcase full of bones washes up by the pier, the residents of the quaint resort town of Mermaid Bay are whipped into a hurricane-sized frenzy over the gruesome find in the middle of their Christmas in July festivities. The holly jolly mood retreats like the tide with everyone wondering who was in the suitcase.
I waded into the fracas when voodoo dolls and mysterious notes and posters about impending doom start popping up all over town, threatening to destroy the economy of a community that lives and dies by tourist dollars. Then tensions crest when I found the prickly bookstore owner strangled to death with a string of holiday lights.
My French bulldog Chloe, and I have to solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt and my business and the festival are forever tainted.
STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES is the first in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries cozy series. The next two books are TWINKLE TWINKLE AU REVOIR and A TISKET A TASKET, NOT ANOTHER CASKET.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too? Heather plots and plans the stories, but sometimes, I have to pop in provide some feedback and keep her on track.
How did you evolve as the main character? I inherited the store from my grandmother when she passed away, so I spend most days trying to keep the brick and mortar store solvent in an industry that depends on the tourist dollar. The best thing I did was invest in a really good website to cater to online orders. My shop, ‘Tis the Season, is in the heart of Mermaid Bay. I’m lucky that I get to talk to a lot of the locals and tourists every day, and it’s the perfect job to keep your finger (or ear) in the gossip grapevine. When I found my friend Emory murdered behind the hot dog stand, I had to help figure out who did it, and I was in the perfect spot to chat up all kinds of suspects.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them? My aunt Lorelei and my friend Patti help out part-time at the store. Everyone in town calls Patti, Peppermint Patti. She loves Christmas and the holidays as much as I do. Bernie is also my part-time handyman and store Santa. And I share my beach cottage with Chloe the white French bulldog. Her nemesis or frenemy is Neville the Devil Cat, who’s the store’s mouser. This gang helps me keep the store going, and they always welcome our visitors.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story? Mermaid Bay is a quaint little beach town. The council prides itself on keeping it small. There are no big box stores or McMansions. It’s full of nostalgia, and the tourists love visiting the bay and the town’s quirky shops. Across the street from my place, there’s the bookstore, the coffee shop, the Busy Bean, and the hotdog shack, Hot Diggity Dogs, which is next to Sugg’s Pier.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book? Thanks so much for letting me stop by your blog today and talk about cozy mysteries. I’m from Virginia, so all of my series are set there. Heather’s Jules Keene books are set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Jade Hicks ones are set on the coast. The Commonwealth has all kinds of history, famous attractions, tourist spots, and wonderful restaurants. Thanks for letting me share it with you all!
Thank you for answering my questions, Jade, and good luck to you and your author, Heather Weidner, with Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones, the first book in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Jade and her author, Heather Weidner by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Heather Weidner: 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 Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass.
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.