Wednesday, February 7, 2024

An Interview with Heather Weidner By E. B. Davis


Love is in the air when Hollywood arrives in Mermaid Bay, and the town may never be the same. Fans will do almost anything to get a glimpse of the actors or a chance to be an extra in the Love Channel’s “My Coastal Valentine.” Crowds flock to the cozy beach town from all over and business is booming for Christmas shop owner, Jade Hicks, until the body of a testy reporter is found in one of the actors’ rooms. And if murder isn’t bad enough, someone tries to kill the show’s star, hunky Raphael Allard. The cozy little beach town feels cursed, as the Love Channel threatens to pull out of the project. Jade and the gang, Lorelei, Peppermint Patti, Bernie, Chloe, and Neville the Devil Cat, have to solve the crimes before it ruins the town’s reputation and breaks the hearts of fans across the country.


Twinkle Twinkle Au Revoir by WWK’s Heather Weidner is the second book in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe mystery series. It was released on January 16th. This is the first book I’ve read in the series, but you can catch up by reading the first book, Sticks and Stones and A Bag of Bones.


Welcome to the flip-side of WWK, Heather.                                                             E. B. Davis

Is Mermaid Bay based on a real place? Mermaid Bay is made up. I needed a quaint little beach community near the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. But it is based on a real place. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and there is a neighborhood that my parents lived in when they first got married. It’s Chick’s (or sometimes Chix) Beach near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We used to go there all the time. It was the perfect beach away from all the tourist areas.


‘Tis the Season is the shop of main character Jade Hicks. Is her merchandise just devoted to Christmas? The focus is a Christmas store, but in her showrooms, she features themed ornaments for other holidays. In honor of the filming of “My Coastal Valentine,” she decorates the trees with hearts and cupids. (I’m working on Book 4 now, and a CreatureCon comes to town in that mystery. Jade and Patti had a ball decorating some of the trees with Big Foot, Nessie, Yeti, and Mothman ornaments.)


The Love Channel is filming in Mermaid Bay. What type of show is “My Costal Valentine?” This is loosely based on the television channels that air holiday romances and small-town mysteries. They are filming the Valentine-themed show in town, and everyone wants to get in on the act.


Jade has a French bulldog named Chloe. Her aunt Lorelei has a cat named Neville the Devil. They both bring their pets to work at the shop. How did Neville get his name? Do Chloe and Neville get along well? Chloe and Neville are frenemies who don’t want to admit that they really like the other. Chloe is a butterball of a dog who loves snacks, cuddles, and naps. She considers herself the queen of the store, but Neville the Devil Cat has other ideas. The tuxedo cat was a stray, who made himself at home. He’s a great mouser, and he loves to taunt and tease Chloe. Jade’s single Aunt Lorelei fell in love with Neville, and she takes him home on evenings and weekends. He’s living his best life.


The Hollywood people think that any publicity is good, but the town’s business owners beg to differ. What is their contention? Mermaid Bay, especially the old guard, strives to maintain the quaintness of the beach town, and they work had to ensure that it doesn’t become a beach mecca filled with McMansions, big box stores, and loud beach entertainment. The town folk like the idea of the good publicity from the Love Channel’s filming, but they are horrified at the cavalier and diva-like attitudes of the actors. They also don’t want the stain of a murder to tarnish the town’s reputation.


Does Ruby have personality problems? Every time she has a problem, she freaks out and calls Jade, like five times, whether it’s a PR issue or murder. What does she think Jade can do about any of it? Why does Jade run to her whenever she calls? Ruby is a tad high strung. She was friends with Jade’s grandmother, so there’s a connection that Jade feels obligated to help even when some of Ruby’s demands are a little over the top. Thankfully, after the Love Channel folks leave town, Ruby finally gets a much-needed vacation.


I was surprised that when the body of the reporter was found Nick, the sheriff and also Jade’s beau, wasn’t in attendance. Why were the state police called in? Aren’t the local investigators enough? Mermaid Bay is a tiny town with a limited police force. The smaller towns in Virginia often call upon other localities or the state police to help with large cases and detailed forensic work.


I admit to being confused. There were so many Valentine’s Day references, from ornaments, decorations, and cookies, I thought it was February when the action is set near Thanksgiving. Why were these items featured in the shop? Jade and Patti decorated the two large trees in the lobby for the filming of “My Coastal Valentine.” They pulled out all their decorations and special treats for the cast and crew because the store’s going to be featured in the show.


Jade is friends with Amy, who is the bookstore owner. Is Amy new to Mermaid Bay?  In Sticks and Stones and Bag of Bones, the local bookstore owner is brutally murdered, and Jade has to help solve the crime. Amy Pemberton arrives in town from Boston to take over her aunt’s store, and she and Jade become fast friends. She also has a store cat, Mr. Darcy, who is a long-haired Persian.


Is local reporter, Nell Jones, bad at her job or is she a good neighbor? Nell is always looking for her big break. She wants to do hard core news stories, but she works for a small- town weekly that specializes in puff pieces and town gossip (and coupons for the tourists). She likes being a writer, but she is always looking for that big story that will get her a byline.


Todd, another friend of Jade’s and new boyfriend of Amy, owns a hot dog joint on the beach. I was concerned about Jade when she ate there four times in one week, eating a Coney Island dog, a chili dog, a turkey dog, and a plain dog, but with tater tots. Does she really love hot dogs? How does Jade stay in shape? Jade has a junk food habit. She exercises, takes long walks with Chloe, and works incredibly long hours. She’s working on better eating habits in later books.


I can understand that Mermaid Bay might not have its own medical examiner or coroner, but having autopsies done in Richmond seems far away. Jade mentioned that Mermaid Bay is near to Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. Doesn’t Yorktown have autopsy capabilities? In Virginia, the districts are Central (Richmond), Tidewater (Norfolk), Northern (Northern Virginia), and Western (Roanoke). The historic triangle (where Mermaid Bay is located) is pretty much halfway between Norfolk and Richmond.


Britt, a TV crew member says, “Nobody observes boundaries anymore.” (Page 63) Do you agree with her? The old guard in Mermaid Bay honors traditions and expects certain behaviors. They work hard to preserve the town’s traditions. I think culture and times are changing. We’ve relaxed a lot of expectations, and how we interact with technology has changed our culture tremendously. I think social media has changed how we react and interact with one another. People share and make comments online that I’m not sure they would if they were having a personal interaction.


I wondered, when Raphael seeks Jade out to help him figure out who is targeting him, did Ruby tell him to go to Jade? Raphael is gregarious, and he talks to everyone. From talking to some of the locals, he picked up that Jade had solved a murder in town and that she had a knack (or a passion) for sleuthing.


Why would Aunt Lorelei accuse Jade of avoiding her boyfriend, Nick? Jade and Nick have a good relationship, and they’re able to talk about some of the cases, but he does not want her involved in the investigations. And he certainly doesn’t want her poking around asking questions and putting herself in danger. Jade feels a little guilty that she’s been sleuthing and sticking her nose into Nick’s investigation.


Who is Lakeisha? She’s a friend of Todd’s. She helps him with some computer research.


What’s next for Jade and her gang? Book Three comes out next January. It’s called A Tisket a Tasket Not Another Casket. It’s the holiday season, and the town is sponsoring a fireworks contest. The winners will get the contract for the Memorial Day and Fourth of July firework shows for the summer season. Everyone is excited about the spectacular performances each team is planning until something goes terribly wrong, and an attempt to sabotage one of the competitors leads to murder. I’m also excited to announce that Level Best Books has extended the contract for Jade and the gang, so there will be three more books after this.




  1. Heather, congratulations on the new book! Fun interview!

  2. A fun interview, Heather. And I love the title for #3 in the series!

  3. Fun interview. Nice to see Heather’s serious side (author) contrasted with what sounds like a book created by her hilarious side. Can’t wait to read it. Good interview!

  4. As always, your amazing sense of humor comes through. Good luck with the rest of this series, and congrats on the extended contract.

  5. A book with both the beach and Christmas things! Plus hot dogs. Bound to be a hit.

  6. Hands down I love your titles! This sounds like a delightful series and being a Jersey Girl, I can relate to the setting.

  7. Congratulations, Heather, on another publication. It sounds very interesting.

  8. Thank y'all so much! And thanks, E. B. for the fun interview!