How Did a Mystery Writer End up in IT? by Heather Weidner

I have been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. I’m a 70s kid, and my Saturday ritual was overly sugared cereal and hours of mystery cartoons. Scooby-Doo, The Funky Phantom, Josie and the Pussycats, Jabber Jaw, and so many others helped me realize that ordinary people (usually kids) could solve crimes that sometimes the adults couldn’t. And then there were the super heroes to championed truth and justice and always fought for the underdog. (I wanted to be Batgirl.) All of these characters and stories were a gateway to Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Two-minute Mysteries, and many more. Reading opened up so many amazing worlds.

My love for reading turned into two degrees in American literature and eventually, a twenty-plus year career in IT. Yes, I am an English major who is an IT and Governance Manager. They seem like such opposite ends of the spectrum, and when people learn about my background (and that I also write mystery novels) there is always a quizzical look on their faces. How did an English major end up in IT?

My first real job after college was as a technical writer (translating technology to business users) at about the time the internet exploded. Everyone needed content for websites, blogs, wikis, and training materials. It was a natural fit. The IT technicians and engineers also needed someone to translate key concepts and processes into every-day language. I found that as I documented software and processes, I was really good at finding defects, much to the chagrin of the project managers. (The goal is to find defects early in the project and not at the end stages when training and documentation are happening.) I eventually shifted to software testing and channeled my inner Nancy Drew every day to uncover defects and to figure out why something was behaving the way it did. Sometimes, it was just a puzzle with a missing piece, and other times, a giant mystery with way too many suspects and red herrings.

I am fascinated by puzzles, and really, that’s all that IT is. Technology is a tool set like Batman’s utility belt, Wonder Woman’s lasso, or Green Lantern’s ring. We help our business users find solutions to problems or easier ways to do things. We also ferret out defects and find root causes for problems. Technology is such an integral part of everyone’s life now, and a large part of the IT focus has shifted to protecting our assets from attacks. Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, including our security engineers who are ever vigilant with their constant efforts to fend off the bad actors.

So, I would argue that my love for technology (and all things geeky) and reading and writing mysteries aren’t really polar opposites. In my own tiny way, I did get to be one of those meddling kids who unmasks the problem and solves the mystery.


Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.
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.

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Book Summary

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in a red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really up to and what he was really hiding at her resort.



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