Guest Post — Heather Day Gilbert, Author of An Exotic Pet Sitter Mystery Series

8 Nov

If Heather Day Gilbert confined her writing to the back copy of cereal boxes, I would be the first in line to get those Wheaties! Thankfully, this talented author is still writing novels. The first book I read of Heather’s was Miranda Warning, the first book in her Murder in The Mountains series (review HERE). I am a big mystery fan, and I knew I had found a new favorite author. Then I read God’s Daughter, a Viking-era novel (review HERE). Oh my! It is fantastic too. Is there anything she cannot write? I don’t think so.

Today Heather is sharing about her writing journey and the decision to focus on cozy mysteries. Yay! I love those too! Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Heather!

(Be sure to check out the 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway link at the bottom of this post.)


Why I Write Mysteries By Heather Day Gilbert

If you’ve read any of my books (I know Beckie has!), you’ll understand that I’ve basically run the gamut as far as genres I’ve written. From historical Vikings to contemporary romantic suspense/mystery to a nonfiction how-to book for independent authors, I’ve “been there, done that.” 

But there comes a time in almost every author’s life when they have to decide which genre they really enjoy writing most. Although I loved researching and writing my Viking historicals, I felt my writing voice fit most naturally with contemporary mysteries, so I decided to pursue that path when I began proposing books to general market editors.

It’s a comfortable fit, because mystery is what I’ve read most in my life. Starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Trixie Belden, and Nancy Drew, I moved on to Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, and Phyllis Whitney in my teen years. To be honest, Agatha is the one author I can reread a hundred times and never get tired of. Although the mysteries I mentioned above are now considered older, they were all “contemporary” in their own time, when you think about it.

I also love writing in first person point of view, and although it’s unusual to do that in historical circles, it’s commonly done in mystery circles.

But I narrowed my genre down even more — I wanted to write cozy mysteries. There are many online articles about what constitutes a true cozy mystery, but I think it’s easiest to explain by pointing to the Murder, She Wrote TV series. The general setup is that an amateur sleuth who lives in a small town gets involved in solving murders that are not graphic/gross, with no sex scenes or heavy cursing. So cozy mysteries are usually clean reads (some more than others, but mine definitely are) that have cozy (not horror) overtones. 

I’ve always loved exploring family relationships in my books, not to mention the psychological motivations for things, and I don’t write gore, language, or sex scenes, so you can see why cozy mysteries are an attractive genre to me. Plus, there’s room to inject humor/wit, which I love in Agatha’s mysteries and I hope to replicate in my own.

Not to mention, I love constructing a plot that twists and fools the reader — and since I’ve read so many mysteries, I try to fool myself as I’m writing, as well. I’ve written mysteries where I’ve switched whodunit as I wrote, just to make it more difficult to figure out. 

I figure you’ve found your niche in writing when it’s not hard to come up with ideas for an entire series based around characters you’ve created because they make you laugh and cry and wonder what they’re going to get up to next. When your readers say that your characters feel like friends and they can’t wait for the next-in-series books.

So for the foreseeable future, you can find me writing cozy mysteries. I hope you can try one and see if it’s a genre you enjoy, as well!

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, is the author of the bestselling Exotic Pet-Sitter mystery series. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like her amateur sleuth Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although so far she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers. Find out more on







10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

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One Response to “Guest Post — Heather Day Gilbert, Author of An Exotic Pet Sitter Mystery Series”

  1. Babbling Becky L November 8, 2019 at 6:59 am #

    I LOVE Heather Day Gilbert’s new cozy series! Everything a cozy should be, plus I can count on if the clean!!

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