Guest Chick: Heather Gilbert

We are so delighted to welcome Heather Gilbert to Chicks on the Case. She is the author of the new Barks and Beans Cafe cozy mystery series. NO FILTER has just been released. Today she is musing on graying gracefully…and writing older heroines. Take it away, Heather!

The COVID epidemic came along just after I’d decided to ditch the dye and let my gray hairs (euphemistically called “silvers”) grow in. It’s been…maybe eight months since I’ve dyed, and honestly, they can’t grow out quickly enough to get rid of that dye line (or as insiders like to call it, the “line of demarcation”).

I started graying in my thirties when I had three small children. Now I have four children—three in college, one going into first grade—and I have a solid white streak in my bangs. I’m forty-five years old, and I’m sick of coloring my hair. Since I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, the streak seems to fit.

However, was there some reason Disney designed some of their villainous women with a gray/white streak? Cruella De Vil, I’m looking at you. Not to mention the evil stepmother on Cinderella. These are the things I ponder as I join so many women in the #grombre movement (check out the hashtag on Instagram for TONS of inspirational photos of gorgeously graying women).

In the twelve novels I’ve written, all my female protagonists are strong women, but their ages have usually averaged out somewhere in their twenties. For my newest cozy mystery series (Barks and Beans cozy mysteries), I’m featuring an amateur sleuth (Macy Hatfield) who is thirty-seven, and she’ll age as the series progresses. Her brother (Boaz “Bo” Hatfield) is in his forties.

me gray hairI have to say, I’m loving writing an older protagonist. Macy’s not a newbie when it comes to relationships—she’s recently divorced when the series starts with the first book, No Filter. Unlike my last fresh-faced sleuth (Belinda Blake in the Exotic Pet-Sitter series), Macy isn’t over-the-top adventurous—she’s just trying to figure out what she really wants to do with her life…and stumbling onto dead bodies along the way, as one does. 😉

And if you’re wondering what my hair currently looks like, check out this video clip of me reading the beginning of No Filter. I hope you’ll get hooked and pick it up soon!

About the book:

NoFilter Heather GilbertWelcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture—the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog’s collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

About the author:

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries set in her home state of West Virginia. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect what they love.

Connect with Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

Back to the silver hair thing…have you stopped dyeing your hair during COVID? If so, do you think you’ll stick with it? Please share in the comments!

34 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Heather Gilbert

  1. Congrats on the new series. A new setting that I bet will have lots of villainous affairs. How exciting.
    I stopped coloring my hair about a decade ago. The grey is coming in fast and furious now. I think I will look good once it’s taken over fully.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Dear Heather, Congratulations on joining the Chicks and your new series! I hope both are wonderfully successful and you have as much fun as we readers do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Women age?! Please excuse me while I alert all media.

    Thank you for the important reminder that women shouldn’t hide their age… they should embrace it. Or maybe even pretend to be a little older than they really are to appear distinguished 😉

    Congratulations on the new release!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Heather, your hair looks like mine. I’ll be 47 in September and I also decided to “ditch the dye” last November. I’ve made significant progress (my stylist warned it would take a year), but I’ve also been unable to cutoff the dyed portion. I need to check out the #grombre hashtag!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’ve never colored my hair, so I haven’t done anything differently for COVID. The grays have been creeping in for about 15 years now. Mine are pretty well spread out though and you can’t see them from a distance. Not sure how I would feel if they were more prominent, but I hope I would embrace them. I suppose I’ll find out within the next decade!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Heather, I love this!! I just had my first haircut in four months but opted not to dye. I don’t know if I’m going to officially go gray but right now I’m enjoying the Cruella Deville look. But my question is… three kids in college and a first grader?? How did that happen?!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Okay, Ellen, do we have to have “the talk”?

        At least she didn’t do perfect timing like me. I have 3 kids, 6 years 4 months between the 1st & 2nd, and 6 years 4 months between the 2nd & 3rd.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I love it that you’re writing about an older protagonist (although 37 sounds downright spritely to me)! And I love dogs. This sounds like a series I need to check out.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Well, as one who started going gray in her late twenties, I can relate. Though truthfully, my hair is more white than gray, now (and I’ve discovered that wonderful purple shampoo for little old ladies–and me–which keeps my white from turning yellow).

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Heather, and congrats on the new series–it sounds wonderful! And love that cover!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’ve never dyed my hair to cover my gray, but I would sometimes put in some henna or copper color. What a pain, though. And my Pandemic Hairstyle was to shave mine completely. I’ve wanted to do it for awhile but the timing was never right … until lockdown. I paired it with an annual fundraiser I do for foster kids. Since I couldn’t throw the annual party, I posted secret photos on my website you could only see if you donated. The whole process has been a hoot and I raised $2200 to spend at my local bookstore for the foster kids. Win-win-win! It’s just past the month mark and it’s fascinating to see my cowlicks and swirls coming back.

    Thanks for visiting us here today, Heather. Can’t wait to pick up a copy of the new book!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Considering how many cozy sleuths are in their 20’s, I understand what you are saying about someone being in her late 30’s. But older? Really? She’s younger than me!

    As to gray, my mom has been thrilled to point out that I am graying around the temples for years. I don’t dye. But one benefit of cutting my hair so short is that it hides the grays.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Huge congratulations on the new release, Heather. I’m so happy for you! While I’ve been going gray since high school, I tell my kids they’re the ones responsible for it! lol

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Congrats on your new series, Heather!
    Like Marla, I’ve never colored my hair, so we’ll see what happens. Also, I like to think of the gray streak as less associated with villains and more tied to, say, superheroine Rogue from the X-Men.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Welcome, Heather, and congrats on the new series!

    Your hair is gorgeous, and your protagonist sounds like someone I can’t wait to be friends with. I’m very much looking forward to reading No Filter!

    As for my locks, until stay-at-home orders, I hadn’t seen my real hair color in nearly 30 years. I don’t have much gray to cover, but I’ll probably continue to dye my hair, mostly because I’m so used to seeing my “natural” shade in the mirror!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Congratulations on the series! And love your hair–I have given two of my characters a white streak because I love that so much (ever since I saw it on Anne Bancroft). I wished so hard for a cool streak in the front, but mine have come in from the center, like a fountain spouting out of the top of my head. I don’t color so the stripes of grey are gradually taking over…right now, they’re thin enough that they’re sort of like highlights, but I know that won’t last! 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting us today!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Heather, It’s so nice to meet you, and thanks for visiting us Chicks! Your series sounds great (love the cover!). I’ve highlighted my hair since my 20s but my hair has always been multi shades of light-to-dark. I’m sure there’s some gray in there somewhere, but my trick is not to look. My older sister, who has super-dark hair, is just letting her gray come in now but she’s also growing it out (past shoulder-length now). I think she looks awesome.

    Like

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