Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Chat with Belinda Blake, the Exotic Pet-Sitter

Belinda Blake is the main character of Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass by Heather Day Gilbert, available at NetGalley and for preorder on Amazon, Kobo, AppleBooks, Nook, and all online vendors

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, everyone! My name is Albertha Isobel Hepburn, but nobody calls me that anymore. I'm Grandma Bertha, and this is my blog. My grandson Stu said I should have one, now that I solved a few murders in my spare time and became a celebrity. I want to contact detectives from all over the world to learn more about this job, so I can catch my next criminal in record time.

My first one was this young woman, Belinda Blake, who has the coolest profession in the world. So, Belinda, tell everyone: what's your daytime occupation, and how does it relate to your investigations? 

I'm an exotic pet-sitter, which basically means I'm willing to watch the pets no one else wants to get close to. I've built a clientele in Manhattan, and now that I've lucked into renting a small carriage house in Greenwich, Connecticut, I'm growing my client list there. My clients will often pay me to stay in their homes and care for their pets when they go on vacations.

As a side job, I play video games and review them in game magazines and online. I have quite a few loyal readers, and they've been begging me to start a Twitch (live gaming) stream online, so I'm kicking that around.

As you might have guessed, I'm not the kind of person who likes being locked down with a mundane desk job. I like variety and I'm an introvert, so pet-sitting and gaming are perfect fits for me.

I'm realizing that murders can happen anywhere—high society Greenwich or small-town upstate New York, where my parents live. And sometimes, pet-sitting gives me the cover I need to ask questions.

I love walking my doggies around, but if one day I get a pet anaconda, I'll make sure to contact you. Are you a fan of crime novels? What are your favorites?

I've recently joined a book club with my parents' neighbor, Jonas Hawthorne. We've been working
our way through classics. After reading, I discuss them with Jonas on the phone, or if I happen to be in Larches Corner, where my parents live, I'll join up with the book club at the local coffee shop. The latest one we read was The House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson, and that was too dark for me. I'm an Agatha Christie girl, and I have plenty of her mysteries on my bookshelves. I especially like her sleuth Parker Pyne.

I didn't read The House on Haunted Hill yet, but I love the movie with Vincent Price. He played a madman better than anyone! Speaking of which, what do you know about the psychology of a criminal?

Funny you should ask that, since my psychologist sister, Katrina, thinks I'm a little too trusting. But I've learned a few things from what Katrina has told me over the years, and I'm becoming more wary (although Katrina still thinks I'm too reckless). One thing I've realized is that some of the best liars actually get to the point where they believe their own lies...and those are the ones you have to watch out for.

That's so true! Part of our job is to identify this kind of people. And how would you describe your investigation style?

I wouldn't call it organized—more like intensely dedicated. When necessary, I'll take chances so I can get the information I need. Since I'm a bit of a daredevil, it takes a lot to make me afraid, but let's just say that late last year, I wound up in a situation I could've never seen coming...

Now here's a question you'd never see coming: tell us something about yourself that you wouldn't want other people to know.

Sometimes I actually get homesick for Larches Corner, which doesn't make sense, because I left my small town years ago for college and the Peace Corps, then I started pet-sitting in Manhattan. I explained to my parents that I wanted the excitement of the city and all the opportunities it could afford. Yet some nights, when I open my carriage house windows, I can almost feel the cool breezes that drift off my parents' field, and I remember night skies so dark and clear, you feel like you can see every star. I've been getting nostalgic more lately, and I need to refocus, because my exotic pet-sitting career has really taken off here in Greenwich.

Thank you for your time, babes, and hope your business continues to go well. Hope to see you again soon! 

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like 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
Twitter: @heatherdgilbert
NetGalley for Snake in the Grass:
Amazon for Snake in the Grass:
(Pre-order now and it'll be delivered on June 25th)


  1. Hi, Matt! Belinda enjoyed talking with Grandma Bertha today. Thanks for letting her visit your blog!

    1. It was a great pleasure. Hope to have her here again soon!

  2. Thanks for the chance to eavesdrop on the conversation between Grandma Bertha and Belinda!

    1. You're welcomed! Stay tuned for more conversations like these with many other detectives. ;)