Bill Schweigart is always thinking about the best place for a dead body.
The Arlington-based author, who lives in the Barcroft neighborhood, could be taking a walk on nearby trails, grabbing a bite at a local restaurant, or even out with his wife, but he’s always looking for the next local spot to set a crime.
“I’ll be out on a bike ride or a date with my wife, and we’ll be strolling somewhere, and I’ll say ‘Oh, that would be a great place to drop a body,’” Schweigart told ARLnow. “Now, that’s not the most romantic thing to say on a date, but my wife knows I’m a crime writer.”
Schweigart is the author of five books, including The Guilty One, which was just released last month. What makes his novels unique, at least to locals, is that he makes a point to base many of them in places he frequents in Arlington and Alexandria.
That might mean a biking path he uses often, the woods behind his house in Barcroft, or even a pizza place he likes.
“In the Guilty One… I shout out Fairlington Pizza,” Schweigart said. “I put a lot of different cameos [in my books]. As much local flavor as I can include, I do that just because it makes it more fun.”
The Guilty One tells the story of an Alexandria Police Department detective who helped stop an active shooter but can’t remember how he did it. Six months later, while running on the W&OD Trail, he finds a body in a tree that possibly reveals the truth of what happened that day.
While a good portion of the book takes place in Alexandria, Fairlington figures prominently in the story as well.
“I will say some deadly shenanigans occur in Fairlington,” Schweigart said.
The Guilty One isn’t his only book where familiar locales are plot points. His second book, The Beast of Barcroft, is named after the neighborhood he’s lived in since 2008.
Schweigart explained that the simple reason why he includes so many local spots is that it’s easy and fun to “write what I know.” Plus, Arlington’s real-life diversity in terms of neighborhoods, settings, and residents makes it an ideal fictional backdrop.
“This place is a great place because you can write any kind of story,” he said. “You’ve got gleaming high rises. You have trails and wilderness. You’ve got politics. You’ve got the rich and powerful. You have the not-rich and the not-powerful. And they are all colliding and living pretty close together in the shadow of the nation’s capital. And it’s just a great engine for stories.”
It’s been a busy few months for Schweigart, not even accounting for his day job working for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Earlier in the year, a James Patterson-led collection of short stories to which Schweigart contributed was released. He first started working on his story “Women and Children First” with the legendary writer prior to the pandemic, but it took some time for the book 3 Days to Live to come out, due to the number of projects Patterson has his hands in.
For Schweigart, it typically takes about a year for him to write a book. It took him four years, though, to finish his first book, Slipping the Cable. He came away from that experience with a valuable lesson that he now passes along to other aspiring writers.
“Write every day. I learned that the hard way,” he said. “It does not have to be a huge word count, but if you establish a daily practice, the words just come easier over the long run.”
As for what’s next, Schweigart said he has already completed a sequel to The Guilty One and is talking with the publisher about it now. Asked whether readers can expect even more well-trodden local spots in this next book, Schweigart enthusiastically answered.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said.
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About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Standup Comedy Starring Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel Live)
Friday, December 29
Headliner: Casey James Salengo
Casey James Salengo is a NYC-based comedian who’s been featured on Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel Live, This Week at the Cellar,
Menorah Lighting – Met Park at Amazon HQ2
Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration
Experience the festival of lights!!
*Lighting of a giant 9-foot Menorah