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Aaron Lazar is the author of the Legarde and Moore mystery series. He’s currently promoting the release of his latest novel, Tremolo: Cry of the Loon.
Nice to have you here, Aaron. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?

Thank you, Mayra. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d love to tell you about Tremolo and the inspiration behind it. Here’s a blurb that describes this coming-of-age mystery featuring young Gus LeGarde:

Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, takes place in the summer of 1964, when Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For eleven-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

After Gus and his best friends capsize their boat at his grandparents’ lakeside camp, they witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She’s scared. She’s hurt. And she disappears.

The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon begins. Reports of stolen relics arise, including a church bell cast by Paul Revere. When Gus and his friends stumble on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, they become targets for the evil lurking around the lake. Will they find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus — armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle — survive the menacing attacks on his life?

I wrote Tremolo for myself, first of all, and intended it to be the “quintessential joyful shout of childhood,” so-to-speak. I know that sounds strange and possibly selfish, but I was compelled to write it. My summers in Maine were so magical, so precious, that I needed to capture each and every memory. The drive was strong — impossible to ignore.

It just so happened that I’d already referred to these magical summers in my first two books in the adult Gus LeGarde series, so Gus fit right into the camp. I loved picturing him as a young boy with Elsbeth (his future wife) and Siegfried (before his debilitating accident). What fun it was to introduce Gus’s parents and grandparents, who are distant memories in Double Forte’ and Upstaged. And being able to present Elsbeth as a living, breathing girl, rather than a mournful memory, was most satisfying.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the first draft of Tremolo in about three months, working about two hours per day. Years later, I did add a chapter or two in during revisions, but mostly the edits were writing style changes and tips I’d picked up since writing the draft. It just poured out of me, no outline was written, nor did I have a list of events that would happen in upcoming chapters. I had vague ideas of themes that would come into play — such as meeting a mysterious famous figure, Gus’s first crush, the blueberry scene, the missing girl, etc. But I hadn’t put it together in any logical form. It just tumbled out, as most of my twelve books have done.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Once in a while I get stuck on a scene. It just doesn’t seem to come as freely as it should. One thing that doesn’t work is to just sit and stare at the screen! That’s useless, in my case. So I snap my laptop shut and let my brain recharge. I stop what I’m doing and go about living life for a while. I take long walks, play with my grandkids, visit friends, cook great feasts, take photos, and garden. After a few days I usually find the creative juices rejuvenated and the ideas spring forth.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

This is a tough question. It all depends on what intended market for which one writes. If you want to be successful financially, independently able to support yourself on your writings, and known globally, you need a hell of an agent and a big publisher with deep pockets. Of course, on top of that, you need to write a book that will sell hundreds of thousands and propel you to the top of your field, lots of luck, and good timing. If you’re happy with moderate sales and local success, you will do well with a small press or independent publisher. And if you just want to hold your book in your hand and have it available for friends, family, or a narrow niche market, you can do well with a POD publisher. I’m quite happy right now with Twilight Times Books — it’s an excellent traditional press with a great reputation and a dynamic owner.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

I’ve done well with local book clubs, book sales events (like at local wineries!), word of mouth, and Internet efforts. I love Gather.com, and have earned many wonderful readers on that site. I do blog and have an extensive list of email recipients who receive the LeGarde newsletter. (If anyone’s interested in receiving it, please email me at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com)

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

I know it sounds like a copout, but I really have too many from which to choose. Some of my all time favorites include works by John D. McDonald, James Patterson, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Laurie King, Lillian Jackson Braun, Rex Stout, Peter Mayle, Tony Hillerman, Dean Koontz, SW Vaughn, Lesia Valentine, Marta Stephens, Patry Francis, Beryl Singleton Bissell, Bob Burdick, and Lad Moore. Recently I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series. What I love about all of these writers is their ability to transport me to their worlds — seamlessly. I love mysteries most of all, and find them most satisfying when they’re done well.

I can tell you my favorite movie of all time, however… without a doubt, it’s To Kill a Mockingbird!

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Indeed, I do! Folks may stop by at http://legardemysteries.com to learn about the nine LeGarde mysteries that are in various stages of publishing. Also, they may visit http://mooremysteries.com to get to know Sam Moore and the three green marble mysteries that have been completed so far.

Do you have another novel in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.

Yes, I’d love to tell you all about the books that are already in print and those coming.

LeGarde Mysteries by Aaron Paul Lazar

Double Forté is a chilling mystery set in the Genesee Valley in Upstate NY. When Gus discovers a child shackled to a bedpost in a remote cabin, an ex-cop gone bad terrorizes his family from the wintry woods. Packed with memorable characters, hair-raising chase scenes, and touching family moments, it’s a solid page-turner. ISBN: 9781413728385 Available Now

Upstaged, features a disturbed stage mother, a deviant predator, and a twisted saboteur who lurks backstage, terrorizing the drama club with deadly, psychotic games. Lush, vibrant, and delicious. A feast for the senses that will leave you breathless! ISBN: 9781413772586 Available Now

Tremolo: cry of the loon, the prequel to Double Forté, features eleven-year-old Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried in a stirring and nostalgic trip back to the summer of 1964. Gus’s first crush, the potential birth of a new sibling, a murderous lakeside camper, and a mysterious high profile guest vie for top billing. ISBN: 1933353082 Available Now

Mazurka, a contemporary mystery set against the dazzling backdrop of Europe, follows newlyweds Gus and Camille LeGarde as they chase down a family secret with the potential to change history. When Gus’ brother-in-law is framed for the murder of a Nazi, the couple is plunged into a cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are lethal and the future of Europe hangs in the balance. June, 2008

Firesong: an unholy grave, pits Gus and Camille against drug lords with a backdrop of a tornado, forest fire, collapsing salt mine, and the discovery of a fantastic local link to the Underground Railroad. The entire town is threatened as Gus and Camille unravel the truth behind reprehensible dealings in their country church and the scandal of a missing town supervisor.

Virtuoso spirits Gus into the world of art forgeries and teenage traumas. A deadly but talented tenor takes the family to New York City for a near-death escape at the Met and a chase through Central Park. In this story, Gus reconnects with an old friend who shares a stunning secret as he struggles to recover from the loss of a long time companion. Gus and Camille discover a tie to the past via his great, great aunt, Emma Cunningham.

Portamento takes place in 1969 when Elsbeth and Gus were students at the New England Conservatory. White slave rings, an engaging flower child, the Boston Rock scene, and the titillating reckless abandon of the sixties set the stage for Gus’s sudden need to grow up fast for the sake of his grief-stricken father and impending fatherhood.

Counterpoint showcases Gus’s friend, Officer Joe Russell, and the return of Camille’s abusive ex-husband, Greg. As Joe slowly loses his mind, Greg slithers back into Camille’s life, absconding with daughter, Shelby. Gus needs Joe’s help to rescue his newly adopted daughter and struggles to save both from fates most deadly.

In Lady Blues: forget-me-not, Gus LeGarde unravels twin mysteries of an abused Korean seamstress and a 1940s jazz ingénue whose pianist lover disappeared overseas on the same night Glen Miller’s plane was lost in English Channel. Gus helps an Alzheimer’s patient reclaim his identity, while dodging a drug company who will silence any witness to keep the truth of their breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment under wraps.

Introducing Moore Mysteries:

In Healey’s Cave, sixty-two-year old retired family doctor Sam Moore still mourns the loss of his little brother, who disappeared fifty years ago. While working in his garden, he discovers a marble that glows green and warms to his touch. Sam is whisked back and forth through time as he untangles the mystery of Billy’s disappearance. With the support of his wife, Rachel, who suffers from MS, he fights to prevent the murder of his grandson by a serial killer who has engaged in ghastly murders for five decades. 2008

In One Potato, Blue Potato something is seriously wrong when the Moore’s daughter Beth goes missing. Meanwhile, a bomb explodes in the back of Yasir Khoury’s Dry Cleaners, escalating fears of terrorism and anti-Iraqi bigotry. As Sam fights the tide that threatens to sweep his daughter away, the green marble thrusts him between past and present, revealing a shocking link between Beth and the terrorists.

For Keeps: In the third Sam Moore mystery, Sam’s old girlfriend shows up dead, inciting suspicions about his involvement and the coroner, a med school colleague whose husband is about to leave her, reveals she has a crush on Sam. When she is murdered in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat. A member of Sam’s own family is brutally killed, and he is locked in a psyche ward until he reconnects with his talisman, the green marble. His goal: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Thank you, Mayra, for the invitation. It was an honor!

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Against the idyllic backdrop of the Belgrade Lakes, a crime is committed and young Gus LeGarde sets out to hunt out the truth…

It’s the summer of 1964, Maine, and 11-year old Gus and two best friends are staying with their families on the camping grounds of the Belgrade Lakes, enjoying all the things the place has to offer — swimming, boating, hiking.

But the kids’ fun abruptly comes to a halt. One particularly foggy evening, as the kids barely manage to get back to the shore from the lake, they witness a scene their innocent minds aren’t prepared for: a young girl, running, afraid, and a mean-looking drunk man chasing after her until they both disappear in the misty woods.

It is then that the hunt for the little girl named Sharon begins. Who was the man after her? Did he kill her? If he did, where is her body? Is she still hiding in the woods, scared to death of being discovered by her tormentor? At the risk of his own life, Gus refuses to let the investigation solely to the authorities and decides to take matter into his own hands and find out the truth.

Tremolo is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a young boy’s awakening to love and the cruelty and reality of the real world. Refusing to believe that such a heinous crime could be commited against an innocent child, Gus insists she must still be alive in the woods and thus leaves her food for her to eat. Indeed, someone is eating this food, but we don’t know who this person is.

Lazar’s lyrical prose sparkles with clarity and is very evoking at times, bringing to life the beauty of the setting and the genuinity of the characters. The writing is beautiful in its simplicity and some of the images stay in the reader’s mind for a long time. Consider this passage, when Gus stumbles into the running girl for the first time:

“Sharon!” a man’s voice roared. “Sharon, where are you?”

The girl collided with me. Staring with huge eyes, she covered a trickle of blood in the corner of her mouth. She trembled and breathed hard, silhouetted by the eerie glow of the light, clutching her torn blouse where two buttons were missing. Her palpable terror raised goose bumbs on my arms.

Before we could speak, she panicked and hopped off the trail into the woods.

A flicker of fear passed through me.

This book is the prequel to Double Forte, which features an older Gus LeGarde. Lazar has done an excellent job creating the voice of this 11-year old protagonist. Gus’ thoughts and interactions with his friends are quite realistic for his age. Here we have a protagonist who is smart, perceptive and brave, but also innocent and sadly hopeful. The pages of Tremolo vibrate with suspense and quiet melancholy.

Available on Amazon.

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Visiting the Dark Phantom today is Aaron Lazar, author of the Legarde and Moore mystery series. Lazar is promoting the release of his latest novel, TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON, a beautifully written, coming-of-age story set in Maine in 1964. Look for my review of this book soon!

The Author:
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Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in-law, dog, and four cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending “time” with the French Impressionists whenever possible. Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his “two little buddies” to be one of the finest experiences of his life.

In addition to receiving publishing contracts for Double Forte’, Upstaged, Tremolo:cry of the loon, The Green Marble, and Mazurka,

Mr. Lazar writes “Seedlings,” a monthly column featured in Bob Burdick’s The Back Room, A Cozy Retreat for Writers & Readers newsletter and the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine (FMAM). It was also debuted in the Mysteryfiction.net literary newsletter entitled “Voice in the Dark.” in the September 2006 issue. Numerous articles on writing have been published by writers’ sites such as Absolute Write. His short essay, “Word Paintings” was included in the 2007 Bylines Writers’ Desk Calendar. Check out the Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine for the flash fiction piece, “Follow the Leader.” Visit his blog at http://www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com and his articles on aplazar.gather.com.

The Book:
tremolo_med.jpg
Summer, 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For eleven-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

After Gus and his best friends capsize their boat at his grandparents’ lakeside camp, they witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She’s scared. She’s hurt. And she disappears.

The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon begins. Reports of stolen relics arise, including a church bell cast by Paul Revere. When Gus and his friends stumble on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, they become targets for the evil lurking around the lake. Will they find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus–armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle–survive the menacing attacks on his life?

Visit the author’s website.
Read the excerpt.

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