FireSong. The author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries, he enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Aaron. It is an honor to have you with us. Let's start by having you share your fondest childhood memory.
Hi, Cheryl, and thanks for asking. I grew up in rural New England, surrounded by music, art, literature, gardens, bountiful family feasts, and a host of animals. My father was a classical music professor with a passion for French Impressionist composers. He adored Chopin and I inherited the fascination. I woke up summer mornings to the sound of Dad playing the piano, which was directly beneath my bedroom. The strains of mazurkas, nocturnes, and especially the waltzes were balm for my soul. That is one of my fondest memories of all time.
When did you begin writing?
I always loved to write, and knew I wanted to write a mystery series some day–but I pictured it happening when my daughters were grown and I was retired. But when my father died in 1997, I became overwhelmed with grief. Writing was the only therapy that worked to restore my soul, and I started the LeGarde Mystery series as a tribute to my father. He was a wonderful, passionate man who spent his life imparting musical knowledge to young minds. So, although I always loved to write, it didn’t become an obsessive need until that point in my life. I was 44.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I write in the very early morning, or in the evenings. I sit in my comfortable leather chair with my MacBook Pro and enjoy having control over my parallel universe! It’s nice, because we sure don’t have control over real life, do we?
What is this book about?
Here’s a synopsis that will tell you about some of the storylines:
What would you do if your country church was hit by a rogue tornado during services? What if the shrieking winds unearthed the bones of a missing parishioner in a nearby wheat field? Now add the discovery of heroin in your elderly minister’s bloodstream. When Gus LeGarde is thrown into the middle of the mess, he knows life’s finally gone berserk in East Goodland, New York.
The Genesee Valley is in chaos. Strangers drive panel vans through the countryside at weird hours of the night. A new batch of drugs is on the street, endangering students. The local salt mine collapses due to illegal mining practices. Gas fires burn in wells. Watering holes turn to brine. Crops are dying. Tempers are short. Forest fires threaten. To top it off, the new mine lies directly over ancient Indian burial grounds, bringing anguish to local tribes and inciting riots at the mine site.
Join Gus as he’s lured into a bizarre network of underground tunnels to expose the most shocking discovery ever to rock the Genesee Valley.
It’s hard to explain, but everything that comes in through my senses ends up coming out in a book. Sights, sounds, aromas, textures, and emotions… they all bubble around in my mind and bump into each other with increasing ferocity until they’re released again. It’s kind of like an artist, I suppose. I need to get these images out on my “word canvas,” so to speak, and then I can breathe again. Is it compulsive? Yeah. Obsessive? Indeed. But I can’t control it and am never sated until the job is done.
One of the influences for FireSong came from Reverend Thomas A. LeBeau, who was a model for the country reverend I feature in the book. Tom let me use some of his most motivational sermons, and I just changed them a little to fit the story. I also listen to the news and am appalled at how frightening Mother Nature can be at times. In upstate New York, we rarely have tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, tsunamis, floods, etc. We are so fortunate. But I always wonder, what if we did experience these things? What would it be like? How would be survive? I was also influenced by a number of real events that happened in the Genesee Valley in 1994. Our salt mine collapsed, wells went dry, the new one was to be built over sacred Indian burial grounds, etc. All these events played into the storyline.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
Aside from the animals, whom I adore, my favorite character has always been and will always be Siegfried Marggrander. Sig is my gentle giant, a stalwart behemoth man with fierce family loyalty and the innocent spirit of a child. He’s like my angel on earth, and also happens to be Gus LeGarde’s brother-in-law and best friend.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I have several close writer friends with whom I share critiques. Sonya Bateman has been assisting me from day one, and I’ll always be grateful to her. ;o)
Who is your favorite author?
It’s so tough to decide. Can I cop out and give you my list of favorites and why I love them? John D. McDonald, for his superb characterization of Travis Magee and the imagery of the Florida coast in the fifties; James Patterson for the likable, human traits of Doctor Alex Cross and the taut suspense; Dean Koontz for his tight, often lyrical prose and super storylines; Dick Francis for bringing racetracks alive with living, breathing characters; Clive Cussler for his undersea adventures; Laurie King for her superior Sherlock Holmes stories; Stephen King for his natural dialogue; Rex Stout for the Nero Wolf series, (love the gourmand details); Peter Mayle for his sun-drenched imagery; and last but certainly not least, Tony Hillerman for his innate sense of place.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
All of my books are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. etc. and are orderable in all bookstores. Readers can get eBooks and print books through all of these sources, or get autographed print books through me. All details and links are here on my website: http://www.legardemysteries.com/ A number of the eBooks are on sale right now – some are half price or less. I have links to these sales on my website, as well.
Interviewer's note: The Kindle version of FireSong is only $3.25 right now!
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Yes. The first site is my primary author website, where everything comes together. Moore Mysteries features just my second series, and has excerpts from those books. Murderby4 is a Writer’s Digest Best 101 website I share with three other mystery writers. We offer writing advice, articles about the industry, and feature guest speakers twice a week. The last is my blog.
What is up next for you?
My newest and third mystery series is debuting this fall. Tall Pines Mysteries are set in the Adirondacks and Finger Lake regions of New York, and feature a brand new unique and fun set of characters I hope my readers will love just as much as those in LeGarde and Moore Mysteries. You can see the cover art and read some excerpts of the new books that are coming out on my website at http://www.legardemysteries.com/. For the Birds is due in October, 2011, and Essentially Yours is slated for March, 2012.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Cheryl. And if readers have any questions, feel free to pass on my email address, aaron dot lazar at yahoo dot com. In addition, my series can be read in any order, so don’t think you have to start with book one. I wrote them to stand on their own. ;o) Thanks again!
Thanks for spending time with us today, Aaron. When I was contacted about featuring you, I knew the name from Murder By 4. I'm glad we got a chance to learn more about your work. Wishing you the best.
Interviewer's Note: I'll be reviewing FireSong in the coming months. Be on the look for it!