Thursday 9 September 2010

Mysteries and Green Marbles: An Interview with Aaron Paul Lazar

Today's feature is a real treat. 
Mystery author, Aaron Paul Lazar, has kindly made a stop here at my blog on his virtual book tour to talk about his new paranormal mystery, Healey's Cave, writing and other tasty tidbits.    So please welcome Aaron Paul Lazar...

An Interview with Aaron Paul Lazar:

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Hello, Anita. It’s great to be here. Here are a few facts about me:
  • I’m first and foremost a husband, father, and grandfather. I love nature, kids, animals, classical, blues, folks, and sixties rock music, French Impressionist art, gardening, cooking, and photography. Oh, and I guess we ought to throw in reading and writing into the mix!
  • I’ve lived in the beautiful Genesee Valley region in western NY, near the Finger Lakes. Many of my books are set right here, in the lush fields, woods, gorges, and gardens.
  • I’m a lot like my two main characters, Sam Moore ( and Gus LeGarde ( My characters are similar to my father, who was a classical music professor, pianist, massive gardener, and a great chef. Therefore, we’re all kind of a bizarre and interesting amalgam. ;o)
  • I believe that readers can enjoy a thrilling ride with a tale told in a relatively wholesome way, versus gratuitous gore and meaningless sex. Although some people like that. LOL. Not that I don’t have a few juicy scenes between Gus and his new wife – after all Gus goes through, I figure he deserves some loving!
  • I’ve written ten LeGarde Mysteries, three Moore Mysteries, and am also currently writing book two from my Tall Pines Mysteries series. (not yet submitted to publishers).
  • I love to connect with my readers and am always accessible at:
Here are the books that are under contract for publishing, for the first two series. The rest are in the queue or waiting to be submitted until the time is right.

MAZURKA (2009)

FOR KEEPS (2012)

And here are a few awards, plus my website addresses: 
Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist * Yolanda Renee's Top Ten Books 2008 * MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008 * Writers' Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009 & 2010

And here are a few credentials:

My columns and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Absolute Write, Mystery Fiction, and Great Mystery and Suspense magazine. I’m also co-owner on a Writer’s Digest Best 101 Websites blog, I’m well versed in self-promotion, and have an extensive marketing plan that includes frequent appearances at book clubs and library events, and promotion on my award-winning websites and blogs. In addition, I exclusively sign and sell books at Heron Hill Winery overlooking Keuka Lake, in Hammondsport, NY.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Hmmm. Good question. That part of my life sort of “evolved” over time. I always loved to write, from high school on. And I was an avid mystery reader since elementary school. Somewhere in my twenties, I knew I’d write a mystery series “some day”. I figured it would be when my children were grown and I retired.
Boy, was I wrong. When eight people in my life died within five years, I needed the solace writing brought. Being able to “control” a parallel universe was immensely therapeutic!

3. Can you tell us about your latest book, Healy's Cave.

I’d love to tell you about Healey’s Cave. First of all, here’s a synopsis:

Sam Moore's little brother vanished fifty years ago. No body. No answers. What Sam has is a boatload of guilt, since he failed to accompany Billy on his final, fateful bike ride. 
While digging in his garden, Sam discovers a green marble with a startling secret—it whisks him back to his childhood, connecting him to Billy. Thrust back and forth through time, Sam struggles to unlock the secret of his brother’s fate.

When the FBI investigates remains found nearby, Sam learns of a serial killer with a grisly fifty-year record. Sam’s certain it’s Billy’s killer. But what’s worse, his grandson fits the profile of the murdered boys. Will the killer return to Sam’s town to claim his final kill? Can Sam untangle the truth in time to save him?
And here’s where Healey’s Cave came from:

I blame the book on my wife.

I was minding my own business, wrapping up the fifth novel in the LeGarde Mystery series, when she turned to me and said, “You need to write a book from the killer’s point of view.”
I laughed out loud. I’d always written in first person, from a man whose character was diametrically opposed to villains. He was a good man, a man I admired and wanted to share with the world. Sure, he had his faults, but how could I switch from that kind of mindset to the inner thoughts of a killer?
Dale reads Stephen King and James Patterson. She loves psychological thrillers and even a little horror. Not like me with my relatively wholesome mysteries that skirt around the gruesome details of murder.
I put aside the thought until shortly thereafter, while rototilling my garden, I unearthed a green marble, a cat’s eye. I held it in my hand and wondered about the little boy or girl who lost it. I imagined how neat it would be to be able to hold the marble tight in my hand and have it whisk me back in time to the boy’s life. I’d be able to see what he saw, walk beside him, and maybe witness some horrible crime. And what if the villain was still alive today? What if he was my next-door neighbor?
That was all it took to dislodge me from the LeGarde Mysteries for a few months. With my wife’s urging, I gave into the desire to create a new world. I didn’t expect it to turn into another series. But it did. 
This is book one in the green marble series, otherwise known as Moore Mysteries. And yes, I blame my wife for the whole thing.

4. Why did you decide to combine the mystery genre and the paranormal genre for your new book series?

You know, Anita, I never even thought about the fact that my new series was going to be considered a paranormal mystery. I just thought it was a mystery, like all my other books. Then, when certain critique partners started reading along with me, one of them in particular (Lesia Valentine), chastised me for not telling her I had written a paranormal mystery, as she had done. 
I laughed out loud – I never really thought of the time-travel aspect of this book as paranormal. Then I thought a little harder. I did have Billy contacting Sam from “beyond” and what the heck would that be, except paranormal! ;o) But the whole mystery nature of the book was so strong that it couldn’t be labeled as simply a paranormal. Thus the label, paranormal mystery.

5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I love talking about this part of writing, Anita.

My ideas come from everywhere. From family, movies, books, the news, and traumas my friends experience. Whenever I hear a new bit of odd news, or read a story that seems too weird to be true, or hear about unusual pain or horrors that people are going through in the “real” world, it sparks ideas within me. I often analyze my own fears, and turn those into themes.
How awful would it be to be stuck in an asylum, particularly fifty years ago? (Healey’s Cave).
How frightening to lose track of a toddler grandson, especially when you know there’s a villain who has it in for you? (Double Forte’)
How horrifying to run into neo-Nazis during your Parisian honeymoon and spend the rest of the summer either being chased or imprisoned by them? How would I react to being lost in the pitch black, hundreds of feet underground? Or have my car pushed and shoved into an alpine lake, while I drove it? (Mazurka)
Or lose my little brother, and never know what happened to him? (Healey’s Cave)
Or be chained to a wall in a flooding underground salt mine? (Firesong)
Or, or, or…. You get the point.

Life itself inspires me, and as soon as a new idea comes to mind, the “what ifs” start flowing.

6. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge is saying “no” to requests for help or reviews. Don’t get me wrong – I take quite a few fledgling writers under my wing. I’ve spent lots of time giving them advice, helping with their manuscripts, nudging them in the proper directions for publishing or promotion. I’ve written hundreds of articles about writing, etc. with tons of advice freely given.  
But I can’t do it all. And it pains me when I have to turn down a request for a review. Just to set the story straight, I only review mysteries (with a few exceptions), and it’s after I’ve fallen in love with the first chapter or a sample of the writing. I only do this about six times per year. It all takes away from my own writing time, naturally.
Finding a balance isn’t hard, it’s just hard for me to say “Sorry, I can’t take that on right now.”

7. How do you research your books?

Lots of what I write just comes out of my own personal experience. When I do need to research, (for example, to remember the street names in Paris, or to learn about the Catacombs underground, etc.) I use the Internet. It’s so easy. I am constantly looking up facts, names, places, photos of stuff from the fifties and sixties. I remember a lot, but I need memory joggers, too.  Four of my books involve either life in the sixties (Tremolo: cry of the loon), or flashbacks to that general era. (Healey’s Cave, One Potato, Blue Potato, For Keeps.)

8. What advice would you give beginning writers?

  •  Read, read, read. Read in the genre you plan to write. And read some more. 
  •  Write every day. Even if it’s for fifteen minutes. After that, join online or real life writing groups and try to earn critique partners.  
  •  Share with others, help them with their writing, and learn from those who are willing to help. 
  •  Plan to give back when you “get there”, and remember how wonderful it was to have an established writer help you when you were a fledgling writer.
I have many detailed articles on nitty gritty writing advice up on at You’ll have to page through the years of articles to find all of them, but I promise there are great little pearls of writing wisdom there that I’ve learned from my own mentors. ;o) And if you have a question, feel free to ask. I don’t know all the answers, but I know where to go to check it out.

9. Who are your influences? What writers inspire you?

I adore the following writers: John D. MacDonald (his Travis McGee series), Dean Koontz (his Odd Thomas series is my favorite), Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Laurie R. King (her Mary Russell series), Peter Mayle, James Patterson, Rex Stout, and many, many more.

10. What’s the next project for you?

I’m currently working on my fifteenth book, a paranormal mystery set in the Adirondack mountains, featuring Marcella and Tony Hollister, a couple who actually live on Honeoye Lake and run an antique shop there. When Marcella’s agoraphobic friend, Callie, receives a package from her long missing brother, Sky, the contents set in place a series of murders, threats, and mysteries that culminate in a heart-pounding finale in the forests of the Adirondack Mountains. One of the themes woven into the story involves essential oils, and how miraculous their properties are. I’ve recently become enamored with Young Living Essential Oils and am excited about the “new” one I’ve discovered in this story.
After this is done, I plan to collaborate with a friend on a book he’s already started regarding tips on how to find a job in this economy. He was one of my advisors when I was in “job search” mode, and I admire him greatly. It’ll be interesting to help with a non-fiction work, my very first.

Anita, thank you for having me here today. It’s been fun!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries and Moore Mysteries 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. Visit his websites at and and watch for his upcoming release, HEALEY’S CAVE, coming August 28th, 2010.

You can find Healey's Cave at and Barnes and Noble.
All of Aaron Paul Lazar's books are available through his websites. 


Sheila Deeth said...

Neat interview. Thanks. I really need to read more of your books. I loved Mazurka.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thank you, Sheila! This was lots of fun! I'm glad you were willing to be a stop on the virtual book tour for Healey's Cave.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

I also meant to say, glad you enjoyed Mazurka.

And, if anyone has any more questions aside from the ones we already discussed here, feel free to ask!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Wonderful interview. I think the book sounds great, and I think you look way too young to be a grandfather.

Great interview, Anita.

A. F. Stewart said...

Sorry I couldn't join the conversation yesterday, but an unexpected complication arose and I wasn't home for most of the day. Aaron, just wanted to let you know I finished Healey's Cave and should have the review done and posted by Monday at the latest.

Anonymous said...

Was unable to attend this interview in real time, but it's very nice to be able to play "catch up" today.

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