Although I love all of his books, it is not easy to write about one of my favorite authors.
Aaron Paul Lazar is one of those ‘rare-breed’ of writers that cannot be pigeon-holed into one single genre. The author of three series and two stand-alone books, Aaron can weave tales with a bit of mystery and mayhem…a bit of romance…a bit of adventure and a bit of the paranormal…
Aaron is a modern Renaissance man, born to be a storyteller who loves his family, dogs, horses, music, reading, photography, gardening, and cooking… (phew!)… and can, without effort incorporate them all somehow into his stories bringing glimpses of himself, the people he loves and bits of their day to day to life through stories that grab your attention from the very beginning to the very last page…and then make you wish the end had not come so soon!
It has been a lot of fun to be able to ‘peek’ into several of Aaron’s books previous to publishing by being one of several “Beta Readers”… and although I try to read each manuscript as carefully as possible when ‘working’, I love re-reading the stories for the fun of it when I finally have the published books in hand!
Aaron lives in the town of Geneseo in Western New York State, in the Finger Lakes Region, atop a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley. His little corner of the world appears as the backdrop for many of his stories.
Being such a prolific writer, you would think that all he ever does is write “like the wind”, but actually, his day job is as an engineer...he is both a left brainer and a right brainer!
A couple of the things Aaron and I have in common, besides reading... we like to cook and we both collect cobalt glass! (I also have that very same citrus reamer)
This post will probably have to be shared in several ‘installments’, because there is no way to trim or delete any of the wonderful responses I received during our recent “interview”.
What prompted you to start writing?
"Strangely enough, Sonia, this whole writing obsession began as a result of terrible loss.
There were eight of them. Eight family members and friends who died in five short years.
I was a neophyte in this death thing, having been blessed with a life yet untainted by such losses. My grandmother died when I was forty-three. It crushed me. I’d always dealt with death from afar. It had been a real possibility to face some day - in the distant future. Easy to put off. Impossible to imagine. When it happened, the shock of facing it head on was overwhelming.
Guilt clobbered me. I should have visited more. Called more. Written more.
But the three baby daughters we’d had in two years had consumed every ounce of our energy. We’d fallen into bed each night exhausted and awakened tired, yet happy, each morning. The thought of a ten-hour trip home seemed insurmountable with three little ones in car seats and diapers. So we delayed visits home for too long.
The next death came in a single, whooshing blow. My colleague at work, with whom I’d shared an office for eight years, suddenly died of a heart attack. Next came my father-in-law, my grandfather, and so on. I struggled to make sense of it. People were disappearing rapidly.
The unthinkable happened in 1997. My father was diagnosed with cancer in the same month that his mother died of Alzheimer ’s disease.
We had a summer of hope, but the disease hit again, and he was gone. Gone for good. Gone for real. In six short months, he was diagnosed, treated, and then he vanished.
Completely shattered, I walked a lot, trudging through the autumn woods as the crispy leaves eddied around my feet. I heard his voice whisper in the breeze, imagining words that weren’t there.
The need to write was insistent. Urgent.
I’d return to my office and madly type poems full of gaudy words that painted my grief. Each time I walked and mourned, I’d return home and write. Again. And again. And again.
Getting the words on paper was immensely comforting. Although I’d always known I would write a mystery series someday, I thought it would be when the kids were grown and I’d retired.
Then it hit me. I’d write a book and model the protagonist after Dad. It would be a tribute to him, a testimony to his life.
I began to write Double Forté. My hero was a music professor, like Dad. He gardened with a passion, like Dad. He embraced the arts, like Dad. And he assiduously tended to his musical spirit, like Dad. He played Chopin etudes with wild abandon to clear his mind and feed his soul. And he cooked magnificent feasts for his family from his gardens that burgeoned with exotic vegetables.
As the book began to take shape, so did the characters. Gus LeGarde’s secretary, Maddy, became the reincarnation of my Grandma Lena. Oscar and Millie Stone were near replicas of my maternal grandparents. I found consolation in the creation of scenes, as if I’d found a way to “visit” with them. And as the process of writing one book became easier, the next, and the next, and the next flowed effortlessly from my fingertips until I stopped to breathe. I created eight full novels in five short years. And the pattern continues. I’ve just finished my tenth novel."
Above is a collage of all of the Gus LeGarde books published to date
LEGARDE MYSTERIES – in order of chronology
Stay tuned...this interview will continue soon...