Before interviewing Aaron Lazar, author of Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, I had the pleasure of reading his book. I’ll have a longer review up here shortly but did want to note that if you like mystery and suspense stories which are set in the past (but not too far back, to 1964, which doesn’t seem ages ago to me) then this book might be just the thing for you.
To get an immediate look at the author’s website, check out this page: www.legardemysteries.com
If there is one thing I learned after interviewing this author it is the value of taking what you know, adding plenty of excitement and suspense to the mix, keeping readers guessing and wanting to know more. Do this and you, too, could end up with a solid and well-crafted book!
The basic story of Tremolo: Cry of the Loon? One summer in 1964, a girl goes missing at a camping area in Maine. Is she murdered or hiding from a possibly abusive peson? There are plenty of spooky events and a compelling young boy, Gus, passing from boy to man in the heart of Maine, making for a book that grabs the heart and often makes it beat much faster. I recommend this one and I’ll have a review of the book up shortly here.
Like many writers, Mr. Lazar juggles many roles and yet he has managed not only to publish this book but get a contract for a series of mystery and other books. I thought it might be interesting for readers and writers to get a glimpse at his life, including the writing process so here is….
An Interview with Aaron Lazar, author of Tremolo: Cry of the Loon
Questions: What is your earliest memory of writing and what did you write? When did you feel you wanted to be a writer and how did you sit down and start working on the LeGarde mystery?
Lazar: Hmmmm.That’ s a great question. I remember writing stories in school for English class and writing a fantasy short story about meeting the Beatles for an English class, for a contest. I journaled profusely in high school.
It is probably easier to remember when the reading bug hit – that was in 3rd grade.I got in trouble for laughing during math class while reading a book that featured a kitten sleeping on a mattress in a store while the store window had a sign that noted “Sleep like a kitten”. I was severely reprimanded!
During my late teens and twenties, I just “knew” that I wanted to write a mystery series someday. I didn’t commit to the Legarde series until my father died, in 1997, an event that sent me into a tailspin. I’d lost eight family members in the previous five years and needed a release for the pain. I was completely bitten by the writing bug and it hasn’t stopped pestering me since!
Questions: Could you discuss something about the time and place of Cry of the Loon and why that moment in history – the Beatles, Martin Luther King and other seminal events? I felt waves of nostalgia as I read this book.
Lazar: Nostalgia is what this book is about for me. I included pivotal events in 1964 because they affected me deeply. Kennedy’s assassination remains fresh in my memory. I recall sitting with my father in our living room, watching the funeral. I’ll never forget John-John and Caroline.
There was a time, believe it or not, when my library did not carry any of Martin Luther King’s books and this was a northern town! I’d ask for them and be told, in hushed tones, that they weren’t available.
Of course the Beatles were a huge part of my life. An inveterate Beatlemaniac, I saved every penny to buy the newest LP. Back then, a LP (long playing single, on vinyl) cost about three dollars and a single was less than a dollar.
Question: How and why did you pick a mystery, coming of age story, backed with suspenseful events?
Lazar: I’ve always adored mysteries. I’m not sure I can write anything but a mystery. The coming of age was a natural extension of Gus (main character) being only eleven years old.
Question: Did the plot come to you planned or with most of the details there?
Lazar: The plot didn’t come to me planned. It just came to me as I wrote. No outlining went into this one. Usually, I collect a handful of loose ideas – setting, highlights, characters – and start writing. It can veer off into unexpected areas. As I wrote I kept remembering my childhood summers in Maine with more and more clarity. I wanted to capture my childhood summers in Maine – the joy of nature, the sheer wonder of lakeside summers and every little detail of camp.
Since it has been torn down for condos now, it was especially important for me to record it for posterity. The actual plot of the story sort of came along for the ride, from missing girl to a mysterious woman. They were almost incidental to the strong sense of place, of a sense of “being there” and of returning to a place where I was supremely happy.
Question: What do you believe is most compelling about this book?
Lazar: There is the simple purity of a life lived without so many gadgets. I didn’t intend to feature this aspect. Gus and his friends had no toys, television, computers or video games. A walk in the woods, riding horses, swimming, fishing, boating…these things are so much better than the electronic cocoons with which we’ve surrounded ourselves. I’d love readers to see the value in that.
From a reader’s perspective, I think, they will like the characters and the sense of being there. I hope they fall in love with Gus and his family and want to read the rest of the series.
Question: What have you learned that you’d like other writers to know?
Less is more. Avoid adverbs and use stronger verbs. Avoid phrases that are needed but are commonly used. I’ve posted many of these on my website at:
www.legardemysteries.com Also, expect and even welcome rejection. If you aren’t receiving lots of rejection notices you aren’t submitting often enough. Keep writing. The more you write, the more your skills develop.
Question: Who are your favorite writers?
Lazar: John D. McDonald, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Laurie King, Lillian Jackson Braun, Rex Stout, Tony Hillerman, Dean Koontz, Bob Burdick and Lad Moore.
Question: Most recent book you read and enjoyed?
Lazar: Brother Odd, by Dean Koontz. I love his Odd Thomas series. His writing shines and he is an inspiration.
Question: Do you have a motto or favorite saying that guides you?
Lazar: “Take pleasure in the little things”. When life has become unbearable due to family illness or loss, I enjoy what God has given us for free – a frosty field on a sunny wintry morning, cornflowers growing wild by the roadside, the flash of love in my grandsons’ eyes or the taste of a freshly picked apple. These things comfort me and I think we should savor them and recall them in their full glory when things get tough.
Question: What other aspects of Tremolo would you like readers to know about?
Lazar: Family is important and it is paramount in Tremolo along with honor, bravery and friendship. Having a strong relationship with nature is a key part of the book. Again, I’d like readers to consider spending more time outside, taking walks in the park, renting a rustic cabin by a lake (instead of going to a theme park). Simple pleasures.
Question: What do you think is essential for writers to do- besides write and persevere?
Lazar: Read Stephen King’s On Writing. Find good, trusted critique buddies. More than anything, read. Find writers you respect and love and let them be your teachers. Read what you love – and then write what you love. Let your genre evolve from your passion.
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Two more books by this author will be coming out this year, Mazurka (the fourth in the Legarde mysteries) and Healey’s Cave (the first in the Sam Moore paranormal series).