Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Book Stories: Double Forté by Aaron Paul Lazar

First Book Stories continues today with author Aaron Paul Lazar. I learned of Aaron at Murder by 4, a multi-author blog. He is the author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries.

The Writing of Double Forté: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, by Aaron Paul Lazar

I’d always planned to write a mystery series, but I thought it would happen when the kids were grown and I was retired. I envisioned myself with my laptop, sitting on the porch of a lakeside cabin, inventing a delightful protagonist and putting him through the wringer to solve bizarre mysteries that only he could figure out.

I was right about the series, but wrong about the timing.

The year 1997 marked the end of a very difficult period in my life, filled with a slew of losses. Eight of my friends and family members died in five years.

My last remaining grandmother’s funeral was scheduled the same day that my father found out he had esophageal cancer. Nine months later, he died the night before I drove home to see him one last time. I didn’t get to say goodbye, and he surprised us by passing the day after they sent him home for hospice.

His death crushed me. I tried to bury myself in work, and the numbing effect was somewhat comforting. I took many long walks in the autumn woods, and afterwards, I’d go back and write gaudy poetry about the experience. As bad as the poems were, it felt so good to get the words on paper that I craved more of it. I walked more, wrote more. And then it occurred to me. Why not start the mystery series I’d always envisioned, and do it as a tribute to my father?

I modeled my main character, Gus LeGarde, after him. Both men were pianists, music professors, gardeners, cooks, had strong moral compasses, adored French Impressionist Art, and loved kids and dogs. I started writing Double Forté with my father in my mind. The process was so soothing, so cathartic, that I craved it every day. Each time I wrote a scene with Gus, I felt like I was sharing a little time with my father.

When I finished the first draft of Double Forté, I didn’t seek representation right away. I was so bitten by the writing bug that I wrote four more books, all in several months each. The stories poured out of me, and Gus and his family developed rich histories as their back stories grew more complex and detailed.

After I finished my fifth manuscript, a prequel to Double Forté, I realized I’d been totally self-absorbed with the writing process, feeding my need to escape and create, thriving on the sensation of controlling my parallel universe. I hadn’t once glanced outside my blinders at the big, bad, outside world of publishing.

With an inward groan, I began to research what was needed. After a few painful experiences, and a few agents who didn’t quite work out, I landed a contract with my publisher.

Writing has become a wonderful source of solace and entertainment, a vehicle to connect with people all over the world, and the best cheap therapy I’ve ever experienced.

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines 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 website at and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, TERROR COMES KNOCKING (2011), FOR THE BIRDS(2011), ESSENTIALLY YOURS (2012) and DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2012).

Some of Aaron's books are on sale at Amazon for under $4!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit us tomorrow, when our guest will be Rie Sheridan.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Hello, Cheryl. Thanks for posting this today - it's great to be here. I'm enjoying a rare privilege with Double Forte - getting a "do-over." My current publisher regained the rights to my first two books (Double Forte and Upstaged) and I'm currently rewriting them. Not the stories, mind you, just polishing a bit. After writing 15 books, one gains a bit more skill, you know? They'll be available next year in print and eBook, with new covers, etc. Thanks again and talk to you soon.

Pat McDermott said...

Aaron, what a wonderful tribute to your father, modeling Gus after him! And such a comfort for you. I enjoyed visiting your web site. You are one busy author! All the best with your writing.

Cheryl said...

That's great news, Aaron. I look forward to seeing the new and polished version of your earlier books.

terri.forehand said...

Awesome interview and great writer. I look forward to more of his books.

Anonymous said...

I have Double Forte and the whole series in my TBR stack coming up and I cannot wait to read them!

Michelle V

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Wonderful story and inspiration, Aaron. Best wishes to you in your writing career.