Husband/Father/Grandfather, Obsessed Writer, and Fanatical Gardener!
READ TO THE BOTTOM FOR DETAILS OF THE GIVEAWAY!
Hi Aaron. Thanks for agreeing to be hosted on my blog.
APL: Hey, Dennis. It’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me!
First let me start off by congratulating you on your many accomplishments.
APL: Thanks so much. It’s funny, but I don’t feel so much as if they are accomplishments as releasing of those stories that must be told, you know?
I like that view point. We are led by our characters sometimes, aren’t we?
APL: That’s for sure. I feel as though these parallel universes that I create aren’t always born the way I picture them. They seem to grow into entities themselves, and take off in directions my characters decide to go.
So, how many books do you have published?
APL: I have twenty-five books published to date. Most are in eBook, print, and audiobook format, although a few, like my Write Like the Wind writing guides, are just in eBook and audiobook.
Wow, my seven books pale in comparison.
APL: I started to putter with it in 1997, but I really got hooked in 2001, when I finished Double Forte and started on Upstaged, the second book in the LeGarde Mystery series. Since then I’ve been unable to stop. It’s like an itch that must be scratched, this writing obsession. I’m sure you know exactly how I feel.
Indeed, I do.
This is an unfair question, I know and I’m sorry. But can you pick a favorite?
APL: Being an author yourself, Dennis, you know how tough a question this is! But if I absolutely had to pick just one book, I think it might be Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. This is part of my “young Gus LeGarde” series, and it’s a sequel to Tremolo: cry of the loon.
Why is that, Aaron?
APL: Well, because writing as an eleven-year-old boy is just plain fun. I also love the nostalgia of the era. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and man-oh-man did we have fun!
That’s awesome, Aaron! I had fun in the sixties too. I’m going to have to put that on my to-be-read list.
APL: Dennis, it’s a little easier now that my daughters have grown up and moved out to start their own lives. Sure, we have many grandkids around all the time, and we also care for my wife’s 92-year-old mother. But my best way to balance all this is to go to bed super early, and get up at 4:00 AM to write to my heart’s content. This way I can get all my chores done, do my exercise (walking for an hour), write several chapters in whatever book I happen to be held captive by at the moment, and still leave for work by 8:00. Of course, when I get home, my wife and I pretty much just eat and go to bed, LOL. We watch a little TV, but we fall asleep fast!
Aaron, I knew we were kindred spirits. My day is pretty much like yours. Early to bed, early to rise. I’m also a morning writer.
If you had the opportunity to quit your day job and write full time for a living, would you?
APL: That is my dream, Dennis. I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Oh, me too, that’s why I asked.
With all your books out there in the world, I am ashamed to say that so far, I have only read The Seacrest, but my wife has read Spirit Me Away and she loved it. But speaking of The Seacrest, I love your style of writing and how you switched back and forth between 1997 and 2013. I guess I liked it because it’s a style I use in my own time travel books.
But there is something else that struck me. It’s the way you write sensual scenes. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and the way you wrote them resonated with me from my own memories of the past. I think female written erotica tends to be much more blunt…at least in the scenes I’ve read. Bravo on your subtle style. How does it feel to write erotic scenes like those in The Seacrest?
APL: I’m glad you read The Seacrest, and especially grateful for your comments from a guy’s POV. You see, my whole life, I wrote relatively “wholesome” mysteries. I was afraid to “go too far,” and didn’t want my daughters to know that I “thought like that.” LOL.
I get that. I have a daughter too.
APL: So, it took me a long time to actually reach a point where I realized it didn’t matter anymore. (Daughters are all over 30 now with their own kids!) When my wife asked me to write a love story, “like Nicholas Sparks,” I laughed. But then the idea grew on me. It was a particularly strong urge when I stayed with her on Cape Cod near Paines Creek Beach, in Brewster, Mass. I have always loved the Cape, but the sensuality of the beach convinced me to write The Seacrest.
Sounds like a wonderful place to become inspired.
When it came time to write the love scenes, I decided to just let go. I’d read a little erotica, and found that a bit too graphic for my own tastes. So I felt I knew where to stop. I still am not sure if I achieved that, because although most of the reviews are just wonderful for The Seacrest, a few readers have been shocked by the sex scenes and recoiled in horror that their “wholesome” author went down such a scandalous road. LOL.
I don’t like the graphic scenes either, as you could probably tell from reading my book, Pennies From Across the Veil, and I would say you managed to achieve the perfect balance.
APL: Your comments about the scenes meant a lot to me, coming from another guy. This is not usually a man-centric genre, you know, and I was really challenged with it. I thought back to the days when I was a teen, and how desperately I hungered for my girlfriend (now my wife of 35 years), how I worshipped her, and could not imagine anything more beautiful than making love to her. Those were the thoughts I used when I was in Finn’s head, when he was a teenager as well as further on in the story when he reconnects with Libby. I’m really relieved to see the scenes worked. Thank you!
They worked wonderfully for me. It’s beautiful to think it was your dear wife that inspired you.
APL: Regarding the alternating time chapters. Phew. That was one of the hardest writing challenges I’ve ever faced, Dennis, and I take my hat off to you for being able to regularly pull that off!
Thank you, Aaron!
APL: I really found it difficult to keep in the head of the person of the correct time frame. Normally, I have this movie playing in my head, and it’s easy to see the next scene. But here I had to stop, remember which time I was in, and then move forward. I don’t think I’ll do this again, and I didn’t for The Seacroft and for The Seadog.
Well, well done, sir.
APL: Thank you!
So The Seacroft is the sequel to The Seacrest?
APL: Yes. The Paines Creek Beach series has three books so far, The Seacrest, The Seacroft, and my current WIP, The Seadog.
APL: Dennis, my whole life I read mysteries. Even as a kid they were the only type of book that interested me. I was very likely influenced by my parents, however, who were avid Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, PD James, and John D. MacDonald fans! Even in my love stories, like The Seacrest, I can’t help but infuse some themes you might find in a mystery, as well. ;o0
What started you on a writing career?
APL: Dennis, I always wanted to write, because I loved reading so much. I pictured it would be later, when I was older, maybe when I retired. But when my father died unexpectedly in 1997, it knocked me for a loop. I found writing to be supremely therapeutic, and the writing bug bit me hard. I had a brief stalling period with my first book, which I picked up after a few years of doing nothing. Since then, I can’t seem to stop. ;o)
As you know, I relate to writing after a loss as well.
APL: That’s a tough one. My first impulse is to say husband, father, grandfather, but if you let me string those together, I’d say husband/father/grandfather, obsessed writer, and fanatical gardener.
LOL! Those are great descriptions. I’ve seen beautiful pictures of your gardening. I've attached a few below.
APL: My father was a classical music professor who played piano and filled our home with culture, wild artistic personalities, and amazing European influences in the culinary and art fields. My mother was a dedicated and loving mom who made sugar cookies and sewed our clothes. She was a great cook, too. Both of them influenced me hugely. All four of my grandparents also played a big role in my life – from my musical, Victorian-antiques-loving maternal grandparents to my outdoorsy-Maine-loving paternal grandparents.
So do you love antiques as I do?
APL: Because of my grandparents and mother (who ran an antique shop for many years), I LOVE antiques. I can’t figure why people would buy new furniture, when for half the cost they can get handcrafted, real wood products that will last centuries. My house is full of them. None are perfect – we will live normally with lots of grandkids running around – but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Most came from my grandparents and parents. But some we also found lots of them via excursions into local places here in upstate NY. There are some amazing antique shops around here. For example, when my daughter got married, I found her a Duncan Phyfe dining room table that normally would have cost $800 in the higher priced shops – for $225.00. What a deal! I also inherited my most prized possession this past year when my mother passed away, a bittersweet moment for sure. I’d much rather have my mom than all the antiques in the world, but I cherish this thing. It’s a Regina music box (cherry with carved wood and a beautiful picture/engraving on the inside lid). It came with 50 disks and a carved cherry cabinet to hold them. This kind of family treasure makes me feel blessed.
I understand this perfectly. Like I said, Kindred spirits. Antiques are links to the past. In your case it was my mom. When my mom passed, I found an old WWII scrapbook in her possessions. I didn’t know the people in it, but several months of research uncovered their identities and I even found the maker’s children. It inspired my upcoming novella, simply called The Old Scrapbook.
APL: I’m halfway through The Seadog, my third book in the Paines Creek Beach series. I’m really enjoying this novel and think my new character Jack Remington could be my favorite of all characters to date. He’s seriously damaged, trying to figure out what happened to make him homeless and living on the beach. The man is obsessed with incessantly searching the ocean to find someone, but he doesn’t remember who he’s looking for.
What else would you like to discuss?
APL: I’d like to tell folks that I’m an accessible author who loves to connect with readers. Feel free to check out my website at www.lazarbooks.com, or contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My pleasure, Aaron. I admire you greatly.
Aaron has agreed to give away three eBooks from his collection, and has let me choose the three. So comment for a chance to win, either The Seacrest, For the Birds, or Devil’s Lake. Winners will be chosen randomly.