Author Interview & Book Giveaway: For Keeps by Aaron Paul Lazar

Welcome back to Author Aaron Paul Lazar
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron 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 http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2012), WRITE LIKE THE WIND (2012), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (2012) and SANCTUARY (2013).
WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée’s Top Ten Books 2008  * MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012



Interview:
Q. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

A. I would go back to the 1950s to try to befriend Mr. John D. MacDonald, my favorite author of all time. His Travis McGee series are the best. I’d love to see if some of his incredible talent would rub off on me or if he’d read my manuscripts! He’s still my hero after all these years, as much as I love the writing of Dean Koontz, Laurie R. King, and Michael Prescott.

Q. PC or Mac?

A. Kathy, I’m a fully converted Mac-lover. I love my Mac and I’ll never go back, LOL. My MacBook Pro is over 3 years old, however, and I’m starting to salivate over the new macs with the gorgeous retina displays. Not that I can afford one, but I sure love dreaming about it!

Q. If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

A. You know, Kathy, that I’m kind of fascinated with time travel. I feature it throughout my Moore Mysteries. So I think about it a lot. I also feel very “comfortable” when I think of living in the timeframe when the French Impressionist painters were alive. One of the most favorite people from the past I’d love to visit Mr. Claude Monet during the peak of his garden season at his pink stucco country estate of Giverny. I’d ask if I could be an apprentice painter and gardener, and beg him to let me hang around!

Q. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

A. FOR KEEPS is a story of sordid pasts, buried secrets, and ultimately, true love;  a tale that will will break your heart–and then tenderly stitch it back together–all while you’re biting your nails to the quick.

Q. Night owl or early bird?

A. Early bird. I’m up at 5ish, walk from 5:45 to 7:00 (3 miles with hills that kill me!) and then after all the chores are done, I get ready and head up to my engineering day job around 8:00. I’m in bed early and asleep by 9:00. Pretty sad, huh? LOL.

Q. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

A. I love old-fashioned oatmeal with blueberries and pecans. And if I’m really decadent, I like it with cream and brown sugar. ;o)

Q. When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

A. I always wanted to be a cowboy, like the Lone Ranger or Rex Trailer. Does anyone remember them? I loved horses and when I was 11 I got my first horse when we moved to the country. It was heaven! My wife and I had horses since we were dating, and it wasn’t until she got MS that we had to sell our Morgans about 15 years ago. I still miss those beautiful horses.

Q. What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

A. I had a dream about a little red bird one night who I was bringing up to the Adirondacks to a bird show at this gorgeous “bird lovers” resort called “For the Birds”. Mind you, I’ve never owned a bird or known anyone who did. But the little bird was SO real to me…The idea was so persistent that I ended up starting a whole series about a little ring-necked parrot (Tall Pines Mysteries, www.lazarbooks.com) called Ruby and set the series in the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The first book in the series, FOR THE BIRDS, ended up being a finalist in the Mystery category this year for the ForeWord Book fo the Year Awards. What an honor! The second book, ESSENTIALLY YOURS, was released in the spring of 2012, and book three, SANCTUARY, will come out next spring.

Q. Favorite Candy?

A. Jordan Almonds ;o) I used to eat a whole box of them when I went to the theater as a youngster!

Q. What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Kathy, I’m going to give you the essence of one of my chapters in WRITE LIKE THE WIND, a new writing advice guide I’ve just released through Twilight Times Books.

A. I collect little buds of knowledge through my association with other writers, continued voracious reading, and through the process of relentless writing.    

Following are ten suggestions that can help a young writer tone up his or her skills.   

1) Just write. To start, write for a few minutes every day. If your passion is like mine, you’ll find you can’t stop. You’ll make it happen. I schedule very early mornings for writing, from 4:00 to 6:00 AM. It’s the only quiet time in my hectic life and I couldn’t accept spending less time with my wife, daughters, or grandsons. So, I go to bed early and forget about TV. What’s more important? In doing so, I’ve produced sixteen novels in a bit over ten years. See? It works!

2) Cut out the flowery stuff. I adore adjectives and adverbs, and I ache to describe scenes in lush detail. But in the end, I have to hack away all the excess. If you read a line out loud and it feels stilted—stop! Take out all the extra words that slow you down, and just tell the story. Use descriptive words sparingly. I’ve found that over time, my style has become simpler and more streamlined. I’m going back now and red-lining much of the early work before it reaches the bookstores. It hurts like hell to do it, but it’s absolutely necessary. 

3) Observe, observe, observe! Soak in every tiny detail that surrounds you. Colors, textures, sensations, expressions, birdsongs, sunlight, and the ground you walk on… notice everything, and brand it into your brain for that next chapter you’re going to write.  

4) Listen to the voices. Listen to the grocery clerk, the bank teller, children at play, at the airport, professors, grandparents, and neighbors… listen! You’ll never create natural dialogue without listening closely. 

5) Tap into your emotions. When someone close to you dies, it’s an overwhelming, dreadful experience. But, the same emotions that flatten you at that time will be indispensable when you write about loss. Recreating the deep-seated feelings will make your book come alive and ring true with readers. 

6) Make your characters feel deeply and give them a rich history. This takes time and is particularly important if you’re writing a series. If readers don’t care about the characters, they won’t come back for more. Don’t worry about defining them in detail in the beginning—just start writing and they will develop. You can always go back and add more detail that supports your character’s growth. 

7) Perfection comes later. When you first start writing, don’t let yourself become paralyzed by self-editing. Just let the story out. This is what I mean by “write like the wind.” The creative process can be stifled by too much early analysis. There’s plenty of time for that later. When you’re ready to go back to it for editing, hack away at the unnecessary prepositional phrases and the ungainly adverbs, extract those awkward scenes that stand out like sore thumbs, and supplement those that seem abrupt. Then, set it aside for a while.

After I’ve completed a novel with at least one round of edits, I put it down and start on the next book. Many months later, I’ll come back to it. It’s best if I don’t remember much (I’m often surprised at how much I’ve forgotten) as that’s when one is in the best position to challenge one’s own work. Sometimes I’ll be surprised at an unusually eloquent passage, or humiliated by a flimsy section through which I obviously rushed. That’s the time to roll up your sleeves and be ruthless. Cut out the excess and fortify the weak! 

8) Find a skillful editor and beta readers. I’ve been lucky. I have writer/reader friends with eagle eyes who will scour my manuscripts and be brutal where necessary. Try to find one person who is willing to follow along with the book as you create it. That’s the best way to start. Share this service. Swap chapters as soon as they’re done. That’s what I do with one of my writer friends who’s a talented writer and a superb editor. She catches things I’d never notice, and I try to do the same for her. We aren’t shy about helping—if a passage sounds stilted, she tells me immediately. If I want to “see” more of the details in a scene, I ask her to elaborate. It works well. Then, when the book is in a reasonable shape, I ask my beta readers to take a look at it, focusing on typos and possible inconsistencies. The finished manuscripts read more smoothly and are of higher quality, and are finally ready for my publisher’s editor to go through. It takes many iterations to flush out all (or most!) of the typos, extra spaces, missing quotation marks, etc. I’m astounded at how well my author’s brain “sees” what I “meant” to type. It takes a legion of other willing volunteers to catch everything. Caution – don’t ever think you’re “done” until your publisher forbids you to tweak it anymore.

9) Maintain the tension. You want your readers to need to read more. Keep up the pace. Make it flow seamlessly from chapter to chapter. And try to avoid unnecessary excursions into boring territory. I like to use plenty of dialogue; it moves the book along quickly. Short chapters also help the reader feel as if he’s made progress. Readers say that with short chapters they’re more apt to think, “Just one more chapter before I go to bed.” Of course, if the tension and suspense are stimulating, your poor readers will stay up way past bedtime.

10) Polish it ’til it shines. When the story’s complete and you’re ready to submit it, don’t send in anything but your very best work, buffed to perfection. You may have to go through it dozens of times, but it’s worth it. Have your friends and family do the same. Each time they scour your manuscript, they’ll find something new. It seems endless. But if you keep at it, you will produce a superior product suitable for submission or publication.

Q. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

A. This is been a really busy year for my publisher and me. We’ve released a ton of books so far (FOR THE BIRDS, ESSENTIALLY YOURS, DOUBLE FORTE’, TERROR COMES KNOCKING, & FOR KEEPS.) But we’re not done yet! Next comes the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED, and a YA sequel to Tremolo: cry of the loon, called DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU. You can read about all of these including excerpts and reviews at www.lazarbooks.com.

Thank you so much, Kathy, for having me here today. It was a pleasure!

Aaron Paul Lazar
DOUBLE FORTÉ (2012, author’s preferred edition)  

UPSTAGED(coming 2012 author’s preferred edition, eBook and print)  

MAZURKA(2009, AUDIO BOOK 2012)

FIRESONG(2011, AUDIO BOOK 2012)

DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (coming 2012)

FOR KEEPS (JULY 2012, AUDIO BOOK coming 2012)

FOR THE BIRDS (2011, AUDIO BOOK, coming 2012)

SANCTUARY (coming, 2013)

WRITING ADVICE: 
WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (AUG 2012)



For Keeps by Aaron Paul Lazar

When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.
Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past. 
Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.



Giveaway Details
1 Print copy & 1 ebook of For Keeps
Print open to the US only, Ebook open Internationally
Ends 10/3/12

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