Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Silver Gun - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm quite pleased to welcome L.A. Chandlar to Cozy Up With Kathy today. L.A. pens the Art Deco Mystery series. THE SILVER GUN is the first book in the series.


Kathy: When it comes to design the Art Deco period is one of my most favorites. Is it one of yours as well?

LAC: It is! I love the designs of geometric lines mixed with natural elements. Like the brass elevator doors of the Chrysler building etched with lilies and palms. And whether or not you’re an art afficianado, people always recognize art deco. Which says a lot, because that era was so quick. Just two decades sandwiched between two world wars. In fact, that’s one of the themes I love to carry throughout this series, the idea of tremendous beauty out of adversity.


Kathy: What sparked your interest in this time period?

LAC:  I’ve always loved the Twenties and Thirties, all the fun fashion, the jazz, the dancing and cocktails, the delicious cars… But what really got me interested in the Thirties was a biography I picked up that compared Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Both NYC mayors came into office when the city was particularly corrupt and dirty. Right away I adored the gumption and humor of LaGuardia. Plus, I moved to NYC just two weeks after 9/11. I saw firsthand how a city like New York deals with adversity: with sacrifice, solidarity, art, and cocktails. Just like the Thirties. Plus, I realized I had pigeonholed the Thirties in my own mind, to a time that was solely about the Depression. But there was so much more going on! Everything I mentioned above, plus women rising to prominent positions in the workforce, unrecognized steps in civil rights, crazy moves forward in technology, innovation like I could hardly believe. All this despite those hard bookends of the world wars and a depression smack in the middle. I felt like that era had a lot to say for us today! I wanted to tell that part of the story.


Kathy: In THE SILVER GUN we meet Lane Sanders, the new personal assistant to New York City Mayor Fiorello “Fio” LaGuardia. How did you decide upon this career for your protagonist?

LAC:  Since women were moving up in the workforce before I’d realized –I had thought there was more movement after WWII—I wanted a woman in a significant job, with a close relationship to the mayor. I wanted her to be able to grow both personally and professionally. And in this role, I thought she could easily move into more significant roles as she grew.


Kathy: Was it a common practice at that time for a woman to hold such a position?

LAC: There were female secretaries and aides, although most were male. Fiorello personally had male aides/secretaries at the time, but he’d had female ones earlier.


Kathy: Do you have an interest in politics in general, or really only the machinations of the mayor of NYC in the 1930s?

LAC:  I am more interested in politics now than I ever have been. I like reason and logic. Both seem to be somewhat lacking the past several years. So I try to form my own opinions on issues and really research a lot before I land on an opinion. I think what drew me to the mayor of the Thirties, was that Fiorello really fought hard for the little guy. He listened to the people, he cared. It wasn’t just about money or his own career. And boy oh boy, was he funny. I also enjoy that humor. In fact, be sure to read my author notes. I always highlight what was real and what was fictitious. Often, when it comes to Fio, the more spectacular or funny the stunt, the more it’s probably real.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

LAC: I love mysteries because I like a good puzzle and a good adventure. It’s fun to have something to solve. And I’m just not into sad and tragic. I guess for me, real life dishes out enough of that. I like living in a different era, feeling what that was like, a new place…


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LAC:  I have a nonfiction book on the psychology of creativity called, BRASS: STOP SLEEPWALKING THROUGH LIFE. (Brass as in brass knuckles. Creativity doesn’t happen naturally, you have to fight for it). I use it in my Fight to Keep Creativity Alive workshops on figuring out how to be creative – whether or not you think you’re creative. I like to teach people to be a student of themselves, how they are uniquely wired. And I LOVE to encourage people. So that’s a fantastic outlet. I also currently have a holiday novel that is kind of short stories woven into a novel. It’s called THE CHRISTMAS JOURNALIST and a modern day journalist talks with historians and ancestors about the people behind some of our beloved holiday traditions. Like the first Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in 1931, the heartfelt NYC Jewish response to Lincoln’s assassination (during Passover!), a 4th Century monk who had a mischievous and sweet side that brought about the Christmas stocking idea, a trip to the Holy Land in 1860s… Delightful stuff!! I also am tinkering with a coming-of-age novel set in the 1980s and I plan to write a series of YA novels that center around a figure introduced at the very end of THE SILVER GUN (and she plays a prominent role in book two, THE GOLDEN PAWN).


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LAC: The Art Deco Mysteries follows Lane Sanders, aide to the firecracker mayor of NYC, Fiorello LaGuardia. As threats come in against the controversial mayor, Lane endeavors to help solve the mysteries because of her love of their devoted mayor and family friend, but also because she realizes the key to solving the current crimes may be linked to her own mysterious past.

One thing that makes this series a little different, is that I wanted to highlight the importance of art in that era (and ours). So every novel has a piece of art in the background that comes alongside a character and helps them navigate. I feel like art does this in our own life, helping us figure out our feelings in ways that words sometimes can’t. So in book one, there is a famous artist (not then) and Lane discovers a journal with the artist’s quotes about life. In book two, there is a classic haunting novel that everyone knows about and no one has read, that comes alongside both Lane and a villain as their stories intertwine. Then in book three –this gives me chills I love it so much—Orson Welles in 1936 put together the first ever all-black theater cast and they performed MacBeth. Instead of setting it in Scotland, it is set in Haiti with jungle and skeletal scenery. This is Voodoo MacBeth – and oh, I would do anything to go back in time to see it! It was very successful and this comes alongside Lane’s love interest, and then Lane, as they delve into the ghosts of his past to uncover truths to the current mystery. It’s so much fun.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

LAC:  I really love Lane’s aunt, Aunt Evelyn. I love her exotic background and because she’s an artist, she draws people of all backgrounds to herself. I love and admire that. She adds a lot of color and interest to the book, she’s got an eccentric sense of humor, and she gives the perfect way to add in a lot of fun cameo appearances. There are a lot!


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

LAC:  I love series set in New York City, so books like the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson were very inspirational. I love adventure, too, so books that are not just detective-based have inspired me such as Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. As I noted above, I do enjoy a spot of humor, so books that make me laugh inspire me.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LAC:  I love to learn, so I self-published those other books I mentioned, BRASS and THE CHRISTMAS JOURNALIST. But I wanted to see how the traditionally published route differed. Plus, there was part of me that just really, really, really wanted to see my books in Barnes and Noble.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

LAC: Yummy question. C.S. Lewis so we could talk about creating Narnia. Jane Austen, because I’d love to see her verbal sparring in person. Maya Angelou, because Come On!!! I’d just like to be around her. And lastly, Jasper Fforde, creator of the Thursday Next series. His wonderfully creative series is a go-to read for me (I’ve read the whole series probably five times) AND I went to a signing of his, and his words actually helped me get over an obstacle in writing. I had found that I could NOT write by first creating an outline. I’m just terrible at it! That had really stymied me. But he had talked about a few aspects of his own writing, and it motivated me to just start writing scenes that I loved. Then I would go back and create a loose outline, write more scenes, adjust the outline, etc… I’ll always be grateful for that spirit of his, and his advice. And I don’t know if he’ll ever know. Kind of cool.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LAC:  I am just finishing up THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black. And I just picked up the second book in a new favored series by Andrea Penrose: MURDER AT HALF MOON GATE.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

LAC: I love cooking and am binge-watching The Great British Bake Off. I love trying new speakeasies in NYC. I often go to the Met to look around and have a glass of wine. I love coffee with friends. And I have two cats that are the best pets I’ve ever had! I love all animals. I grew up with a Great Dane and my sons had two hamsters I fell in love with. So now it’s cats.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

LAC: Green olives, wine, cheese, half n half for my coffee.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

LAC: I probably wrote more than you wanted above on this question. Lol.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

LAC: Two things, actually. I love creating a scene that makes me happy. Makes me laugh right out loud (you should see how Lane gets out of a scrape in THE GOLDEN PAWN! It still cracks me up!) or makes me feel inspired, a kind of city magic, or a scene that tugs at your heart strings. I love my characters – they’ve become friends. And the second thing I didn’t see coming at all: I LOVE meeting readers and other writers! I’ve been to a couple of book conferences (going to Malice this month!), have met readers for coffee, and talked with other writers and encouraged them along the way. I love the people part of writing. It’s really so much fun.

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Review


THE SILVER GUN by L.A. Chandlar
The First Art Deco Mystery

Working for Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is always an adventure, but after Lane Sanders runs into a mysterious good looking man exiting his office and locks eyes with another man with an evil glare who's watching her at the subway things get even more thrilling. Lane must not only keep up with the mayor's antics and deal with two sourpussed secretaries jealous of her promotion, but she must join forces with friends and family to work on "the case". There's a threat against the mayor, but the attacks are aimed at Lane. Could she be the real target? Should she trust that mysterious man who seems to pop up whenever she's in danger? And what is the meaning behind the silver gun in her dreams?

Intrigue, adventure, and a touch of romance, this historical mystery has it all!

THE SILVER GUN is filled with unique richly developed characters. Lane Sanders is an eager young woman willing to reach out for what she wants and who is not one to sit by the sidelines. She thrusts herself into danger and rescues herself, no wilting flower is she! Lane lives life to the fullest. She's a woman I'd love to know and call friend. Finn Brodie is not only swoonworthy, he's a complex character with hidden depths. Speaking of hidden depths, there are lots of characters with mysterious backgrounds. Not everything nor everyone is as it seems, which adds to the excitement and surprises which continue to unfold throughout the book.

I love just about everything in this first Art Deco mystery. The rich attention to detail provides added layers. I love hearing about the artists and songs from the time, and laugh as Lane gets the lyrics wrong. I appreciate the architecture, fashion, and the food. I never realized potato chips where a thing in the 1930s and I desperately want some fried olives.

THE SILVER GUN grabbed my attention from the start and would not let go. There are so many dimensions involved and the novel captivated me in so many ways. With laugh out loud escapades, romance, camaraderie, danger, and special dreams, it's thrilling, charming, and funny, and not to be missed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 comments:

  1. This book looks so good. Would love to read it.
    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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  2. This book sounds so awesome! I also enjoyed your interview.

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  3. Hi Kathy, Faith and Becky! So fun to hear your comments and what a wonderful, thoughtful review, Kathy. Thank you and I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you enjoyed the adventure. AND that you laughed:-). You had fantastic questions - LOVED this interview! FYI in my next newsletter I share the recipe for the friend olives;-).

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    1. Thanks everyone and thanks for stopping by L.A. So glad that you enjoyed my interview questions. Can't wait for the recipe-I was already figuring out how to replicate it myself. I also want the recipe for a Bad Romance-and don't say unrealistic expectations and a louse of a man.

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  4. Thank you for your review and information on "THE SILVER GUN" by L.A. Chandlar as well as being part of the book tour. I enjoyed reading the interview and learn more about both book and author.

    I've placed this book on my TBR list and would love the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Great to hear, Kay! And I saw you on Twitter - fun getting to know you via social media. Thanks for commenting:-)

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  5. The Silver Gun interests me greatly. The plot, characters, the era and the wonderful Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia who was a wonderful mensch. I enjoyed this entertaining and interesting interview. Thanks for this unique and intriguing giveaway.

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    1. Hi Traveler! I'm so excited you know Fiorello! I keep finding delightful history about him and including it in the upcoming books. In fact, always read my author notes to find out what was real and what was fictitious:-). The more outrageous or adventurous, the more likely it happened in real history. Keep in touch if you get a chance to read it! Thanks for commenting! -Laurie

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  6. I am not familiar with this author's books and would love to start to know more. Thanks for hosting. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Robin! Book 2 -The Gold Pawn- will be out in September with a cover reveal in just a couple weeks:-). Keep in touch when you get a chance to read The Silver Gun! Thanks for reaching out.

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  7. I like the Art Deco time period and I liked the description of the book. Sounds like a great start to a new series. Adding to my TBR list.

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    1. So fun to hear that you're interested, Dianne! And thanks for finding me on Twitter:-). Keep me posted when you get a chance to read it - I hope you enjoy it. Have a great spring!

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  8. Sounds good. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Grandma C! Keep me posted if you get a chance to read it:-). And good luck with the giveaway - it's a fun one!

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  9. Fabulous cover, L. A.! Wishing you every success with your series! I had to laugh at your non-fiction title BRASS. One of my friends worked very hard in management at a high tech company; she described herself as "I wear the brass brassiere."

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    1. That's awesome, CT!! And thank you so much for your sweet words. Keep in touch if you get a chance to read The Silver Gun! Thanks for commenting:-)

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  10. Love Mysteries & this looks like another great read. Thanks for your generosity.

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    1. Thanks Linda! Good luck with the giveaway! It's a fun one;-). And let me know if you get a chance to read The Silver Gun! Take care and thanks for commenting.

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  11. Sounds like a fabulous book. I can't wait to read it. Love the cover.

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    1. Rita! Thank you! I have a cover reveal on April 23rd for Book 2, The Gold Pawn (releasing Sept 25). I hope you like it! I love the art:-). Keep in touch if you get a chance to read The Silver Gun:-). Have a great week-

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  12. Really interesting topic. Thanks for this opportunity.

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I love researching all this stuff. I've found it so interesting, too. Keep in touch if you get a chance to read The Silver Gun. I'd love to hear from you. Have fun:-)

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  13. I think this sounds so good and would love to read a print copy. I am going to have to Amazon and check it out when i do read i will review on goodreads and amazon. Thanks for doing the tour as you are a new author for me and i am trying to read 1 new author a month that was my New Years Resolution! peggy clayton

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  14. Thanks pt! I'm really glad that my book inspired you to read it. And I really appreciate every review. I know it takes a lot of effort and time to do that:-). Keep in touch if you get a chance to read The Silver Gun! Thanks for commenting!

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