A Writers Life

Ever wonder what an author's life is like? What that breathing, sweating, hungry, weary, bona fide guy does when he's not at the keyboard? How does his "day job" affect his writing? When he's mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, or babysitting grandchildren ? what goes through his mind? Is he sucking up every sensation as he moves through his day, tucking tidbits away for a future piece? Or, does he simply journey through life, just ? doing ? these things?

How do I define myself? Am I Aaron Paul Lazar, with the obligatory middle name, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series? Sometimes. At book signings, indeed. In the grocery store, frequently. But more often than not, I'm Papa, Dad, Honey, and just plain, old Aaron.

My day job pays the mortgage. I'm an electrophotographic engineer. I know, that term is really overwhelming. But it's what I do! I have worked with the same terrific set of colleagues for 24 years. Electrophotography is the science behind the digital presses that we design and manufacture at NexPress Solutions Inc. in Rochester, NY.

Strange as it may seem, my "day job" is not unrelated to my writing career. One might be hard put to understand how such work - data, science, formulas and hardware - could be even remotely related to writing. When I'm on a project, whether it's the development of a new toner to meet impossibly stringent standards, or solving a reliability problem in a complex system, there's always a mystery that needs to be solved! It's that challenge, that incredibly exciting contest that gets my blood pumping. And, of course, there is always the human drama that occurs in real life to stimulate a writer's emotions and imagination. My colleagues have experienced appalling trials, and these traumas spark fears. What would I do if I lost either of my baby grandsons? How would I deal with the sudden death of my wife? What if I experienced a life-changing heart attack? Those are the fibers that make up the cloth of every day life. Not unlike breaking news events, they generate the germ of an idea that may blossom and grow into a storyline. Most of the themes I've used have come from my own life, but the influences of those around me cannot be denied.

What about hobbies? Do they figure prominently in an author's work? My passions, which include gardening, cooking, photography, classical music, and art find their way into each of the LeGarde mysteries. Each experience, however commonplace, worms its way into a story in one way or another. Between the chase scenes, the fights with the villains, or the rescues, life happens. My characters live their lives as I do. Whether my protagonist is preparing a large feast for his extended family, planting peas, or changing a diaper, real life scenarios are intimately wound into the stories in various permutations. Routine activities, like digging in the dirt, provide vivid, gritty color for the books.

I adore photography. When you think about it, a very specific talent is required to frame a nice shot. I think it's this same appreciation of the "visual feast" that provides writers with that extra perceptive eye he or she needs to bring a reader into a scene. I've been told that the LeGarde series offers a strong sense of place. Of course, the Genesee Valley is where I live, it's where my characters live, and it's infused into every chapter of each of the nine books that have been written to date.

Some day, life might be different. The fire may crackle in the hearth as I snuggle down to write my current New York Times Bestseller and sip a fine Riesling that didn't come from a jug! If it's snowing, I'll cheer - more snow to ski on and no worries about commuting back and forth to Rochester. But for now, please accept my invitation to visit the website. You can read excerpts from the first three books in the series, check out reviews and readers' feedback, and browse through some lovely photos of the Genesee Valley while listening to Chopin mazurkas and waltzes. Feel free to visit: www.legardemysteries.com

Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in- law, two dogs, and three cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc., part of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending "time" with the French Impressionists whenever possible.

Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his "two little buddies" to be one of the finest experiences of his life. Double Forte', the first in the series, was published in January 2005. Upstaged, number two, is in production. With eight books under his belt, Mr. Lazar is currently working on the ninth, which features Gus LeGarde and his family. http://www.legardemysteries.com

In The News:

How to write a killer abstract in 10 sentences  American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Opinion | Why I Write  The New York Times

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