A real writer
Aaron Paul Lazar lives his stories
At four o’clock in the morning, while the rest of us are getting our last couple hours of precious sleep, mystery/romance writer Aaron Paul Lazar is already at his computer developing new story lines for his beloved characters. With twenty-five books under his belt—he writes two or three a year—his discipline has paid off with nineteen literary awards to date.
Lazar admits to being totally preoccupied with writing—“I can take control of this parallel universe where not so much in real life”—and he continues because it is pure fun. He writes series—LeGarde Mysteries, Tall Pines Mysteries, Paines Creek Beach, and Bittersweet Hollow—simply because he falls in love with his characters and can’t let them go. When readers (frequently) ask when the next book in one of the series is coming out, Lazar knows that he is on target. One of his favorite parts of writing is enjoying contacts with his readers through Facebook and other social media.
Lazar has a day job as an engineer at KB America in Rochester— he was a Kodak employee for thirty years—and by 6 a.m. the writing part of his day is over and he leaves his nineteenth century home in the Genesee Valley, outside Geneseo, a place near and dear to his heart and where many of his novels are set. His stories are deeply rooted in the earth, and Lazar, an avid gardener and nature lover, makes sure that the rolling hills and farms around him play an integral part in them. He loves sharing its beauty with readers and passing on scenes from a simple country life such as gathering vegetables from the garden and hiking down a dirt road.
Voodoo Summer, Lazar’s latest book, the eleventh of the LeGarde Mysteries, takes readers back to 1966, where main character Gus, as a young boy of thirteen, faces social injustice within a familiar world during a New England summer at Loon Harbor, his grandparents’ idyllic fishing resort. Race relations play a large role in this wholesome, nostalgic mystery.
As a young boy growing up outside Boston, Lazar was a voracious reader and less of a writer. He did take courses at Northeastern University in writing, thinking that someday when he retired perhaps writing would become a hobby. It wasn’t until 1997 when Lazar was married with children and established in the Geneseo area that life took a major turn. His dad passed away suddenly. He started writing as therapy and found that it was a major release while going through the grieving process.
Gus, Lazar’s main character in his first book, Double Forte, was just like his dad in many ways. Both were steeped in family time and thoughtful living where sticks and rocks sufficed as playthings and multigenerational campfires on the beach were a summertime evening’s entertainment. When his mother read it, she encouraged him to continue, and Lazar says that through the years of ten more books, Gus has become his own person. Lazar wants his grandchildren to understand an era where life was less complicated and troublesome.
While the LeGarde Mysteries appeal to older women because of their wholesome content with a twist of suspense, Lazar’s other series, more contemporary and romantic, fit for all ages. Readers tell Lazar that he comfortably unfolds a love story from a man’s point of view that is both believable and meaningful.
Lazar’s characters are strong heroes, men and women who live in a fractured world with dignity. He feels that nowadays so many people are missing nurturing men in their lives—ones that cook and spend time with family routinely—that he purposely develops characters that reflect those qualities as role models for readers. Often the women in Lazar’s books share some characteristics with his wife, and he sometimes includes little tidbits related to his grandchildren.
Aaron Paul Lazar’s stories spring from real life—a life he lives with abundance.
Kay Thomas lives in the Genesee Valley and writes a biweekly column in the Livingston County News.