The writing of “Treasure of Saint-Lazare” – Roy Murry’s author interview

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Murry blogRoy Murry’s well-known blog features yours truly as the monthly interview subject today. He asked some good questions about the thinking behind Treasure of Saint-Lazare — answering them made me focus on the process I used then, and the process I’m using to write its sequel, to which I’ve given the working title “Last Stop: Paris.”

 

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SavvyBookWriters has questions about Treasure of Saint-Lazare and its tale of stolen Nazi treasure

Doris-Maria Heilman of SavvyBookWriters.wordpress.com and 111publishing.com was nice enough to request an author interview. I thought her questions about Treasure of Saint-Lazare were pertinent and interesting, and I enjoyed answering them. I hope you’ll find them interesting. There’s been a lot of interest in stolen Nazi treasure, and of course I’m happy to keep it going.

The interview is here: http://goo.gl/A0qDPf

This is a good chance to say again: Thanks to all of you who bought Treasure of Saint-Lazare. It’s been out 18 months and is still selling well, and I’ve seen a lot of interest from reviewers — I think it proves the point that there’s no reason for ebooks to ever go out of print.

I’m well along in writing the sequel, whose working title is Last Stop: Paris.

 

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Book Review: Rita’s big adventure

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Quincy

Cover from Amazon.com

Decades as an elementary-school teacher left Rita Major-Hallerdin with a keen desire to write about child safety. If her first effort is a good predictor, “Quincy’s Theme Park Adventure: A Lesson Learned” will be the first of a significant series designed to teach reading skills — and at the same time improve parenting. Hers will likely be an adventure as big as Quincy’s.

Her slim book was written to be read to and with young children, and to help their parents keep them out of trouble in big and troublesome Disney World (although she used a different name for the park, which is Disney’s loss).
It’s been well received so far. Both the Kindle and paperback versions have begun to move up in Amazon rankings, and should improve as more reviews come in.

Local reception has been good, too. Two dozen interested readers — grandparents rather than parents, considering where we live — came to Rita’s presentation one sunny afternoon at the Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, where they had the chance to question her and the capable illustrator, Kathy Houghton, without whom Quincy’s adventure would not have worked.

I’m personally very pleased that Rita’s book came out so well. I saw it in draft, without the illustrations, and (even though children’s books, and children, are not my thing). But if they’re yours, you will enjoy it and may come away from it with some useful ideas from the pertinent suggestions on the final pages.

Quincy’s Theme Park Adventure: A Lesson Learned is available from Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions.
You can also find Rita on Facebook

 

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MY FAVORITE RECENT BOOKS – McEwan, Grossman, Kushner, Tartt, Patchett

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I sat down this afternoon to answer Doris Heilman’s interview questions (which in the course of time will appear on 111publishing.com), and it made me think more deeply about my own reading.

I read for pleasure and to admire the workmanship of my betters, so I was not surprised to find that my list included exactly zero books from my own genre, historical mysteries (example one and only so far is Treasure of Saint-Lazare, which hit #25 on the Amazon historical mysteries best-seller lists. It will be followed by a sequel, whose working title is Last Stop: Paris). Click the cover image at right to see the current book’s page.

Although I write about Paris, I don’t read much about Paris, short of the métro and bus timetables, and even those have been replaced by an iPhone app. I look for books by good writers, wherever I find them.

In no particular order, here are the books I listed in my answers to Doris. I hope you’ll look at them and, if you do, will enjoy them as much as I did:

- ATONEMENT, Ian McEwan (2003). http://amzn.to/1rr3YiV. A deep book about morality. (Its successor, Solar, was about the same subject, but not so satisfying. Still, I enjoyed it, too. Sweet Tooth was more Cold War-ish but daring in its execution. Read all three.)

- TO THE END OF THE LAND, David Grossman (2010). http://amzn.to/1rr4v4n. An Israeli novel, masterfully translated, about family and country. Beautifully written. It’s hard to overstate the impact of this book.

- THE FLAMETHROWERS, Rachel Kushner (2013). http://amzn.to/1rr4RI6. Italy in the time of anarchy, the Salt Flats in the time of motorcycle racing. Masterful, by a writer who says her neighbors think she’s a housewife who doesn’t sweep her porch often enough. Her earlier novel, Telex from Cuba http://amzn.to/1rr5h1e, was almost as good.

- THE GOLDFINCH, Donna Tartt (2013). http://amzn.to/1rr5x0f. Stephen King said it was “a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind,” which is fuzzy but unarguable. A must read, but BIG – 700+ pages.

- BEL CANTO, Ann Patchett (2009). http://amzn.to/1rr5UYx. I had read exactly zero Ann Patchett until I started hearing about her new story collection, which prompted me to read more about her and land on this book. Recommended.

This list omits a lot of books, but it’s a place to start. Try them — your life will be better for it.

 

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My interview with “Stories in the Noir”

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Stories In The Noir

CJ Johnson’s site Stories In The Noir

Thanks to writer CJ Johnson for making me the first subject of her new Weekly Book Spotlight – author interviews on her blog . She asked a few pertinent questions and invited me to answer them at any length I chose.

Here’s her post:

________________

I am extremely excited to kick-off the weekly book spotlight with some of the most talented indie authors who write books that fall in the mystery, thriller, and dark romance sub-genres, here on Stories In The Noir.

The first indie author on, Stories In The Noir, to tell us about his new book, Treasure at Saint-Lazare, is John Pearce.

He was gracious enough to answer my questions about his book.
So without further ado, go ahead and discover this thrilling must read:

The book is set in Sarasota, Florida and Paris, France. What inspired you to place the novel in those locales?

When I started to plot Treasure of Saint-Lazare there was only one non-negotiable requirement — It had to be set in Paris. I am a committed Paris lover, to the extent that my wife Jan and I live there for a couple of months every year. Sarasota was easier. That’s where we live the rest of the time. It’s a nice small city on the West Coast of Florida, but has enough Elmore Leonard characters in it to make my cast of disreputables believable.

2. In the book, the story’s premise surrounds capturing the missing paining, “Portrait of a young man” by the Renaissance master painter, Raphael. With that in mind, are you drawn to the art world and why that painting as a focus?

I’m a fan of art, but not to the point of being able to call myself an expert. I was looking for a story that would reach back into World War II and forward into the present, and it seemed to me the continuing search for the priceless art treasures stolen by the Nazis would be a good vehicle for the story. It didn’t hurt that George Clooney started filming The Monuments Men just a few months after Treasure of Saint-Lazare was published.

Read the rest of the interview on CJ’s blog, Stories In The Noir 

 

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The Real Monuments Men

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Before the George Clooney movie there was the revealing and definitive book The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel. I thought the book was fascinating when it was published, and nothing has changed my mind since.

Monuments-Men.png

(Recovered pictures at the Allied sorting facility in Munich)

Edsel is getting a lot of publicity because of the movie, and I hope it’s reflected in his sales and in the prosperity of his Monuments Men Foundation. He did an outstanding interview on Charlie Rose two weeks ago, then was on BookTV last week. He’s scheduled for an appearance sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota next month.

Parade Magazine published an interview with him in last Sunday’s edition. Of course, I thought the most interesting line in it was, “Probably the single most important painting that’s missing is Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man, which came from a Museum in Krakow … ”

If you’ve read Treasure of Saint-Lazare, you know it’s all about that painting. It’s the story of a search that spans the Atlantic from Sarasota to Paris and back, and is filled with scenes of romantic walks through Paris and a drive in the Loire Valley — all in the quest to get to the painting and its accompanying trove of Nazi gold. I invite you to try it. Kindle, paperback and audiobook editions are available on Amazon.com, at http://j.mp/UKIVVi, and the paperback is available at Bookstore1Sarasota.

Treasure of Saint-Lazare reached #35 on Amazon’s historical mystery best-seller list and #45 on the Amazon France suspense thriller best-seller list. Thanks to you if you’re one of the readers who got it there.

 

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In Paris on a Sunday? Don’t miss dinner chez Patricia

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Patricia - Jim Morrison Trib - 2011

PATRICIA LAPLANTE-COLLINS

 

One long-established Paris expat institution Jan and I would never miss on our annual séjour is Patricia Laplante-Collins’s ParisSoirées — Sunday evening gatherings, either at a restaurant or aprivate home, with good food, great conversation, and a whole lot of wine (you can do that in Paris because the public transportation takes you home).

I’ve been the guest speaker at two of the soirées. The first was 2012, just before I published Treasure of Saint-Lazare. I had only a few copies of the advance readers’ copy of my book to give away, and I was surprised (and very gratified) by the warm reception Patricia’s group gave me. My second presentation came during last year’s visit, and if anything the reception was even better than the year before. I was struck by how many French speakers Patricia has been able to attract into her circle. It adds a considerable depth of interest to the evening.

Patricia’s been a Paris expat resident since time out of mind. Her dinners are well known by just about every American who visits, and shouldn’t be missed. It’s a deal for 25€.

The whole thing is done by email. To sign up, go to her website www.parissoirees.com or send an email to parissoirees@gmail.com asking her to add you to the email list.

Here’s a picture taken the evening in 2012 when I discussed the upcoming release of Treasure of Saint-Lazare. Patricia’s party was held in the private dining room of a terrific Indian restaurant.

IMG_2659

 

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Treasure of Saint-Lazare has a sparkling new trailer – and store

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NINETY SECONDS of romantic Paris photos and elegant music – is there anyone with soul so dead* they don’t respond to that?

I’m pleased to introduce my new book trailer, full of atmospheric music and unforgettable images of the City of Light. Enjoy.

The other big news of the day is that Bookstore1Sarasota — the most prominent indie bookstore in Sarasota, FL (my home) has begun to stock the book. Sarasota is an important part of the story of Treasure of Saint-Lazare, so I’m hope that more of my neighbors will take advantage of Bookstore1′s outstanding inventory to look at my book, and others as well.

If you live in the area and haven’t read it yet, please buy it from them. (If you want to help create buzz, call and ask if they have it. Can’t hurt. (941) 365-7900.)

(To receive these posts by email, sign up in the sidebar on the right. You’ll receive a link via email any night after the day a new post goes up.)

* apologies to Sir Walter Scott

 

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A Paris afternoon in Place Saint-Michel, complete with music

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Most afternoons when we’re in Paris I take the métro to Place Saint-Michel, the crowded plaza on the Seine across from Notre-Dame cathedral. For a few days before I took this picture and video a well-used upright piano sat ready for amateur pianists, most of whom were of the “chopsticks” variety. But one day the music changed, and we were treated to a real musician:

Pianist-in-Place-Saint-Michel-Paris

I watched a while and caught this short video. Stay with it through the end for a view of the famous fountain.

Then I left to write. When I returned four hours later the piano was gone.

 

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Audio version of Treasure of Saint-Lazare is now available

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IT’S AVAILABLE – The audio version of Treasure of Saint-Lazare has been released on Audible.com and Amazon.com. You can hear a sample and buy it  at http://j.mp/12mxGb2.

This is the full, unabridged version of the novel as narrated by Tim Campbell, a talented operatic baritone who lives in Pasadena, CA. He’s narrated more than two dozen audio books for Audible.com, and I listened carefully to several of his audition samples before choosing him from among 20 candidates. I’m pleased, and hope you will be, too.

The Kindle and paperback versions of my novel are on this page: http://j.mp/UKIVVi

 

 

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