copyright 2014, AP Lazar
I was sixteen years old in 1969. Man, was that a time to be alive, especially for a young man with access to Boston and all the happenings of that era.
There was the Psychedelic Supermarket, where I saw Traffic (Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood on flute), The Boston Tea Party (where I saw Led Zeppelin in their first ever USA appearance, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, and more), and the Cambridge Commons, where the Love-Ins happened every Sunday afternoon. We enjoyed so many bands for free in that sunny park, from Alice Cooper to Chicago to the many “Boss-Town Bands” that cropped up in that era like Ultimate Spinach, Eden’s Children, and so many more. I listened to Tom Rush play and sing in a tiny hall at Northeastern University, and of course we always bought tickets when the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Johnny Winters, and other bands came to town.
Yes, it was a time of heady music, flamboyant behavior, and plenty of love.
Granted, at the time, I was just madly in love with my soul mate (now my wife of 33 years), who also loved the music, and like me, didn’t love the drugs. We stayed healthy and sober while getting “high” off the music. And we both liked it that way.
When I started writing the LeGarde Mystery series in 1997, I pegged a point in time when my protagonist was just recovering from the loss of his lifetime soul mate, Elsbeth, his first wife and childhood best friend. Gus is in his forties when the series starts, and he has one daughter (Freddie) and a two-year-old grandson, Johnny.
As time went on, I wrote many more books in what I call the “adult” Gus LeGarde series. Not because the content is x-rated, LOL, but because it deals with Gus “after Elsbeth died.” By the time I’d finished writing Double Forté, Upstaged, and Mazurka, I had an uncontrollable craving to take Gus back to his childhood in the summer of 1964. I wanted to see Siegfried (his best friend and first wife’s twin brother) in his youthful glory before he was struck by the motorboat that incapacitated him when he was twelve. And I wanted to see Elsbeth, full of fire and spunk and youthful exuberance. I wanted to see her alive, and not just a memory in Gus’s mind.
So, I wrote this book in Gus’s childhood, Tremolo: cry of the loon, soon to be followed by another “young Gus” book, Don’t let the Wind Catch You. Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried are 10, 11, or 12 in these books. And I must say, it was a blast to go back in time and write from my own eleven-year-old brain.
Some time between writing FireSong and Virtuoso (the next “adult” Gus books), I decided I’d like to document just about every year of his life.
I know. Crazy, right?
In spite of this nutty idea, I went ahead and picked the time when Gus and Elsbeth were attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and I carefully selected the year 1969, because I had such strong memories of the year, and because…well, I wanted to.
I cheated a little on the characters’ ages (Gus would’ve been 16, not 19, in 1969), but I pleaded my readers’ forgiveness in a note that explained why I wanted to do this.
I also wished I could have attended Woodstock way back then, but since I was just 16, I didn’t have wheels or money, so it never happened for real.
But, it happens in Spirit Me Away, book #8 in the LeGarde series! (by the way, you can read these books in any order) I let Gus, Elsbeth, and his friends attend the greatest rock festival of all time. And though there were problems, I had a blast.
If you decide to head back to the era of flower children, peace, and free love with Gus, I hope you have a wonderful time!
Here’s a list of all the LeGarde books in chronological (not publishing order or the order I wrote them!)
LEGARDE MYSTERIES – in order of chronology
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU
SPIRIT ME AWAY
THE LIAR’S GALLERY (COMING IN 2014)
UNDER THE ICE (COMING IN 2014)
Thanks for stopping by Murder by 4 today!
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, 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 SPIRIT ME AWAY (2014), DEVIL’S LAKE(2014), and THE LIARS’ GALLERY (2014).