by Luba Lesychyn
GENRE: International Art Theft Mystery
That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.
Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.
Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.
Lying slumped back in a chair, my body felt as though a truck had dumped a load of concrete over me. I mustered enough energy to crank my head upwards, but my brain was foggy, punch-drunk, as if I’d overdosed on gluten. In a mirror on the opposite wall, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. What was that dark mark on my throat, small and round? My head drooped downwards, and I noticed the door swelling open, incrementally, a sliver of light growing by millimeters. And then…a leg came into view. And, another. Where was I? Who was this coming in? Was I asleep, having one of those 3:00 am witching hour anxiety dreams? Should I get up? I couldn’t get up. Neurons were misfiring. I knew that person at the door. He was saying something to me…but the words seemed out of sync with what I was hearing.
Why did this guy sound like Johnny Cash…singing “Hurt”? Oh my god, it was Marco Zeffirelli, and now he seemed to be screaming at me, but it sounded as though he was underwater.
“Huh, what’s going on?” I said. Was I on some kind of drug trip? I didn’t do drugs. Did someone drug me?
Marco’s hands came towards the sides of my face, tugged at something, and the music stopped. Oh, right. It was all coming back to me. I had been listening to my iPod while working at my desk.
A Word With the Author:
1. Did you always want to be an author?
I’m one of those writers who came to the art a little later in life and my author’s journey is a bit unorthodox. My love for writing was instigated by my passion for film and I began blogging about cinema and that eventually led to some dabbling in screenwriting.
But screenplays tend to be restrictive and impressionistic, so I started to ponder adapting a script I had completed into a novel. I dropped that notion for some time and it wasn’t until I read Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic that I came up with an entirely different idea for my first book and then there was no stopping me.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
One of the lessons I learned while taking a creative writing program is that getting your book published is a marathon and writers need to brace themselves for that. When I couldn’t immediately find a publisher for my first book, Theft By Chocolate, I ended up writing a few more drafts, with the manuscript also sitting on my computer for long periods of time.
And then when I felt I was ready with a more polished book, I travelled to Southern Italy, to the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, where I had the opportunity to pitch my book to agents and publishers in what I call a ‘speed dating session.’ I was so nervous – I felt like I could barely form a sentence, let alone sell my book. But, a startup digital publisher, Attica Books, based out of Oxford in England, was smitten with my manuscript and they signed me up.
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
I’ve already mentioned Sophie Kinsella whose Confessions of a Shopaholic gave me the idea to write about my own addiction – that of chocolate – and because I was working in Canada’s largest museum, I decided to set my story in the museum world. I loved Kinsella’s sense of humor, self-deprecation, and the capriciousness of her main character. Helen Fielding, the author of the Bridget Jones’ series, also comes to mind, as well as Lauren Weisberger who wrote The Devil Wears Prada. With all of these authors, I’ve appreciated their comedic storytelling and, at the same time, brought readers into the working world with which they were most familiar.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
There are a lot of bests from the ideation stage, where it’s just so much fun to create the characters and the world in which they live to knowing that you are entertaining readers with your work. Sharing your stories at events is also very satisfying – but it’s rather different these days and I’m doing that on virtual platforms like Zoom. I am the first to admit that I get very nervous at first, but after I calm down, it’s so much fun.
As for the worst, I always feel like any kind of difficulty is a learning experience. So as much as all the rejections that writers receive from agents, publishers, organizers of events, etc., it’s toughened me up and also shown me how persistence pays off.
5.What are you working on now?
I’m venturing in a new direction from Theft By Chocolate and its sequel Theft Between the Rains, which are humorous art theft thrillers. The new book I’m working on still falls into the mystery genre, but it is a paranormal mystery where souls meet in more than one lifetime. It is, however, still based in the museum world.
At the same time, I’m developing a work that will be a memoir/fiction blend about my family’s experiences as first-generation Canadians. I also have a blog series in mind inspired by the current world circumstances which will explore memory and isolation. So, I’m feeling very excited about getting all these inspirations onto the page.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.
In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.
Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway