I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Luba Lesychyn. Today, Luba shares the best moments of her creative life and her new release, Theft Between the Rains.
My Ten Best Moments as a Writer
Travelling to Southern Italy
When I was looking for a publisher for my first book, I decided to attend the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera in Southern Italy because a part of its program included ‘speed dating’ sessions with publishers and agents. It was a long trek from Toronto, but I fit in a side trip to Rome as well. But Matera is like no other place I’ve visited. The Unesco World Heritage Site looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.
While in Matera pitching my first book, Theft By Chocolate, to publishers and agents it went horribly. But several weeks after returning home, I received an email from Attica Books, based in Oxford, England to say they wanted to publish my book.
Praise from My Older Brother
My late older brother was a genius and I thought he’d think my work was inane, so I was really hesitant about having him read my humorous art theft thriller. After reading it, he told me he thought it was brilliant. I thought he was pulling my leg at first, but he started to break it down scene by scene and discuss his favorite bits.
Live Interview on National Television
Because of the timing of the publication of my book, I missed the deadline to have a booth at Toronto’s renowned book and magazine festival, Word on the Street. But the college where I had done my creative writing program asked me to be one of their panelists and I ended up being interviewed on a national news program by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about my book.
My formal book launch didn’t take place until about six months after it was published, but it was held at the headquarters of a preeminent Toronto chocolate maker and involved chocolate-making demonstrations and a presentation on the art of chocolate-making. It was a standing room only event and I couldn’t have had more fun.
Reading at the ROM
My books are set in Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where I had worked for more than 20 years, and I was invited to do a reading there. I was terrified that the academics and other museum staff would crucify it for the artistic license I used in the book, but instead, they have been so positive about both books and the Museum staff have been some of my biggest supporters and fans.
Weathering a Snow Storm
I travelled around the province doing readings with my first book, and one of those landed in the middle of winter in a community a couple of hours drive north of Toronto. There was a snow storm that day and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, let alone any guests. But when I arrived, the room was packed and the people were some of the most friendly and appreciative I have ever met.
Praise from My Mom
My mother had mobility issues in her later years and she didn’t get out much. But with the help of my brothers, they got her to one of my readings and she was beaming at the end. I’ve always been very shy and dislike attention and she couldn’t believe how much I came to life reading from my book. She even said that she thought maybe I missed my calling as an actress. I’m not so sure about that!
Besides launching my book in Canada, I also launched it in the UK and did readings in London and Edinburgh. That was the experience of a lifetime.
Book Events Go Virtual
I was just getting started promoting my newest book, Theft Between the Rains, when almost without warning, it became a very different world. Most of our lives are currently taking place in our homes and in Canada our isolation rules have been very strict. But libraries started doing virtual events with authors and I have been so lucky to land of plethora of these events. And now I don’t have to travel in snow storms to share my work.
What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?
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.
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.
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. Find out more here.
Follow Luba on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.