Monday, September 6, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway - Lauren Carr

My First Crush: Joe Hardy Lives On
(No, not Shaun Cassidy. It was Joe Hardy.)

As a mystery writer, readers are very interested in what influenced me to write mysteries. Why not romance or poetry? Why mystery? I always start by describing how my dear sweet mother used to read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. By the time I was old enough to hold a book, I was reading the Bobbsey Twins and, from there, the Hardy Boys.

At this point, readers will become excited and say, “I used to read the Hardy Boys, too!”

I wonder sometimes if it says something about my psyche that I didn’t simply read the Hardy Boys, but developed a full-fledged crush on them, Joe Hardy, in particular.

I was a natural reader. By the time I was eight years old, I had devoured every copy of the Bobbsey Twins at the library. My mother said I had to move on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys or start over again with the first installment of the Bobbsey Twins. 

For some reason, Nancy Drew failed to hold my interest. Maybe because she was so much older than me and I didn’t identify with her. That book went back to the library unfinished. I then checked out a Hardy Boys book: The Mystery of the Flickering Torch. By the end of the third chapter, I had developed my first crush on Joe Hardy.

Critics of the Hardy Boy books claim that the characters of the two brothers are identical. The only difference between them is that Frank had dark hair and Joe was blond. But in my heart of hearts, I knew the difference. Frank was eighteen and older, almost a man; whereas, Joe was sixteen, so subconsciously I may have thought he was more obtainable.

My crush on the Hardy Boys was almost insatiable. My mother didn’t, and still doesn’t, buy books. My access to Joe was limited strictly to what the library had on their shelves. (My crush was before the Hardy Boys television series.) At two books a week, I had read every copy that I could obtain in no time. I had started to read them a third time by the time I discovered real live boys who weren’t confined between the covers of a book.

Keep in mind that the object of my attraction was not a visual image seen on television or in the movies, like the teen idols that cause girls to scream and faint today. Any physical image I had of Joe came from my imagination, based on the writer’s description and the drawings on the book’s front cover. So, it had to be something other than sexy blond hair, baby blue eyes, and a cute butt that caused my obsession with him.
Thinking back, I realize that I was excited by Joe’s drive to find out the truth despite the risks involved. I was thrilled by the sense of danger. No matter what it took, even if that quest for the truth meant standing up to someone of a higher authority, he did what was right. 

Those very qualities that attracted me to my first crush have found their way into the heart of the protagonists in my books. While the physical attributes may differ, I have discovered that the characteristics that attracted me to my first crush are always there.

It’s Murder, My Son introduces readers to Mac Faraday, a homicide detective who inherits a fortune from his birth mother, the late Robin Spencer, the Queen of American Mysteries. Mac was considered the best detective on the force, but he continually butt heads with his supervisors for asking too many questions. He cared more about finding out the truth than closing a case quickly.

When Mac moves to his late mother’s estate on Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, his dog Gnarly brings home a dismembered head. Now a multi-millionaire, most men would be content to let the police carry the head away and go back to working on their tans. 

Not Mac Faraday.

Who does that head belong to? Is it in any way connected to the murder of the neighbor who was killed during the St. Valentine’s Day blizzard? Who was the mysterious man calling himself Pay Back stalking her? What was he paying her back for? How was he able to get in and out of the house to kill her without tripping the security system?

Even with a fortune that goes beyond his wildest imagination, Mac dives right into the case to get the answers to all these questions, not unlike my first crush, Joe Hardy.

And my mother said it was only puppy love.

About the author ~ 

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. Her third book, It’s Murder, My Son, is the first installment for her new series, The Mac Faraday Mysteries. It’s Murder, My Son is set in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, where she and her family often vacation. She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

In addition to being an active member and director of the Association of Independent Authors, Lauren is a popular speaker who has made speaking appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and son on a mountaintop in West Virginia.

Her latest book

It's Murder, My Son (A Mac Faraday Mystery) (Volume 1)

"With it's tight plot, well-crafted and believable characters, and complex mystery, It's Murder, My Son is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to many more Mac Faraday mysteries."  John J. Lamb, author of the Bear Collector Mysteries "A most unusual and surprising plot, intriguing characters, snappy dialogue, great settings and a dog named Gnarly are the prime ingredients in Lauren Carr's terrific new mystery, It's Murder, My Son." F.M. Meredith, author of An Axe to Grind What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday's life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This covert would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America's Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels. Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself "Pay Back" begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found. Three months later the file on her murder is still open with only vague speculations from the local police department when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother's home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide detective. With the help of his late mother's journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina's killer. 

Other books by Lauren

A Reunion to Die For (Five Star Mystery Series) (Five Star Mystery Series)A Small Case of Murder 

Find Lauren ~

on her WEBSITE
on her BLOG

Thanks to the author I will be giving away two (2) copies of this book!

GIVEAWAY  Rules for entering:

  • This contest is open to residents of USA residents only!
  • Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
  • The contest will end on September 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST; 2 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
  • Once the winner is contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
  • Book will be shipped directly from the author.