Welcome to the book tour for Theft Between The Rains by Luba Lesychyn! Today you’re going to get to know the author a little bit better as she answers some questions. And you can also enjoy an excerpt from the book before you download your own copy. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for even more! Best of luck entering the great giveaway, too.
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.
Read an excerpt:
The establishment’s boutique served as a retail antechamber to the dining area, and it would take every single molecule of self-control to bypass the exquisite jewelry-case-like displays that were making all of my senses dance. Rather than gems, however, the delicate glass cabinets were appointed with rows of truffle delicacies infused with Bombay chai and Tahitian vanilla, Seville orange and sweet curry. The chocolaty delights sported deliciously creative names like Thai Me Up, Curry in a Hurry, Hot Mess, and Belle du Jour. From there my eyes wandered to wall displays strategically populated with pastel-hued macarons flavored with lavender and cassis, figs and red wine, passion fruit and pistachios. The white floors and walls formed a perfect backdrop highlighting the vibrant wares. I dug in my heels and cantered forward like a horse with blinders on.
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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
Museum employee and reluctant sleuth Kalena Boyko finds herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
Like the prequel to this book, it is set in Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum where I had worked for more than 20 years. So, I had the behind-the-scenes museum world of the book well in hand. But I also wanted to take readers to new and unusual and little-known settings in the city of Toronto. Over the course of a couple of summers and falls, I went on Toronto’s Lost River walks, which trace the courses of the city’s undergrounded or forgotten streams.
To these I added city walking tours organized by the Royal Ontario Museum, and I also participated in Doors Open Toronto which allows the public to explore buildings of architectural, historic and cultural significance that are not usually accessible to the public. As a result of these efforts, I was able to set various scenes in the book in truly unique and often haunting locations and I was able to describe them with great authenticity.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
One of the scenes which I didn’t want to finish writing because it was so much fun is set in a ghost subway station. It’s not that it’s occupied by spirits (though it very well may be), but it’s a station that was built but decommissioned shortly afterwards because it was not dealing with moving commuters the way the city had hoped. It’s no longer a functioning station and these days is only used for film shoots. I had an opportunity to visit and explore it fully. The station is where the climax of my book is set, so there’s lots of tension, some humor, and the mystery starts to be revealed in this part of the novel.
Why should we read your book?
I’ve been doing regular virtual library events and one of the comments I hear most often from librarians is that readers are looking for lighter fare, particularly at this time. And although the book has a humorous tone to it, it’s a page-turning thriller and I guarantee there are some twists readers never see coming. But it’s also a genuine rendering of what it’s like to work in an international museum, so it’s an opportunity for readers to learn about spaces and parts of museum life they probably don’t even know existed.
Moreover, the book takes readers to spellbinding parts of a city that even many inhabitants haven’t seen. Toronto’s a city with which tourists fall in love and the book gives readers a unique portrait and gateway to Canada’s largest urban center.
What do you hope people will get out of your book?
I become more of an activist the older I get and there are some environmental cautions written into my tale. The super storms we’re experiencing around the world are impacting cities like Toronto in terms of storms resulting in flash flooding like we’ve never seen before. We’ve covered up our natural drainage systems with concrete, so when it pours in a much fiercer manner these days, the water remains on these artificial flood plains because the cities’ rivers have been undergrounded and are being used for sewage management instead.
I hope readers will enjoy the fast-moving thriller elements of the book and its sense of humor, and at the same time be awakened to the fact that the manner in which urban planners did things in the past is no longer working for us. I don’t hit people on the head with this message, but I do hope they will recognize it.
How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
This is book is not a murder mystery – no one gets murdered in my books. It’s a humorous art theft thriller or what I would call a cozy urban thriller and, as a result stands out as a unique blend of genres. And it’s a really fun read where the reader is exposed to the compelling world of museums.
Tell us about your other published works.
Although Theft Between the Rains works as a stand-alone read, it is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate, about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places. It introduces the characters readers also meet in Theft Between the Rains, including protagonist Kalena Boyko (whose serious addiction to chocolate is always getting her into a spot of trouble) as well as her quirky and affable sidekicks.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Early in my writing journey, an editor at an international publishing company told me that I should take writing classes. I listened to him and it’s definitely the best thing I could have done as a writer. It saved me a lot of floundering.
What are you currently reading? Up next on your TBR?
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria (I actually read a lot of non-fiction these days). My TBR list is off the scale because I’ve also become an audiobook hoarder. But some of the works waiting for my attention include Migrations, The Map of Salt and Stars, The Art Forger, and Everything I Don’t Remember. Seriously, I could go on and on!
What book and/or author changed your life?
It’s not the most Earth-shattering book ever written, but reading Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic led to my epiphany that I might be able to write a self-deprecating book about a character addicted to chocolate and that it could be set in the intriguing workplace in which I had been instilled for so long. In a very different way, non-fiction writers such as Echkart Tolle and Gary Zukav dramatically changed my understanding of the world as I knew it.
What is one skill you wish you had?
I wish I was skilled enough with language to write literature as well as genre books.
Let’s say I’m coming for a visit to your area. What are some must-see places?
Most definitely, the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Island. And for even more suggestions, Theft Between the Rains will provide some unique ideas.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
Although I worked in arts and education for most of my life, I ended my administrative career working in an engineering company and it’s one of the best places in which I ever worked.
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.a Rafflecopter giveaway