Today we're talking with Ann I. Goldfarb, author of Light Riders and the Fleur-de-lis Murder
FQ: Being a teacher and school principal, I must ask, are Ryn and Aeden based on, or have any specific qualities of, students you once taught?
GOLDFARB: Ryn and Aeden are composites of the students I’ve taught as well as my nieces and nephews. I’ve taken bits and pieces of individual personalities and fused them together to create believable characters. Since “Light Riders” is a series, I’ve worked hard to make sure that my characters develop with each novel. In the first novel, Light Riders and the Morenci Mine Murder, Ryn is thirteen and Aeden is twelve. He’s somewhat whiny but it makes him endearing given the situation. Aeden is wide-eyed and charming but all of that changes when she turns fourteen in this novel, Light Riders and the Fleur-de-lis Murder. Aeden is now bossy and according to her brother, a “know-it-all.” Again, their personalities grow in the subsequent novel.
FQ: The locations you pick, especially this latest story set during the French Revolution...are these specific locations you wish to visit one day, or have? And what location, if you can narrow one down for us, would be the ultimate place you would like to visit?
GOLDFARB: I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Paris during my study abroad program while in college. The city and its rich history was fascinating for me. In addition, my mother was quite knowledgeable about the French Revolution and gave me the “fodder” I needed to craft this adventure. There are a number of places I’d like to visit so be on the look-out for: Iceland, and the Mediterranean countries.
FQ: In a way, I always think of Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) when I read these fantastic books. I start feeling as if this is the last family you want to be in, considering they have a lot of relatives who drop dead of odd murders. Are there any specifics you can give us on how this ‘family’ and their mysteries first began in your mind?
GOLDFARB: Interestingly, the setting for the first novel in the series was the immediate thing to “gel” for me. I based it on an actual house not far from where I live. Then, the characters started to emerge in my mind. Sometimes, I can “hear” their dialogue. The names that begin with “A” in the series are the actual names of real readers who live in Missouri and whose grandmother is a friend of mine.
FQ: One question, a signature question, if you will, that I always have to ask is: If there was one writer (living or dead) you could sit and have lunch with and ask any questions you like, who would that be, and why?
GOLDFARB: Without a doubt, Charles Dickens. I continue to be mesmerized by his storytelling, his crafting of characters and his ability to create mood. From the fictional “Coketown” from Hard Times to the bucolic setting in Pickwick Papers, he does it all.
FQ: Even though these are ‘YA’ categorized, I have to say these books, much like Potter, can truly be enjoyed by all ages. Do you, personally, like the action/adventure genre as a reader? Or, historical fiction?
GOLDFARB: While I have an eclectic approach to reading, I do tend to gravitate towards historical fiction, gothic romance and high adventure. I’ll fluctuate from a nail-biting high octane novel to a descriptive romance and a laugh out loud comedy. As long as the characters are compelling and the plot is solid, I’ll keep turning the pages.
FQ: The way you chose your characters’ mode of travel - with refracted light was ingenious, considering many use a piece of jewelry, or something similar. How did this particular ‘route’ come to mind for you?
GOLDFARB: When I first started writing time travel mysteries, I did quite a bit of research. I wanted readers to have enough science so that the “suspension of disbelief” would be seamless. In addition, I always want to spark curiosity in my readers so that they will do a bit of research on their own. (That’s the teacher in me!)
FQ: I am hoping (like many others) that the Light Riders will continue on. Can you give us that good news here today, and perhaps speak of the next location for them that you are playing with in the imagination?
GOLDFARB: I’ve got good news for you. The next novel in the series, The Time Borrower, will be released by my publisher, Two Cats Press, in June, 2014. It takes place at the end of the 13th-century in Scotland with a series of strange murders at a monastery. Readers can catch the preview on my website at: www.timetravelmysteries.com. Each month, I’ll reveal a bit more on the storyboard.
FQ: Will Ryn EVER be able to move forward in lacrosse and enjoy a spring break without murder getting in the way?