In New York if its between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., you can probably find L.A. Chandlar in a coffee shop. Or at a museum. Or a hotel’s lobby.
Those are the places where she can write. Like really write.
“I love having the energy of people around me…but yet, at the same time, nobody requires anything of you,” she said.
It also helps her not want to take a nap, Chandlar laughed.
Recently, she’s been working on The Pearl Dagger, the third in her Art Deco Mystery series about Lane Sanders, a twenty-something who works for New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia during the 1930s. The first book, The Silver Gun, was published last year, and its sequel The Gold Pawn, came out in September. She currently has three more contracted out and is renegotiating to add to the growing series.
For those who read the books, especially the sequel, there are quite a few Michigan references, and many Rochester ones, where Chandlar used to call home.
“Right from the start I wanted my main character to be from the Detroit area,” Chandlar said about Lane.
In The Gold Pawn, Lane finds herself back home in Rochester. Not only did it let the world in the novels expand, but it let Chandlar do one of her favorite things: research.
“I love learning about history,” she said. “I feel like in school sometimes we just learn history in pockets and we don’t ever really get to sit in an era. I think that’s what’s so fun about any kind of historical fiction is you realize the feel of what it was like to live there.”
As for those Michigan references there’s Lane’s last name, Sanders, a reference to Sanders Hot Fudge. (Lane loves hot fudge and hopes to find out she’s an heir to the company.) Then there’s Main Street in downtown Rochester, where several big scenes take place in The Gold Pawn. Chandlar said she researched everything from restaurants to barber shops that were there during the era.
Historical fiction isn’t the only thing Chandlar writes, though. So far, she’s published two other books, The Christmas Journalist, and Brass, the first in her Fight To Keep Creativity Alive series.
The latter connects with something else she’s passionate about, motivational speaking, and is used for the workshops she leads.
“When I was figuring out how to make writing doable, even when life was complicated, it was so fun,” Chandlar said.
Her engagements focus on the psychology of creativity, and how people can keep creativity alive in their own lives. It’s exactly what Chandlar did when she first began writing, where she would find two hours a week, hire a babysitter, and go write.
It was during that time she realized writing was something she would find a way to do no matter what, even if it didn’t become full-time. What mattered was that she was doing it.
“That was the ‘a-ha’ moment,” she said. “When you can finally write consistently, see your work compounding and the first time you write, ‘the end’ – even though you know you have tons of editing to do, have to find an agent, all this work ahead – it was so exciting to write those two words. It was like, I finally finished it.”