Friday, March 15, 2013

Blast From the Past Book Tour Stop - Lauren Carr

Hey, folks! Today, we have the honor of hosting author Lauren Carr on her phenomenal Blast From the Past Virtual Book Tour. Lauren has graced us with an interview, and we have some great info about both Lauren and her book, Blast from the Past. Have a look, and please help me welcome Lauren to the Drunken Space Penguin on this stop of her book tour!

Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 1012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.

In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. “Readers love to be surprised,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.”

Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.”

What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”

Available through: CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,,, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold

ISBN: 0985726776  ISBN-13: 9780985726775
Pub. Date: January 11, 2013  Trade Paperback/Kindle  $13.99 (Print)/$0.99 (EBook)

Pretty awesome stuff, right? So now, on with the interview!!

DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!

Lauren: I am Lauren Carr, a middle-aged lady, who has been married for going on twenty-four years to the same fellow and the mother of a fourteen-year-old son. We live on a mountaintop in West Virginia with three dogs. Our Australian shepherd, Ziggy, is the inspiration for the German shepherd character Gnarly in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. Our most recent addition is a German shepherd pup named Gnarly, who is proving to be just as much of a handful as his namesake.

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?

Lauren: Blast from the Past has been on my mind for quite a while. The focus in this book is on Archie Monday, Robin Spencer’s editor and research assistant who came with Mac Faraday’s inheritance. Mac’s birth mother had stipulated in her will that Archie could live in the guest cottage for as long as she wanted. As their relationship has grown, Mac has no intention for her leaving.

In this book, I wanted to tell the story of how Archie Monday and Robin Spencer, Mac’s birth mother met and why Archie Monday stayed on at Spencer Manor after her death. I knew it had to be quite a secret, and it was:

Archie Monday had witnessed a brutal murder committed by a crime boss and is in the Witness Protection Program. In Blast from the Past, her past comes blasting back when the mob finds out where she is.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc

Lauren: I used to play loud classic rock music, but that has changed. Now, I like silence and hate to be interrupted when I’m on a roll with a scene, especially the climax. I have a writer’s studio in my home, but my son has taken it over for his computers. Now, I work wherever my laptop and I land, which is usually the chair in the corner of our bedroom or the living room.

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?

Lauren: For all of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers have loved Gnarly, Mac’s German Shepherd. Gnarly was dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. Let’s just say, he has issues. He is incredibly intelligent and has a mind of his own. He’s also a hopeless kleptomaniac.

However, while writing Blast from the Past, Archie Monday jumped out at me to become my favorite character in this book. In the previous books in the series, I purposely gave Archie a hint (only a hint) of mystery because I knew there was a secret to her past that would be revealed. This is the book where her secret comes out.

Readers discover that Archie Monday witnessed a horrible murder while she was a graduate student at the University of Maryland. In the prologue, readers learn that Kendra Douglas (whose name is changed to Archie Monday) was a hopeless romantic, who fantasized about the Mickey Forsythe, the fictional detective created by Robin Spencer, Mac Faraday’s birth mother. She had become friends with Robin Spencer while working as her teaching assistant when the famous author taught a special course at the university.

In a blast, Kendra’s life changes. She witnesses the brutal murder of a university professor. Shivering in the bushes, she thinks, “What would Mickey Forsythe do?”

Ten years later, Kendra Douglas is now the sophisticated, lovely Archie Monday, who has been placed by the Witness Protection Program to work as the late Robin Spencer’s assistant. When two paid assassins try to ambush her, Archie takes them out single-handedly with her pink handgun.

One of my favorite scenes in Blast from the Past (besides the scene where Archie takes down the gunmen with her pink handgun) is where she explains to Mac Faraday the transformation that she had gone through since that night that she witnessed mobster Tommy Cruze killing a professor who he had thought was sleeping with his wife:

Archie stood up. “I’m not locking myself in this mansion and closing the blinds and never leaving again. If I do, then he wins. We’re not going to let them scare us out of living our lives. 
She pointed at the shepherd on the bed. “I’m taking Gnarly to see Misty tomorrow, and then we’re going to lunch at the Spencer Inn.” 
“And what if Cruze’s people make another attempt like they did today?” Mac asked. 
She reached around behind her back and took out a blue Ruger thirty-eight caliber pistol. “I have a baby blue Ruger semi-automatic with their names on each bullet.”  
Admiring the small pistol, Mac folded his arms across his chest and chuckled. “How many guns do you have?” 
“Only six.” She returned the gun to where she had it tucked into her rear waistband. “Most of them are gifts. The pink one that Bogie took into evidence this morning was from your mother. I hope I get it back. I have a lot of sentimental attachment to it. This blue one is from your father. I also have a pearl-handled handgun that David picked up for me at an antique gun show for my birthday.”  
“I don’t believe it,” Mac said, “a girl who prefers guns to diamonds.” 
“Cruze taught me something when he killed those other witnesses and the marshals guarding them,” she told him. “I can’t depend on other people to protect me. I need to take care of, and protect, myself. I never even held a gun before I went into the program, but I learned how to handle one, and I’m proud to say I’ve become a very good sharp shooter.”

Yet, while Archie is capable of taking care of herself, she is still a soft feminine woman with a very gentle side. After the attempted hit on her life, she breaks down when she is forced to reveal her secret to Mac. She loves gardening, fine wine, gourmet food, and the color of rose. (Police chief David O’Callaghan calls it pink, which infuriates her.) She wears designer suits and expensive perfume, and insists on taking Gnarly to only the hottest dog groomer in town. She enjoys the finer things in life that her mentor Robin Spencer had introduced to her.

Simply, Archie Monday is who I want to be when I grow up.

The most difficult: That would be Randi Finnegan, the U.S. marshal assigned to protect Archie. Randi is a complex character who is hard to get to know, which made her difficult for me to write. Parts of her were parts of me from when I worked for the federal government—and I wasn’t a U.S. marshal. She’s trying to be an equal in a man’s world; but is also a woman, which should not be so hard anymore, but it is. Sometimes, she tries too hard, which turns off those around her. However, Archie, who has formed a friendship with Randi through the years, and being a woman herself, sees the real insecure person underneath her clumsy exterior.

DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?

Lauren: I will think on a book, or a part of a book, for a long time before I sit down to write. For new books, I will have everything sorted out in my head, most especially the killer, how he or she did it, and how Mac Faraday captures them before I sit down to write it. These are the most important elements for me to have. If I don’t have those things sorted out, then I could end up halfway through a book and find that I have no ending, which would be a huge waste of my time.

DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?

Lauren: Oh, yes! I am already working on the next Mac Faraday Mystery, which I anticipate to have a Halloween release. In this installment, Mac discovers that he owns a haunted castle in which a famous paranormal author has mysteriously disappeared.

DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?

Lauren: My mother and my husband. My mother was the first to encourage me to put my imagination on paper. It was easy since I have always been a big readers.

Also, my husband Jack, no matter how many rejections I would receive, always insisted that I keep on going—keep on writing. Even when I had writers block, he was there for me.

DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?

Lauren: Agatha Christie and Earl Stanley Gardner. They were my first favorite mystery authors, so they will always have a special place in my author’s heart. My complex mysteries have been compared to Agatha Christie and when that happens, it makes my whole day better.

DSP: What has been the biggest high since becoming a published author?

Lauren: Seeing my books break through on Amazon to make the top one-hundred in sales in both cozy mysteries and police procedurals. When readers and reviewers began posting fabulous reviews, and even sending e-mails, I knew then that all those years of hard work and learning were worth it.

DSP: Have you named the computer you use for writing?

Lauren: No, I never considered that. Do you think I should?

DSP: Has becoming an author changed you, or the way you think about certain things? If so, how?

Lauren: I am more confident about my writing. Also, I have become more open to other writers’ writing.

I turned down two offers from commercial publishers to independently publish It’s Murder, My Son, and I have never looked back. Before I decided to be an indie author, I was rejected by many literary agents and publishers for a variety of reasons. In a nutshell, they did not think that I could be a commercial success. One literary agent, a big one, told me how talented I was in a two-page letter, ending with a rejection because he did not know how to market me.

I did not fit into a box that they had created. But I have found an audience, and I am a success. Many indie authors, who commercial publishers and literary agents would refuse to talk to, have found audiences without the blessing of commercial publishers or literary agents.

This has made me believe that if you write what you love, even if it is not my cup of tea, or the cup of tea of a New York bigwig, then if you publish and market it correctly, there is an audience out there for you. It’s just a matter of bringing your work to them.

DSP: What is your greatest fear about being an author?

Lauren: Writers block.

DSP: Which of the characters in your book do you feel is the most like yourself, and in what way?

Lauren: There is a little bit of me in each of my characters. I would have to say, right now, it is Archie Monday. I created her to be the Dr. Watson type of character to Mac Faraday. She is observing and marveling at his intelligence, and handsome blue eyes, and sexy ways. Archie and Mac Faraday have a different type of relationship than Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson—a much more interesting relationship.

DSP: From the first word to the moment it became available for purchase, how long did it take you to write and publish this most recent novel?

Lauren: July to January: Six to seven months.

And now, for something completely different…some slightly off-the-wall and possibly irrelevant but fun questions to get to know Lauren a little more. 

DSP: What is your favorite song?

Lauren: Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw.

DSP: What’s your favorite candy? Ice cream?

Lauren: M&Ms. Ice cream flavor is vanilla covered with chocolate fudge Magic Shell.

DSP: Would the 8-year-old version of yourself kick your ass or praise you for what you’ve done with your life?

Lauren: Praise me for what I have done, while sighing with relief because during my twenties & thirties, it was touch and go there.

DSP: Do you have any talents you haven’t shared with us?

Lauren: I’m a gourmet cook and love it.

DSP: Imagine you’re the sole survivor of a plane crash at sea, and you awake stranded on a deserted and uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody knows you’re there, and you have nothing but the clothes on your back. You’re all alone, and there’s terrifying sounds coming from deep within the jungle. Late that night as you’re starving, a large suitcase washes up on the shore. You open it up. What’s in the suitcase?

Lauren: A pink handgun with “Pink Lady” engraved on the muzzle, big box of chocolate to eat, a cell phone with all of the bars, and a Tess Gerritsen’s Rozzoli and Ilse mystery to read while waiting for a ship full of handsome sailors to come save me.

Here's a bit more about Lauren:

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.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. The next installment in the Mac Faraday series will be released in October of this year.

Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second installment in the Lovers in Crime series will be out in 2013.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Links for Lauren Carr:


Blog: Literary Wealth:

Gnarly’s Facebook Page:
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Pretty awesome stuff, right?? I thought so too. And apparently, a lot of other people think highly of Lauren and her work, because there's a lot of buzz about it right now. Read some of the great things reviewers are saying!

"Mac Faraday is back in this fast-paced mystery novel by Lauren Carr! Once again, trouble seems to have found its way to Deep Creek Lake, this time, following Archie Monday’s past involvement with the mob, which landed her in the witness protection program many years ago. Now, I have to say, I’ve always thought Archie’s name was a bit weird, but I chalked it up to author creativity. Authors can give their characters strange names if they want to. But, now, knowing what I do about Archie and her name change in the witness protection program, well, I have to wonder if Carr had this planned all along… Ingenious, really. They say that while an author begins a novel, they’re already two books ahead in their mind, and I think that might just be true of Carr. For the past few books in the Mac Faraday series, I really did think her true name was Archie Monday. Really, I’m floored, and I think this is so awesome! 
Thus, as you can probably already tell, the fact that this novel focuses on Archie’s past life really intrigued me, and I loved every minute of it. Archie is a great character, and I’ve always highly enjoyed her. In past Mac Faraday novels, we’ve learned about her work with Faraday’s mother, her knack for research, and her ability to help uncover mysteries, as well as her refusal to back away from a fight. She’s a strong female character, making this novel a fun read as she takes care of herself, but still leans on Faraday and the police force for help, giving readers the full spectrum of intrigue as Faraday, Gnarly, and the rest of the gang I’ve come to love help solve the murder mysteries within this novel. With mobsters, Gnarly’s doggish antics, the mysterious deaths, undercover hit men, and extreme craziness all around, and this novel takes on a voice of its own, making it an extremely amazing read. 
Carr is a very gifted novelist. Her mystery novels, both the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Series, are phenomenal. Her ability to keep the reader guessing, as well as her plotlines that flow so effortlessly as they work up to the big reveal, always make her novels a fun endeavor, and I look forward to even more of her work as this year unfolds. Blast From the Past is a fantastic novel, and if you haven’t read any of Carr’s work, I highly suggest you give this novel a read. Though part of a series, Carr’s novels do not need to be read in any particular order; they are stand-alones that feature the same great characters and supply the reader with all the background knowledge they need in order to keep up with the fantastic storytelling, and they are truly with the read. Five stars."
Reviewer: Shana Benedict, ABookVacation

"While the earlier novels have focused on Mac Faraday, this most recent novel spends more time exploring Archie's personality and background. 
It also gives Mac a more official role in investigation. Of course, Gnarly is there leading the way ... 
I feel that of all of the Mac Faraday novels, this provides the greatest character development and story line. Although balancing three murders and the combined suspects got overwhelming at times, Carr never lets the reader get confused. 
Lots of dead bodies, lots of mystery, and an assortment of unusual suspects. 
I have read ALL of the Mac Faraday mysteries, and am happy to recommend this one."
Reviewer: Roberta Karchner, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

"In Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr, character Archie Monday's past connection to the mob is catching up to her in Spencer, Maryland, which is located on Deep Creek Lake. Her testimony helped convict Tommy Cruze, head of a major East Coast crime syndicate. She is a participant in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. Now Tommy is out and he's after Archie - thus the title: Blast from the Past. Mac, Gnarly (Mac’s German shepherd), David O’Callaghan (Spencer police chief), and Randi Finnegan (U.S. Marshal) are all scrambling to protect Archie and figure out why the body count appears to be rising and who, exactly, is putting out the hit orders on all these people? 
It is a fast paced, humorous mystery that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a light hearted mystery and dogs. I appreciated that Carr includes a complete cast of characters at the beginning of her novel. Carr's Mac Faraday Mysteries include: It's Murder, My Son; Old Loves Die Hard; and Shades of Murder. Blast from the Past is the fourth book in the Mac Faraday mystery series. 
While I've mentioned the previous three books in the series, this was my first Mac Faraday mystery and I didn't have any problem following the action. If you like following a series from the beginning you might want to check out the first three books, though, because I'm sure there are things I missed because I didn't have the complete back story. 
Blast from the Past is a well-developed story full of intrigue that moves at a brisk pace. The characters are interesting, the villains varied, and the action is as quick as the humor. I have a feeling any of Lauren Carr's mysteries would be pleasurable distractions, as well as entertaining. (I got a big laugh out of the high-priced assassins named Hillerman and McCrumb.) Very Highly Recommended." 
Reviewer: Lori L., Softly She Treads

Wow, so many amazing reviews, an excellent interview, and lots of terrific information. Lauren, it's been a pleasure having you here today. We here at The Drunken Space Penguin wish you nothing but the best of success in all your endeavors!


  1. Hey, Drunken Penquin! Thank you for having me here today! This interview was a blast!

  2. Haha, thanks Lauren! It's been a blast having you here, and we're so happy to be a part of it!