Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn @LubaLesychyn @GoddessFish


Theft Between the Rains

by Luba Lesychyn

GENRE: International Art Theft Mystery


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.


We are coming to yet another fascinating area of the facility. And it is one of the more recent additions to the building,” said Walter.

Holeeeeeeeee,” said Marco. “This is straight out of some Sci Fi B movie.”

It is something,” said Walter.

Before us were shelves full of jars – large jars, small jars, roundish jars, square jars – all containing clear liquid and specimens of every conceivable sort. I turned on my phone’s flashlight app, and the illuminated sight before me was truly haunting. Hundreds, probably thousands of fish, sea life, and land creatures floated lifelessly in their ghostly containers. Those whose bodies were turned in our direction seemed to be staring directly at us with beady eyes.

All of these specimens are suspended in alcohol. If ever there was anything you wanted to learn about aquatic creatures, this is certainly the place to do so. Everything is organized by genus and species. They are whole specimens, and they have been stained to feature various elements. As you can see, the fish turn translucent when preserved, but with the dyes, one can make out the nervous or circulatory systems, for example.”

Cool,” said Marco.

I seem to recall we had no choice but to move all this off site?” I said.

Yes, indeed. Because of their extraordinary weight, they cannot be stored on upper levels without adding costly structural supports. At the same time, if they’re stored below grade, there’s a heightened risk of explosion.”

Interview with Luba Lesychyyn

What made you want to become a writer?

As it often happens, writing found me. It wasn’t on my radar for a good portion of my life, but through my passion for film, I started blogging about cinema. That eventually led to taking screen writing courses, about which I was really enthusiastic at the beginning. But it’s a very impressionistic kind of writing and I found myself yearning to detail my characters and stories and settings – but I didn’t know if I had it in me to write a novel. And then I read a light piece of fiction that made me laugh profusely and generally entertained me and I began to think I could write something like that. And now, with two novels completed, I’m starting a third one and developing a fourth.

What inspired you to write Theft Between the Rains?

This book is a sequel to my debut novel, Theft By Chocolate, about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places. I had not initially set out to write a follow up book, though I had left the story with a few open-ended plot points.

Readers of the first book kept asking me when the sequel was coming out and, eventually, I found inspiration in a couple of documentary films (Lost Rivers and Rape of Europa) and I started to create a story about what my lead character, museum employee Kalena Boyko, would do if art work listed as still missing since WWII started showing up on her doorstep. It would be a cat and mouse art theft thriller still set in the Royal Ontario Museum, as was the first book, but it would also introduce readers to Toronto’s underground waterway system and to sites in the city that are little known, but which are quite fantastic.

Theft Between the Rains is an intertwining of these concepts, but still maintains both the humor and suspense that characterizes Theft By Chocolate.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Theft Between the Rains?

The lead character, Kalena Boyko, is a seasoned museum worker with a capricious personality who regularly gets into trouble because of her addiction to chocolate. She reluctantly becomes a sleuth on the hunt for an international art thief who keeps interfering and wreaking havoc in her life.

Marco Zeffirelli is a museum security guard who is Kalena’s partner in crime-solving and there’s some romantic tension between the two. A character that played a smaller role in the first book, Walter Pembroke, an encyclopedic museum librarian, is further developed in Theft Between the Rains and adds a lot of comedic moments to the story. Finally, Benny (Benedetta) is a new character that I adored writing – she’s a university grad student by day and a drainer by night (an intrepid subterranean explorer and keeper of buried rivers).

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

Although my writing style and storylines were inspired by authors like Sophie Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and Helen Fielding (the Bridget Jones series), I’m a huge fan of Alice Sebold who wrote The Lovely Bones. I find the literary quality of her writing entrancing and her melding of genres fresh and intriguing.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I’m working on novel that is both a departure in tone and subject matter from my first two books. Although it will be set in the museum world (in which I worked for more than 20 years) it’s a paranormal tale about souls that meet in more than one lifetime.

I’ve also been developing a book that will combine memoir and fiction inspired by my family’s experiences as first-generation Canadians. I may get into it sooner than later, so I may be working on two books at the same time.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Developing the plot in this book was so satisfying, because unlike writing my first book, for which I had created a full story outline before writing it, in Theft Between the Rains I let the narrative unfold as I was writing it (I became a pantser instead of a plotter). So, from chapter to chapter, I didn’t know where I was heading right until the very end, and that was exhilarating for me because it was almost like discovering the story in the same manner that a reader would.

The other element that I loved about writing this novel was the research aspect. I participated in countless city walking tours to get ideas for locations and subplots and it was such a sublime way to spend my weekends while at the same time gathering research for the book. I especially value having had the opportunity to discover so much about the city in which I live.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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.

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A print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY)

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Mystery Writer Luba Lesychyn said...

Thank you so much for hosting me and my book, Theft Between the Rains. It's always a pleasure to discuss my characters since I had some intriguing inspirations from people I worked with in the museum world.

I wondered if your readers prefer to have characters' back stories spelled out for them early in a book or if they preferred to discover them more slowly. Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you might have.

Sherry said...

Great cover and excerpt.

Mystery Writer Luba Lesychyn said...

Thanks, Sherry. Hope you have a chance to check it out!