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Interview/Giveaway: The Gold Pawn by L.A. Chandlar
October 10, 2018

In partnership with Kensington Books, we’re giving away a really awesome prize pack! Make sure to see the details after the interview to learn more and enter to win. 

I recently had the awesome opportunity to talk to author L.A. Chandlar about her recent historical fiction mystery, The Gold Pawn: An Art Deco Mystery.


1. How does The Gold Pawn compare to your previous novels?
The Gold Pawn takes up right where The Silver Gun leaves off, in Autumn 1936. Lane Sanders, aide to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, discovers a missing persons case may be linked to her own family secrets. In this book, Lane takes a trip to her hometown in the outskirts of Detroit, and must face the ghosts of her past. She quickly learns that judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game—but as she battles deceptions and enemies, she learns that her most dangerous enemy may be the demons within. All these books have a piece of art in the background that comes alongside a character and helps them navigate the mystery. I love the art for this one:  a dark, chilling classic novel that everyone knows about but few have read. It’s so much fun.


2. What drew you to set your novel in the 1930s?
I love the Art Deco era, the two decades bookended by the two World Wars. But the ‘30’s art and beauty can sometimes be overshadowed by the Great Depression. As I researched the era, I found tremendous strength, humor, and innovation (and cocktails!), all in spite the overarching adversity of the time. I wanted to tell that side of the story.


3. What kind of challenges come with writing a mystery in the past?
The biggest challenge of writing about the past is not making assumptions about anything. You must really scrounge around to figure things out—even things like vacuum cleaners. A lot of people in the ‘30s just didn’t have a vacuum cleaner, but I wanted one for a specific reason. So, I had to find out what kinds were made and how widely available they were. One of my characters did love gadgets, so it made it more plausible. Also, finding books from that era –if possible—is a great help. I found a poetic tour book that was published in 1937 that is absolute gold. It was not written with 21st Century hindsight, but right smack in the middle of my time period. Plus, it gave me a wide accounting of the city, not just the touristy places, from NYPD detectives to night court to the mayor’s office (Hulbert Footner, New York: City of Cities).

I also try to read and watch a variety of books and videos that might give a different kind of flavor about the time. For instance, I have several scenes at The Savoy. There is a documentary called Savoy King, which is about the enormous and popular dance hall that was created to be integrated by a Jewish business owner and a black manager, and it was wildly successful. It didn’t matter what color you were, how rich, or what religion. It only mattered if you could dance. Not only did I learn about The Savoy from the documentary, but also about subtle nuances of the time. It made me appreciate the era even more and helped me to add detail to my books.


4. Why do you think historical mysteries are blowing up right now?
I think historical mysteries teach us a lot about a specific time and place. They help us live vicariously through a book. But I can’t help but wonder if the historical mysteries are blowing up because people want to have hope in a time where there is a lot of political unrest. In my books, people are very drawn to Fiorello La Guardia. He was such a character, truly funny. But most importantly, he fought for the little guy. He really was The People’s Mayor. I think we all crave real heroes like him.


Book Prize Pack Giveaway

(This giveaway is now over and a winner has been randomly selected and contacted.)

I’m pretty excited about this one! Our prize pack includes:

  • a paperback copy of The Gold Pawn: An Art Deco Mystery by L.A. Chandlar
  • a signed and numbered bookplate
  • an Art Deco style charm bracelet inspired by the book

To enter to win, just comment below with your name, email and let me know you’d like to read The Gold Pawn. A winner will be chosen randomly and emailed on November 3, 2018.

Note: If the winner does not email me their shipping address within a week to claim their prize, a second winner will be chosen.



  1. Cystal Lamb

    This for sure sounds like my type of book;) I am a huge mystery fan and I totally adore stories set in the past, so put that all together and I’m in awe! AND I love the 30s era, too!

  2. Sandra Furlotte

    I would love to read The Gold Pawn!

  3. Kara King

    Hello Lazy Historian; I’m very curious to read The Gold Pawn, it sounds fascinating.
    Thank you.

  4. Kristopher Kaun

    Being somewhat of a film buff, I enjoy how the 30s era is brought to the screen: everyone dressed to the max, living in style….thus I would wish to read this novel too. I myself am planning a novel set in that time frame.

  5. Diana M Lariviere

    Love mysteries — esp those in a historical setting … so, The Gold Pawn sounds right up my alley. On that note, where / how can I get a print copy of The Silver Gun????

  6. Lori Thomas

    I want to read The Gold Pawn. Thx for the chance!!

  7. Diane Moyle

    I’d love to read this book! Sounds awesome!

  8. Sara Fraser

    Hi Jillianne! I would love to read this — love the cover art!

  9. Jillian Aprati

    I’d love to read this book and I’m SUPER excited about your Old Timey Books blog!


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Jillianne Hamilton writes delightful historical fiction and historical romance featuring rebellious heroines and happy endings.

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