Today we have a very special visit with Brandon and Lilly from Eryn LaPlant's THE BLUE LUTE. 

So Brandon, tell the folks back home about yourself? What is your occupation? Why? What are your strengths & weaknesses?

Well, my name is Brandon Crowley and I’m a musician. I learned a great deal about reading music and playing instruments growing up in New York City. I found I have a knack for creating both song and lyric and it doesn’t take long for me to learn a new piece. I play stringed instruments, mostly the stand-up bass and guitar, but I can also play piano and bass guitar as well. Jazz was my first love, musically and even though I listen to more modern tunes now, I still try to incorporate a bit of the old sound in my work.

How did you and Lilly meet? What was your first impression of her?

The first time I “met” Lilly I was being arrested outside her apartment building. I was being shoved into the police car for trespassing--it’s a long story--and there she was, standing on the stairs in a gray skirt and black shirt with her blonde hair curling around her face. She was exquisite and looked at me with curiosity rather than disgust or pity. I couldn’t help but nod in her direction, despite being taken away.

[MJ leans closer.] So what is it that you really like about her?

What do I like about Lilly? Everything! {laughs} She’s smart, beautiful, cunning…and just a tad stubborn but I love it. The more I get to know her the more I find myself in love with her. She’s the kind of woman who doesn’t give up on anything, especially if it regards something having to do with history. Loving history is a big part of her life, so when she goes off on her tangents about Paul Revere or Abraham Lincoln, I’ve learned just to go with it. It can be just a tad irritating but still, it’s one of the reasons I love her.

I understand. My husband's habit of roughhousing with our boys is irritating, yet cute at the same time. Has life handed you any major disappointments, Brandon?

Of course. The 1920s were a very rough time period. It wasn’t uncommon to be dodging the law week in and week out. But, hey, how else was I supposed to make a living? But unfortunately having such a dicey career does lend itself to disappointments. We lose people we love, we can’t trust people we should, and yet life still goes on. But I do tend to like focusing on the positive side of life though. I have a wonderful girlfriend and friends who care for me – nothing is better than that.

You're absolutely right. And that's a great outlook by the way. Speaking of positive things, if you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it?

Spend it with my love, Lilly. We could take it slow and gradually make our way out to Central Park for a walk. Maybe we could grab a hot dog from a vendor cart and people-watch from our perch on the Alice in Wonderland fountain. Afterwards, we could meet up with our good friends Eliza and Matthew and have a dinner out somewhere. Knowing Lilly, chocolate would be on the dessert plate. I digress from what else we’d do for the rest of the evening but please use your imagination. We do have a vivid love story. {winks}

What CD is in your CD player right now?

CD Players – ha! Right, those tiny silver records. Let’s see…I have a Johnny Coltrane in there. He’s just the embodiment of cool. No one can play a sax like he can.

I'm more a Nickelback girl myself, but I'll take your word on that. [Laughs.] Well now it's Lilly's turn. Tell us about yourself Lilly. What is your occupation? Strengths, weaknesses?

Hi everyone, I’m Lilly Charles, doctoral student at New York University. My strengths? Hmm…well, I have about a million history facts roaming around in my head at any given moment. I have this uncanny knack for soaking up my favorite subject like a sponge. It should come in handy for when I intern in the curator’s office at the Natural History Museum next year. My weaknesses are pretty much in the same arena. No matter what the subject, I have to learn everything about it. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I can understand that! So what’s your family like, and how does your upbringing affect you now?

My family was a dear one. Full of love and kindness, but notice I said “was.” It seems as though tragedy has been with me since before I was born. My father never made it home from the Vietnam War, my grandparents died of elderly diseases and I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was seventeen. It’s been a rough road, but it’s made me who I am. Someday I’ll see them again, and when I do, they’ll see that they raised a strong, independent woman who could change the world in her own way. {wipes away a tear}

That's very touching. Lilly, if you could pick any object, what tangible object would you pick to symbolize you?

That’s an easy one: my great-grandmother’s ballerina statuette. It’s been in our family for 70-something years and has been passed down from generation to generation. My mother gave it to me shortly before she passed and I’ll treasure it until I can give it to a daughter I may have in the future.

[MJ slides a quick look at Brandon.] Describe Brandon. What was your first impression of him and did it change over time?

Mmm Brandon. {smiles} He’s probably the most handsome, well-round, gentlemanly man I’ve ever met. Think debonair old movie star with a musical flair. I think I was drawn to him from the very beginning. I met him being taken away by the police outside my apartment building, you know? So you would think my first impression would be fright or disappointment in the criminal I saw, but it wasn’t. I saw a sadness in his eyes that I couldn’t place, and it bugged me to no end. When we finally did meet, I learned why he was so despondent and helped him in his plight to find the truth to his many questions. Then slowly he changed into the loving, vibrant man I know and love today. Isn’t it amazing how time can change a person?

It is indeed! Is there anything about Brandon that you would consider a flaw?

Brandon’s only flaw is that he trusts too much. Sometimes he can’t see that people are taking advantage of him and it makes me so angry, because I know he deserves better. But then again, if he never trusted me to believe his odd tale, we would have never been brought together. So with the bad comes the good.

Just one more question, and this one's a fun one. If you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it?

Probably curled up with a book, listening to Brandon play some guitar. Mmm there’s nothing better than spending the day with him. Well, not unless there’s a box of old letters to go through and research! Ooh and maybe there’d be a mystery uncovered in there and we’d have to rush over to the library and find out what was going on and…

Brandon: Honey… you’re doing it again.

Lilly: {laughs} The crazy historian thing?

Brandon: Uh huh, I don’t think the readers want to think of us spending the day together in a dusty, moldy library. And neither do I, for that matter.

Lilly: Would they rather hear about us snuggled up in bed all day then?

Brandon: Well…{slowly grins} I don’t know about them, but I sure as heck wouldn’t mind. Good-bye MJ. I’m taking her up on her idea before something historic comes around. Thanks for the interview!

[Clears throat.] Uhh, yes. Well, then. Uhh...thank you both for joining me today. And now, here's more about THE BLUE LUTE:

A doctoral candidate in history, Lilly Charles lives in a modern-day treasure trove of 1920s architecture—Manhattan’s St. Jean Apartments. The former hotel was once in the center of New York City’s jazz scene, and holds secrets Lilly is only beginning to discover.

A musical star in his own time, Brandon Crowley lived in an age of prohibition and gangsters, surrounded by the glamour of old Hollywood and the comfort of true friendships. As co-owner of the notorious speakeasy, The Blue Lute, he poured his life and love into his business—as a storm fueled by passion, liquor, murder and money was unleashed. And in the midst of it all, Brandon simply … disappeared.

When Lilly sees Brandon in a nearly 80-year-old photograph from the basement of the St. Jean, her reality comes undone. Could he be the same man she just saw arrested for breaking into the building? As Lilly is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Brandon’s life, a new storm of desire and danger begins to brew. Beneath the silvery moon and glitter of Times Square, an epic love story across the decades is about to unfold.


Minutes later, the train stopped and Lilly exited, making her way to her new apartment. But as she turned the corner of 28th and 7th Street, there were two police cars parked in front of the building.

“Great,” she said with dismay. Her last apartment was in a bad neighborhood and in constant threat of crime. She’d specifically chosen this area for peace, quiet and a door that didn’t require five locks. She’d only moved in two days ago. This was not a good start. Standing back, she watched the action emerging from the front door. Her superintendent, Mr. Crooker, a large balding man eating a sandwich, stood off to the side as the two policemen were escorted a man out in handcuffs.
She inched up the steps and over to the super. 

“What’s going on?"

"Ehh, I found this creep snoopin’ around the basement.”

The police each had a hand on their captive’s elbows, leading him down to the car. Lilly stared at the man walking by. He was tall but hunched forward and when he turned his head, his dark, wavy hair to blew away from his face, revealing two pained blue eyes. Not a physical pain, but an emotional longing, deep and relentless. Something she knew all too well. She felt her chest rise in a gasp. His gaze locked onto hers and sympathy washed over her like a wave. Who was this man and what was troubling him so much that
his stare made her want to cry?

He was placed in the patrol car and through the window he gave her a gracious nod. Without thinking, Lilly raised her hand in a slow wave. The corner of his mouth lifted into a sort of smile, and the car drove away. She shivered and curled her fingers into her palm, wrapping her arms around her torso.

“Do you know him?” Mr. Crooker asked.

She shook her head. “I’ve never seen before in my life.”

"Huh. Could’ve fooled me.”

Author Bio:

Eryn LaPlant grew up wishing she could have lived in another time, so now she writes her own romances and lives through her characters. When not writing, she spends time with her loving husband, and their handsome son in the land of Lincoln. If she can't live in the past, she figures she can at least live amongst it!

* * *

Hello to the world! I am a former slave for the working world and presently a woman of many trades. I am a wife, a mother, an antiques collector, a painter, a baker, a gardener, a photographer, a historian and my favorite by far a novelist (well except the first two in my list)! Thanks for checking me out!

You can find Eryn at: http://novelisterynlaplant.wordpress.com/ and on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase THE BLUE LUTE at: Amazon, Black Lion Publishing


Eryn would also like to give away a prize, some wonderful Blue Lute swag! Just be sure to ask Brandon or Lilly a question in the comments field and she will pick one winner at random. Please include your email address so that we can contact you about your prize.

Thanks for reading!


  1. TGIF and good morning Brandon, Lilly, and Eryn!

  2. Good morning Lilly. My question for you is this...what was it like to meet your own grandparents?

  3. Oops my email is mrsannieb59@gmail.com

  4. Lilly: That was a strange and wonderful once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for asking. I was very nervous to meet them because I had been alone for so long, but once I did I felt nothing but love. Not only were they very sweet people but also very much like the memories my grandfather had shared with me about his parents when I was younger.

  5. Great interview. Brandon & Lilly sounds like a great pair.

    1. They are! And they have a very unique love affair that involves sinister mobsters, a mystery of sorts, and the problems of living in separate decades. Talk about your long distance relationships! Thanks for coming by today. I appreciate it!!!

  6. This is for Lilly and Brandon. You two seem deeply in love and happy. I'm sure it wasn't smooth sailing to get to this point. What were some of the obstacles and conflicts did you have to overcome to find your way to your Happily Ever After? Your story sounds intriguing and I can't wait to read it! Aliciamdean@aol.com

    1. Alicia, I really appreciate you stopping by today. Eryn is in my RWA chapter and so I've had the pleasure of seeing this book as it became what it is today (I was going to say watch it grow, but the truth is I stepped into the picture when it began to shrink. Eryn wrote a much longer MS and knew she had to whittle away at it.) It's so much fun to see it now with it's cover, available to all readers.

    2. Hi Alicia!
      Brandon: {shies away} You can take this one hon...
      Lilly:{glares} Gladly. No, like any relationship we've had our troubles. I won't give too much away because Ms. LaPlant did such a wonderful job of telling our story, but let's just say...I believe the key to any relationship is communication and honesty. Isn't that right Brandon?
      Brandon: {looking at his feet} Yes, dear.

  7. How interesting, you two! Your story sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing, Eryn :)

    1. Thanks! And wow - I must say you have a great name. Not only do you have the initials to one of my Blue Lute characters - Christine Hutton, but her last name as well :)

    2. Oooh! Kind of Twilight Zonie! Thanks for stopping in, Cheryel!

  8. This question is for Brandon: what do you miss most about the 1920s? The plot sounds intriguing. l(dot)carrollbradd(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Brandon: Good question Linda, I miss a lot of things. Specifically, though, the music - it was much livelier and full of body back in the day. I'm still not used to a lot of today's stuff. Don't get me wrong, I like the new stuff, just not as much as the old stuff. Another thing I miss is the simplicity. Most of the city was closed on Sundays, so it was a nice time to get away without feeling guilty. Cellphones weren't around, so if you were out, someone just waited to talk to you. And, just the pace in general, it was rowdy and fun but still had a simple feel. I think that's about it. Thanks for asking.

    2. Good question and answer! Thanks for stopping in, Linda!

  9. The tease for you book sounds great. Love your characters. They have a great story to tell, I mean live.

    1. Thank you very much Margo! They are a fun couple. Nothing is ever boring.

  10. Interesting interview. I like hearing about the characters in their own voices. This book will make it's way to my TBR pile as I'm always interesting in reading about the 20s. There's just something...different...about the whole time period.

    Great excerpt too!

    1. Thanks Lynn! It's one of my favorite eras. It was SO much fun writing about it.

    2. Thanks for stopping in, Lynn! We appreciate your support!

  11. We are drawing today, (using random.org) and the winner is...ABeaudry! Congratulations! Eryn will be emailing you for an address to mail your prize to.


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