Heist by Laura Pauling
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
No release date yet (will be in 2013)
Can one decision change the past?
Jack Brodie has a sixth sense that someone has been watching him. Following him.
One night he travels back in time to one of the world’s largest art thefts, known as the Gardner Heist. Why that one moment in time? And what does it mean for Jack?
When he returns, his world is different. His best friend is rougher, meaner. His dad hasn’t been around in years. And then there’s Jetta. The girl who took over his heart the moment she stepped into his life. No one is safe.
Each time Jack goes back to the heist to fix his mistakes, he returns to face the fallout. Disaster strikes in the present until Jack must make a choice. His family and his own happiness. Or the girl he loves. Except, he learns that his sixth sense was right.
Someone has been watching him and wants him dead.
The cops return. Their fake swagger and cop routine is gone. Now they move and talk quickly, with purpose, with no one to impress or fool. They leave the lobby and take the stairs two at a time. I follow them on silent feet up a wide and smooth marble staircase into a small alcove on the second floor. I hover in the hall and peek around the corner, afraid of what I’ll find.
Light from fake candles cast a ghostly shadow on the mix of large and small paintings hanging on the walls. The room drips with elegance, like two old ladies should be sitting on the velvet love seat, sipping Earl Gray Tea and nibbling on rye crackers.
The cops survey the room like they’re kids in a toy store. Dad’s partner moves close to a painting and a screeching alarm sounds. The blaring noise echoes through the entire museum. They mutter curses, and I jump back and clap my hands over my ears, the sound drilling into my head.
Seconds later, it stops. My heart pulses in my throat, and I dare to peek into the room again. Dad has kicked in a motion sensor on the wall. The plastic is shattered and wires hang out. He stands on one of the three chairs, not caring about the street grit on his black shiny shoes, and pulls a large painting of a boat on the ocean from the wall.
Together, they smash the painting from the frame. A knife glitters. Dad pierces the painting and cuts it like he’s slicing an apple for his kid’s snack. Flakes of paint drift to the floor.
I lean against the wall in the hallway, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My legs shake. I cringe at the sound of another painting being smashed from its frame. I want to go home. I want to party with my friends, eat a roast beef sandwich with Mom. I want to laugh with Jetta. I want to hold her hand and trace my thumb across her smooth skin. I want to pull her to me and feel her heartbeat against mine.
A strong hand grips my arm and jerks me into the room. “Looks like we have a little friend.”
I stare into Dad’s gleaming eyes. Eyes I don’t recognize. There’s no hint of a smile of recognition. Of course not.
The Gardner Heist happened in 1990. I wasn’t even born yet.
The science behind time travel:
I’ve always loved stories or movies that involve time travel. Not so much the science fiction aspect behind it, but how it affects the characters and the storyline. But, that didn’t mean I could ignore the science in my time travel novel.
At first, when Heist was going to be a humorous upper middle grade novel, there was going to be a science lab, a failed experiment, an explosion - and voila - time travel. That didn’t quite fit with the story that was coming out on the page. After the first draft, while doing more in-depth research, I stumbled upon a sickness called, the Stendhal Syndrome. This is a psychosomatic disorder causing dizziness, fainting, confusion, and even hallucinations, when exposed to a large amount of art, and more particularly, beautiful art.
I had my answer. In Heist, Jack Brodie, the main character, has this experience. Copies of the stolen art from the Gardner Museum Heist, bring him back to the night of the crime, March 17, 1990. Also, this fit better with my realistic, gritty time travel, then trying to have an actual futuristic time travel machine.
Choosing the Gardner Heist:
I love heists - any and all kinds: art theft, diamonds, bank robberies, con stories…etc. Some of my favorite movies and books involve a heist of some sort. So a few years back, I decided to write about one. But which one?
I turned to my best friend in times like this - Google. I plugged in the words, famous art heist. And on the very first page I found the Gardner Heist. I still didn’t think much of it, but I clicked on it, and the word, Boston, flashed on the screen. What? There was a famous heist in a museum in a city near me? The decision was made.
Of course, I knew absolutely nothing about the museum or the heist.
So, the research started. I read nonfiction books and learned the ins and outs of the crime. It truly was fascinating. At that point in time, the heist was coming on twenty years - and it had never been solved! That hooked me even more.
This was an amazing opportunity for me. My books have been set in Paris, Greece, Prague, and the ruins of the ancient Maya. I had to learn what I could of those settings from blogs, books, Youtube videos…etc. It was incredible to go to Boston, walk through the museum, stroll through the Public Garden, ride the T - all settings in my story. Of course, soaking in the atmosphere and scribbling down details I’d be sure to forget otherwise.
You’ll find all those details in Heist. Plus, you’ll walk through details of one of the most famous art heists.
Laura Pauling writes young adult fiction. She lives the cover of suburban mom/author perfectly, from the minivan to the home-baked snickerdoodles, while hiding her secret missions and covert operations. But shh. Don't tell anyone!
Her YA Circle of Spies Series includes A SPY LIKE ME and HEART OF AN ASSASSIN. Book three, TWIST OF FATE will be released in the fall of 2013.
HEIST, a young adult, psychological thriller, will be released the summer of 2013.
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
No, I haven’t. I’d love to say I’m one of those writers that wrote her first story when she was 3 months old. But, I’ve always loved a good story. It wasn’t until I was home with my kids that I got the urge to create my own. Before then, though, I always had a creative outlet. I loved putting together small photo albums. I quilted - for a little bit, even finishing a wall hanging. And I put a lot of time into the children’s ministry at my church, planning events. The earliest creative memory I have is designing a line of cards to sell in the neighborhood.
What’s a recent book you’ve read that you absolutely loved? And what will you be reading?
The last book that I couldn’t put down and loved was Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank. A book I’m looking forward to reading soon is Nomad by J.L. Bryan - another time travel thriller.
What do you like to do in your free time? Any other creative pursuits?
Right now, outside of writing, my time is spent with my family and my kids. I enjoy hanging with them, especially because every time I blink, they seem to get a year older. I still participate in my church, co-leading the middle school youth group too.
Will there be a sequel to Heist? Or will you be working on something new?
Right now, Heist is a stand-alone novel. If I were to write a sequel it would be from Jetta’s point of view on one of the alternate time lines. When I hit this alternate time line in Heist, I realized there was a lot more to tell there. And, of course, other heists to write about.
I’m eagerly planning, plotting and outlining an adult light-hearted romantic mystery. We’ll see what happens when the writing starts. I’d love to turn it into a series.