Was it the mob?

Today, I’m featuring an interview I did with Alyssa Richards author of The Fine Art of Deception.  Given her paranormal romance takes place in the art world, we’re talking all things art –  theft, sculpture and more!

It seems that we share a love of outdoor sculpture (check out her pics!).  I have to thank Alyssa for my current fascination – the Isabella Gardner art heist, which is the backdrop to Alyssa’s story.  I didn’t know much about it before I read her book but I’m fascinated by it now.  I love how a book can open up a whole new world for me.

And look out there’s a competition for a $20.00 book voucher (Amazon or Barnes & Noble).

What research did you do to understand the art world & art galleries?

I’ve loved art, art history and museums for as long as I can remember. Every vacation is usually built around a museum and a bit of history. I did have to research the Gardner heist in detail and now I’m obsessed with that crime — as everyone seems to become once they read about it.

Can you share your favourite art galleries to visit? 

Museums are my favourite haunt. I’m hoping that one of them will let me move in one day.
The Louvre in Paris, (as well as Musee d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie ) Tate Gallery in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, The British Museum in London, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The High in Atlanta, Los Angeles County Museum of Art…
I remember the art I’ve seen in these museums the way sports fans remember the plays of a game.

I love sculpture especially outdoor like the Cass Sculpture Park in Goodwood UK.  What’s your favourite form of art?

I love sculpture as well! I went to Musée Rodin over the summer in Paris and just could not get enough of his work. Many of his pieces are spread throughout his gardens, which are an exhibit in and of themselves…  https://instagram.com/p/r32PswTZBr/?taken-by=alyssaauthor   I think the opportunity to appreciate sculpture outside, in nature, allows a more uninhibited appreciation of the piece. We feel unhurried and less aware of others appreciating the art near us https://instagram.com/p/r31DKPTZA4/?taken-by=alyssaauthor

I also love portraiture as created by the masters. It’s fascinating to me to think about the how Picasso or Matisse or Renoir might observe the same person.

Is there a piece of art with a potential story that you think would make a great book?  I’m thinking along the lines of a girl with the pearl earring… 

Ohh, I saw Girl with a Pearl Earring not too long ago. They had just restored it and it’s exquisite! Every piece of art has a story, as Addie Montgomery shows us in The Fine Art of Deception …  Right now I’m researching several well known artefacts as potential story centres. I love to look at an artist’s intent, why they might create such a piece, and the life it takes on once appreciated by so many.

What’s your theory about the Isabella Stewart Gardner art? 

I think it was a hack job by the mob – not a very well planned out heist on a soft target. When you look at how the thieves navigated the museum and what they took, it’s easy to think that they hadn’t planned ahead of time what they would take.
The Gardner Museum, was not unlike many others, in that they did not maintain solid security systems in an effort to cut costs.  Terribly short sighted decision at an extraordinary cost.  Art is sold along the black market at roughly 10% of its value. It’s thought that dealers in the black market hold and sell the art against other types of debts.
It hurts my heart to say this, but I doubt we ever see those pieces again.

What artist would you have liked to hang out in his/her studio?  For me it would be Matisse or Pollock.

I would love to travel back to 1920 and live in Montemartre among the expats who lived, wrote and painted in that era. (Stay tuned for future books along this theme…!) I’ve read so many books on those characters I would probably have to repeat the decade several times to get my fill!

What’s your favourite period in art history?

That’s hard for me to answer since I have such a voracious appetite for art history. I’m not much on modern installations and such, though I do try to appreciate them. I much prefer the more classical works.

One for the girls – do you have a favourite female artist?

I love Camille Claudel’s work. There is such an innocence and a life, a soul to her pieces,  especially when she sculpted female figures, that I’ve not seen anywhere else.  https://instagram.com/p/r2DX8kzZCy/?taken-by=alyssaauthor   Look at the difference between her work here, as it sits next to Rodin’s: http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/rodin/educational-files/rodin-and-camille-claudel#artiste  There is a sensitivity to her work that doesn’t appear in Rodin’s piece.

So, have you had any spooky or romantic moments in art gallery?

No romantic moments, but there was a portrait I saw once — the energy of the woman in the painting was so strong, it was unnerving. It was as if the artist captured her in that work and it was dying to get out… Fodder for another book, perhaps….

Thanks Alyssa – especially thankyou for getting me hooked on that art heist!

Here’s the link to the competition for the gift voucher so you can go shopping for Alyssa’s book. And meet Adeline & Blake, the connection between them is old and fascinating.


Alyssa photo_1



to the end authors, please!

The Fine Art of Deception: Undoing Time Alyssa Richards

Like, love, hate and then finally annoyance.  That’s was my relationship with this book.  Maybe tomorrow I will appreciate what Ms Richards was trying to do here – but today?  No way!

I found I was immersed in a world I knew nothing about – the art world.  Forgeries, art history, grand theft and master pieces.  If you like art history this will be a good read for you.

The two lead characters took a little time to warm up to (and too much looking backwards for her).  But once the story got going the book took on a great pace and turned into an unexpected thriller.  I just loved it.  There were so many interesting and developing strands to the story and it was hard to see where they would end up.  Likewise with the characters: Otto had to be all bad, right? And Ellen – what was going on with her? Was Alexa about to be kidnapped for Addie’s co-operation?  Not to mention the smouldering bodyguard (oooh!).

It was all going on and I could barely put the book down.  I’m a total scaredy cat but I suffered to know what was going to happen.

And then it happened – absolutely nothing.

That’s right, it just finished.  Nothing is resolved.

Clearly, the author is setting it up for a series.  But how cynical to treat your readers like that  -” if you want to know what happens buy my next book”.

Don’t get me wrong I love a series – especially a romantic one.  The likes of Nalini Singh, Kresley Cole, Sylvia Day and Lindsay Pryor have mastered the art of finishing a story but leaving the intrigue for the series going.

The Art of Deception is a debut novel, so for that reason I’m going to assume Alyssa Richards just didn’t realise her potential to annoy the reader.  Shame as it had so much going for it, the writing is easy and fun, the concept is innovative and its easy to connect to the characters.

So Alyssa at least let us know when this damn next book is out!!

Thank you netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review!

Read the Amazon blurb