Monday, March 3, 2014

Featured Author: Larissa Reinhart

Fans of Larissa Reinhart will be happy to know the third book in the Cherry Tucker cozy mystery series, Hijack in Abstract, is out. She's on tour with Buy the Book Tours, and she's stopping here today. Follow the tour and enter to win a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the book:

Humor, Hijackings and a Handful of Hunks . . .

With a classical series sold and a portrait commissioned, Cherry Tucker’s art career is in Georgia overdrive. But when the sheriff asks Cherry to draw a composite sketch of a hijacker, her life takes a hairpin as the composite leads to a related murder, her local card-sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait and her nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art.”

Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute. While she seeks to help the misfortunate and save her local reputation, Cherry’s hammer down attitude has her facing the headlights of an oncoming killer.

Interview with Larissa Reinhart:

Sophie’s choice, Larissa: Do you have a favorite of your characters?

Obviously, Cherry is always my first choice, but in Hijack in Abstract, I love the orphan, Jerell. He lives in a trailer park with his great grandma who’s dying of emphysema, and his father’s been murdered. But he’s more accepting of his life situation than Cherry. He’s a tough, little kid. I wish I could hug him, but he’d probably just push me off and tell me to get a grip.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?

In the Cherry Tucker series, she has her motley crew -- Luke Harper, her on & off flame; Todd, her sort-of-ex-husband; Max Avtaikin, the local, foreign racketeer; her sister and brother, Casey and Cody; Grandpa Ed and his girlfriend, Pearl; her uncle Will, the sheriff; Red, the bartender; and Leah, her best friend -- and of course, that list grows because it’s a small town and you run into some of the same characters. They come and go with the setting.

Then, I begin to build my new characters that specifically go with the new story. My antagonist is the most important. They have to have a backstory, even if I never reveal much of it in the story. And that antagonist will have a company of characters that go with him/her. My victims are also important, but sometimes they crop up as I write. And as I write, more characters, some helpful and some adversarial, will just pop into the story.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters?

It’s kind of random. I’ve used obituaries (to keep the names Southern) and random name generators. Sometimes, the name pops into my head and sticks. Cherry Tucker did that. Occasionally, I’ll let my daughters name someone (Luke). And in my upcoming book, one of my Mystery Minions street team crew won a contest and her name’s used in the book. That was fun.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

Only one. Max Avtaikin. He was inspired by the rich Russian with the tiny giraffe on the DirectTV ad a few years ago. I love that guy.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?

Cherry’s best friend, Leah. She’s the epitome of grace and charity, always knows the proper thing to say, but is also a talented musician and singer. And she’s got a super hot body she hides under bulky clothes. I’d be strutting around in a bikini if I were Leah. Well, maybe not...

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?

Max Avtaikin. He could probably charter us a helicopter for a rescue. There’s a few Max fans out there who probably wouldn’t mind getting stuck on an island with him for different reasons...

What song would you pick to go with your book?

That’s an awesome question! I always have a soundtrack. I listen to a lot of Miranda Lambert and Eric Church for the Cherry Tucker books. I’ll choose “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert for Hijack in Abstract because Cherry’s suffering from a broken heart, having broken up with Luke Harper at the end of the previous book, Still Life in Brunswick Stew. But I also like “Lemon Drop” by the Pistol Annies because it’s about optimism when life is looking pretty negative. Cherry’s an optimist. And the fan of life has turned a pile of horsehockey on her since book one.

Where’s home for you?

I live in a planned community south of Atlanta called Peachtree City. It’s beautiful with parkways, trees, and about sixty miles of golf cart paths winding inside the city. It took some time for me to get used to seeing people walking their dog from a golf cart, but now I drive my girls to school on a golf cart. This area has become movie-filming central lately. The Walking Dead & Drop-Dead Divas are filmed nearby, and Pinewood Studios have moved in down the road. That’s kind of fun, although I never see anyone famous because I’m always at home in front of my computer. Or at Target.

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? Music? Acting out the scene? Long showers?

Showers are awesome for plotting! So is driving. And that dream-infused state just before you fall asleep, although I sometimes forget what I was going to use and that’s frustrating.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

I have trouble saying no, so this is my virtual sticky note quote on my computer: “Don’t write a check with your mouth you can’t cash with you a**.” It’s from Sucker Punch, which was a so-so movie, but I love that quote.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Double Dip by Gretchen Archer (hilarious, especially if you’re a fan of Carl Hiaasen.) Small Town Spin by LynDee Walker (she’s awesome at fast paced dialogue). And Diner Impossible by Terri L. Austin (she is so funny and very talented with the romance scenes).

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Don’t worry about the money. Your publisher is paying.

We’re hoping to visit Japan this summer. My husband and I have lived there three times, the last time was three years ago with our children and they miss Japan. But since that trip is somewhat planned, I’m going to pick Spain. I’ve always wanted to travel to Spain ever since I read The Seville Communion.

What are you working on now?

I just finished Death in Perspective, the fourth Cherry Tucker mystery that comes out June 24th. Before I start number five, I’m working on a paranormal detective agency set in Japan, kind of an urban fantasy. The heroine is an English teacher in Japan with a  missing roommate, but she’s also hiding her own preternatural abilities. I’m having a lot of fun with the Japanese mythology.

About the author:

After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa writes full time, with a particular focus on sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. The Cherry Tucker Mystery series is published by Henery Press. The first in the series, Portrait of a Dead Guy (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Still Life in Brunswick Stew (2013), Hijack in Abstract (2013), and Death in Perspective (June 2014) follow, with the Cherry Tucker novella, Quick Stretch, in the 2013 anthology, Heartache Motel, as a prequel to Portrait.

She lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook; at her Facebook page; Twitter; and Goodreads.

Connect with Larissa:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Publisher 

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