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Cherry Tucker’s love life has shifted into neutral. And her siblings, Grandpa, and sort-of-ex-husband have flipped her personal life to greasy side up. But life in Halo, Georgia, isn’t all bad for the sassy, Southern artist. Her career has pushed into full throttle. A classical series sold. A portrait commissioned. Then Uncle Will, Forks County Sheriff, calls in a favor to have Cherry draw a composite sketch of a hijacker. Suddenly, life takes a hairpin when the composite leads to a related murder, her local card sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait, and her Amazonian nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art,” causing Cherry to be shunned by the town.
Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute and Max Avtaikin in legal jeopardy. 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, ready to grind her gears for good.
Thanks for having me on today! I’m a Mrs. Mommy Booknerd as well. If you ever decide to relinquish that title, I’ll wear it gladly!
Q. What inspires your writing?
Encouragement from readers really does. I get a lot of Facebook and email messages from readers, worried about Cherry or excited about her misadventures. I also get a lot of goat photos. I love it. Otherwise, I’m inspired by the world around me, although not anything specifically. I’ll see or hear something and a “what if” idea just pops into my brain. I’ll get excited and a story will start to form in my mind.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I get really wrapped up in the story and can’t stop thinking about it. I have to write. Things I hadn’t planned just start to happen in the story. I love it when that happens. It feels so magical.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
Finding a balance between my writing life and “real” life. That magical thing I talked about in the last question? That needs to cut off at when my girls get home from school and can’t get turned on again until when they leave for school. It’s hard to power down that part of my brain, and then hard to get centered in that world again after a busy afternoon and night. But if it weren’t for my family, I’d probably get scurvy from a diet of coffee and power bars. They need me to unplug and make dinner, and I need a reason to unplug and make dinner!
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
I’d go back to my glamorous life as wife and mother. Before that I had the almost equally glamorous career as a teacher. But if we’re talking complete hypothetical, what I want to be when I grow up, sort of thing? An editor. Or professional karaoke singer.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
If You Give a Girl A Cookie.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Q. Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?
The scenes in the Gearjammer, a trucker bar Cherry uses for some sleuthing. I had fun with the setting and the characters that inhabit that bar. Plus I love to write action scenes. And there’s some romantic chemistry in those scenes that’s equally fun.
Q. Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?
Writing this book was a bit like spinning plates. I had a lot of subplots and clues to track that didn’t tie up until the end. So the middle was the hardest to write. LOL
Q. Which character from any book are you most like?
Probably Red, the bartender. I serve people all day and feel compelled to dispense advice.
Q. What is your favorite season?
Fall. And I’ve an autumn birthday. No coincidence.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
I once met an older woman at a signing who was quite a character. She had a very beautiful, but unique name. I asked her if I could use it in a book and she refused, because she “didn’t want it to become popular.” Then she told me to date the books I was signing, because “signed books are not worth anything if they’re not dated.” I think she greatly overestimated my sway in the literary world.
Q. Are you working on something new?
Always! Now I’m writing Cherry Tucker’s fourth book, DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE, that will hopefully release next spring. I’m also working on a paranormal detective series set in Japan.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A big thank you for stopping in and taking the time to read the interview. Your next question inspires a question I have for your readers. How do they feel about book covers? Writers often don’t have a lot of input with publishers when it comes to their covers. How much does a cover influence you as a reader? Do you judge books by their cover?
Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?
The book covers are created by an artist with my Henery Press editor’s input and design. I offer some suggestions, but I can’t claim any of the creativity. My editor, Kendel, is a great designer and I’ve been very pleased with the adorable covers.
Thanks so much for having me here! It’s been a pleasure!
Excerpt from HIJACK IN ABSTRACT by Larissa Reinhart
With my messenger bag bumping my back, I hugged my chest, figuring it best not to give an extra show to Shep and the boys. I followed Uncle Will down the hallway, waiting while he unlocked a door. The door opened and two faces turned to look at us. One I didn’t recognize, but judging by his despondent expression, I figured he was probably in a mess of trouble. The other person, another deputy, I identified immediately. Hard not to recognize those brown ochre curls with the highlights I had decided were transparent oxide-red lake. Or the lean, muscled body, much like Michelangelo’s David. Or by the strong jaw buttressing two adorable dimples that made a rare showing.
Unfortunately, I knew Deputy Luke Harper a little too well.
He gave me a scant nod and turned back to the perp.
My hand snuck back to my hair and yanked on a particularly tall cowlick in back. I gritted my teeth and gave myself a quick lecture not to make a scene. We had aired our irreconcilable differences behind the local roadhouse, Red’s County Line Tap, a few months ago and I had not quite recovered.
“That’s Tyrone Coderre,” said Uncle Will. “He’s going to give you a description to draw. We need a composite sketch.”
Uncle Will stopped me before I entered the room and pulled me to the side. “Can I leave Deputy Harper in there with you or do I need to call in another officer? Harper’s the one who picked up Coderre, so this is his investigation.”
“I’m quite capable of separating my personal and professional life,” I said, tilting my chin so I could eyeball Uncle Will. “You might want to ask the same of him.”
“I trust Luke not to screw up his job. You are another story.”
I gave him a “why, I never” gasp.
“I’m going to be watching through the two-way.” He tapped my messenger bag. “Lucky for you, I don’t know other artists to call during the middle of the night. Wouldn’t want to be accused of nepotism. But I want a sketch while the memory is still fresh in Coderre's mind. Don’t disappoint me, Cherry.”
“So, this is an important investigation?” Excitement zipped through my veins and made my fingers tingle. “I won’t let you down. You can even deputize me if you want.”
Uncle Will chuckled. “Just draw us a good picture. That’s plenty helpful.”
“Yes, sir,” I said and snuck by him to enter the room. I nodded to the man in the black sweat suit behind the table and held out my hand. “Hello, Mr. Coderre. I’m Cherry Tucker, a local artist.”
“Don’t shake his hand,” barked Luke. “Are you crazy?”
Tyrone Coderre's cuffed hands retreated below the table, and I blew out a hard breath.
Looked like it was going to be a long night. At least the criminal had manners.
Couldn’t say the same for the cop.
Connect with Larissa!
Facebook page: facebook.com/RisWrites
Goodreads author page: goodreads.com/author/show/5806614.Larissa_Reinhart