BLOG TOUR: INTERVIEW, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Larissa Reinhart, “Still Life in Brunswick Stew”

October 2, 2013 Still Life in Brunswick Stew 17

I’m very pleased to have Larissa Reinhart  with me today.  Larissa is touring Still Life in Brunswick Stew, the second book in her mystery series featuring Cherry Tucker.  Larissa has generously offered an ebook copy to one lucky reader.  Just the giveaway near the bottom of the post!

Lark (Bookwyrm’s Hoard):  Hi, Larissa!  Thank you for stopping by The Bookwyrm’s Hoard to talk with us today. 

Larissa Reinhart: Thanks so much for having me! I’m very excited to be here! I’m a book hoarder myself. 

Lark: All the best people are! Can you tell us how you became a professional writer?  When did you first begin writing stories?

Larissa R. : I started writing at about the same time I learned to read. I was one of those kids with a lot of imaginary friends. And I made up friends for my little sister, who spent a lot of our early childhood confused by the friend drama. I won a national contest in fourth or fifth grade and by high school had my own column on our local newspaper. However, I got distracted by other majors in college and didn’t get back to serious writing until I was living in Japan with my family. My girls went to school full-time and I wasn’t working for the first time. I was given the gift of time to play with a bunch of characters I had been thinking about for a while. 
Lark: Why did you choose to write “cozies” or small-town mysteries? 
Larissa R.: Actually I didn’t realize the first Cherry Tucker, Portrait of a Dead Guy, was going to be a cozy mystery when I wrote it! I thought it was a romance with a mystery plot. And the manuscript I had written before Portrait was a Young Adult paranormal, so I don’t feel like I chose to write cozies as much as I fell into them.

Now, small town I know. I grew up in a farming village of six hundred. I like showing the diversity of personalities and the prickly edge of love and hate that characters like Cherry have for their town. She mostly sees the good, she wants to fit in, but she’s limited by the strong sense of history that permeates small town life. This theme grows with each book. 

Lark: Who are your favorite authors? Are there particular authors whose work inspires or influences you?  
Larissa R. : Gah. Let me pick out my favorite daughter. That’s easier.

As far as mystery writers, I like the classics, particularly English mid-century. I love, love humorous stories with quirky characters like PG Wodehouse, Carl Hiaasen, and Jasper Fforde writes. I like gothic writers like Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stuart and writers who can turn a story into a puzzle like Jostein Gaarder. Crazed romance characters by writers like Meg Cabot, Janet Evanovich, and Stephanie Bond. I’m going to stop. This could go on for days. Everything inspires me, especially clever writing. 

Lark: You’ve named some great writers, there!  One of my favorite questions to ask an author is:  When you are writing, are you a “plotter” or a “panster”?   
Larissa R.: I’m a pantser, although I always have my “what if” fleshed out and my main characters developed. I’ll jot down ideas for the story, which sometimes don’t get used. I like seeing what can develop as I write. 
Lark: The third Cherry Tucker mystery is coming out in early November.  Can you tell us a little about it? 
Larissa R.: Thanks for asking! It’s called Hijack in Abstract. Cherry is asked by her uncle, Sheriff Will, to do a composite sketch of a truck hijacker, witnessed by a local copper thief. She’s also facing a serious storm of shinola brought on by Shawna Branson who has outed Cherry as a pervert artist for some classic nudes Cherry painted of Todd. The nudes are bought by a lawyer in Atlanta who wants Cherry to also paint his portrait. And Max is having some legal issues, brought on by Cherry’s badgering. So there’s several story lines that seem disjointed but are actually part of one big picture (like an abstract painting). And of course, she’s still having lots of smexy men issues. Of course. Because wouldn’t we all love to have those issues? 

Lark: What was your favorite part of Still Life in Brunswick Stew to write, and why?  

Larissa R.: There’s a teen in Still Life I really loved as a character, I really enjoyed some of his scenes. But probably my favorite is a small scene near a bedroom in a house with a guy that’s a little tense that completely changed my view of one character. And that’s all I can say. 
Lark: You’ve had an amazing life.  You’ve taught history in a U.S. high school and English in Japan, studied archaeology in Egypt, visited Thailand, and adopted your daughters from China.  What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you, and what’s the most interesting place you’ve ever been? 
Larissa R.: Thank you! My family is amazing. I’ve been really blessed.

Hmm … scariest is getting attacked by a monkey in Thailand. I didn’t see it chained to a stake on the side of a road, I guess as someone’s pet. But I crossed too close and it hopped on my arm and tried to bite me. I was so freaked out, I kept moving. The vile creature was jerked off by my arm on the end of its lead. Put me off monkeys.

Interesting? That’s hard because I find the little country towns around me interesting. China was fascinating, though. We visited when we adopted each of our daughters. That country is a strange mix of government oppression and an opportunistic public. 
Lark: Is there a hobby or craft you really enjoy, or one you’ve always wanted to try? 
Larissa R.: Even after a stint as an art major, I’m kind of a horrible crafter. I think I don’t have the patience. I’ve tried sewing, quilting (my mom’s a big quilter), scrapbooking, and some other crafts. I like picking out materials and supplies best. I love drawing, though. My daughters are taking art classes at a local studio. I’d love to try pottery (I have a raku collection from Japan, which is what inspired Eloise’s art in Still Life). And I’d love to take a class in anime art and/or printmaking.  
Lark: Finally, a few quick questions:

  •  Coffee or tea? Coffee. 
  •  Beach or mountains? Georgia has both. Mountains when it’s cool, beach when it’s warm. Although really, it should be the other way around. 
  •  Book or movie? Book. Unless it’s a really good movie. 
  •  Print, e-reader, or audiobook? Print, although I use my e-reader. A. Lot. 
  •  Music or silence? Music. 
  •  Sherlock or Elementary? Ha. Watson was a good sidekick. Holmes was annoying.

Lark: Thanks so much for coming by, Larissa!  It’s been great to get to chat with you.  Best of luck with Still Life with Brunswick Stew and the new book, Hijack in Abstract! 
Larissa R.: Thanks Lark! Love your blog. You have the best job — reading books!

Lark: I really do — though I think a writer’s job must be even better!

*     *     *


Cherry Tucker’s in a stew. Art commissions dried up after her nemesis became president of the County Arts Council. Desperate and broke, Cherry and her friend, Eloise, spend a sultry summer weekend hawking their art at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. When a bad case of food poisoning breaks out and Eloise dies, the police brush off her death as accidental. However, Cherry suspects someone spiked the stew and killed her friend. As Cherry calls on cook-off competitors, bitter rivals, and crooked judges, the police get steamed while the killer prepares to cook Cherry’s goose.

*   *   *


Still Life in Brunswick Stew is a fast and fun read that takes you into small-town Georgia.  I liked Cherry; she’s feisty and smart-mouthed and fiercely determined to figure out why and how her friend Elise died.  There’s the usual mix of cheerfully and not-so-cheerfully eccentric characters, including Cherry’s siblings and several of the suspects.  And there’s a not-quite-love-triangle going on between Cherry, her gorgeous deputy boyfriend Luke, and her friend and kinda-sorta ex-husband (Vegas wedding, instantly regretted and annulled) Todd.  Reinhart nails the rhythm and flow of Southern speech; I could hear Cherry’s voice and most of the others in my head as I was reading.  If you enjoy your cozy mysteries Southern-style, Larissa Reinhart’s Cherry Tucker Mysteries belong on your TBR shelf.

*   *   *

Rating: 4 stars

About the author: Larissa loves small town characters with big attitudes, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. Her Cherry Tucker Mystery series, beginning with Portrait of a Dead Guy (Henery Press), received a 5/5 Star review from the, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial finalist. The second book, Still Life in Brunswick Stew, arrived in May 2013, and will be followed by Hijack in Abstract on November 5. A Cherry Tucker prequel will appear in a December 9, 2013 mystery anthology, The Heartache Motel.
After moving around the midwest, the South and Japan, Larissa now lives in Georgia with her husband, daughters, and Biscuit, a Cairn Terrier. You can find Larissa chatting on Facebook on her author page; on Twitter as RisWrites; and on Goodreads. She loves pinning on her Cherry Tucker and other boards at Pinterest.
   (biography source: Goodreads)

Learn more about Larissa Reinhart and the Cherry Tucker Mysteries
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads   

Category: Cozy mystery
Series: Cherry Tucker Mystery #2
Publisher: Henery Press
Release date:  May 21, 2013
Book source:  I received a digital review copy via Great Escapes Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.

Buy the book:
Amazon | B&NKobo

WIN AN EBOOK COPY OF Still Life in Brunswick Stew!

Read as part of the Cruisin’ thru the Cozies challenge hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews

17 Responses to “BLOG TOUR: INTERVIEW, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Larissa Reinhart, “Still Life in Brunswick Stew””

  1. Rita_h

    What a good interview! It’s so nice to find out about the author behind a book when making reading decisions. Thanks for sharing this book which I had not yet heard of.

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    I love small town mysteries and feisty protagonists! I thought Holmes was brilliant but admit Watson was a fantastic side kick. Wonderful interview Lark and so glad you enjoyed this one!

    • Larissa Reinhart

      Thanks Kimba! I’m going to echo Lark and say the weakness for hot guys is a sticky plot point. Causes all sorts of issues which makes the heroine even feistier.;)

  3. Barbara Thompson

    The more I read about this book, the more I’m intrigued. Looking forward to reading this book.
    Barbara Thompson