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.
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.
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.
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: What was your favorite part of Still Life in Brunswick Stew to write, and why?
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.
- 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: 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 Examiner.com, 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.