Hi Larissa, and welcome to my blog! Congratulations on the release of ‘Still life in Brunswick Stew’ which is installment two of the ‘Cherry Tucker Mysteries’. Can you start by giving us a sneaky peek at an excerpt of the book?
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sarah Belle! I am so pleased to be here. You ask great questions!
This excerpt is from the beginning of STILL LIFE.
“Luke is the perfect model for a Greek statue,” I explained. “Tall, lean, with great muscle definition. Especially those indentations between his waist and hips.” I paused a moment in delicious ecstasy, ruminating over Luke’s V-cut. “He even has the dark curly hair and the straight nose of a classic Greek. And I don’t think he’s got a drop of Greek blood in him. Pretty sure Harper’s not a Greek name.”
“Nor Roman. You just want to paint Luke naked,” Eloise cackled. “This doesn’t have anything to do with art.”
“Of course it does. I have an eye for beauty, that’s all.”
“You got a thing for beauty, all right. As long as it’s got a—”
“You can stop right there, Eloise Parker. No need to get trashy.”
“I’m not the one obsessed with painting Luke Harper nude.”
“He never lets me paint him, nude or otherwise. I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?”
“Probably because he’s worried the criminals in Forks County will laugh at him after seeing his bare ass in a painting,” Eloise lifted her brows. “Hard to arrest somebody when they’re laughing at you.”
For those yet to read the first novel in the series, Portrait of a Dead guy, can you give us a blurb?
In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival. As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.
Cherry Tucker, and her co-stars, are unique and quirky characters; can you tell us a bit about them and the small town of Halo?
Cherry’s a classically trained artist determined to try and make it as a portrait artist and still live in her hometown of Halo, Georgia. Halo’s a typical Southern small town. The family names are old and the social hierarchy was determined generations ago.
Some of the cast include her siblings Casey and Cody, who are talented in their own rights but extremely lazy. Their Grandpa’s affection for goats out rivals his affection for the grandchildren he raised. Cherry can’t seem to shake off her sort-of-ex-husband, Todd, an accomplished poker player, drummer, and blonde beefcake. But she’s been reunited with her old college flame, Luke, who recently moved home and taken a position in the sheriff’s department. Luke and Cherry have a fire and gasoline relationship, which they struggle to overcome.
Who would play Cherry in the movie version?
If Kristin Chenoweth was twenty-six, she’d be perfect. However, every time I see Kelly Pickler on Dancing With The Stars I hear Cherry. Except Cherry’s sassier and has less curves.
You’ve got the perfect combination of a sassy, kick-arse heroine and crazy situations; where does your inspiration come from?
Can I say I have no earthly idea? I just hear her in my head and put her in situations that amuse me. My seven-year-old daughter dresses like her (crazy outfits). And I listen to a lot of kick-arse female country artists when I write Cherry.
I’ve read that you narrowly escaped a ferocious monkey in Thailand, studied Archaeology in Egypt, taught history in Japan and the USA, and adopted two gorgeous little girls from China. How have these experiences impacted you as a writer?
I think all those life experiences gave me interesting perspectives on life and people. I’ve met a lot of different people from various cultures and collected those impressions. I like meeting people. Not a fan of monkeys.
What does the future hold for Ms Tucker?
Cherry’s got a lot to overcome. Her family history has stunted her maturity in some ways, but it’s also made her fearless. She’s a fun character to write and her creativity makes her a unique amateur detective. I’m having fun with her in HIJACK IN ABSTRACT, her third book which should come out this fall.
A prequel about Cherry and Todd’s adventure on their way to the ill-fated Vegas wedding will appear in an anthology called THE HEARTACHE MOTEL, which comes out in December. The Heartache was especially fun because I got to write with two other Henery press authors, Terri L. Austin and LynDee Walker. The stories all take place at the dumpy, Elvis wannabe Heartache Motel in Memphis. Lots of hijinks ensue!
If you’ d like to contact Larissa, or learn more about her and her novels, just click on the links below: