Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Larissa!
Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
First, thank so much for having me on Jersey Girl. I love your blog! I’m a wife and mom to two elementary aged girls. We live in Georgia with our Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, two frogs, and two fish. When I’m not writing, I’m driving them to activities or letting the dog in and out. The squirrels keep him busy. On Monday and Wednesday I also do laundry. :)
How long have you been a writer?
I started writing at age four, but none of that was publishable. I did try to sell homemade books to my neighbors in elementary school, but that was before the days of indie publishing, so I didn’t make much headway. The publishable stuff came many years later. After working and starting a family, I found myself in Japan with children in school and no day job. It was kind of a perfect storm of space/time/creativity for me to start writing again. That was four years ago.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
My day job is driving children to activities and letting the dog in and out of the house. I used to be a teacher, but when we adopted our first daughter from China, I decided to stay home. So I’ve been lucky to be a stay-at-home mom for the last (ack) almost ten years.
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
I’ve always been a big reader. I don’t think you could find a writer who isn’t a big reader. I’ve also always had story ideas in my head. I think it began as a kid on the long bus rides to school (I lived in the country). It was a way to entertain myself and keep to myself. But I couldn’t stop and probably the reason why I never learned any math. I’d replay the stories to finesse them and later, I’d write them down. I still do that.
Please give a brief description/storyline about HIJACK IN ABSTRACT.
My heroine Cherry Tucker is a portrait artist living in rural Georgia. Her 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 badfor 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.
What was the inspiration for this story?
I have a friend who’s a Special Agent in the Department of Labor. He fed me some great ideas for a hijacking story where I could also delve into my character, Max Avtaikin’s, past a bit more.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
Fantastic! It still feels unbelievable to see my name on the cover of a book.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
The Cherry Tucker books are humorous mysteries. I’m also working on a paranormal detective series set in Japan that could fall under that category. I like the mystery plot and some romance. And I also like to laugh, so there you go. Humorous smexy mystery.
What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I like all kinds of genres. I lean more toward voice than genre. If I love an author’s voice, I’ll read all their books. I tend to like books that are quirky and witty. I also like gothic. PG Wodehouse meets Daphne du Maurier. That’s what I like.
Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?
Right now I’m writing in an armchair because I don’t have a desk. We had a leak above my desk in the living room about two months ago and nothing’s put back yet. But I have a MacBook Air which fits in my purse, so I can write about anywhere. When I started writing in Japan, I didn’t have a desk either, so as long as I’ve got a place to plug in, I’m good.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
I don’t always know. Ideas just strike me and I let them percolate, sometimes for a year or more, and when I feel like I’ve got a good handle on the characters and story, I try it out.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I really try to write every week day. I have word count goals because I’m working on deadlines. Sometimes other projects take precedent. For me, daily writing brings about more inspiration than waiting for the mood to strike.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
I’m character driven, so I love dialogue. I don’t like to spend much time on description, probably because I don’t like to read a lot of description.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I love travel, even if it’s just day trips somewhere in the country. Usually the jaunts center around finding good food, so I guess eating is another favorite!
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
I loved Stephen King’s ON WRITING. I’m paraphrasing, but he said he likes to put his characters in an impossible situation and then steps back to see how they get out of it. I try to do that.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
When readers contact me to talk about the characters. I love that.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
I spend a lot of time on Facebook, but sometimes they email me. I’m on Twitter, too, and have had some fun chats there. I also have a street team with author LynDee Walker called Mystery Minions (on Facebook). We love to chat with our readers there.
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
I took some of the cases from my Special Agent friend and threw them in my brain’s mixer for Hijack in Abstract. I like to make the “situation” of the crime realistic. But most of it’s from my imagination.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
All of them!
What is your definition of success as a writer?
I think it changes. At first it was to get fifty pages written, then one hundred, then to finish a story. Then to write another one. Then to get published and so on. Now I focus on my readers. I can’t make them all happy, but if they’re enjoying the books, it rocks my world.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
I’m working on Cherry Tucker’s fourth book, Death in Perspective, coming out next June (2014). She’s been hired by a drama teacher at a posh private school to do the set design and to protect him from a virulent texter. She’s also got an interesting relationship going on, but that’s all I’ll say!
When I finish it, I’m going go back to my paranormal detective story, because that’s a lot of fun to write, too. It’s set in Japan, which I miss, so I’m enjoying spending time back there on paper. :)
Thanks so much for having me on!
Thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Larissa!
About The Author
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
FACEBOOK - LITTLE READ HENS
PUBLISHER: HENERY PRESS
Hijack In Abstract by Larissa Reinhart
Book 3: A Cherry Tucker Mystery Series
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback - 284 pages / Kindle - 633 KB / Nook - 625 KB
Genre: Cozy Mystery
BUY THE BOOK: Hijack In Abstrast
BUY THE SERIES: A Cherry Tucker Mystery
Book 1: Portrait Of A Dead Guy
Book 2: Still Life In Brunswick Stew
Book 3: Hijack In Abstract
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
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.
My Book Review:
Hijack In Abstract is the third book in the entertaining Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. Written in the first person narrative, the reader is transported back to Halo, Georgia, for the latest investigative adventure of struggling artist Cherry Tucker.
Cherry Tucker sure has a knack for getting into trouble, and in this latest installment of her quirky adventures, Cherry gets a call to help the Sheriff's Office sketch a composite of the suspect in a hijacking that occurred in town, and ends up uncovering secrets that gets herself involved in the middle of the hijacking and a related murder case. Cherry also finds herself in trouble again with old nemesis Shawna Branson, who once again tries to sabotage Cherry's reputation. And if that isn't enough, Cherry's love life is a mess when she is caught up in an ongoing love triangle with her ex-boyfriend Sheriff's Deputy Luke Harper and her ex-husband Todd!
This was such a fun whodunit to read, it had a great mixture of mystery, romance and humor. I easily found myself entertained by Cherry's craziness and her madcap investigative adventures. From Cherry's dysfunctional family, to her ongoing romantic issues, to her amateur sleuthing skills, this sassy southern lady's antics kept me entertained and laughing as I followed her quest to solve the latest murder case.
With a zany cast of characters (many who return from Portrait of a Dead Guy and Still Life In Brunswick Stew) who keep the reader in stitches with their witty dialogue and hilarious interactions; a storyline filled with enough drama, suspense and twist and turns that keeps the reader guessing; and a richly detailed setting that transports the reader to a quirky Southern small town for some down home sweet tea and local southern delicacies; Hijack In Abstract is an entertaining cozy mystery interwoven with Southern charm and humor that leaves you wanting to go on more crazy adventures with sassy Cherry Tucker!
RATING: 4 STARS ****
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November 5 – The Book Bag – Review & Excerpt
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November 12 – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews – Q&A & Excerpt
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