Today is the first Wednesday in the month of September on What to Read Wednesday and we are lucky to have author Larissa Reinhart visiting. Larissa is a wonderful person who I met on facebook and I’m thrilled she’s joining me in the hot seat today to talk about her debut release—PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY— published with Henery Press.
And Larissa didn’t come empty handed. She is giving one lucky commenter a copy of PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY.
So let’s get started….Welcome to What to Read Wednesday Larissa! 🙂
Thanks for having me on What to Read Wednesday! I love your books Christine, and love checking your blog to add to my TBR pile.
I’m glad you enjoy the blog 🙂 I can’t wait to get my copy of your debut…I’m instantly attracted to your story by the cover alone. But don’t let me get off topic…Can you tell us about yourself in 5 sentences?
I hail from a small Midwestern farming town, but have lived in the South for most of my adult life. I’ve also lived in Japan three times. I have a Cairn terrier named Biscuit, two beautiful girls adopted from China, and a husband who I met at age 19, which should have led me to writing YA. I’ve always loved writing, particularly stories about strong, sassy women who love trouble, but didn’t get back to writing until the girls went to school. And I was almost bit by a monkey in Thailand.
I’ve seen pictures of your girls and they are just too darn cute! (and I love your terriers name…lol) If we opened up your fridge right now, what would we find?
A lot of miscellaneous bottles of sauces, beer, milk, and rotting veggies. Hmm. I guess it’s pizza for supper!
LOL…pizza is always good! Do you prefer to read with an e-reader or hold a ‘real’ book?
Good question. I love a ‘real’ book, but if I’m reading a series I like the immediacy of my e-reader. That’s how I read The Hunger Games. I downloaded the first, read it in a day, and immediately downloaded the second and third books.
What genre (s) do you write?
PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY is a humorous mystery with a heavy dose of romance. Is that a genre? Actually my editor said it’s considered an amateur sleuth mystery. I have issues with knowing what genre I write, because I just write and figure out the genre when I’m done. I also have a romantic suspense with paranormal elements I hope to have published soon about a half-gypsy woman. And I’m about to write a multi-cultural romance. I think that’s what you’d call it. I’ll have to ask my editor to be sure.:)
Just from your book cover I got the humor aspect of your story…it sounds like a winner. Describe your writing space.
I have a desk in the corner of my living room, but it looks like a mess of papers and books piled desk height. There is just enough room on the desk to place my laptop and a iPhone speaker so I can listen to music while I write. I am one of those people that thrives in clutter, but knows exactly where everything is placed within the piles. I used to be a teacher, can you tell?
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. Her rival wants to ruin her reputation, her ex-flame wants to rekindle the fire, and someone’s setting her up to take the fall. Mix in 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.
Love it! Sounds like lots of action and predicaments for Cherry. Describe your hero through your heroine’s eyes (and yes you can quote her…lol)
Luke drove me crazy in ways I didn’t appreciate. He knew how to push buttons that switched me from tough to soft, smart to dumb. He stared at me with a faint smile tugging the corners of his mouth. If I could paint those gorgeous curls and long sideburns — which will never happen, by the way — I would use a rich, raw umber with burnt sienna highlights. For his eyes, I’d mix Prussian blue and a teensy Napthal red. However, he would call his hair “plain old dark brown” and eyes “gray.” But, what does he know? Not much about art, I can tell you that.
Can I say I LOVE IT again? Of course I can, it’s my blog right? Lol That was a great description Larissa. What inspired you to write this story?
I was living in Japan at the time, but felt drawn to write about this gal, Cherry Tucker, from small town Georgia. My husband calls it a love letter to the South. I kept hearing and seeing Cherry, her crazy family, her sort-of ex-husband, and then the hero, Luke, came to me. Now stick with me through this part, but my father died and when I returned to my hometown to stay with my mother after the funeral, I got the idea that Cherry Tucker was an artist who had to paint a coffin portrait. I know it sounds morbid, but that’s how my mind works. Then I came up with the mystery and boom, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY was born.
Give us 3 reasons why you think we should read your book.
It’s got a goat, hot men, and beer. Will that work?
Yep, works for me. I’m very curious about the goat and the role he/she plays! 🙂 What’s the first line and the last line in PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY?
The first: In a small town, there is a thin gray line between personal freedom and public ruin.
The last: And by business, I’m not talking about selling paintings.
Ha! Can’t get much from that now, can you?
Please share an excerpt!
I surprise myself sometimes. I’m not known for being shy or cautious, but I never imagined hanging out with a dead guy. Yet here I stood next to a coffin, bopping along to the music on my headphones while I brushed on Dustin’s underpainting in bold strokes.
“Looking good,” I sang to my painting.
My head beat along to the throbbing chords ringing from my earbuds. The purplish base color, mixed from alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue, would provide a cooler tone to Dustin’s skin and the shadowy background. I had snapped some photos of Dustin in case I needed to work at home, but using a live subject is always preferable. Or dead, in this case.
Taking a break for the first coat to dry, I covered my palette of mixed paints with a wet paper towel and grabbed a Coke from my bag. I took a deep swig, wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, and sighed. Painting made me happy. Getting paid for it made me downright ecstatic. A beer would perfect the moment, but I sucked on the Coke instead. Breaking into a funeral home to paint a dead body was bad enough. Somehow cracking into a six-pack pushed the crime into redneck realm.
Wandering over to the coffin, I took another swig and stared at Dustin. Something looked different. I scanned him again and spotted the incongruence. The pocket flap on the far side of his suit jacket was folded inside itself, a minor detail that would bug me. I should fix it. But no, thank you.
Though I wouldn’t actually have to touch Dustin. Just his pocket.
I twitched my nose. But every glance from the easel to Dustin would zone in on that stupid pocket flap. That’s a lot of glances.
A light flashed in my periphery and the hairs on my arms rose. I craned my neck toward the door, but saw nothing.
My head bobbed to the throbbing music while I fixated on the pocket flap. A light flashed again. This time I pivoted toward the darkened doorway and ducked.
Perfectly reasonable to have jitters standing next to a dead man in a coffin in a dark funeral parlor. I also suspected my mind was playing tricks on me so I could procrastinate touching that pocket. The flash was a car light or something. Probably some reflection thingy I didn’t understand because I didn’t pay attention in physics.
Taking a deep breath, I turned back to the coffin. My hand hovered over the body. I reached into the coffin and tugged the edge of the flap. It caught on something.
I plunged my hand into the pocket feeling for the obstruction. The flap flipped up, and I pulled out a small gray bag. Tiny hard misshapen objects rolled between my fingers through the soft pouch.
“Eew!” I dropped the bag, shaking my hand free of the heebie-jeebies. What would feel like that?
I took another swig of Coke and grabbed hold of my nerves. Just as I lectured myself to stop messing around, a beam of light slid across the wall before me, then swung toward the ceiling.
That’s no car light. That’s a flashlight.
The hairs on the back of my neck prickled. I began to turn. One crack to my skull and the headphones popped out of my ears. My knees buckled. The Coke foamed and splashed as my body dropped.
Intense, bright colors exploded in my vision.
And finally, Mars black.
I like your heroine already. What’s your favorite part of writing?
I’m a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants), so I love how the story unfolds as I’m writing it. I know the characters when I start, but the plot really builds by the actions of the characters as I’m writing them. It really feels magical. I hope it’s always like that when I write. I have all these characters and story ideas in my head just begging to cut loose on a page.
Do you have any writerly advice you’d like to share with a newbie author?
I think the best thing I ever did was join writers groups. You learn so much from other writers and most of the groups have classes you can take. I’m in RWA Kiss of Death, GRW (Georgia Romance Writers), and Guppies through Sisters in Crime. They are my support system and I’ve made great friends through the organizations, too.
Would you like to share a hint as to what your current WIP is? 🙂
I just finished up Cherry Tucker’s second book, STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW, which should be out in the spring. And now I’m working on a Southern romance set in Japan. I think I’m writing that one for the food. I love Southern cooking and Japanese home cooking. I’ll viscerally live through my characters meals.
And finally, where can we find you and your book(s)?
You can find more information on my website at larissareinhart.com. But when I’m not writing about southern fried chicken, I write about Asian fried chicken at my blog about life as an ex-expat at theexpatreturneth.blogspot.com.
And you can always find me chatting on Facebook; Twitter; and Goodreads. I love pinning on my Cherry Tucker and other boards at Pinterest. Cherry Tucker even has her own Pinterest site! If you find DIY clothes or Southern recipes you’d think Cherry would like, @LarissaReinhart in the comments and I’ll pin it on my boards!
Thank you for joining me today! I’m so glad you visited!
Thanks for having me! That was fun!