I have another fun cozy mystery author interview for you today, this time with Larissa Reinhart. You’re going to love her answers to my questions, especially the one to the cookie question. You’ll definitely be craving a sweet treat after reading that one.
So settle in a comfy chair with the beverage of your choice, maybe even a cookie or two, and find out what Larissa has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.
1 – What inspired you to write your books?
My first series, A Cherry Tucker Mystery, began when I was living in Japan. I’d been working on another manuscript, but this redneck artist from Georgia kept speaking to me as I drove my kids to school. Then her crazy family began speaking to me. I had to write her story down just to get her out of my head so I could concentrate on the other manuscript. And that became Portrait of a Dead Guy. She never did stop speaking, so my idea of quieting her didn’t work.
The Maizie Albright Star Detective series began because I had an agent who wanted something like Cherry Tucker “but different.” The movie industry had moved into our area. Pinewood Studios had bought land a few miles from my house (that’s where the Avenger movies are made) and The Walking Dead and other TV shows were being filmed a few miles in the other direction. That inspired me to create a new character and place her in Georgia, with a “fish out of water” theme — a celebrity who’s basically kicked out of Hollywood and returns home to start a new career as a private investigator, the role that made her famous. Six books in and movies are still being made here. Maizie Albright is learning how to become a detective and also how to live a normal life.
The Finley Goodhart Crime Capers is my newest series. I always loved con artist stories, so I thought it’d be fun to create a con artist amateur sleuth character and also put her in Georgia.
2 – What’s your favorite thing about cozy mysteries?
I love the puzzle. I was always an Agatha Christie fan. But it’s really about the characters to me. I’ll read a long series because of the characters. Particularly if they’re funny and quirky with a romantic interest.
3 – Do you have any writing rituals?
As a mom, I have to keep changing my writing rituals. There’s an office but now it also has a treadmill and weights in it. This winter I find myself sitting at the kitchen table and writing so I can keep a better ear on the washing machine (I kept forgetting about the laundry). Now I’m working and homeschooling due to the Corona Virus, so I’m still at the kitchen table. When I started writing and my girls were little, they used to go to bed and I could write. They don’t go to bed before me anymore. 😉
4 – What’s more important – character or plot?
A bad plot can ruin a book, but if the characters aren’t interesting or likable or compelling, I don’t think you could get through the book and learn if the plot works or not. At least, that’s my opinion!
5 – What do you like best about being an author? What do you like the least?
I think most writers love coming up with ideas for stories and characters. That’s exciting and fun. I have so many ideas for future stories that I don’t even know if I could write them all. Interacting with readers is also an awesome part of writing. When I began writing, I never realized how many new friends I’d make, particularly through social media.
The hardest part is forcing myself to sit and write when nothing seems to be working. My brain literally hurts. It’s frustrating. Every time I write, I get to a point where I wonder if I can really finish the book. It puts me in a horrible mood. I don’t it when the “writing world” bleeds into my “mom world” because I can’t get the problem out of my head.
6 – What’s your favorite cookie? If you don’t like cookies, what’s wrong with you? Oops, sorry, scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be far more polite – “Why don’t you like cookies?”
In that case, I’m 100% normal. I love cookies! Recently, I’ve developed an addiction to the Girl Scout shortbread cookies, Trefoils. I also love Oreos, Nutter Butters, and anything made by Pepperidge Farm. For homemade cookies, you can’t beat a chocolate chip. This is such a hard question…
Actually maybe my favorite are some of the Christmas cookies I make. Either sour cream cookies or almond. Or the sugar with the frosting. Or my daughter makes these delicious orange and lemon cookies.
I don’t think I have a favorite cookie.
7 – A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?
It’s Taco Tuesday, obviously. He’s made frozen margaritas.
8 – What else would you like us to know about you?
I made the first Maizie Albright Star Detective book free to encourage everyone to #StayHomeAndRead. 15 MINUTES is available in most stores for free right now: https://books2read.com/b/m2Xqor
18 CALIBER, Maizie Albright Star Detective #6, launches April 14th. Maizie’s mixing with international stars, spies, and her mother’s dark past in her sixth case in The Wall Street Journal bestselling series.
You can learn more at my website www.larissareinhart.com, where you can also sign up for my VIP Readers’ Email group and get a free short story! Thank you!
Thanks so much for having me on, Ellen! This was fun. Should I send the penguin over to your house? With my daughters at home, we’re making cookies. 🙂
Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Larissa! Loved the reference to Nutter Butters – took me right back to my childhood. 🙂 So great that you’re making cookies with your daughters at home. I suspect there is a lot of cookie baking and eating going on in many homes these days.