The ExPat Returneth

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cherry Tucker on Chloe Gets A Clue

This interview with Cherry Tucker appeared on CHLOE GETS A CLUE: "Interior decorator. Amateur investigator. Fictional character. Romance is the one mystery I can't seem to solve."

Sounds like Cherry has a lot in common with Chloe, doesn't she? The following is Chloe's interview with Cherry from April 12, 2013.

"Cherry Tucker can’t help being meddlesome. She’s just drawn that way."

Big in mouth. Small in stature. And able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge – that’s Cherry Tucker for you. In PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY by Larissa Reinhart, Cherry raises persistence to an art form as she tries to complete a controversial commission for a family who wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait. 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. While her author, Larissa is on a whirlwind blog tour, I snagged Cherry for a chat about her criminally hot exes and the art of investigation.

Chloe: Thanks for joining me, Cherry. At the risk of sounding like my mom…who are your people, dear? (For any Yankees reading this, that’s how Southerners say, “tell me about your family?”)

Cherry: At the risk of sounding like I wasn’t raised right, this better not be some reference to my momma. Go ahead and say it, “God bless her, all she got from her momma was an old truck, her daddy’s gun, and a penchant for losing her wits over good looking men.”

Chloe: Sounds like I’ve struck a nerve right off the bad. Maybe we better change the subject. After art school, what led you back to your small town of Halo, Georgia rather to some big city, where commissions might be easier to find?

Cherry: Mainly I wanted to be near my family. My brother and sister still live with my Grandpa on his farm. They couldn’t find ambition if it climbed on their back and yodeled in their ear. Knowing I could move rent-free into Great-Gam’s old house also helped. My student loans would make a rich man weep. You wouldn’t believe the cost of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design. They seem to forget that most of us aren’t leaving art school with a degree in medicine or law.

Chloe: In Portrait of a Dead Guy, you go after the strangest commission I’ve ever heard of, painting a murdered man in his coffin? Why did his family want to remember him like that?

Cherry: First of all, I’m not one of those Shock Artists that go for controversial content over technique. Painting a dead guy was not on my bucket list. In fact, it gave me a good case of the heebie jeebies. But at this point in my career I’ve got to go after any commission I can (remember those student loans I mentioned?).

Second of all, you’d have to know Miss Wanda, the stepmother of said dead guy. She commissioned the painting. I wouldn’t call her a shopaholic so much as she’s got a bad case of shopping above her raising. She thought getting a portrait of her murdered stepson was a classy tribute. Money doesn’t buy good taste. Unless someone who has good taste does your shopping for you.

Chloe: For a decorator, those are words to live by. The job puts you back in touch with Luke Harper, stepbrother of the dead guy. I picked up on some history there. Want to talk about it?

You ever toss gasoline on a fire? That’s what happens when Luke and I get together. A lot of heat and the possibility of your lips lighting up.

Chloe: Intriguing. Speaking of history, when it comes to Todd McIntosh, not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, am I right?

Cherry: Has he been talking about our wedding again? I swear I’m going to kill him. Filing the annulment took longer than our marriage.

Chloe: Speaking of difficult relationships, tell me about your rivalry with Shawna Branson?

Cherry: Shawna Branson has had it in for me ever since we were teenagers and my scrawny self kicked her already well-developed booty in a county art competition. I walked away with the blue ribbon. She walked away with my boyfriend.

Chloe: Exactly why I’m Team Cherry, all the way. How did you manage to go from painting a portrait to investigating a murder?

Cherry: I literally fell into it. I was standing over the coffin when someone whacked my noggin. If an artist wakes up spooning a dead body, folks tend to jump to conclusions. Like I would hit myself in the head for publicity.

Chloe: Do you think your artistic training, specifically your eye for details, helped you crack the case?

Cherry: I would like to think so. I’ve been known for thinking outside the box. Luke Harper would probably give you a different answer. He doesn’t call my line of thinking creative so much as dangerously crazy.

Chloe: I get that a lot myself. How’s Tater? I’ve never known a goat to have so much personality.

Cherry: If you ask me, that goat is a good candidate for a gyro ingredient. But he is alive and well, tearing up my Grandpa’s farm and still playing chicken with my truck whenever he can.

Chloe: Tell us a little about your author Larissa Reinhart. Sounds like she and my author, Billie Thomas, would love traveling together. Maybe our next books could be set in Southeast Asia.

Cherry: Larissa would enjoy that! She did have a bad monkey experience in Thailand, but would love to get back to that area of the globe. She’s lived in Japan on and off, but is currently back in Georgia with her young daughters, husband, and Biscuit the dog. She does love to travel almost as much as she loves reading and writing.

Chloe: What’s Larissa got planned for you next?

Cherry: My next adventure, STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW, releases May 21, 2013. I’m headed to the little town of Sidewinder where my good friend Eloise is the local high school art teacher and potter. We’re fixing to sell our art at the Sidewinder’s Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. Although I heard this year the stew is a little off. Just this side of deadly.

Chloe: Yikes. That sounds like a mess o’ trouble. Can’t wait!

If you’d like to learn more about Cherry, and her author, the lovely Larissa, visit,

More on Chloe Gets a Clue writer Billie Thomas. 
Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of a Birmingham-based author. After the real Billie passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2011, getting Murder on the First Day of Christmas, the first of a series, revised and published was her daughter’s top priority as a way to honor the mom who had given her a lifelong love of books. In her real life, Ms. Thomas writes within the advertising industry and is a founding member of the writing collective, IndieVisible. Other publications include Bar Code: Your Personal Pocket Decoder to the Modern Dating Scene. The author enjoys combining her interests in decorating and gourmet cooking with her writing. She is still trying to solve the mystery of her own love life. You are welcome to friend her on Facebook as chloe.carstairs.73 and to tweet with her as @ChloeGetsAClue.

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