Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cherry Tucker Tells All

by Larissa Reinhart's Cherry Tucker

To an artist, everything on the canvas is a matter of perspective. This is also true in life. For example, I, Cherry Tucker, choose to live in my hometown of Halo, Georgia, even though I was classically trained at Savannah College of Art and Design. Some might question a portrait artist living in a hick town where folks like to buy their art from the guy selling motel overstock in front of the Tru-Buy. Culture in Halo may mean commemorative NASCAR plates for now, but I believe there’s room for growth. Besides, even though they drive me crazy, my family is in Halo. And I like living in a hick town. You can’t get away with much because everyone knows your business, but for people like me, that’s not always a bad thing. Like it or not, there’s no telling what I might get up to without a public check on my doings.


For a while, I was doing pretty good with the local child and hunting dog portrait crowd. Lately, I’ve had problems promoting my art due to that unfortunate coffin portrait of Dustin Branson, but it’s Shawna Branson who’s the real thorn in my side. Shawna and I have had a rocky past. She’s never liked my scrappy temperament, my notorious family history, nor my ability to paint circles around her in local art competitions. And I’ve never appreciated her finesse at stealing my boyfriends and ruining my reputation. Now that Shawna is chairman of the Forks County Arts Council, she plans to make sure I don’t cross to her side of the tracks. And she’s been particularly vindictive lately, ever since her step-cousin and my old-flame-turned-new, Luke Harper, has returned to town.


Not to say that I’m limited to selling art in Halo. My friend and local potter, Eloise, has recommended me to her professor’s art show in Athens. The call is for a modern take on classical subjects, but getting into an Athen’s gallery could do great things for my career without my leaving Halo. I just have to convince my boyfriend,  Deputy Luke Harper, to pose. He’s tall and lean with great muscle definition. Even has the dark, curly hair and dimples to pass as a Greek God. A V-cut to die for. Only problem, he refuses to model for me. Particularly nude. However, my sort-of-ex-husband, Todd McIntosh, would have no problem dropping his skivvies for some Greek styled poses. He’s blonde and buff, but sketching your nekkid sort-of-ex-husband is something that’d cause me all sorts of trouble. And not just with Luke. Did I mention the men-make-us-stupid gene passed down from my momma?


Eloise also convinced me to sell paintings at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook Off. Sidewinder is south of Halo, a spit-in-the-road town, once a cotton plantation pre-Sherman’s-March-on-Georgia, and made famous by the annual Brunswick Stew Cook Off. This year the Forks County Arts Council has added a craft and art fair to the cook off. Eloise and I are spending a weekend sitting in an old cotton field under the burning rays of a Georgia summer sun hocking her Raku pottery and my little oils of Georgia Bulldogs and bowls of peaches. Hindsight tells me we’d make more money selling edible ice sculptures. However, there’s been a lot of fights between the cook off competitors, so at least this weekend’s proving interesting. Let’s just hope they don’t start spiking each other’s stew and getting everybody sick. Eloise’s eaten a bunch of stew already...

--Larissa Reinhart loves small town characters, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) is the second in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. The first, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website, her Facebook page, or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook.


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  1. Thank you so much for having Cherry on Killer Characters! I'm thrilled to be here and share Cherry with y'all. A special shout out to my buddy Denise Swanson!

  2. What a fun post, and a great lead-in to STILL LIFE, which I'm really enjoying! Thanks for sharing, Larissa!

    1. Thanks LynDee! I really enjoyed Front Page Fatality, too, and can't wait for the next Nichelle book. Love your reporter!

  3. Dear Cherry,
    I've read both of your adventures, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, and STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW. I must say, you keep yourself in a pickle. I have a little advice for you. First, I think you need to give Todd more of a chance. The guy got a tattoo for you, Cherry. He just seems more fun that Luke. And as far as Shawna goes, you need to start job hunting for her. Get that girl as far away from Halo as you can. If you get the word out that you're applying for a job at...oh...a Chicago museum, she'll try to get it first. Then maybe you can get some rest from her! Can't wait to see what manner of hijinks you get into next. Call me sometime. Escpecially if you ever get to Biloxi.
    Davis Way

    1. Dear Davis Way,
      From one Southern gal to another, y'all are just the sweetest. Chicago is a great idea for someone like Shawna. I'm sure she's got enough padding in her curves to keep her warm in the Windy City. I'd just hate to start another War Between the States by sending that Trojan Horse north. And I do appreciate your thoughts on Todd. He is a honey. I'm just not sure if there's enough going on upstairs to keep me entertained in our twilight years. Viagra can only get you so far. You know what I'm saying?

      Now honey, I know you got kicked off the police force in Pine Apple, AL, and are looking for a security job in those Mississippi casinos. I don't trust those places. You know some of them are run by gangsters and crooks? I don't care what kind of package they offer -- luxurious hotel suites, beautiful designer clothes, money to gamble with -- you have got to be crazy to work for those people. They'll just as soon lie as look at you. And I heard your ex-husband has been spending your money in those parts. Didn't you do the stupid with him twice? Come on, now, Davis. Stay far, far away from those Double Whammy slot machines and you'll be just fine. What's that you say? You went and got a job there anyway? Don't say I didn't warn you!

      Love, Cherry
      P.S. Loved DOUBLE WHAMMY and so excited for your debut release next Tuesday! Thank you for letting me play with Davis for a minute. That was fun!

  4. Hi Cherry!!! So much fun to hear from you this morning. I'm reading your latest adventure in Still Life and girl, you have got to get those lips working for Luke! And keep staying away from Todd in a Speedo...but if you could send him on my way I would certainly appreciate it :D

    1. Hey Traci,
      Thanks for stopping in. Todd in a Speedo is a gift from God, I'll give you that. However, I'm not quite sure if it's gift worth regiving just yet. He's awfully pretty to look at, although I do need to keep my lips from his. Luke deserves full rights to my pucker and they just don't know when to quit.

  5. I love this interview with Cherry. I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy and loved STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW. Cherry is a hoot. Keep 'em coming, Larissa! I need my Cherry fix.

    1. Thanks Terri! Love your Rose Strickland Mysteries, too. Can't wait for #3!

  6. Cherry, you do get yourself into pickles--or stews! Cute interview.