Meet A Mom and Local Author, Larissa Reinhart, residing in Peachtree City (shout out to the South side!) since 1999, except for a few years spent overseas. She is Mom to Luci, a senior at Starr’s Mill High School and her older daughter Sophie, graduating from SMHS and is majoring in accounting at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Both of her daughters went to Braelinn and Rising Starr, although some of that time was spent at an international school in Nagoya, Japan. (You might have seen them on House Hunters International!). Larissa shares how she began her writing career, her favorite spots around Peachtree City, and her best “working “Mom Hack” in our Q&A below!
Hi Larissa, tell us about your background? How did you get started in your writing career?
Prior to writing (way back at the turn of the century), I taught at Sandy Creek High School. We adopted our daughters from China, and I left teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. When they were young, we also lived in Japan twice.
The first time in Japan with the girls, my youngest began preschool. I had time on my hands, and I got back into writing. I returned to Peachtree City with two manuscripts. One likely won’t ever see the light of day. The second was Portrait of a Dead Guy. My friend and fellow Peachtree City writer, Debby Guisti, critiqued it for me and suggested I attend Georgia Romance Writers meetings. I pitched my manuscript at their conference to interested agents and publishers, but I also sent it to Henery Press, who eventually published six books in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series.
Since then, I’ve published nine books in the Cherry Tucker series, nine books (number nine releases in January) in the Maizie Albright Star Detective series, and a novel and short story in the Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. I’m thrilled and blessed to have had books make The Wall Street Journal and other bestseller lists, won several awards, and made national book club pick lists, including Women’s World Magazine.
Another part of writing I love is talking about writing at schools. I’ve also had the pleasure of attending area book clubs. Pre-Covid, I did signings and other book events in Georgia and other states. Maybe I’ve met you at one!
What called you to become an Author?
I’ve always loved storytelling and started writing at a young age. In second grade, I made little magazines and charged my neighbors a nickel to read them. In elementary school, I won a national story writing contest about getting stuck in a car in a snowstorm. Thankfully, that story has remained fictional. I was home safe during Snowmageddon.
In high school, I worked for my local newspaper, interviewing new teachers. I hated calling people on the phone and realized as much as I wanted to be a writer, journalism was not for me. Long story short, I went into teaching instead. Before SCHS, I taught English in Japan. My husband and I have lived in Japan four times.
What/Who inspired you to write funny romcom “Cozy” Mysteries? I write what I like reading. Janet Evanovich, Mary Kay Andrews, Jennifer Crusie, Meg Cabot, and Elmore Leonard are some of my favorite writers. Their style of mysteries all have a sense of humor and a little romance.
The cozy term is for lighter mysteries that aren’t graphic and feature an amateur sleuth. All my books are set in Georgia and tend to fall somewhat in that genre, although the Maizie Albright are also considered women’s fiction and the Finley Goodhart series can be categorized as crime thriller. Cherry Tucker lives in the fictional town of Halo in Forks County which is loosely based on Coweta County. Maizie lives in the mountain and lake resort town of Black Pine, loosely based on Hiawassee. And Finley Goodhart’s scenes are all set around real places in and around Atlanta.
What is the best thing about your job? Definitely the relationships I’ve developed with my readers. I encourage them to email me when I send newsletters and many do. They are voracious readers with interesting lives and passions. Really lovely people from all over the world.
What is your best “working mom” tip? Besides writing, I also have a “regular” day job and my youngest plays a year-round travel sport (she’s committed to playing beach volleyball at Huntington College next year!). I could use about eight more hours a day to do all the things, you know? On the weekends, I plan all my meals and do all my shopping for the next week. I put the menu on the fridge in a calendar that also lists everyone’s schedule for the week. It doesn’t prevent anyone for asking me “What’s For Dinner” since I’m the only one who looks at the calendar, but it does help me stay organized.
What is your favorite “mom hack”? I’ve got two. Life 360 and my crockpot.
What do you love about Peachtree City and the surrounding areas? I’ve lived here since 1999. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen. We are a town of Good Samaritans and that hasn’t changed. The people remain as friendly as ever. I wouldn’t trade my neighbors for anyone. You can’t beat the small town feeling here, despite the growing big town traffic.
What TV show are you loving right now? Book? Movie? Podcast? My husband and I are into All Creatures Great and Small and the Scottish show, This Farming Life. In an emergency, I’m ready to deliver a lamb or calf but would rather not. I think you need a tolerance for squishiness that I don’t have.
I am constantly reading. Right now, I’m a huge fan of the Richard Osman series, A Thursday Murder Club Mystery. They’re so smart and funny. I’m also rereading Agatha Christie’s and John le Carré’s.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our Moms?
If you enjoy reading humorous mysteries, check out my website at larissareinhart.com. You can find most of my books at most online stores—ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, and audiobooks. If you’re interested in hearing from me once or twice a month by email with exclusive news, freebies, and monthly giveaways, tap the pink VIP Readers box at the top of the page!
Most of my books are at the Peachtree City library and some of the surrounding libraries as well. Peachtree City library has always been supportive of local writers, and they were a support for me as a reader when my girls were small. I read through their entire Agatha Christie collection when I’d bring the girls to the library. Love your library and it will love you back!