Hi, Larissa. Thanks for joining me! What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambition is always:
1) to write the next book
2) write a better book
3) write what my readers want to read
Hmmm, ideal is kind of hard to pin down. In my ideal world, everyone would talk sweet to each other and live peaceably. And I’d be happy to entertain readers with as many books as possible. And eat as much as I want without exercising or gaining weight.
That sounds pretty nice! What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?
I have so many…it’s a vice. I love to binge watch TV shows where melodramatic teenagers act like melodramatic grownups and no one seems to call them on it. Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries…right now I’m watching the Netflix series Shadow Hunters and Pretty Little Liars (after reading books in their series, of course). I’m also a huge fan of Southern Charm and the Japanese reality show, Terrace House. Southern Charm has adults acting like teenagers, so really just the same thing. Terrace House has six Japanese young adults acting a lot more mature than their American counterparts, but it’s still fascinating. But I also still love Masterpiece Theater—just in case my mom’s reading this.
I was also a big fan of Gossip Girl. Do you believe in fate or love at first sight?
I think you can fall in love really quickly. It happened for me and my husband when we were 19 and we’ve been married twenty-five years. We have to work hard at it, but it’s real. I think that’s why I love YA so much. I know that love can hit you young and can still be meaningful.
That's very inspiring. What is the strangest fact about you?
I was almost bit by a monkey in Thailand. Had it’s mouth open, grabbing my arm, ready to bite down, but luckily it was on a leash tied to the side of the road and was jerked off my arm at the last minute.
Scary! Which writers inspire you?
More inspire than don’t inspire. Writing is such hard work. It’s a great accomplishment to finish a manuscript, revise and edit it, then get it published. I love how writers like Elmore Leonard can tell a great story, use a seemingly simple writing style that still very literary with a unique voice, and make me laugh.
What are you working on right now?
I have a new series coming out in January, Maizie Albright Star Detective. The first book is 15 Minutes and launches on January 24th. I’m very excited about introducing Maizie to everyone. She’s so much fun to write: an earnestly optimistic ex-teen and reality star who’s gone back to her hometown in Georgia to remake herself into a private detective. Now I’m working on her second book, 16 Millimeters, which I hope will come out at the end of 2017.
I’m also working on a romantic comedy series set in Japan, but with Southern heroines. The first in the Crossed-Culture series is Biscuit Girl in Noodle Land and I hope that also comes out in 2017, too.
And I’ll continue with the Cherry Tucker series as long as readers want the books!
Wow, that's a lot of exciting stuff coming up! Why do you write?
I keep getting ideas for stories and I don’t want to put them away. I think it’s the characters, really, that call me to the story.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to publish their own book?
Depending on their stage in the journey: Join a writing group that focuses on craft. Read as much in your genre as you can, especially the classics. I come from an art history background and the great artists all mastered the classic skills before they developed their own style. Attend conferences to network and educate yourself. Keep writing, every day if you can. And don’t publish anything until it’s been edited by a professional editor. You can submit to publishers and agents, but don’t self-publish without a good developmental edit and copy edit check.
What books are you currently reading?
I just finished The Elementals by Michael McDowell. I’m also reading Ritter Ames third Bodies of Art Mystery, Abstract Aliases, and Terri L Austin’s first Null for Hire book, Dispelled.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
You can go to my website, but also my newsletter will keep you updated on new releases and contests. I send out a quarterly letter with a subscriber-only giveaway and then flash news just for the releases and contests. Sign up here.
If you’re on social media, you can find me on
I’m most active on Facebook and Instagram, though!
Awesome! Best of luck with all of your new releases!