Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interview with the Authors of Heartache Motel: Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, and LynDee Walker

What's your favorite Christmas memory or tradition?
Terri: Every year, I fill the kids’ stockings with the ugliest, silliest items I can find at the dollar store. In the past, my daughter has received a series of scary clown figurines and my son has a commemorative plate decorated with a painting of a goat (I should have bought that for you, Larissa!). He’s in college now, but he still has that plate in his apartment. I give them candy and fun things, too, but the plastic tiki wine glasses were possibly my favorite.

Larissa: Ha, Terri! I think I need a goat plate, too.

Our family loves to eat dinner by candlelight using our advent wreath in the four weeks before Christmas. I have little girls and they love to turn off all the lights and we light one more candle per week. It’s really exciting for them to see the progression toward Christmas, just by the candlelight.  

LynDee: Ris, that’s lovely. Christmas is my favorite holiday. It was my mom's favorite, too, and I have so many wonderful memories: but the best one doesn't revolve around gifts. We always had both ham and turkey for Christmas dinner, and mom cooked the turkey overnight on Christmas Eve. I always loved waking up to the smell. It was the first signal of the holiday, before I even opened my eyes. 

My favorite tradition as a mom myself is our Christmas Eve lights trip. Every year, we bundle the kids into the car with hot chocolate for everyone and a box of cookies and drive all over south Richmond looking at lights. We listen to Elvis's Christmas album and talk about Santa and anticipation of the next day. It's my favorite thing all year.

What would be your protagonist's favorite Christmas memory or tradition? 
Terri: Rose Strickland watches her nephew, Scotty, open his presents every Christmas morning. While her family celebrates Christmas Eve at her sister’s house, Rose can only take so much Strickland holiday cheer. Instead, she spends Christmas Eve with her adopted family—Ma, Ray, Roxy, and Ax. Ma makes chicken and noodles and usually drinks a little too much peppermint Schnapps. Which makes her mouthier than usual. 

Larissa: Christmas is not such a happy time for Cherry since her mother took off during that season when Cherry was five. Her grandparents raised her, and I’m sure tried their best to give the Tucker kids a merry Christmas, but Christmas is always a bit melancholic for the Tucker siblings. In HEARTACHE MOTEL, Cherry hopes accompanying Todd to Vegas for his poker tournament as an escape from those depressing memories. And probably plays into one of the reasons she’ll marry Todd in Vegas for that five minutes.

LynDee: Nichelle's mom bakes on Christmas Eve, and stealing cookies from the cooling rack was her favorite thing growing up. Since it was just the two of them, they opened gifts and watched Christmas movies all day on Christmas Day. Nothing says "Christmas" to Nichelle like Miracle on 34th Street.

What's your favorite Elvis song and why?
Terri: All Shook Up. I like the way Elvis swivels his hips and leg in that old footage. They didn’t call him The Pelvis for nothing! I need a cool nickname like that. Maybe you all can start calling me The Kneecap! 

Larissa: Polk Salad Annie. I love rootsy blues and Elvis’s rendition of this song is awesome, particularly the beginning when he’s telling the story. 

LynDee: Oh, it's hard to pick! My mom was a big Elvis fan, and I grew up on his music. Regular song: Can't Help Falling in Love With You, because I'm a romantic at heart. Christmas song: It's Christmastime, Pretty Baby. My kids love to sing that one!

What would be your protagonist's favorite Elvis song and why?
Terri: Burning Love. Because Sullivan is so freaking hot!

Larissa: LOL Terri! Cherry’s would be Trouble. The reason is obvious, isn’t it?

LynDee: Nichelle loves classic rock, and her favorite would be something with a good beat. I'll go with Suspicious Minds, or maybe A Little Less Conversation.


Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Humorous Mystery, Short Stories
Number of Pages:
Published by:
Henery Press (December 10, 2013)

Heartache Motel, Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.

Purchase Link:


As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers!



After seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers. QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1), a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit.


LynDee headshot

LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. Find her at



Daniel Efosa Uyi said...
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Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Melissa! Thanks so much for having us on. What a fun interview! We hope you have a merry Christmas!

My Recent Favorite Books said...

I'm currently reading this book and really enjoying it!
Great interview!

Terri L. Austin said...

Thanks so much for hosting us today, Melissa! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Larissa Reinhart said...

So glad to hear that!

ceblain said...

This was such an interesting blog post ladies. I truly enjoyed the scenarios. You all have such creative minds and that is so great. Have not gotten Heartache Motel yet, but hope to order it soon. Elvis was in "my time" more or less, so anything about that era is fun to read and I am sure that your book will be no exception. Merry Christmas to all of you.

Cynthia Blain

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