In this interview with USA TODAY Bestselling Mystery Author Traci Andrighetti, you’ll learn why her author tagline is “Cocktails, color, and crime. With an Italian twist.”

About Traci Andrighetti

Author Traci Andrighetti

Traci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. Several of her books are currently in development as TV movies.

In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.

You can learn more about Traci on her website, follow her on Facebook, and buy her books on Amazon.

Author Interview with Traci Andrighetti

Q: Are you a full-time or part-time writer?

At the moment, I’m a full-time writer. But unlike most other authors, I’m an extrovert. And I’m not sure I’ll last alone in my home all that much longer.

Q: How many books have you written so far?

I have written five books, and I’m halfway through Campari Crimson, which is number six.

Q: What genres do you write in?

My Franki Amato mysteries are Private Investigator meets Chick Lit. But my Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries are straight up Cozy.

Q: What inspires you to write?

Escapism. Life can be tough, so I create my own comedy version of it to cheer me up.

Q: What are the titles of your other books?

Limoncello Yellow
Prosecco Pink
Rosolio Red (a short Christmas story)
Deadly Dye and A Soy Chai
A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur (forthcoming November 28)

Q: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Becoming fluent in the Italian language as an adult. Knowing a foreign language has enhanced my life more than anything else I’ve ever done. It’s never too late to start learning one, FYI.

Q: What are your current projects?

I’m about to self-publish a free Franki Amato mystery set in Rome called Fragolino Fuchsia (for people who sign up for my Reading Group email list on my website). I’m also writing Prugnolino Purple for an anthology called Pushing Up Daisies while trying to finish the fourth Franki novel, Campari Crimson.

Q: Do you ever suffer a writers-block? If so, how do you overcome it?

No because I outline my mysteries before I write them. Otherwise, I would be hopelessly stuck.

Q: What’s your process of writing a story?

I outline the story, and then I revise the outline as needed while I write. So, I’m sort of a plotter and a pantser.

Q: What’s your favorite environment for creativity and productivity?

A coffee shop that has a couch. No uncomfortable chairs!

Q: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Whenever I can make myself do it?

Q: Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I wear my “I Heart Italians” Mardi Gras beads while I write.

Limoncello Yellow Mystery Novel by Author Traci Andrighetti
A Poison Manicure & Peach Liqueur Mystery Novel by Author Traci Andrighetti
Rosolio Red Mystery Novel by Author Traci Andrighetti
Deadly Dye and a Soy Chai by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Andrighetti
Prosecco Pink Novel by Bestselling Author Traci Andrighetti

Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Keep playing with Barbies and my dogs.

Q: At what age did you start writing stories or books?

Well, I don’t know if this counts, but I wrote a mystery with my cousin when we were twelve called The Message in the Driftwood, à la Nancy Drew. And then I didn’t write creatively again until I sat down to write my debut novel, Limoncello Yellow.

Q: What was your first writing experience like?

So. Much. Fun!

Q: How did you launch your career?

I entered a contest to win a Kindle and a month of mentoring from a New York Times bestselling author, but I ended up with a two-book publishing deal, instead. So, if you’re an aspiring author, enter contests!

Q: What was the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Procrastination! I love to plot mysteries, but writing them is another story (pun intended).

Q: How has your environment, family, and upbringing influenced your writing?

Anyone who has grown up in an Italian family can’t help but be influenced by it. I could tell you tons of stories, but basically, they’re all in my books.

What is your book “Amaretto Amber” about?

Private investigator Franki Amato has just turned thirty, and she feels anything but festive. For starters, she can’t have cake because she’s given up sweets, and one of her teeth is torturing her. To add insult to birthday injury, she has to investigate a surreal strip club homicide—with her sixtyish ex-stripper landlady. Then her Sicilian grandma crashes the New Orleans non-party and insists that she steal a lemon to land a husband.

Unfortunately for Franki, the man she has in mind has his mind somewhere else, and their relationship seems to have soured. Adding to her troubles, she has to figure out what a missing amber pendant and a mysterious amaretto bottle have to do with the murder, not to mention why she’s being followed.

When a second dancer goes down and a third is threatened, Franki turns to a weird witch to crack the case and cancel a curse before someone blows out her candles for good.

Q: What made you choose a strip club as the crime scene for this book?

Since this is book three of the Franki Amato mysteries, I figured it was time to choose a crime scene authentic to New Orleans—a Bourbon Street strip club.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Coming up with a way to portray a strip club in a positive, humorous light.

Amaretto Amber by Traci Andrighetti Author

“…Her smart, sassy heroine wacky cast of characters, and vividly original settings had me glued to
the page. I can’t wait to read more from this author!” – Gemma Halliday, New York Times bestselling author

Traci’s writing is sharp and funny; the world she paints leaps off the
page and makes the reader laugh out loud…. A thoroughly
enjoyable new voice in fiction!” – Kristin Harmel, Internationally bestselling novelist

Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The strip club humor. I researched strip clubs and found out that VIP Room regulars are a rather quirky bunch, so I had the most fun making up stories about them.

Q: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My main goal in Amaretto Amber was to satisfy two recurring requests from readers: to bring Franki’s meddlesome Sicilian Nonna to New Orleans, and to introduce a character, Detective Wesley Sullivan, who would eventually give her boyfriend, Bradley, a run for his money. Based on reader feedback, I hit the mark on both goals.

Q: What are the strangest things you’ve had to research online?

Like most mystery writers, I’m hard-pressed to name one strange thing. But I can tell you that my Google history probably warrants an FBI file.

Q: Give us an interesting fun fact about a character in your book.

Glenda O’Brien, Franki Amato’s sixty-something ex-stripper landlady, was inspired by my first-ever experience with a strip club. I had to make an emergency bathroom stop at a Bourbon Street strip club. It was nine a.m., and when I entered the door marked “Ladies,” it turned out to be the strippers’ dressing room. And they were inside, only half dressed. One of them saw me come in and pointed to the toilet, which was out in the open.

I didn’t want them to see me squatting, so I tried to think of an escape route. A way out presented itself seconds later when a man walked in with a bucket of Popeye’s fried chicken, and they dived on it like sharks at a feeding frenzy.

Let’s Talk Business!

Franki Amato Mysteries by Author Traci Andrighetti

Q: Where do you sell your books?

My books are available on all major online bookseller websites.

Q: Tell us about your self-publishing experience…

I have a publisher but no agent (since I got published by entering a contest). Recently, however, I’ve started to think that I would like to have an agent. Anyone?

Q: Have you won any book awards or writing contests?

All of my books have been nominated for multiple awards, but I have won only once—the Readers Choice Award for Best Mystery at Killer Nashville 2017.

Q: How has winning awards helped you?

These things are all credentials. But the best thing an author can have is a title, like “bestselling.” And, of course, books.

Q: How do you promote and market your books?

Badly? I need to spend more time on that…

Q: What is your advice to aspiring authors?

Take a class in the genre you plan to write. Agents, editors, publishers, and readers have specific expectations of a given genre that you need to meet. Otherwise, you’re killing your chances with your intended audience. So, study the genre and the books of those authors who have been successful in it.

Let’s Get Personal!

Q: What are you really good at and love doing asides from writing?

I love the Italian language! I read Italian books and watch my favorite Italian soap opera, Un Posto al Sole (A Place in the Sun), five times per week!

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Travel and hang out with friends, especially if tasty cocktails are involved.

Q: What are your favorite books? What authors do you admire?

Most of my literary heroes are Italian authors, like Andrea Camilleri and Gabriela Genisi. But I also love Tarquin Hall’s mysteries featuring Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator.

Q: What would you do if you weren’t a writer?

I would go back to being a literary translator.

Q: What are your big dreams and goals?

After a write a third book in the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries, I plan to write two new series set in Italy, one of which might not be a comedy (gasp!).

Q: What do you love best about an author’s lifestyle and being an author?

It’s a toss-up between the emails I receive from fans and the moment I see my latest book cover, because both make the stories come to life for me.

Thank you, Traci Andrighetti, for taking part in our author interview!