Interview with Traci Andrighetti, Author of Valpolicella Violet | NewInBooks


What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Valpolicella Violet (Franki Amato Mysteries 7)?

The Franki Amato mysteries are set in New Orleans, but my readers had been asking for a mystery set in Italy. So, one morning when I was walking my dogs and trying to decide whether to set Valpolicella Violet in Venice, a completely crazy thing happened. I saw a man in a Medico della Peste (Plague Doctor) mask and costume talking to a woman in workout clothes on a bridge over a creek behind the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin, Texas. The timing was so synchronistic that I took it as a sign the book had to be set in Venice.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Valpolicella Violet (Franki Amato Mysteries 7), what would they be?

Two come to mind, and they’re both oldies. For Franki’s sixty-something ex-stripper landlady, it’s definitely David Rose’s famous jazz instrumental, “The Stripper.” And for Franki, I’d have to go with Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” both because of the trials of her love life and because she’s investigating cases in New Orleans—which is no “Big Easy.”

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I don’t read much straight-up cozy, which is reflected in my books. I love comedy in general and SO wish that comedy mystery was a genre in book stores. But I also read traditional mysteries and historical novels.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I read in English and Italian—at least one book in each every month. Next up in English is Sophie Kinsella’s My (Not So) Perfect Life, which showed up in my Little Free Library to remind me that I’d never read it, LOL. And in Italian, I’m going to read La regola di Santa Croce by Gabriella Genisi, who writes about two female police inspectors and is the author who inspired me to write.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Probably when Franki and a loud librarian row to the island of San Michele, which is Venice’s cemetery, in the middle of the night to investigate a gravesite. Lots of creepy AND comedy in that scene.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Yes, I have a writing ritual. Right before I start writing every day, I shake a Trevi Fountain snow globe I bought in Rome. It’s a magical fountain, so I’m always hoping that it will lend me some of that magic when I write.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Oh, for sure: When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello. And drink it!

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

The fascination and fun of culture, and I don’t only mean the culture of Venice or Italy in general. I’m so interested in various personality types, and culture of various groups and professions. And I get a kick out of playing with stereotypes and putting a spin on them, e.g., the loud librarian I referenced above. Her name is Shona Helper, and she’s very resourceful, as librarians typically are, but she’s also loud and not always helpful to Franki, which creates some fun conflict. 😀


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