Today I’d like to welcome Traci Andrighetti to Ascroft, eh? I’ve invited Traci to visit to tell my readers a little about Galliano Gold, the latest book in her Franki Amato Mysteries series.
Welcome Traci. I’ll turn the floor over to you:
Every time I write a new Franki Amato mystery, I have a mental checklist that I follow. First, I pick an Italian liqueur or a wine for the title with a matching color. There has to be either a rhyme, as with Limoncello Yellow, the first book in the series, or alliteration, like the other books to date: Prosecco Pink, Amaretto Amber, Campari Crimson, and most recently, Galliano Gold.
Next, because Franki Amato works as a private investigator at her best friend Veronica’s New Orleans-based company, Private Chicks, I decide which aspect of the city to feature in the story. To date I’ve done a boutique, a plantation, a strip club, a creepy cemetery, and now in Galliano Gold, a steamboat on the Mississippi River.
After that I figure out how the alcohol and the color figure into the murder, which is always the hardest part. Then I pick a drink and sometimes a dessert that feature the liqueur or wine from the title, and I mention them in the story and include the recipes as an extra for readers.
I also come up with ways to celebrate New Orleans—while having fun at Franki’s expense. For Galliano Gold, I wanted the old steamboat to be haunted, and the old captain needed to be a Mark Twain fanatic. And based on a reader’s suggestion, I included aspects of an ill-fated trip I took to NOLA last year—like a French Quarter flood I got caught in.
Then I pick interesting and amusing people from the city to include in the mystery. My favorite in Galliano Gold is the Dancing Hand Grenade, the mascot for the drink in the green plastic hand grenade-shaped cup you’ll see people carrying on Bourbon Street. And I’ve also thrown in one of my favorite Mardi Gras krewes, the Merry Antoinettes, whose motto is “Let them throw cake” (and they do). And of course I invented a few krewes of my own.
Lastly, I try to include an unusual item from the city. Thanks to the suggestion of my audiobook narrator, the multi-talented and multi-voiced Madeline Mrozek, I had Franki go undercover wearing a crawdad boil-themed wig from Fifi Mahony’s in Galliano Gold. If you have never heard of Fifi Mahony’s, I urge you to check out their Facebook page, because nothing showcases the weird, wild, and wonderful aspects of New Orleans like a Fifi Mahony’s wig.
But my favorite aspect of planning a Franki book is figuring out how her meddlesome Sicilian nonna is going to try to get her married—either to her boyfriend Bradley Hartmann or to one of many “nice Sicilian boys” Nonna knows through her network of friends.
If you’ve read a Franki Amato mystery, visited New Orleans, or know something about the city, please share below. Your comments mean a lot, and they often inspire me in my writing. And grazie mille to Ascroft, eh? for having me on the blog. It has been a pleasure!
Thanks for introducing yourself and the series to us, Traci. Readers can learn more about Traci by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads and BookBub pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available online at Amazon.
About Traci Andrighetti: Traci is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato Mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon Mysteries. 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 Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime–writing, that is. Her latest capers are teaching mystery writing for Savvy Authors and taking aspiring and established authors on intensive writing retreats to Italy with LemonLit.