Traci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. Traci wrote her first mystery in her bedroom closet with her cousin Louisa when they were just twelve years old (it was called The Message in the Driftwood, à la Nancy Drew). But then she abandoned writing completely to pursue other interests, like parties, makeup, and boys.
When she went to college, Traci fell in love with foreign language and studied Spanish, French, Latin and Italian (her hands-down favorite). Thanks to her passion for Italian, she became an award-winning literary translator. She also landed her dream job teaching Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she eventually earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics.
After suffering through months of dry dissertation writing, Traci decided it was time to write a mystery again. She was inspired by the hundreds of Murder, She Wrote reruns she had watched to de-stress while in graduate school and the colorful mystery novels of Italian authors Andrea Camilleri and Gabriella Genisi she had read for school and for fun.
Of course, Traci would have never written a single line of text without the encouragement of her really persistent friend Linda and her Italian students, many of whom convinced her to write after listening to stories of her ’80s college escapades and crazy-amazing adventures traveling in Italy. She is extremely grateful to them all.
21 Things You Should Know About This Author
What book have you gifted the most? Why?
Besides Limoncello Yellow, my debut novel, I like to gift Tarquin Hall’s The Case of the Missing Servant featuring Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. I’ve never read a mystery series that so completely transports the reader to another country.
What is the one productivity tool you use every day? Why?
My daily planner, which my husband calls my “secret weapon.” I live by that thing.
What word do you misspell most often?
Rhythm. Cases in point: I misspelled it when I googled it to make sure I spelled it correctly for this interview. Then I misspelled it again when I typed it here.
What three things do you do to be a successful writer?
I set writing goals, I tell others my goals to hold myself accountable, and, I do the work to meet them. In theory.
What are the titles of the last two books you have read?
The Girl on the Train and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
What is your favorite word?
Porcospino. It’s Italian for “porcupine,” but its literal meaning is “pig thorn.” And I think it’s cute.
What do you use more often – a dictionary or a thesaurus?
In English, a thesaurus. But if I’m writing in Italian, a dictionary.
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello. And Drink It!
What is your ‘go to’ munchie or drink while writing?
Nutella straight from the jar.
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
It depends on the picture.
What animal are you most similar to and why?
The Tasmanian Devil because I’ll come at you like a hurricane if you try to take my food.
How would your best friend describe you?
A straight shooter, in both senses of the phrase.
What keeps you up at night? (and don’t say howling dogs)
What is one thing you will never do again?
Roller-skate. I’d like to keep my bones intact.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare?
Antipasti, pasta, and sauce. The types depend on the season. For drinks, we would have prosecco as an aperitivo, wine during the meal, and an Italian liqueur as a digestivo, typically limoncello in summer and amaro in winter.
What is the best compliment you have received – or would like to receive?
Well, a few months ago, a young woman compared me to a Dolce & Gabbana model, and, given my age, I was pretty damn excited. But the best compliment I have ever received was from a reader who emailed me to say that the humor in my books helped her deal with being homebound because of a stroke. I cried.
What question do you hate to answer?
“What are your books about?” I don’t like talking about my work because I don’t want it to come across as a sales pitch.
Crowds, small groups or ‘go away’?
Small groups. With tasty cocktails.
What would you sing at Karaoke night?
If I COULD sing, I would want to sing any Tom Petty song. But only with Tom Petty.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
LOUD WHEN ACTIVATED
What is the one question you wished I would have asked you? Why?
What I had inscribed on my class ring. Instead of my name, I went with Incornateli!, i.e., Hook ‘em! in Italian, because it reminds me to grab life by the horns.