The reason I’m here is kind of funny. I have an Italian language and literature blog, so I’m always reading books in Italian. One day I came across a romantic mystery by Gabriella Genisi about a fabulous police inspector named Lolita Lobosco. When I finished the book, I realized that the book was so completely cool that I was actually jealous of the author! A week later, I interviewed Genisi for my blog and discovered that we were born in the same month and year. So, at that point I decided that if she could write a book, then I could too. And that’s what I did.
Here is the book blurb for Limoncello Yellow:
Francesca "Franki" Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn't cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica's detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki's hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she's not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of "good Italian boys"—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on, Prosecco Pink, the second novel in the Franki Amato Mystery series. And then, we’ll see!
I would tell myself to take that mystery I wrote in my walk-in closet with my cousin Louisa when I was twelve very, very seriously. Instead, The Message in the Driftwood (an oh-so-à-la-Nancy-Drew title) was my first and last venture into creative writing for decades. If only I’d stuck with it!
When and where do you do your best writing?
There is a coffee shop in Austin, Texas, called The Flight Path. And its name is pertinent because my imagination truly takes off when I’m there slurping down double soy lattes like water (I wonder why?). And I’m embarrassed to add that it’s only three-tenths of a mile from my house, and yet I dutifully drive that short distance like a true Texan.
Favorite guilty pleasure read?
The same genre I write: humorous romantic mystery, a.k.a. chick lit mystery. For me, guilty pleasure means pure escapism. And the thing I love about this genre is that it’s like three books rolled into one: comedy, romance and mystery. What more can you possibly ask for?
If you could collaborate with any author on an exciting new project, who would you choose?
Oh, I would absolutely choose Janet Evanovich. We would write the twenty-first novel in the Stephanie Plum series, and in addition to Italians from New Jersey, there would be Italian Texans too (and they would drive big cars, probably to coffee shops close to their homes. LOL!).
Strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
No doubt about it: silkworms. I used to teach Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, and one day an Indonesian exchange student offered me some canned silkworm pupae in brown gravy. I didn’t want to refuse because she’d said that they were a delicacy in her country, so I told myself that they couldn’t be any worse than swallowing a worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. But I was SO WRONG. The so-called silkWORMS actually have crunchy brown shells like those of cockroaches that got stuck in my teeth like popcorn kernel shells. I still shudder when I think about it.