Traci Andrighetti is the author of the national bestselling 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.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?
I’ve learned that for me writing is a craft that I can’t rush. I know a lot of writers who do sprints to see how many words they can write in a short amount of time, but sprints don’t work for me because I have to ponder every sentence I put on the page.
How has this helped you as a writer?
Knowing that I’m a “ponderer” has helped me to organize my time better so that I can produce a book in a decent amount of time. It has also helped me to improve my writing because I give myself the time I need to keep up with clever ideas and turns of phrase, etc. that make my writing more fun (for me, at least!).
Mac or PC?
I work for Apple, so I use a Mac. ;) But I actually used a Mac prior to the Apple job because I taught Italian at the University of Texas, and the education world is pro-Mac, as well.
Do you use Word or Scrivener?
OMG, Word! I tried to use Scrivener a couple of times, but the learning curve is too steep for me. In the time that it would take me to get fully comfortable with the program, I could write a novel.
Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?
If I’m driving around and idea comes to me, I jot down notes in a journal that I keep in my purse. But when I’m walking my dogs, I dictate notes into my phone. And that’s hard to do because I have three dogs!
Do you have any writing rituals?
My ritual involves getting up at three a.m., making an almond milk latte, and writing on the couch with my dogs around me until it’s time to take them on a walk and get ready for the day job.
Do you start by writing or researching first?
I write and research simultaneously, mainly because I don’t know what I need to research until the idea comes to me. For example, I spend a lot of time looking up clothing and products that I want to include in my books—like a New Orleans–style bloody mary garnished with a pickled green bean or a Seattle-style hot dog topped with cream cheese.
Favorite spot to write in the winter?
Well, I live in Austin, Texas, so it doesn’t get really cold here (in January we had highs in the 70s and 80s). But I write on my couch during the week, and on the weekends I’m either writing on my bed or at a local coffee shop (Austin is full of them).
Favorite spot to write in the summer?
Again, I live in Austin, Texas, so in the summer I write anywhere with air-conditioning! If I’m not writing at home, then I’m probably on an old retro couch at The Flightpath Coffee Shop down the street from my house (see the picture).
Visit Traci’s website for the latest news.