How a Word Inspired a Novel
As a debut author, I’m frequently asked what inspired me to write Limoncello Yellow, the first novel in my Franki Amato Mystery series. Besides Nancy Drew and Jessica Fletcher, the answer is that it’s complicated. But, the idea for the book came primarily from the Italian word giallo, which means yellow. Why? Because, oddly enough, giallo also means mystery novel since the first mysteries published in Italy had yellow covers.
Now, I’m a huge fan of gialli, so I often read interviews with Italian giallisti (mystery novelists). About a year ago, I came across an interview with the author Gabriella Genisi. She writes romantic mystery set in her native city of Bari in the Puglia region of Italy, and her books have colorful, fruit-themed titles like Uva Noir (Noir Grapes) and Giallo Ciliegia (Cherry Yellow, or Cherry Mystery). In the interview, Genisi explained that she comes up with the title of a novel first and then creates a story to go with her title.
Genisi’s process got me thinking: Why couldn’t I do that too? That’s when I decided that I would come up with my own colorful titles and write my own romantic mystery books. And I knew that the first title absolutely had to feature the word yellow. I just didn’t know what to put with it. So, I ran down a mental list of things that were yellow and immediately thought of lemons and then limoncello (probably because my motto is “When life gives you lemons, make limoncello”). And that’s how Limoncello Yellow was born. Well, the title, anyway…
Traci Andrighetti is the author of the Franki Amato Mystery series. 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 PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.
If she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Traci is probably watching her favorite Italian soap opera, eating Tex Mex or sampling fruity cocktails, and maybe all at the same time. She lives in Austin with her husband, young son (who desperately wants to be in one of her books) and three treat-addicted dogs.
Twitter: @TAndrighettiGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7383577.Traci_Andrighetti