Lisa Fantino – Q&A

Lisa Fantino
Lisa Fantino
“By way of introduction for everyone in the ethers. I have literally been writing since I could hold a crayon, so a degree in literature and communications followed by a masters in journalism was a natural progression. I was truly fortunate to be a reporter, anchor and producer in New York City, the toughest media market in the world. By the way, ask any New York City journalist what their book is about and they’ll tell you. That’s because if you write, you write and you can’t think of doing anything else.”

Contact details for Lisa are:
Facebook: @AmalfiBlue
Twitter: @AmalfiBlueBook
Instagram: @realauthorlisafantino

What came first the characters or the world?

They sort of arrived together. My first book was “Amafli Blue – Lost & Found in the South of Italy,” a memoir of life, love and lessons learned while living in Naples. Yet, I had always been a diehard mystery lover, from film noir to reading crime novels. Years ago I read Dick Francis, Mary Higgins Clark and Sue Grafton and now I enjoy Anne Perry, James Patterson and John Hart.

So, when I became a lawyer , rather than reporting on crime I was representing police officers in various capacities and for various matters. Thus, the birth of a strong, sassy, native New Yorker, female detective was born in Detective Maggie Flynn.

How hard was it to get your first book published?

Not hard at all. After decades of rejection letters from agents and publishers, some of whom would taunt you, continually asking for a chapter, then another chapter, then another chapter. I literally said, “screw this – there has to be a better way.” I was so impressed when David Bowie left his record label behind and released on his own label more than twenty years ago. That is now doable for authors. Fortunately, I had a corporate vehicle in place in my own production company, so we immediately released and distributed through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Ingram.

How long did it take to write The Costa Affair?

This is a true pandemic story. I started outlining at the start of the pandemic and finished the final manuscript just three months ago. It kept me from listening to the news and going bonkers.

Do you have a writing playlist?

Not really. I need to be silent in my own thoughts as my characters speak to me and they do speak to me. There’s a lot of noise going on while I silently create.

I have conversations and find myself editing as I type dialogue, deleting it, then correcting it because I know the character wouldn’t say something that way.

What kind of reactions have you had to your book?

Mixed. There are lots of fans who loved Amalfi Blue and want to hear more. Unfortunately, that was written about a specific experience and at the end of the book, I tell the reader the rest of my life will not be an open book.

But mixed reviews are to be expected. I have a thick skin. I was a New York City street reporter and now a hardened litigator. It doesn’t get tougher than that.

We all love honest reviews. Now, do I care about a review full of hate and frustration which is full of misspellings and poor grammar… be honest, no!

What can you tell us about your next book?

Detective Maggie Flynn has a lot more fight in her. After all, she has only been a Detective for three years. I’m guessing there are a lot more killers she needs to nab.

Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?

At this point, unlikely. The advice authors always receive is write what you know. I have been exposed to two very different worlds – rock ‘n’ roll and crime. Maybe one day I’ll write a book on the death of rock ‘n’ roll!

The Costa Affair
The Costa Affair

How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?

I’ve designed all four of my book covers, including use of some of my original photos. I love the creative process. It’s just really hard to re-learn photo editing each time I need to design a new cover because the programs always update and create new tricks for you to tackle.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Extremely, thanks to my parents. My Dad started me on Nancy Drew mysteries. He would buy me a new book for my collection which seemed like every week, in addition to our trips to the library. While my Mom created stories on the spot and also let us order an unlimited amount of books at the Scholastic Book Fair at our school. Her only criteria was that we had to read every book we ordered.

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

No but that’s because I have a few favourite libraries. They are wonderful places full of treasures and digital connections…..and the best part, it’s free.

What books can you not resist buying?

I had to stop buying books about the same time I stopped buying CDs and DVDs. I had a record collection of 3,000+ albums and countless books. I should’ve opened my own indie shop. Instead, I sold off the lot on Ebay and gained about 50 square feet of open space. Now the light shines!

How many books are in your own physical TBR pile?

None. Since I’ve gone digital I only download or borrow one title at a time. That being said, there are about 12-15 books which are in my permanent Kindle collection and another half dozen or so which are older titles on my shelf and which are now out of print.

Any plans or projects in the near future you can tell us about?

Always planning the next Detective Flynn Mystery.

Any events in the near future?

This is the first release where I am working with a book tour promoter. I’m eager to get started, so check back with me again in about two months.

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