Posted in Blog tour, Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 9, 2014

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Today we are featuring author Rose Genova on StoreyBook Reviews.  She is the author of the Italian Kitchen Mystery Series (I am salivating just thinking about good Italian food!).  So glad you can stop by Rosie and I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.


Quirky. Colorful. Memorable. All these adjectives have been applied to the characters that inhabit the world of my cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. I often wonder, though, if those words are simply euphemisms for a much less flattering modifier: “crazy.”

An interviewer once asked me where I got the material for the “quirky” Rienzi family at the center of each of the books. As I responded to her: “One girl’s quirky is another girl’s normal.” But I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said that the Italian family in my stories wasn’t inspired, at least a little, by my own.

My main character, Victoria, is the only daughter of Frank and Nicolina Rienzi, who together with Frank’s mom, Guilietta, run the Casa Lido restaurant in the fictional Oceanside Park, New Jersey. Vic has an older brother, Danny, who is a detective on the local police force. She’s close to her sister-in-law Sofia, who serves as the Watson to her Sherlock. Sofia is fiercely loyal to Victoria, but tells her the hard truths when she needs to hear them. She’s smart and funny, and as a character she is certainly inspired by my own sister and sister-in-law. And while my brother isn’t a cop, he shares certain of Danny’s traits, such as impatience with his sister’s flights of fancy!

But it is Nonna who is in many ways a composite of my own two grandmothers, both named Mary. They were tough ladies, great cooks, and formidable matriarchs. They both lost their husbands at relatively young ages, but carried on with strength and grace. And like the grandmother in my books, they commanded a great deal of respect from their family members. Even if they did insist you didn’t visit them enough.

And while I like to think of my protagonist, Victoria, as an everywoman, she does share certain idiosyncrasies with her creator (loves Springsteen and Sinatra, afraid of boardwalk rides, drinks anisette). But my mother does not wear hair extensions, and I do not have a poker playing, horse betting, homemade wine making Dad who dresses like a member of the Rat Pack. (Well, he used to make wine, and it packed a kick, let me tell you.)

So unlike the Rienzi clan, perhaps not every family has a secret ritual to remove the Evil Eye. Or makes homemade chianti in the basement. Or has an unnatural propensity for stumbling over corpses. But we all have at least one character in our families. The ones who are quirky. And colorful. And yes, maybe just a little bit crazy.

But isn’t that why we love them?