The confluence of three disparate elements gave impetus to the writing of Anne Flett-Giordano’s first mystery novel, Marry, Kiss, Kill (Prospect Park Books, June), which debuts a series featuring Nola MacIntire, deputy chief of detectives in Santa Barbara, Calif., and her partner, Det. Tony Angellotti. The Emmy-winning TV writer and producer, whose credits include Fraser, Desperate Housewives, and Kate & Allie, tells Show Daily about a local Santa Barbara street musician who made an impression on her 20 years ago. “He’d make up songs about everyone walking by—what they were wearing, who they were talking to—and then one day about 10 years later, I noticed he wasn’t there. There were flowers and cards and tributes where he used to sing. He died of cancer, but it got me thinking, ‘What if he sang about the wrong person?’ And that idea has always been free floating in my mind.”
Another prompter was a group of male college friends with whom she’s been e-mailing for years. “They were being nasty in a funny sort of way, and I said, ‘I’m going to write a book and make you all bad guys in it.’”
The final element: she resigned from her latest show, Hot in Cleveland, to take care of her mother, who had fallen ill. Her mom died two weeks later, and though the show executives asked her to return to her job, Flett-Giordano felt she could only handle two days a week. “Suddenly I had all this time on my hands, as well as that little plot about the street singer and a desperate need to prove to these guy friends that I could write a book and make fun of them.”
Being part of the collaborative business of TV sitcom writing for so many years, she was struck by the contrast in working on a novel. “It’s really lonely writing a book. That’s the biggest difference. And of course I didn’t have a deadline. On a television show you can’t have dead air, so you are on a deadline constantly. Also, you know it’s going on TV, and you can see how many people watch it. When you’re writing a book you think, ‘Is anybody going to read this?’”
Flett-Giordano is signing paperback editions of her book at the Mystery Writer’s Booth (2657) today, 11:30 a.m.
This article appeared in the May 29, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.