Interview With Author John D. Ottini

Tell us about yourself.

My name is John D. Ottini, I was born in Northern Italy, raised and educated in Canada, and currently reside in Central Florida with my wonderful wife and a mischievous cat named Bella.

I’ve published five books in paperback (‘People Behaving Badly’, ‘A Very Furry Christmas’, ‘Deadly Revelations’, ‘The Black & Blue Butterfly Tattoo’ and ‘The Twisted Road Ahead’) and several e-books. My e-books are available through the Amazon Kindle Store (worldwide) and the paperbacks can be ordered through Amazon or other fine on-line booksellers such as Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, etc

I enjoy writing short mystery and thriller stories, but I’ve also written the occasional love story and full-length novel. (See ‘The Black & Blue Butterfly Tattoo’)

My short story ‘Slipper’s Last Breath’ was selected and published in the 2014 edition of the Holiday Tales Anthology by Firestone Publications

My book of short mystery stories ‘People Behaving Badly’ was a Semi-finalist in the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition (Florida Writers Association)

My book of Christmas stories ‘A Very Furry Christmas’ was a Finalist in the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition (Florida Writers Association)

Two short stories ‘Words to A Kill’ and ‘One Shot to the Head’ (published in ‘The Twisted Road Ahead’) were Finalists 2018 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition – Short Story Genre (Florida Writers Association)

When did you first realize that you wanted to write?

I did well in my creative writing classes in high school, but I never really thought about becoming a writer. Later at university, I spent lots of time writing entertaining stories and poetry that I shared with close friends (no self-publishing opportunities back then).

Once I graduated, I focused on my career, so life and work got in the way of writing.

I’ve always been a prolific reader and the thought of writing was in the back of my mind, but I didn’t begin to take it seriously until a few years ago. I always thought that writing was something I would try once I retired, but as I got older and watched friends and family pass away, I realized that it was now or maybe never. Glad I chose now.

Who do you think would most appreciate your books?

I think that anyone who enjoys reading a good mystery story consisting of several twists and turns and a ‘gotcha’ ending, will probably love my books. If you figure out ‘who done it’ before the end of my stories, then I haven’t done my job.

What got you interested in short stories and mystery writing?

Growing up I always loved reading mystery novels or watching good mystery movies. I’d take pride in trying to figuring out the plot and I was always impressed when the writer could keep me guessing until the very end of the story.

I was a big fan of Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury and Alice Munro, all wonderful short story writers

Who has most influenced you as a writer?

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the late, great suspense novelist, Robert B. Parker.

His Spenser novels always seemed effortless because he was a great master of dialog.There are very few writers who can tell an entire story through the use of dialog. As an author I respect how difficult that is to do, let alone making sure that the dialog is realistic and intriguing.

I’ve never been big on descriptive writing. Reading three pages describing the intricate details of life in the garden is enough to send me over the edge. Like Mr. Parker, I like to get to the meat of the story and leave the descriptive filler to other writers.

If you enjoy witty dialog and fast moving stories, you’ll enjoy my writing.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I work a full-time job and live with my wonderful wife and sweet cat. All three place definite demands on my time, so I write in between all the other things going on in my life.

My wife is an early to bed and a late riser type person and my cat enjoys her multiple naps throughout the day, so I find the time to write when I can, especially in the evenings between 9 and 11 PM.

On weekends I often write well into the wee hours of the morning, but it’s getting harder to do as I get older. My two most important requirements for writing are quiet time and lots of coffee.

Do you have any writing tips you’d like to share with new writers?

Honestly, I don’t have any pearls of writers’ wisdom to impart on would-be writers. All I can say is, if you want to be a writer, stop making excuses and just start writing. There will never be the perfect time to write, so do what I do, work, eat, write, sleep and repeat.

What are you working on now?

I just completed the first draft of a rewrite of my 2014 novelette, ‘A Fool and His Money’.

The rewritten story is based on the original novelette, but the plot has been enhanced and expanded to novel length. I’ve expanded the dialog, enhanced the story line, filled in parts of the story that needed filling, and wrote an entirely new ending.

The final product will be released later this year under a new title and will have a beautiful new cover design.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt as a writer?

Keep your expectation in check. We all want to sell millions of books and be on the best seller lists, but that may not be in the cards. It’s important to write a good, entertaining book or short story and be happy and proud of your accomplishment.

Life is short and writing is important, but only one aspect of life. Make sure you enjoy every moment because no one knows what the future holds. I wish you all the best.

Any final words?

Yes. I want to send a heartfelt thank you to anyone who has purchased and read one of my books.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

They can follow me on my blog:


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