John writes mostly short stories that fall within the mystery or suspense genre. His books can be found on Kindle and in the Kindle Unlimited program. You can check out his stories and find out more on the links below.
Amazon Authors Central: Amazon.com: John D. Ottini: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
My Personal Author Blog: John D. Ottini – Author | Stories of Mystery, Suspense and More (wordpress.com)
Author Facebook Page: John Ottini Novels – Home | Facebook
A word from John;
I have always disliked books that doddle on and on with long descriptive passages, having little to do with moving the story forward. You won’t find that in my books, I’m more in tune with the late great detective/mystery novelist Robert Parker’s style of writing, where the story is told through fast and witty dialog.
Another aspect of my writing is to incorporate a number of twists and turns along the way, so as to keep you guessing until the end of the story. If you figure out whodunnit before the end of the book, then I haven’t done my job.
If these are the type of mystery, suspense, or thriller books you find pleasure in reading then I think you will enjoy reading my stories.
What is your favorite holiday/season (fall, Halloween, winter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s)?
Christmas is without a doubt my favorite holiday and time of the year. I’m a spiritual person, so Christmas and the birth of Jesus holds a special place in my heart. But even if I wasn’t a believer, I’d still find the Christmas season and the spirit of love and goodwill it brings to all who embrace it a very special time of the year. A time of forgiveness, a time for reflection, a time of love, a time for sharing, a time for giving, and a feeling of goodwill towards all our fellow brothers and sisters.
Is there a special way you celebrate the holidays?
I like to celebrate it with my family and friends. I enjoy giving gifts, more than receiving them, and I love to go Christmas caroling door to door, even though I’m not a particularly good singer. I’m also not ashamed to admit that my wife and I love watching all the (sometimes hokey) movies presented on The Hallmark Channel during the Christmas season.
Do you write holiday or seasonal books? If so, please give an example
I’ve written one holiday book, A Very Furry Christmas: Holiday Cat Tales, and that was done under special circumstances. I’d published a couple of books of mystery and suspense fiction stories prior to writing A Very Furry Christmas, which were well received by a slowly growing audience.
A good friend and colleague who read my first few books said, “I love your stories, but why can’t you write something with a happy ending?”
I laughed. “The stories were about people behaving badly. People behaving badly don’t normally see happy endings. There are consequences to their actions and those consequences aren’t usually positive ones.”
She understood what I meant, but the seed of her discontent was planted in my head.
That’s what made me decide to write more positive and inspiring stories. It all started with A Very Furry Christmas which is a book filled with stories about the mutual love and relationships shared between humans and their feline friends. The stories are heartfelt, and all have happy and inspiring endings. I’m proud to say that it’s become one of my best-selling books to date.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’d be lying if I said I did. I always enjoyed reading and I remember dabbling in fiction and poetry writing during my years in college, but I never took writing seriously until later in life. Once I’d gotten my career in Cartography, and later Geographic Information Systems (computer mapping) out of my system, I finally began writing fictional short stories and taking the idea of writing more seriously. It also helped that Amazon Kindle and their publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing came into being, making it easier for aspiring writers like me to find an audience.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me it is the plot first, then the characters. I like to plan out the beginning, middle, and ending of the plot before I even begin writing a single word. I base the characters and their strengths and weaknesses around the needs of the plot.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing?
The late great detective/mystery novelist Robert Parker was a great influence on my style of writing. I was always fascinated by his ability to tell his stories using fast and witty dialog while avoiding long descriptive paragraphs and disruptive flashbacks. The reader was never bored and always in the moment while reading one of his books. His stories flowed smoothly from start to finish. That’s what I try to achieve in my writing.
I also admire the writing styles of short story writers like Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, and Ray Bradbury for their ability to incorporate unexpected twists and turns, and surprise endings into their works… something I try to emulate in my writing.
If you could only have one season, what would it be?
Although it’s not something we get to enjoy down here in Florida, Autumn has always been my favorite season. I still have vivid memories of walking to my first day of elementary school on a cool Canadian Autumn morning. I remember my Mom making me wear my jacket to stay warm, and I recall the feeling that summer was on its way out and old man winter was on the horizon. The excitement of a new school year and seeing my friends again was only matched by the feeling that Christmas was right around the corner.
Ah! Yes, I still remember the promise of Autumn.
How did you come up with the title?
There are two things I do when I’m trying the come up with a title for my next book. First, I try to choose a word that best describes the theme of my novel or stories, and then I incorporate it into the title. Next, I do a search through Amazon’s website to make sure that the title I chose is unique and has never been used before.
I know! It’s really that simple, and that complicated! LOL!
Thank you John for taking the time to share a bit of your writing live with us! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season.