VODKA O’CLOCK 2023-03:

Terri-Lynne DeFino

author of Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story

2023 podcast vodka o'clock logo square

AMBER LOVE 07-April-2023 My work is supported by the generous backers at who appreciate my reviews and my stories; and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. Also, I have Amazon Lists so you can shop through my personal recommendations and buy my books.

Download this episode of Vodka O’Clock on iTunes, Stitcher, or listen here. Older shows have been archived and are available only on

It’s an absolute thrill to have TERRI-LYNNE DEFINO on the show to talk about cats and writing! She achieved a following with her fantasy books; and then she made a switch to contemporary fiction with Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and their Muses) which was published by Harper Collins in 2018 and grew a new audience. It’s her 2023 book that blew me my mind! I gave Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love StoryRead the Review a full review.

hands passing food around on orange plates; lavender background (color scheme relevant in story)

There were so many questions I wanted to ask her, but it would be spoilerific! I wanted to know everything about her choices for the characters’ arcs.

We discussed what it was like for her brother growing up gay in the 1980’s during an era of both celebration and fear because of the AIDS crisis. Nonetheless, there were people like Boy George, Liberace, Elton John, and more willing to lead the charge against homophobia. This experience influenced the character of Paulie, perhaps the most memorable of the book.

How fantastic is it that the “haunted” Victrola in the book is actually real?

The Addams Family Thing winding the Victrola record player

Find out the origin of the story behind the Varina plot.

Family secrets! There are things in the book that are taken to the grave. Families have secrets especially so in older generations when there were stigmas surrounding literally everything that wasn’t considered “the norm.”

John Mulaney

Favorite New Jersey places? Can you guess? You might not have heard of Paterson’s Great Falls or the Lambert Castle. How about the Pine Barrens? Did you know M&M’s are made here? Get food at Papa Ganache while you’re here.

Upcoming for Terri is Death in the Mason Jar.


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