Allegra grew up in a small village in northern Tuscany as the daughter of two artists. She grew up on the works of J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Phillip Pullman, Frank Herbert, and many others, all read aloud to her while she drew and played make-believe. She began to write at the age of eight and hasn't stopped since.
After many moves and dozens of countries visited, she now lives in a cozy cottage in Western PA. She is accompanied in her current adventures by husband Job, co-conspirator and long-time writing partner Tobias, and a small army of furry and scaly pets. When not writing or daydreaming, Allegra rules her kitchen with an iron first and feeds everyone who walks through her door. She also gardens, dabbles in various art forms and spins stories for her tabletop gaming group. As a disabled woman and staunch LGBTQ ally, Allegra hopes to write engaging, diverse, and representative Fantasy and Science Fiction, where people who do not often see themselves center stage get the chance to shine.
Love the covers to your books. Did you have an image in mind when they were created?
For Where Shadows Lie, which I did the cover for myself, I knew exactly what I wanted. The book very much kicks off with one of the POV characters killing someone, which lands her into a heap of trouble. I knew I wanted her on the cover, ideally holding a bloody knife. I was very fortunate to find just the right stock, and it turned out to be exactly what I wanted. For NACL: Eye of the Storm, it was a much harder choice. We ended up buying a pre-made for book 2 of that series, then commissioning the same artist to make a matching cover for book one. I was absolutely blown away by LLewellen design. I vaguely gave them an idea, and they came back with a stunning and very original cover.
Are there clues to the stories in the covers?
Yes, there are! The stars in Where Shadows Lie are important for reasons that series has not yet made clear. The blood on the knife is also very significant, and if readers pay close attention, they may be able to figure out why. For my pirate story, there isn't anything mysterious, but I think it very much captures the strange mix of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia, and adventure. It is a genre-bending book, and I really wanted the cover to show that.
Who is your favorite Tolkien character?
No question there. It's Samwise Gamgee. He is my hero and who I aspire to be every single day. I found his journey to be both inspiring and poignant, and he fills me with hope every time I think of him. If I ever have a child, Sam is high on my list of possible names.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual or therapeutic practice?
Sometimes, when the words are coming easily, it feels like flying and like a connection with the universe. Other times, when I'm struggling to get the words out, it feels like the challenge which will force me to grow. It seems to me like we create our own creativity to a certain extent through practice, and by developing the skills to better channel it. The more I write, the easier writing becomes, and the more enjoyment it brings. Usually, if it is a struggle, it means that either there is an error I have yet to discover, or I am approaching it stressed. Usually, once I take a breath and return to a place of loving what I'm working on, the problems solve themselves.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a sequel to Where Shadows Lie, that picks off right where it left off. I am also working on a series of Fae Romance novellas with an amazing group of co-authors. Both of those should come out next year. Other than that, I'm dabbling in a whole lot. I'll be part of a few upcoming anthologies, and somewhere deep on the back burner, I have a memoir piece about the year I traveled around the world studying food and dodging disasters. 2020 has been a very experimental year for me. I've worked in fantasy, science-fantasy, lit-RPG, fantasy romance, horror, and memoir. It has very much helped me expand my skills and is teaching me more about what I like to write.
What do you think your muse thinks of you?
I think it is even more sadistic than I am and delights in dangling horrible ideas in front of me and watching me tear myself open emotionally to write them. All in all, though, my muse and I have a pretty good relationship. It's usually around when I need it, and even when it is not, can be coaxed out of hiding by promising it character anguish, or a good pun.
Any plans on creating a series or trilogy?
I pretty much exclusively write in series. I always struggle with wanting to write huge stories that span multiple characters and decades, so series are the only way I avoid writing War & Peace length tomes. My Last Gift Series, of which Where Shadows Lie is the first, will be approximately six books long. NACL will be a trilogy, and the Fae Romances coming out next year will be divided up into seasons of ten books.
What book inspired you the most as a child?
Without a doubt, the Hobbit was my most formative book, since it was also the first non-picture-book I ever read as a child. There were a lot of other books that inspired me, though. I loved the Circle of Magic books by Tamore Pierce, and couldn't get enough of anything with dragons. The more dragons, the better.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
BOOK TITLE, BLURB, LINK:
Where Shadows Lie (Blurb here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084S3JVCB)
NACL: Eye of the Storm (blurb here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952348021)