1 – Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing absolutely energizes me.
2 – What is your writing Kryptonite?
Getting sidetracked on Facebook.
3 – Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
4 – What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I won’t name names; I might leave someone out. I can rely on them to be honest with their criticism regarding plot, style, tone, and character development. I am also inspired and encouraged by the authors I have met through Goodreads and Facebook.
5 – Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My first book is a World War 2 drama that will not have a sequel. My work-in-progress is a diamond caper set in Venice, Italy with an amateur sleuth protagonist who, if she is well received, may find herself in future novels.
6 – What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
$6.95 for a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
7 – What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
In 8th grade when I began public speaking.
8 – What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
History by Elsa Morante. It was a success in Italy, but the English translated version didn’t receive the recognition it deserved.
9 – As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Pinocchio is my favorite “Guy.” I love his fearless, curious nature, his sense of joy, and most of all, his unwavering love for his father. I have an assortment of Pinocchio figurines and dolls that I have collected during my annual visits to Italy. Located throughout my home, they never fail to make me smile.
10 – How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Five completed children’s books and one work-in-progress novel.
11 – What does literary success look like to you?
My desire is to entertain and inform. I want readers to lose themselves in my stories and enjoy and connect with my characters. I am deeply touched and elated when a reader takes the time to let me know through email, website, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. that they enjoyed my book. A happy, satisfied reader is golden.
12 – What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My research for Bridge of Sighs and Dreams included interviews throughout Italy including multiple family members, and translating countless documents and publications. The discovery of personal letters and journals written by Italian POW’s augmented my study. The consistent manifestation of hope, scribbled across those abandoned pieces of paper, afforded a valuable glimpse into the Italian sentiment during this horrific period. Research takes the author off on so many fascinating tangents; and then comes the difficult task of editing down to just enough information so as not break the suspension of disbelief. I will say, to weave my fiction around the time-line of events that I wanted to highlight was tricky, but I didn’t want to alter facts to fit my fiction; instead, I utilized truth to enhance my characters and their story. And so, after more than a decade of research, translations, false starts, writing, editing, shelving, writing, editing, shelving, etc., etc., Bridge of Sighs and Dreams finally developed into a novel of which I am proud.
13 – How many hours a day/week do you write?
I write for several hours every day.
14 – How do you select the names of your characters?
I love naming my characters. Names are important; they have to “fit” the character’s look, personality, and nationality. They need to be easily remembered (No Stobingestikofsky), and not too similar to the other characters (No Jane, Janet, Joan, Jason, Jack, etc. all in one story) Readers don’t need to spend time trying to remember who’s who or attempting to pronounce a certain name every time it shows up.
15 – What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t want to give away the who, but sending off two of my favorite characters to be executed really had me weeping over the computer keys. I still can’t read than scene without welling up.
16 – Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
While growing up, I always hated listening to jokes about the Italians going into World War 2 with their hands raised. This was not at all the case, and I wanted to point out the bravery of the Italian population during this horrific time. Although Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is fiction. It is based on real events. I felt compelled to write a war novel in which the women don’t play the role of wallpaper or objects of amusement to soldiers and politicians. The women in Bridge of Sighs and Dreams take center stage in a behind-the-lines battle between good and evil.
17 – How long have you been writing?
I started writing in grade school. I loved books and enjoyed making up my own stories.
18 – What inspires you?
The lives of ordinary people who preform extraordinary deeds without seeking recognition. Diligent and creative people also inspire me.
19 – How do you find or make time to write?
As I don’t have a regular 9-5 job, I balance my day between writing and painting.
20 – What projects are you working on at the present?
I am currently working on a “not-too-serious” diamond caper that takes place in Venice, Italy. I am also a translator for various Italian poets, so there are continuous translation projects in the works. As a working artist, there is always a new painting on the easel.
21 – What do your plans for future projects include?
I am considering adding to and publishing my blog, Painting in Italy, which is a guide to painting in Italy for artists who prefer independent travel and off the beaten track locations. I have written 5 children’s stories that I still need to edit and illustrate, and I continue to take on select translation assignments, mostly for Italian poets and musicians.
22 – Share a link to your author website.
Pamela Allegretto lives in Connecticut and divides her time between writing and painting. In addition to her historical fiction novel, Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, her published work includes dual-language poetry books, translations in Italian literary journals, articles in local newspapers, book and CD covers, illustrations, and cartoons. Her original art is collected worldwide.