The joy an author feels when readers purchase his/her book is immense. Almost equally delightful is when a journalist deems that author’s book “interview-worthy.” I have the great fortune to have had many such interviews regarding my novel Bridge of Sighs and Dreams. I have pasted below the latest interview, conducted by acclaimed author/journalist Angel Chadwick. Or you can go to Angel Chadwick’s website and read this interview and her other author interviews. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/14802606-interview-with-author-artist-pamela-allegretto
Many thanks to Angel Chadwick for her in-depth questions, and for including me among such gifted authors whom she has interviewed.
Pamela Allegretto author/artist
1.Tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel.
In addition to my current novel, Bridge of sighs and Dreams, my published writing comprises six dual-language poetry books and articles in newspapers, magazines, and Italian literary journals. My published art includes cover art design, illustrations, and cartoons. Thanks to the Internet, my art is viewed and collected worldwide.
Nazi-occupied Rome sets the stage for Bridge of sighs and Dreams, where the lives of two women collide in an arena of deception, greed, and sacrifice.
While political cartoonist Angelina Rosini channels her creativity into the art of survival for herself and her daughter, Lidia Corsini quenches her greed by turning in Jews to the Nazis. Lidia’s spiral into immorality accelerates as swiftly as the Jewish population dwindles; and soon not even her husband, her son, nor Angelina is immune to her madness.
Bridge of sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.
2. What inspired you to be a writer and to get into indie publishing? How long have you been writing? How long have you been published as an indie author?
3. Who are your writing mentors/authors? What genres do you enjoy writing and what genres do you like to read? Are you an avid reader/reviewer of other authors?
Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante have been the most influential authors. I am also a fan of Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Gorky, Donna Leon, and Agatha Christie. My reading and writing preferences are eclectic; however, I have little interest in soppy romance novels, explicit sex novels, or extreme violence. I like well-defined characters and a tight plot. Yes, I am an avid reader, and I only read paper copies. When I have something positive to say, I will review other authors. It’s not in my nature to put out a negative review in the public domain.
4. Have you ever co-wrote or consider collaborating or co-writing with anyone on a writing project?
I co-authored two dual-language (Italian/English) poetry books that were published through a traditional publisher in Italy. I have also contributed to four other dual-language poetry books.
5. What are your dreams and aspirations that could drive you forward on this writing and publication journey?
My desire is to entertain and inform. I want readers to lose themselves in my stories and enjoy and connect with my characters.
6. Do you prefer to do marketing and promotion yourself for your works or would you rather have someone else control that spectrum? What are some of the things you have done to promote and market yourself?
Certainly, marketing can be the least agreeable part of the publishing process. But it needn’t be. There are unlimited websites and groups where authors not only have the opportunity to self-promote but also to connect and form friendships and share ideas with other authors. Goodreads and Facebook are two of my favorite and most lucrative go-to sites for self-promotion. In addition to my personal websites, blogs, FB, Goodreads, and email, I also launched a “snail-mail” postcard campaign. I never leave the house without my business cards and postcards. There are so many opportunities, i.e. dentist’s office, auto repair shop, grocery store line, post office, farmer’s market, etc., where you strike up a conversation that results in an occasion to hand out a postcard.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment as an author?
My novel, Bridge of Sighs and Dreams has been my greatest accomplishment.
8. What’s the next writing project(s) you’re working on?
I am currently working on a diamond caper that takes place in Venice. I am also 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.
9. How would you balance creativity with the business side of writing such as coming up with particular concepts and solutions to stand out amongst the crowd in this writing/publishing industry where ‘popularity’ is key, if your idea wasn’t exactly popular/or was unknown to the readers/publishers?
My novel takes place in Nazi-occupied Italy, and there are many layers to the story that should interest a wide variety of readers. Because of these diverse layers, I promote to a wide-range of readers whose interests include: World War II, Fascism, Jewish discrimination, art, artists, Italian history, Roman history, and strong women characters. In fact, it is this last category that is closest to my heart. 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.
10. Have you ever been traditional published? Would you consider it? Or feel like a sell out if you took a traditional deal and abandoned indie publishing? Have you ever thought about being a hybrid, part indie, part traditional published? How would you feel about such an opportunity, if both or either of these things happened?
I have had two dual-language poetry books, written in collaboration with Luciano Somma, traditionally published in Italy: L’Alba di Domani (Noialtri Edizioni), and Immagini (Casa Editrice Menna). Certainly, for the prospect of worldwide distribution, I would consider traditional publishing. I did have a movie producer offer to option my novel. However, the necessary cuts and plot changes he proposed to fit his concept and time frame, I felt cut the heart and soul from my story and my characters. I declined.
11. What other creative talents do you have? Do you draw, sketch, paint, etc.?
I’m an artist and work primarily in acrylic on wrapped canvas. I enjoy fusing whimsy with realism; and the variety in my style, medium, and subject reflects a Gemini nature that consistently prods me away from monotony.
12. What advice would you give other aspiring authors?
Keep note pads handy: next to your computer, on your nightstand, in your car, in your purse or backpack. You never know when an idea or a quip will pop into your head. Write it down. Don’t trust that you will remember it in the morning or when you get home or after dinner. You won’t. If you don’t yet have it, pick up a copy of the “writer’s bible”: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It’s a little 100-page master-class no author should be without. You can be the greatest storyteller of all times, but if your composition, grammar, tone, style, and punctuation suck, so will your novel.
13. Describe yourself in a one-sentence epithet.
I treat everyone with respect, regardless of his or her ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack of religion.
14. Paying it forward. What things do you do in your community/ and other communities to help others?
I participate in the “Feed the Hungry” program, the local Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, and the Food Bank. I have been a foster parent through Childreach International for the past 30 years.
Pamela Allegretto attended Colorado University Extension in Denver and later moved to Florence, Italy where she studied art and Italian at L’Università per Gli Stranieri. To finance her education, her job résumé was as colorful as the Renaissance city itself. She shivered as an artist’s model and sang the blues in catacomb nightclubs. She worked as an interpreter/translator for a textile company and hawked leather goods to tourists.
Back on US soil, the colors on her résumé remained vibrant. In addition to Italian teacher at Berlitz School of Languages and a two-year stint as a Playboy Bunny, she added hairdresser/salon owner, to her palette. Classes in writing, cartooning, and art filled whatever free hours remained.
In 1996 Pamela sold the hair salon and moved with her husband to Hawaii, where, for the following ten years, she devoted herself full-time to painting and writing. Now, a resident of Connecticut, Pamela divides her time between painting, writing, and Italian poetry translations.
Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:
BARNES & NOBLE: