Welcome Allegra, to my virtual café. This is my dream job where I can write all day or when I need a break, step out and talk to artistic and interesting people who come to visit. Creekside Café is a place for readers and writers to hang out, share their stories and a few drinks.
Allegra: Thank you for this opportunity, have I mentioned this is my first interview?
Sherri: Well, I’m honored to be your first. I was a reporter for a small, local paper so I enjoy asking questions, but I recently gave my own first interview and it’s different being on the other side of things. I’m so afraid I’m going to say something stupid, but if I do, it won’t be the first time, it’ll just be in print.
Maybe we should have a drink first. We have a local vineyard just outside of town, Bennett’s Vineyard, I thought you might like to try their Rose, although in truth, I’m more of a whiskey girl myself. I think I’ll have a little Bird Dog Blackberry over ice.
Allegra: I used to be a strictly whiskey girl, however, I was introduced to Rosé and have taken a liken to that, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. I don’t do the red wines, they give me a headache.
Sherri: You’ve been writing several years now, how did you get started?
Allegra: I began my writing career in late 2017, although, I have been writing in one form or another most of my life. My first published piece was a fanfic based on a Fantasy Ball that the OSRBC (Facebook) group holds every year. The fanfics were band together and given to our group members as a holiday gift. I spent nearly a year revising and expanding that fanfic to a novella which is now Something Different, the prequel to my Silverton Series. Something Different is a contemporary steamy romance with a second chance at love and featuring an older couple. March 2018, I was published in the now unpublished Shamrocks, Shillelaghs, & Shenanigans anthology with my sexy short Getting Lucky! Getting Lucky! went through a revision and was re-released in March 2019, with an extended ending. Getting Lucky! is an erotic short story with bisexual m/m/f scenes throughout. It is not a romance, however, there is a happy ending. With my sexy short, Saving Faith, featured in the Moonlight, Monsters, & Magic anthology, I dip my toes into the Paranormal Romance genre. Saving Faith is a modern-day twist on the Salem Witch Trials, Faith is a witch, Gabe the investigator they are engaged. A protection potion goes awry, and Faith wakes up ten years in the future with no memory. Fun times.
Sherri: Your work sounds fun and eclectic.
Allegra: Honestly, I’m new to this and still learning my way. I have story ideas from many genres. Much like my reading habits, I don’t stick with just one genre, however, Romance has been and will be the most often written.
Sherri: I think that’s the great thing about being Indie Published we can do our own thing. Writing is creative and expressive, why would we want to limit ourselves to one genre or subgenre?
Do you write full-time or hold down another job?
Allegra: I write full time or at least I attempt to, the muse is not always cooperative.
Sherri: You have a story coming out in The New Romance Café summer anthology, Hot Summer Nights, what else is brewing?
Allegra: My next release, Cooking Up Love, will be part of the Hot Summer Nights anthology. All proceeds from the sale of Hot Summer Nights will go to Breast Cancer Research & Awareness. In Cooking Up Love, Maggie is a kitchen klutz who has been given a gift of cooking lessons. Enter our hero Seth, chef by day, cooking instructor by night. Once a klutz always a klutz, Maggie’s first lesson lands her in the emergency room and Seth doesn’t mind keeping her company. Cooking Up Love is a sweet romance with a very low heat level, featured in Hot Summer Nights and launching in June 2019.
I’m currently working on book one of my Silverton Series, Something Real, a steamy contemporary new adult romance. Something Real, features Taylyn a twenty-something year old with mental illness and very dark past. Declan has his own problems namely his grand plan of being a professional football player was crushed along with his knee cap. Declan is back in Silverton to rebuild his life without football and to finally get the girl that got away. If only he can convince her he’s not like all the others. Something Real will be released in the Fall of 2019.
Sherri: I can’t wait to read your story in the anthology but Something Real definitely peaks my interest, tell us more about it.
Allegra: Something Real, it is book one in my Silverton Series. In Something Real, the heroine, Taylyn, has Borderline Personality Disorder. (I also have BPD and struggle with it on a daily basis, hence using old journals as part of my research) When we meet Taylyn at the beginning of the book she is a mess, her life is falling apart, her reaction to a cheating boyfriend lands her in trouble with the law, and she is forced to deal with the consequences of her actions and her mental illness. Throughout the process she leans on her two best friends and fights her feelings for Declan, our hero, a guy she she has history with. Taylyn has sworn off love and everything that goes with it, Declan swears he’ll change her mind.
Sherri: Oh, I can’t wait to read it. You said you began your writing career in 2017 but when did you start writing, or have you always been a writer.
Allegra: It sounds cliché, but I’ve been writing since childhood. As a child I would make up stories to entertain my friends and family, as well as stories to act out with my Barbie dolls. In my late teens, it was suggested by a therapist that I should, “write my own happy ending” to situations that I was struggling with. I have many journals filled with these happy endings. Writing became a form of therapy for me, some entries were rants or vents, just to get the feelings out instead of holding them inside. I continue to do this and have started to read my older journals as part of the research process for my current WIP.
Sherri: I don’t think its cliché, many writers started as children either to entertain or therapy or a combination of both. I was a lonely only child who dealt with a lot of death within a couple of years and found writing was a great release.
Where are you from Allegra?
Allegra: I currently live in Southern California with my husband, Joe and our daughter, Amber.
Sherri: Have you ever been to North Carolina, or the East Coast before?
Allegra: Yes! I was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts. I have traveled through North Carolina twice, in route to South Carolina for our sons’ boot camp graduations at USMC Parris Island. It’s a very long road trip especially when dealing with bad weather, traffic, and a little girl with ADHD who is “very bored” in the back seat. And don’t get me started on the blizzard we had to drive through on the way home the second time.
Sherri: Parris Island, that’s how my father-in-law ended up here. He was sent to Parris Island for bootcamp and then stationed at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville. He loved it so he stayed. I take it, you don’t have such fond memories of this area.
Allegra: As I said earlier, I was born and raised in Taunton Massachusetts, about fifty miles south of Boston. Fun fact, Taunton was founded by a woman, Elizabeth Pole, a Puritan from Devonshire England, in the early 1600’s. Although the history books do not give Miss Pole credit for this, the credit goes to her brother. Don’t get me started on that. My hometown has a lot of history to it; our town center was used as training grounds for Revolutionary War soldiers, the site of a few battles during the King Philip’s War, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of silver in the 1800’s, and a POW camp during World War I. Those are just a few of the highlights. I guess you could say I’m a bit proud of my hometown. I am the youngest of three children having two older brothers. I had normal childhood, for the most part, until my tenth year, life as I knew it changed overnight. I lost my father to heart disease and what is now known to be Dementia at the age of fourteen. I was devastated and my life took a very dark turn, cue being diagnosed with my first mental illness. Things went downhill pretty rapidly from there.
Sherri: You said you no longer work outside the home but has there been a past job that may have influenced your writing?
Allegra: I haven’t worked outside the home in over twenty years. I have mental illness, after the birth of my daughter I suffered a series of breakdowns which left me unable to work. Prior to Amber’s birth I worked in Marketing Research. I was the night and weekend supervisor overseeing six to eight interviewers, reporting to clients, and running taste-testings, product display, product packaging, and product samplings.
Sherri: This sounds like a great asset to a writer, marketing is one of the hardest things I’ve faced. Do you have any suggestions?
Allegra: Sadly no, I am struggling with the marketing aspect myself.
Sherri: Writing is about creating, experimenting, do you plan to write any other genre in the future?
Allegra: Probably, if only to give it a try.
Sherri: What do you love about writing?
Allegra: Creating a world where the happily ever after can happen. The real world is so full of negativity, violence, and heartbreak it feels good to be able to create a world where those things fade away and love, peace, and happiness shine through.
Sherri: What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Allegra: Editing! Oh, the tears I have shed over edits… I’m pretty sure I’ve sprouted a dozen new gray hairs with each and every editing round.
Sherri: I know your pain, grammar isn’t my strong suit. I’m just starting to experiment with the Pro-Writing Editing Program, we’re still in the getting to know you phase. I’ll let you know how the relationship progresses.
Speaking of relationships, you mentioned you are married.
Allegra: I met my husband at the age of twenty-one, it was blind date we were both on the rebound neither of us expected it to go anywhere. Twenty-five years later, twenty-six in July, we have been married for sixteen years have a beautiful daughter together, our two sons, my bonus prize at the wedding, and two grandchildren. We currently live in California, just outside of San Diego. Our boys were stationed out here during their time with the Marines. They refused to move back to the east coast, so we moved out here after our daughter graduated high school back home. We now understand why they refused to move back home. We don’t blame them, we’re not doing that either the weather is gorgeous out here!
Sherri: Since you’re down east, can I interest you in a bowl of shrimp and grits? My husband doesn’t like grits, but he’ll eat the shrimp over rice.
Allegra: My favorite foods are Seafood and Mexican. My favorite recipe is ordering take out.
Sherri: I enjoy cooking but after working all day, some days the local take-out place is my best friend.
Do you have any hobbies or interests besides writing?
Allegra: I love to listen to music, watch sports and do various crafts when the mood strikes me. And of course, reading I’ve always been an avid reader.
Sherri: Who are your favorite authors or your favorite genres?
Allegra: Philippa Gregory, Lynsay Sands, Tessa Dare, James Patterson, Agatha Christie, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, and Avery Cockburn. For those wondering, Avery Cockburn is an LGBTQ romance indie author that I absolutely fell in love with about five or six years ago, starting with her debut novel Playing for Keeps, which is mentioned (with permission) in my debut novella Something Different as MacKenzie’s favorite book.
Sherri: What are your writing strengths and weaknesses? (what comes easy and what do you have to work harder to get)
Allegra: Dialogue comes easiest to me, I am constantly struggling with POV/head-hopping and telling vs showing.
Sherri: I struggle with the both of those as well. POV I usually catch in rewrites, as well as the showing versus telling but sometimes I miss something. I think the more we write the better we become.
Allegra: Well, I think I’ve held you all hostage long enough. I’ll turn this interview back over to my host Sherri, that is, if I have bored her and you to sleep already.
Sherri: I’ve enjoyed our time together and I am sure our readers did as well. Please come back again and best wishes for Something Real and Hot Summer Nights.
Allegra is an indie author who enjoys writing steamy love stories with a twist. The twist would be her imagination. Originally from Massachusetts, she now resides in Southern California.
Some of Allegra’s favorite things include all things purple, glitter, fairies, and unicorns. Her hobbies are reading, procrastinating, listening to music, watching sports, and napping. If she likes you, she’ll bake you cookies or cupcakes. If she doesn’t like you, she’ll write you into a story and, well, bad things will happen. Never make an author angry. It won’t end well, trust me on this one.
You can find Allegra fluttering around Romancelandia, figuring this author thing out, one book at a time. You can follow her adventures in writing on most social media platforms.
SM links & Amazon page.
https://fb.me/stumblingauthor (author page)
Amazon: (Author page) https://www.amazon.com/Allegra-Johnson/e/B07BHKR7S3
Something Different: Available in KU & paperback.
Getting Lucky!: Available in KU.
Moonlight, Monsters, & Magic-(Saving Faith): Available in KU & paperback.
2 thoughts on “Welcome Allegra Johnson to the Cafe”
A lovely interview, Allegra. It sounds as if you have been through a lot but have come through the other side with a positive attitude. Wishing you all the best.
My quick and easy recipe for shrimp and grits is a lighter version than what you’ll get most places.
1 cup Quick Grits cook according to directions
1 lb. cleaned and de-veined shrimp (I prefer tails off for easier eating)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped onion
5-6 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 can spicy tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
saute shrimp in melted butter with onion and garlic until lightly pink, add can of tomatoes and bacon crumbles. Bring to a quick boil and removed from heat. Top grits with shrimp and soup, add shredded cheese.
Easy and delicious.
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