Five at Five – Mike Allegra from Hey, Look! A writer fellow


This week’s Five at Five Intro features writer Mike Allegra. Mike says in his About Page of Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow.

One of my earliest memories was peering through the bars of my playpen to watch Sesame Street followed by back-to-back episodes of The Electric Company. At that point in my life I expressed happiness by throwing toys, so Mom made sure to keep my pen piled high with all things soft and plushy and suitable for hurling. These TV shows were so good that Mom usually needed to reload my pen about six times an hour. Not only were the shows cool, but one day I discovered that they had also taught me how me to read.

As I got a little older, my life revolved around two things: reading anything I could get my hands on and building a fort in the woods behind my house. I was good at one and lousy at the other. I probably should have read some books about fort building.

Five at Five Questions

  • When and how did you start on your blogging journey?

I started http://www.mikeallegra.com in 2011 for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t have any particular interest in blogging; I started posting to promote my first picture book, Sarah Gives Thanks, which was coming out the following year.  

To be honest, I felt a little pressure to blog. Once I became an author, everyone in the publishing business began to tell me with increasing levels of hysteria that I absolutely, positively needed an online presence. “You don’t have an online presence?” they’d sputter. “But you have to have an online presence! Every author needs an online presence! How are you going to sell books without an online presence?! HOW?!”   

So I got the blog. 

I had no idea what I was doing. For quite a long time, nobody cared about anything I had to say. I’d publish a post and the resulting stats would be in the single digits. No likes. No comments. No nothing. Sometimes I felt like a crazy man having long, opinionated conversations with a houseplant.  

I kept at it, however, and, after a while, I started to find my voice. People began to notice me. I stopped worrying about plugging my book and started to enjoy blogging for blogging’s sake. Nowadays blogging is one of my favorite pastimes. I love writing, I love posting, I love reading and commenting on the posts of others, and I especially love making new bloggy friends.   

  • What subject do you like writing the most? (food, travel, sci-fi, poetry, short stories, mixture of topics, etc) 

I like telling stories about my family. For my entire life I have been surrounded by big personalities and I delight in showing them off to my readers. I do this by telling funny anecdotes about my childhood or, perhaps, something strange that happened to me the other day.  

What’s wonderful about telling these stories are the comments I receive. People tell me that they “love my mom” based on my post. Or that they have a grandma just like mine. Or that that when they read about my father’s shenanigans, they laughed so hard they spat hot cocoa onto their laptop screens. When your blog post can elicit a spit take, you have arrived, baby! 

  • Have you been influenced by other writers, if so by whom and why? If not, who is your favourite author?  

I’m certain I’ve been influenced by other writers—all writers are influenced by other writers—but I’m not sure which writers influenced me the most. I’ve never really thought about it. 

I have a bunch of favorite writers: Daniel Wallace, Neil Gaiman, Tom Perotta, and David Sedaris, to name a few. Moving into the classics, I’m nuts about John Steinbeck, though his career is about as uneven as a writing journey can be. (For every Grapes of Wrath or In Dubious Battle there’s an embarrassingly bad Winter of Our Discontent or The Short Reign of Pippin IV.) 

But I’ll read just about anything that catches my eye, really. That means I often find myself paging through a lot of stinkers, but sometimes I’ll pick up a random book at a library sale and be utterly swept away. That’s how I found Water for Elephants, which I adored, and The Road. Both of those books made me cry.

  • How and when do you plan writing your blog posts and what keeps you motivated (making notes, spur of the moment, etc). And do you photograph your own images for your blog posts?  

Once upon a time I tried to post every week, but considering the amount of time I labored over each post, it was a huge time suck. Now I’ll post once about every two weeks, which works pretty well for my schedule. As for the photographs, almost all of them are mine. I’ll also draw sketches and cartoons to illustrate a post.   

Lately, however, I’ve been including a lot of copyright-free photos of capybaras. A capybara, in case you don’t know, is 100-pound semi-aquatic South American rodent. They’re very cute and they also love to cuddle. My most recent picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles, stars a capybara so I need capy pictures—and lots of ‘em. 

So, yes, I still sometimes use my blog to plug a new book.  

So buy my book! Buy buy buy! You’ll love it! I swear! Here’s the link! 

  • What is your favourite form of reading, fiction or non-fiction? 

I can’t choose, and I never will. Sometimes I need a novel and sometimes I need a true story. I always have at least one of each perched on my bedside table. Right now I’m reading Dimestore by Lee Smith (memoir), Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (fiction) and Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (travel essays). So far, I’m enjoying them all.  

Favourite Posts

Links

Blog: https://mikeallegra.com/


Thank you, Mike, for participating in the Five at Five Introduction Series.

Next Week’s Intro is Lisa of A Day in The Life (DailyMusings57)

15 responses to “Five at Five – Mike Allegra from Hey, Look! A writer fellow”

  1. […] don’t forget to pop on over to read our latest Five at Five Introduction, this week’s writer is Mike Allegra. All previous interviews can be viewed on our Five at Five […]

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  2. […] don’t forget to pop on over to read our latest Five at Five Introduction, this week’s writer is Mike Allegra. All previous interviews can be viewed on our Five at Five […]

    Like

  3. Thanks for introducing yet another very interesting blogger, Bren!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome xx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for the kind words, Aletta! May you be Cappily Happy now and forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, that was a fun and lively read. And my little Spanish granddaughter counts a capybara as her favourite cuddly friend among her toys, so I might just have to investigate MIke’s new book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it xx

      Like

    2. Thanks for reading the post and for considering the purchase of my book, Margaret! May all your days be Happy Capy!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for finding me and my shenanigans to be interesting, Teresa! Have a Happy Capy day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of Five at Five! It was a pleasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome xx

      Liked by 1 person

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