After months of research, Allman decided to set her Meteora story in the 16th century when Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. “It’s a fascinating period of history, fraught with a clash of different cultures that still resonates today,” she says. The novel that was the result of her years of study and writing was well-received by her fellow fiction writers. Although it attracted the interest of several agents, she could not find a publisher among the handful who championed historical fiction at the time. “The writing was the easy part compared to the marketing,” she notes wryly.
The offer of a job as an interpreter, or docent, at Mt. Vernon presented her an ideal opportunity to re-enter the workforce part-time when her son was old enough to attend St. Aidan’s Day School. Her time talking to the public about Washington’s life blended so well with Allman’s new-found passion for history that she stayed at the Mansion for 13 years. Next came an even longer span as an ESOL instructor at Bryant Adult Education Center.
Her retirement from teaching and the subsequent pandemic shutdown once again brought her the chance to work on fiction full time. In retrospect, she had realized that her Meteora story would benefit from a fuller exploration of her characters’ early lives. Arena of Deceit, the result of many months of further research and writing, is the realization of her decades’ long dream to take readers into a time and place she hopes they will find as haunting as she has. The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.