Local author brings dream to Kickstarter

There’s a popular adage that it takes a village and, in the case of aspiring author Debra Jean Longobardi, the phrase certainly seems fitting.

The Greenwich resident and writer is looking to the community to fund and help publish her first book, titled All Roads Lead to Pasta. The book marks Ms. Longobardi’s official foray into a career in writing, after many years in sales. And while she thrived in business, she’s always harbored a love of writing and says simply that she had the realization she wanted to return to her artistic roots and pursue her lifelong goal of writing a novel.

For the past three years, she’s been dedicated to writing her book, spending her days working at her sales job and her nights dreaming up the world of her protagonist, Allegra Toscana.

“I have been very dedicated with my hours to make it happen, because as a writer, I feel like that’s something you have to do,” said Ms. Longobardi. “You have to be dedicated or it won’t come to fruition. I was able to do that, to say that I invested in myself and this project.”

Ms. Longobardi admits that writing a book is no cakewalk. Juggling her day job and writing comes with sacrifices. She’s been getting acclimated to the publishing industry, which she says has “really evolved over the years” thanks to technology and social media. Ms. Longobardi is capitalizing on the increased exposure available with social media, and getting her name and project heard loud and clear.

Publishing a book as a new author can be challenging and Ms. Longobardi began a Kickstarter campaign to help garner the public awareness and support she needs to make her literary dreams a reality. Through the crowdfunding website, after just a week in, she’s already more than 75% of the way to her pledged goal of $10,000. She’s hoping to reach and possibly surpass her financial goals over the course of the next month, when the campaign project ends on April 23.

Though the campaign officially launched last week, Ms. Longobardi is commemorating the event with a launch and author debut party tonight, March 20, at a private residence, 158 Clapboard Ridge Road, from 6:30 to 9:30. Local businesses and residents will gather to support the project, and all attendees are encouraged to make a $50 donation to guarantee entrance. To RSVP, residents should contact [email protected] or 203-804-2335.

Ms. Longobardi is thrilled with the support she has received from the community, where she says “everyone is so encouraging.”

“It’s wonderful to have so much support and encouragement from all of the locals that I know … I just think Greenwich is such a special place and that’s why I’ve lived here for so many years. It’s really the best of all worlds,” Ms. Longobardi said.

Ms. Longobardi credits her family and friends who have helped support her writing efforts, and encouraged her during the creative process. She’s also banded together a small team of professionals to help with the creative details, such as creating a book promotion trailer and mock-ups of a cover.

“I have all these wonderful artists that come up with these creative ideas. In order to [publish a book], there’s a lot of planning that goes into it, and I’m lucky to work with fantastic artists that are creative,” said Ms. Longobardi. “I’m very appreciative to have that kind of foundation, and to be able to go after my dream, because it takes a lot out of your soul to do it.”

Ms. Longobardi has big dreams for her stories. She’s completed the first book, is editing the second book and is beginning concept planning for the final and third installment in the series. Her ultimate goal would be to see the books on the New York Times best seller list, and maybe even one day recreated as a Hollywood movie.

She’s confident that readers will take to the unique voice and style of All Roads Lead to Pasta. She says that she purposefully wrote the book in an intimate, conversational tone. She hopes that readers will consider it a gripping page-turner.

“I wanted it to be raw and emotional, I wanted to do something different to stand out. I think it’s an approachable read with “a different flow”. It symbolizes who I am and I wanted people to relax when they read it and kind of escape into this world,” said Ms. Longobardi.

In her book, Ms. Longobardi weaved together a multifaceted and complex character in the form of her protagonist Allegra. She thinks that readers will fall in love with the character, who has “so much adventure risk-taking positivity in her soul.”

“It really gives my readers the hope to do whatever they want. Always in my life, I’ve a been a dreamer, I think it’s a wonderful thing… I wanted to empower people to understand that no matter where you come from and what you do, you can follow your dream,” Ms. Longobardi said.

She hopes to introduce the world to Allegra through the trilogy. Ideally, Ms. Longobardi envisions approaching publishing houses to shop the first two installments of the book. She’s tackling the writing and publishing process one step at a time. After having worked in corporate America for decades, she dreams that one day she’ll be able to write full time for a living.

“I feel like writing flows very easily for me, and I feel like it’s my dream come true to do this for a living professionally and not have to do anything but write. That would be my ultimate dream,” said Ms. Longobardi. “I feel like this is the new phase of my life and I would love to give back to humanity and travel, do things that are affiliated to writing, and focus on this 150%.”

With the help of the community, perhaps Ms. Longobardi’s dreams and Allegra’s adventures will be realized in print.

To support Ms. Longobardi and All Roads Lead to Pasta, contribute to her Kickstarter campaign at Kickstarter.com/projects/2097743712/help-publish-all-roads-lead-to-pasta.


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