Unveiling the Mind Behind MUSE: An Interview with LCW Allingham

We had a fun chat with LCW Allingham about her writing and her new dark fantasy novella, MUSE (Speculation Publications, April 9, 2024).

What inspired you to write Muse?

I am an artist and from a family of artists of various mediums and forms. The nature of inspiration and creation has always been a fascinating subject to me. I also think the relationship between the people who make the art and the people who sell the art is an interesting study and ripe with tension. Throw in some supernatural elements and you have stories like Suspiria and Night Film that explore that idea of something much more sinister behind the great success of artists.

If you were a character in one of your books, what kind of role would you play and how would you contribute to the story?

I would definitely be the person running around trying to figure out what is going on but generally ineffective in doing much. In Muse that character is an up-and-coming artist named, Cedric Fleck.

Share one interesting or quirky fact about yourself that readers may not know.

Sometimes I tap dance to help me think out a plotting problem. Just in my kitchen. Usually to Supertramp.

What’s the most challenging scene or chapter you’ve ever written, and how did you overcome it?

I hate writing sex scenes. Usually, I keep it off camera unless its relevant to the plot and then usually it’s not very sexy. I have workshopped a lot with my co-editors for Speculation Publications, and they love writing sex scenes, so it sort of works as aversion therapy, but I don’t know if I’ll ever fully get over it. Maybe I can just hire someone to write sexy sex scenes when they’re necessary.

If you could have a superpower for a day, what would you choose and how would you use it?

It used to be to fly. It still sort of is, but I think it would be more practical to stop time. I would use it to first catch up on the things I need to do and then to sleep, then to just be for a bit. As a mom, an author, an editor and a publisher, I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath for a while.

What’s the most unusual or surprising inspiration for one of your characters or storylines?

There is a character in Muse who is based on an obscure figure in art history, who I learned about in an indie film class I took with my best friend at the time. Our professor was wild, and we had a lot of inside jokes about the person because of how she spoke about them, and I included a bunch of them in this story.

If you could time travel, which era or historical event would you visit, and what would you do there?

Aside from horror and fantasy, I also write historical fiction so this one is hard. My favorite eras are not necessarily ones I would feel safe visiting as a woman. Ancient Rome, Pre-Hellenic Greece, War of Roses era England. Revolution era France.

Perhaps the place I would most like to see and experience would be pre-colonial America.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, which three books would you want with you?

Stephen King’s The Stand. It’s a masterpiece. I have always wanted to read it again, and it’s long enough that it will really help me pass the time.

Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I just cannot express how much I loved this book.

And I would really like The Bitterbynde Trilogy by Ceclia Dart-Thorton if I’m allowed to pretend those three books are all one. Since this is hypothetical, I think I can make that exception for myself.

If you had to choose a different career outside of writing, what would it be and why?

A Psychologist or Therapist. I find it absolutely fascinating how the brain works, how experiences can affect two people completely differently, how survival skills develop and how they can ultimately destroy someone once they’re no longer needed. I also think it’s amazing work to help someone bloom into the person they always could have been by helping them let go of junk that they’ve collected through their life. You’ll find a lot of that in my stories.

How can we find out more about you and your book?

Muse will be out on April 9, it is currently available for preorder.

Terra Desmarais’s success as the next big artist in NYC is absolutely inevitable. Her patrons, the associates, Mr. Black, Mr. Silver, and Mr. Green, can practically taste the raw talent dripping from the enigmatic trailer park prodigy’s dollar store paints.

Up and coming pastel artist Cedric Fleck is a lucky discovery of the associates. Rescued from oblivion by Mr Green, put up in a studio by Mr. Silver and paraded around on the arm of Mr. Black should be the dream. But within the steady stream of great press and even better parties, Cedric can’t shake the sense that something is very wrong. He wants to hate Terra for her overnight success, but he’s taken by her earnest love of art.

As the artists around them crash and burn, and Cedric struggles to break free from the toxic seduction of Mr. Black, Terra is only concerned with her strange and compelling paintings. She seems to want nothing of the fame, the money, the sex or the drugs. As the greed of the associates exposes their true colors, and Terra is too lost in her art to notice the danger, Cedric discovers that inspiration is a living thing, and it is hungry.

All buy links will be live at Speculation Publications

You can follow me at my website www.lcwallingham, and find out more about the other projects I have going on with speculation Publications at that website

About LCW Allingham

LCW Allingham (she/her) is a Philadelphia area author, artist, musician and editor. She received her degree in Journalism from Temple University and wrote home renovation articles before turning her focus exclusively to fiction. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications In 2022 she co-founded the indie press, Speculation Publications, with her long-time editorial partners and serves as executive editor. She writes in many genres but particularly horror, fantasy, historical and speculative fiction. She is an active feminist and human rights advocate and lives in Pennsylvania with her family, her pets and her ever expanding art collection. Her debut novel, Lady, will be out late 2024.

Muse is her debut horror novella, out April 9, 2024.

LC’s links and socials:

Facebook –

TikTok – @authorlcwa

Instagram – @lcw.allingham

Twitter – @LCWAllingham

Bluesky –

Jim Wilson’s Playlist for Tuned In: Memoirs of a Piano Man: Behind the Scenes with Music Legends and Finding the Artist Within.

Kirkus Reviews: Best Indie Books of March 2024