BIO: Ilona Fridl was born in Southern California and moved to Wisconsin in 1971. She met her husband, Mark, and has been a Wisconsinite ever since. She took creative writing in college, but never did any serious writing until they purchased their first computer in 1995. Since then, she has written short stories and articles for magazines. Her first book, Silver Screen Heroes, was released July 2009 and is the first in a series. The second book, Golden North, is due out this year. The series is called Dangerous Times.
Thanks for being here, Ilona. It’s a pleasure.
Thank you for inviting me, Kelly.
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I was a typical California girl when I was growing up. Loved the beach. Majored in theater in college. I loved acting and was in 'Shakespeare in the Park' every summer. When I moved to Wisconsin, I met Mark when I joined Brookfield Players. We married and have one adult daughter, Micki. She has a daughter, Briana, who is a junior in high school. (It gets scary when your granddaughter is 17!) When Micki was little, we did a lot of camping and went around the country in an RV. (We even took the dog with us.) I worked at Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum, for fifteen years as a costumed interpreter. Fun job!
#2- We are fellow Romance Writers of America members. What do you feel you have gained from the membership and would you recommend it to other aspiring romance authors?
I firmly believe that RWA and it's local groups are one of the best networking organizations I've found. I don't think I would have gotten my writing career started without the support of writers around me. So, yes, I think joining RWA is one of the greatest things an aspiring romance writer could do.
#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
Fortunately, the two reviews I've received have been very good. I grew a tougher skin when I entered unpublished contests and got harsher critiques, but I took the advice offered and think the story turned out better. And there's always all the rejection letters from agents and editors―
#4- Your book, SILVER SCREEN HEROES, is about a motion picture studio in 1920 being taken over by a crime family. What inspired this first book in the series and can you tell us a bit about the others?
I was looking in a writing instruction book (can't remember which one) and it had about the 'what if' game. One of the lines I came up with was, “What if a silent movie studio was taken over by a crime family?” I thought that might be a fun one to do. (It was.) I knew series' were popular and that might jump-start a writing career. Golden North, which is coming out this year, is set in 1920's Juneau, Alaska. Zeke and Addy join his brother, Josh, who is redoing an old theater and restaurant. They hope the crime family doesn't follow them up there. Addy's cousin, Muriel, a young widow with a daughter, who was married to the boss' son, follows them up when the family wants her child. The book tells about Josh and Muriel's romance. My WIP is the third book, Bronze Skies. That takes us to the next generation during WWII. The hero, Tom Shafer, is Zeke and Addy's son who is an Army Air Force pilot during the invasion of the Japanese into the Aleutian Islands. The heroine is Pam Wright who is Tom's girlfriend. We see some of the problems of the homefront through her eyes in Juneau.
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
I do like to get in a little reading each day. I belong to a historical fiction group and we just finished The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Great book, by the way! I started reading when I knew what words were and I've never stopped. Dr. Seuss was my first favorite author. Little Women by Lousa May Alcott was and is my all time favorite. I read that and Little Men and Jo's Boys. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn I loved. And I read most of the Oz series by Frank Baum.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
At my website, www.ilonafridl.com I have the blurbs and excerpts for Silver Screen Heroes and Golden North. There is also the two reviews I've received for Silver Screen heroes.
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I want to thank any of you who have purchased my book and let me know what you think of it. At my website, there's a way to contact me. And thank you, Kelly, for the great interview!