Author Spotlight Interview: Ivy Smoak
Today’s interview is with Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon #1 bestselling author Ivy Smoak. Her books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide. It was an honor to get to know more about her writing style, life outside of writing and upcoming projects!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
IS: I’m a total weirdo. I think if I was normal my books would be super boring. Everyone is a little weird and it’s so much more fun to embrace it. Writing has really helped me embrace my true self. I don’t want a normal life. I want an extraordinary one. And I give all my characters extraordinary lives too.
HG: I love that response. What inspires your stories and why is that important to you?
IS: Everything. I pull a lot of inspiration from my life with my husband (which he finds hilarious). But one of my favorite things to do is people watching on the boardwalk. I’m always making up stories in my head for people I see. Reality TV is so good too because it’s just people being real. Or fake. Either way, it’s amazing.
HG: Wonderful. What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your novels?
IS: I always say that if you don’t laugh and cry while reading my books, then I haven’t done my job. When I write, I sob and laugh like a crazy person and I just hope that those feelings transfer to the page. In the winter I usually lose my mind and write thrillers though. And when you read those I hope that you’re left feeling super unsettled and a little freaked out.
HG: That’s great! Switching gears, tell us a bit about your publishing journey. Has being an author always been your dream job?
IS: I’ve always loved reading, but I never dreamed I could actually be a writer one day. My publishing journey hasn’t been easy. When I was in college I tried the traditional route and got dozens of rejections. But I’m really bad at being told no. It makes me want to dig my heels in and try harder. And a few years later, with the encouragement of my then fiancé (now husband) I decided to try my hand at self publishing. But it took years before my books became popular. I still pinch myself that I’ve sold millions of copies. It doesn’t feel real and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s taken a chance on my books.
HG: Thank you so much for sharing that. I think it’s inspiring. What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
IS: All of them haha. Rejections, release flops, terrible reviews. They all hurt your heart. But I really am tenacious and every bad thing makes me more motivated to succeed. And I have a much thicker skin now than I did at first. You have to learn to laugh at haters instead of letting them get you down. I always just say that if you love my books, then we’d get along really well in person too 😊.
HG: What a great mindset to have. What made you decide to include your books in Kindle Unlimited?
IS: I’ve actually gone back and forth between Kindle Unlimited and wide. But I love that Kindle Unlimited makes reading more accessible for so many people. I just want my books to reach as many readers as possible. And I hope that the joy in my books makes people smile when they pick one up.
HG: Love that. Is there anything you’d do differently? Advice to aspiring authors?
IS: I actually wouldn’t change a thing. It’s easier to wish I started earlier, but then my first book wouldn’t have been Temptation. Or it would have been, but it would have been different and that makes me sad. Everything always works out how it’s meant to. My advice is to always just write from your heart. It’s easy to second guess decisions or listen to internet trolls. But only you can write the book in your heart. So keep doing that no matter what anyone says. And learn to have a thick skin and laugh off the bad days.
HG: Fantastic advice. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. When and where do you write?
IS: I write in what I like to call a “pillow fort” or a “writing nest” depending on my mood. Or outside on the porch when the weather is nice. I have to be super comfortable in order to be creative. So no desk for me. And I’m a total pantser. I don’t plot anything out – when I do I get bored of the story because it feels like it already happened and I end up changing it anyway haha. I’d like to say I write 5 days a week and have a normal schedule. But it’s way less organized than that. It’s more like writing for 12 hours straight and then sleeping for a day and then 5 hours here, 1 hour there. My writing is mayhem.
HG: That’s awesome. You’ve found your rhythm. And what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
IS: I watch way too much TV. The characters I write about stick in my head and TV is the best way to get them tuned out for a few hours. I also enjoy going on long walks with my husband and daydreaming of writing a series that’s as popular as Harry Potter.
HG: Sounds great! Could you give us a quick run down of each series? What readers can expect or who the books are perfect for?
Empire High series – it starts out as a high school romance, but it spans teenage years through adulthood. Think Gossip Girl meets Mean Girls. These books will rip your heart out but I promise to put it back together.
Secrets of Suburbia series – psychological thrillers. Think Desperate Housewives meets a Girl on the Train. They’ll keep your heart pounding and leave you guessing until the very last page.
I have more series than that, but I usually recommend readers start at one of those 😊.
HG: Those are great hooks. I’m totally interested! What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
IS: I’m working on finishing up the Empire High series, which my fans are definitely excited to hear. I especially loved writing the first few books in that series when they were in high school. So I’ve been working on a new high school story too – Scarlett. And the best part about it is there’s so much humor. I laugh so hard every day I sit down and write. I hope that when you read Empire High and Scarlett that it feels like you’re back in high school with them.
HG: Exciting! For fun, if The Hunted series was turned into a movie or limited television series who would you cast as the main characters?
IS: That’s my dream! Fingers crossed we could make it happen 😊. I’d actually love the cast to be newer actors/actresses so they’re not associated with anything else. I want them to just be Penny and James (the main characters of The Hunted series) to everyone for as long as possible 😊. But obviously I wouldn’t mine Henry Cavill as Professor Hunter and Madeline Petsch as Penny because they’re both amazing and I love them. Oh and I’ve been binge watching Bosch on Amazon and the whole time I was thinking that Maddie (played by Madison Lintz) could be the perfect Penny too. I’m terrible at making decisions if you can’t tell.
HG: So fun to think about. One of my favorite questions, if you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
IS: JK Rowling how did you do it? Tell me all your secrets so I can do it too. Please and thank you.
HG: For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…coffee or tea?
IS: Tea (but now I kind of want a cup of coffee).
HG: Bonfire or fireplace?
IS: Bonfire (yay smores!)
HG: Yay, smores! Are you a morning bird or night owl?
IS: Morning bird (but only recently, I used to be a total night owl).
HG: eBook or paperback?
IS: Paperback (I love having a book in my hands).
HG: Tropical beach or rustic mountains?
IS: Tropical beach (nothing beats the sand for me).
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
IS: My Facebook reader group is super active and so much fun, but you can also follow me on all the normal places:
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