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Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Friends... meet Ilona Fridl

Friday Friends returns today with special guest author Ilona Fridl. I had a little trouble on my end (my fault, not Ilonas!) with the post, she's here now so let's get started! (And thanks, Ilona, for putting up with this scatter brained author!)

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

I'm originally from Southern California and when I was twenty-two, moved to Wisconsin, which was a shock to the system! Seriously, I fell on ice and cracked the bone in my elbow the second month I was here. Not a winter fan, but I'm still in Wisconsin, since I met my husband, Mark, here. Took up writing when we got our computer in the 90's and started a novel in 2000.

I enjoy writing about the twentieth century, because there was so much happening at that time. The last half of it, I don't have to to a whole lot of research, because I was around then.

How long have you been writing?

In a way, all my life. I used to make children's picture books for myself when I was little. I loved creative writing in school and doing research for reports in high school. Occasionally, I would sell a story or article to a magazine, but that's as far as it got. When we bought a computer, I really took to it. You see, I was terrible at typewriters. I made more mistakes than there was paper, now the computer corrects all my boo-boos.

Where do you get your ideas?

A lot of them come from a “what if” game I play with myself. Silver Screen Heroes came from a “what if a crime family bought a movie studio for making and distributing liquor in the 20's?” (ooooh, pardon me for interrupting, but that sounds sooo fun! Definitely just landed near the top of my TBR pile! -Nic) Others come from songs, poetry, pictures, etc.

Describe your typical writing day

Usually, I start after breakfast checking email, and taking care of any business I need to online. Then the rest of the morning I work on edits or on my work in progress. After lunch, I put in two more hours on writing. I average about four hours a day of actual work on manuscripts. The rest of the time is for any of the household chores I need to do. Although, I find I'm always working on the story in my head.

What was your “Aha!” moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?

I think I've always kicked that around, but I never acted on it. When I sold a couple of short stories to magazines, I guess that was an “Aha!” moment for me. I found an editor that thought I could write well.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

If I was able to continue with my college education, I probably would have made a good teacher. I enjoy being around children. I got to do some of that when I worked at Old World Wisconsin as a costumed interpreter. It's a living history museum and we had many school tours.

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

This may sound silly, but I play some solitaire on the computer and my mind stays active about the story. Or I just get away for a day or so and a scene that was bothering me seems to work itself out.

Tell us a little bit about Silver Screen Heroes.

My first book of the Dangerous Times series, “Silver Screen Heroes,” was released July 31st. I'm working on the edits for book number two, “Golden North,” and writing number three, “Bronze Skies.”

I'll share an excerpt of Silver Screen Heroes:

Addy couldn’t shake the dread she felt for Muriel. When she hugged her, Addy said in a low voice, “If you ever need me, you know where to find me.”

Muriel smiled. “I’m all right. You take care of yourself.”

I really wish I had more time to talk to you.”

We’ll get together at work. Goodnight, Addy.”

Addy took hold of Zeke’s hand when they were well on their way back. “I don’t know what it was, but—”

Zeke touched her lips with his fingers. “Not now.” And he nodded toward the chauffeur.

They were silent for the rest of the way, for fear the chauffeur would hear them. Muriel, what have you gotten yourself into? Yes, Tony has money, but how did his family get it? Are you in danger now?

When the chauffeur let them off, Zeke offered a tip, but the man waved him away. The auto disappeared down the street while Addy walked with Zeke to his Model T.

I was going to say I didn’t feel comfortable with Tony’s family. They were kind to us, but something about Joe Giovanni was menacing. I don’t mean his eye patch, although it looks like he got that in a fight.”

Zeke nodded. “I got that impression, too. They’ve bought into the studio. I wonder whether that’s going to be a good thing. I don’t trust that man.”

They held each other in a brief embrace. Addy felt so safe in his arms that she didn’t want it to end. All the bad things of the world seemed to go away when she was with Zeke. She put her face next to his shirt and breathed in the warm scent of him, a scent that was becoming very familiar to her.

He pulled back and kissed her. “Let me walk you to the door.”

She put her hand on his cheek. “That’s all right. I can find my way.”

Goodnight, Addy, I love you.”

She smiled. “I love you, too.”

Zeke set off in his auto, and Addy had started toward the building when she heard a scuffling sound coming from the wall. “Addy!” she heard a voice call in a harsh whisper she thought she recognized.

Roxie! Is that you?” She saw two crouched figures. “Beth, is that you, too?”

Yes! We’ve run away from Mr. Rudd. He and one of his goons—” Roxie got no farther before an auto came squealing up the drive.

Stop, you!”yelled a man from the auto.

Addy grabbed both girls by the arm. “We’ve got to run inside!” She dragged the exhausted girls as she flew along the walkway. They had gotten to the corner of the building when she heard a bullet whiz past her head. Another hit Beth, who cried out, and then Mrs. Hutton was at the door, pulling them all in and locking the door behind them.

Roxie, Beth, go into the parlor! Addy, call the police. I’ll be right back!” Mrs. Hutton charged to the back room.

Addy jiggled the cradle of the phone in the lobby. “Operator! Get me the police!” When the station answered, she said, “I’m Adeline Garcia at Dormitory Number Three at Majestic Studios. There are two men with guns trying…” Suddenly, the line went dead.

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

After this series, I'm going to rework my first manuscript set in the 1960's in Los Angeles and San Francisco


Nicole McCaffrey said...

Thanks for coming, Ilona, and wow, what a great excerpt! I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Helen Hardt said...

Nice to meet you, Ilona!

Sarah Simas said...

Nice to meet you, Ilona!

Wonderful interview and excerpt! I wish tons of continued success with your writing.

Hi Nic! ((hugs!))

Susan Macatee said...

What an exciting excerpt,Ilona! I used to write picture books when I was a kid too and feel the same way you do about typewriters. I hated them! And fell completely in love with my first computer. LOL.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by! Ilona is having problems with Google but wants you all to know she's reading your comments and appreciates them!

Wow, that's like the third person I now of today(me included) being terrorized by their computer! Spooky stuff! It must be October!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ilona,
Nice interview. Love reading about the success of fellow TWRP Vintage authors. And I love the early part of the 1900's tood.
Best wishes

Elle J Rossi said...


I'm not a winter fan either. It's funny how we both ended up in Wisconsin. Have fun at your signing today!


mariska said...

What a great excerpts! It's so great to meet another a new for me Author :) Nice to meet you Ilona!

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