Well, well, well.
Look at you, all busy and working.
Nope. Can't have that.
Time for another Author Interivew!
Romance author Ivy Beck is dropping in now. Ivy enjoys writing Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense with emotion and humor woven throughout.
Her former life was spent teaching marine science along coastal Alabama. She switched to raising kids and editing for several New York Times bestsellers a few years ago. The kiddos are older now giving her time to let her creative mind wander.
Ivy loves her boys, her pets and spending time outside. She loves kayaking and hiking. The water and the woods are her happy places. She lives in South Alabama with her husband, two sons, one dog, two cats and two turtles, and spends most of her day being a mom taxi. Which, surprisingly, is a really good place to think about the next chapter of her current WIP!
Website and social media links:
A book you’re looking forward to release (by someone else)?
Guarding Bella, by Kaylea Cross. I love her Crimson Pointe series. It comes out at the end of January and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Coffee, tea, or cacao?
Coffee all the way, baby! Morning coffee (hot with cream and sugar) and afternoon coffee (usually iced with a caramel sweetner).
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Everywhere! Songs, commercials, TV shows, random thoughts that pop into my mind that show me characters or situations that I then run with, sketching out ideas, making plans. I have plenty of ideas written down, but haven’t had the time to flesh them all out. Yet.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Currently I have two young kiddos in two different schools, one being a Pre-K kid who only goes half day…so I write between drop-offs and pick-ups, with small blocks of time allotted for me to be at my computer (but being at the computer does not actually mean that I’m writing….). Then I also take time in the evening after the kids are in bed to work on my writing. Once the youngest is in Kindergarten next fall, my work day will look a lot different. I don’t want to rush time, but I am dreaming about those bigger chunks of time 😊.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy spending time with my two boys, my husband and our two dogs. We love hiking, going for neighborhood walks, playing games and being outdoors. We love kayaking and spending time at the beach. I also like taking time to sit, relax and read other people’s books.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very supportive and encouraging. My husband hasn’t read anything I’ve written, but since it’s not about a military crusade or a former Navy Seal with life advice he wouldn’t be interested. He’s supportive of me though, so that’s great. My sister is my Beta reader. My mom and sisters buy all my books. I’m surrounded by encouragement!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Tricky question. I’ve published three full-length novels, one novella, and one short story. But I’ve written at least two more “complete” novels that will need to be looked at with fresh eyes (my eyes decades later) and brought up to industry standards (remove the payphones, etc.). There are many others half-finished. And I have a whole list of ideas! Which one is my favorite?!! That’s a tough question. I like all of them for different qualities, or for the different places I was in my life when I wrote them.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher. I was for about sixteen years. I taught third grade, then moved to another state and got my dream job – teaching at the beach! I taught K-12 students and teachers at a residential Marine Science facility on Dauphin Island, AL. It truly was my dream job. I loved teaching kids about the ocean, the marshes, the tiny plankton in the water, and about hurricanes and tsunamis. During those years, I started writing stories, making notes, getting carried away with ideas. I originally wrote the three books I published in 2023 around the year 2008. I sent them off to publishers but received rejections. Then I sat on them. Pushing them aside for fifteen years before finally pulling them out, brushing them off, removing outdated ideas and polishing them for today’s world. During the latter end of my teaching career I also started editing. I have been editing for several NYT best sellers for ten years now, so I know what makes a great story. When I started rereading what I’d written fifteen years ago, I was impressed with myself! 😊 I knew I could do it. So I made the jump and went Indie, publishing my debut novel In March 2023.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I’m going to take a little liberty with this one and just mention a book that first came to mind, not the first book….I was on a plane and I was reading a James Patterson novel. He killed off one of the main characters!! I was stunned, dumbfounded. I slapped my hand across my mouth to muffle my sobs, because how awkward is that to explain to your seat mate?! I had to remind myself repeatedly that it wasn’t a romance, there was no guaranteed HEA. It was tramatic.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me. I enjoy getting lost in my characters, scenes and scenarios, getting to take a break from the real world for a while.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
When I first started writing, I’d never heard the word “trope” before and find it hard still to write towards a predicted formula. That’s probably why I wouldn’t do well with traditional publishing. I tend to write what comes to me, not what checks boxes on a list. I just can’t help it. It makes me happier to let the words flow from my fingertips just as they are, not trying to mold them into a certain shape.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My bestie is Cynthia Eden and she was the one who pushed, shoved, and conjoled me into sending my books off to publishers in 2022. When both were rejected, she and her husband helped me create a website, find cover images, make covers, format my books, etc. guiding me every step of the way. I am very lucky to have her friendship, but also thankful for her expertise when it comes to this writer world. There are several others close to me that are very encouraging. That’s one of the best things about this community – the support! Most authors are happy to support other authors, especially Indie Authors, since we have to do it all by ourselves. I love the camaraderie and encouragement I’ve been given by fellow authors.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
The three books and novella I have published all stand alone. They are completely different. One novel and the novella are Contemporary Romance. The other two novels are Romantic Suspense. I have ideas for books two and three that go with each of my first two books. I also have an idea for a full-length book I want to write set in Alaska being tied to the novella. I want my main character in the next book to stay in the Barndominium that is featured in the novella, tying the two stories together, giving readers (and myself) a chance to take a peek into the “current life” of the novella’s characters.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format?
I have written a novella and a short story, but I prefer writing novels. I like the depth and detail of the characters more in the full-length story. The short story was written as a marketing ploy after I released my first book. My bestie suggested I put something out there for free so that readers can “try me on for size” before they put forth money towards a new author. The novella was written so that I could put something out by the end of the year. It is actually something that I’m very proud of, since it was the first book I have actually written from start to finish in 2023. I set a goal for myself and worked hard to achieve it, getting it all done in a couple months.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other?
I tried for traditional, but after a couple rejections and one “This story has some great elements, but I’m sorry our line is already full” I opted for self-publishing. Since I’ve never gone the route of traditional publishing I can’t really speak for it. I have some ideas of how things go, but no first-hand knowledge. I like the freedom of self-publishing. I like the ease of self-publishing. The most challenging part is marketing. Without spending hundreds/thousands of dollars on ads, it makes it hard to be relevant, be timely, be active on the socials to try and get people interested in your book. Interested enough to not just like your promo post but to actually make sales. It’s hard. I haven’t mastered it yet. But I’m trying different methods to see what works best.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have probably a total of ten solid ideas. At least two finished (but completely outdated) and at least two more that are half-finished.
What do you have coming next?
Next, I have a Contemporary Romance titled Back Where You Belong planned for a Feb/Mar release. I just have to finish writing it first 😊 Here’s my working blurb:
Emerson Taylor’s fast-paced New York City financial world comes to a screeching halt when she receives that call. The one that says her mother is sick and she needs to come home. Putting her life on hold isn’t easy for Emerson, but she knows it’s the right thing to do. Finding herself back in her “nowhere hometown” on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, Emerson realizes that this place is actually an amazing, thriving community. For the first time in a long time, she lets herself slow down, step away from the financial world and take in the sights and sounds that she missed when she was hellbent on leaving this small coastal town for the big city the moment she turned eighteen. Emerson also allows feelings to emerge and grow for a handsome man from her past. A sexy man who makes her heart skip a beat and her insides tingle when he tosses his lop-sided smile her way.
Nick Valentino never thought he’d see the love of his life—at age seventeen—ever again. But here she is, back in her hometown for an extended stay. He bumps into her while she’s on multiple first dates with different men. He decides that he can’t let her get away again without at least trying to get to know her, maybe actually even talk to her—unlike he did back when he was seventeen. As an outdoor guide, he encourages her to explore both the beautiful coast around them, as well as a relationship between them that he’s been dreaming about for so long.
When her temporary leave comes to an end, Emerson can’t imagine going back to her busy, fast-paced life in NYC. Being home has changed her. Being among her family again has been heartwarming. She isn’t sure she wants to go back to that crazy life. She’s found her place here in her former hometown. She’s found herself. Will her newfound love of nature and the love she’s found for her bartender/outdoorsman be enough to keep her here? Will she give up the dream career she’s always wanted for a slower-paced life full of love and adventure?