Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's get to know Award-Winning Author Ica Iova

Today we will be spending some quality time with Award Winning Author Ica Iova.  Ica is the author of several books; two of which are award winners.  She Never Got To Say Goodbye, won bronze at World's Best Story, 2015, and Boundaries, was a finalist at WBS, 2014.
Ica writes what she enjoys reading. In her novels, she brings to life powerful, gripping relationships and fascinating characters to which readers can relate.

Let’s get this interview started.

First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to give this interview.  As an author’s time is sometimes limited, I appreciate your graciousness to squeeze me in. LOL
Oh, as always it’s my pleasure to talk with you, Linda. Thank you for having me.

 I’m sure the readers would love to have a little background on you.  Would you mind sharing what inspired you to become a writer?
I grew up an only child and most days I had to use my imagination to entertain myself. That was really where it all began. Reading was a requirement not a choice in my family. From a young age, my parents tried to instill in me the importance of education, and slowly, I discovered the magic of creating worlds and happy endings. I’ve been told I was a born storyteller. I wrote various stories, I “fixed” some stories written by famous writers, giving them happy endings or different outcomes, but I only began publishing in 2012. Since then I’ve published several books, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I’ve had various jobs during my lifetime, and I was successful at all of them, but it is writing that lights my fire.

Please share with us how you develop your story ideas and your wonderful characters.
It usually begins with a word I hear or something I see. I like to listen, to observe people. Some might call it weird.  I call it my greatest journalistic tool. That is how I create my characters. It’s how I make the dialog in my books sound realistic.

What is the most exciting thing that has happened so far in your writing career?
2015 was a great year for me. One of my short stories, The Ring, was published in a collection of short stories written by Canadian authors, titled “Wherever We Roam.” The book is now part of the national collection at Library and Archives Canada for preservation in Canada’s documentary history. Also in 2015 She Never Got To Say Goodbye won bronze at World’s Best Story. When the announcement was made, I think I jumped even before my brain registered why.

Please tell us a bit about your books.
As you stated above, I write what I enjoy reading, which is a blend of everything. I love writing romantic stories. Most of my books begin with romance, then, BOOM, I throw the reader into an abyss of suspense and thrill. In other words, I like keeping my readers at the edge of their seats.

If you had to choose, which one is your favorite and why?
I’d like to think I have come a long way since I held my first book in my hands. As you can imagine I have an emotional attachment to each one of them; they are a part of me—part of my flourishing as an author, but if I had to choose, it would be the Resiliency series. Resilience and Unsung Victims hold my heart not only because it was my first published story, but because it was inspired by someone near and dear to my heart. 

I’ve read your book She Never Got To Say Goodbye and enjoyed it greatly.  Please share with us how the idea for that book came about.
I woke up one morning with the words, She Never Got To Say Goodbye, taking tours around my mind. I had no idea where they came from, but a plot had already begun to sprout in my brain, and I thought, hmm, why not? I sat down, and I began outlining parts of the brainstorm, fully believing that it would make a great contemporary crime/suspense/thriller. Once I had everything planned—or at least I thought I did—the words started pouring and, almost like a spectator, I watched chapter after chapter taking shape, until I realized that I had killed my protagonist, Olivia. That was nowhere in my plan. I know this might sound cliché, but it was almost as if my characters didn’t like my plot, and taking matters into their own hands, they had decided to go in a totally different direction. So, Olivia came back from the dead to find justice for her premature death.

You’ve also Co-Authored a book with your granddaughter.  Can you share with us how that came to be and tell us about the book?
For years, my granddaughter, who turns 13 this month, sat quietly beside me as I was writing and observed. When she was 9-years old, she began saying she would write a book. “What should I write about, Grandma?” she asked. I knew she loved writing poems so I encouraged her to write a story that she would enjoy reading. She began writing a fantasy titled The Moon. I watched her develop a fantastic plot about a little girl who wanted to visit the moon. In 2015 she told me she wants to write a book about bullying, and she wants me to be a coauthor. I immediately agreed, and we began researching. We had a blast. Watching her get excited every time we completed another chapter was priceless.

Bullying is such a difficult subject because of the social ramifications.  How has the reading public received the book?
The book has received positive reviews—including one from Readers’ Favorite. Though the book is very short, our readers seem to appreciate the challenge of writing about such a difficult topic.

Please give us a sneak peek of your current Work-in-Progress.
My pleasure, but remember that it is unedited. In fact, it is a rough, rough copy. Here comes: Angelic Measures by Ica Iova

Chapter 1 
“Don’t do it, Luke.”
He jerked, simultaneously whirling toward the voice. The ground beneath his feet gave way in a frenzy of flailing arms colliding with a hard object. A small gasp escaped his lips, tearing him away from the dream. The few seconds before impact seemed like an eternity.
What the—?
Cold air pushed against his bare chest as he hit the floor with a loud thump. Bile surged in his throat. He swallowed hard—his tongue seemingly stuck to the roof of his mouth. He tried to pry his eyelids open. The world rushed in a blur at the invasion of light, sending stabs of pain in his temples. Hurriedly, he closed his eyes, but somehow, he had a feeling the best was yet to come.
Sheltering his land-filled eyes with his hand, he tried to block the shards of light dancing through the blinds—his blinds. For long moments he didn’t move, anything to delay a searing headache and the full knowledge that he had just fallen out of his bed.
As his vision slowly adjusted to the light, a terrible stench invaded his nose, and with horror, he realized his breath was the cause. He’d been drinking, again. Ugh! Why? His teeth clattered noisily with disgust. He’d been sober almost two months. What happened?
His alarm clock began to shout its usual, The Black Eyed Peas. He swore the song could wake up dead people. From his floor perspective, all but knocking everything in his way, he patted the bedside table in an attempt to silence it. He found it, finally, and halted the annoying music; then he checked the time.
In the morning? Shit!
He jolted to a sitting position, fully awake. He had to be at the hospital in an hour. A gentle swaying of the space weirdly continued to churn his gut, and with some difficulty, he stood on wobbly feet. He and alcohol did not go well together. Never had, he thought, pressing two fingers to his hammering temples. Not in large amounts, anyway. How many drinks had he had, he wondered while using the bed frame to pull himself up?
Once he assumed the perpendicular position, he sluggishly stretched his arms above his head, the simple action stirring his headache, and his stomach, even more. Momentarily, he searched his brain. How could he have fallen off the wagon? Only two days ago his AA sponsor had praised him, and now his brain felt like scrambled eggs, annoying the hell out of him.
Okay, okay, calm down and think, he instructed, trying to gather his scattered notions of yesterday. Thinking hurt. Muddled thoughts mingled and rushed through his head like a hurricane, leaving nothing but debris behind.
Coffee. Life begins after coffee. “Dr. Lukas Marshal needs some caffeine fix,” he mumbled just as a whooshing sound came from the general direction of the living room.
What the hell?
He lived alone. Did someone break into his apartment? His fingers closed on the baseball bat he kept behind his door. Flattening himself against the wall, he listened as the swishing continued. His back still compressed against the wall, he tiptoed down the dark and narrow hallway toward the living room. Craning his neck to peek around the corner, he lifted the bat prepared to strike, and almost collided with Josh.
“Whoa! Easy there, Champ?” his best friend said, eyeing the baseball bat in Luke’s hand.
Josh’s tone expressed reproach. It was the only time he called him that. Why? What was he doing here, anyway? Better yet, how had he entered the apartment?
Good question. Josh’s clothes were wrinkled as if he’d slept in them. His detective shield tightly attached at his waist glinted in the light.
Luke knit his brows together, trying to puzzle out the hazy memory that was trying to surface. He stood there struggling to, at least, get his brain to engage in a rational inquiry, but all that came out was, “Why are you here? Did I call the police?”
Josh cast a reproachful glance that quickly changed into a phony smile. “Are you always this sweet when you wake up?”
“How did you get inside?” Luke asked, ignoring his friend’s odd behavior and attempt to lighten up his mood.
“T’s nice to see you back to your old, grumpy self. And to answer your question, you let me in, Champ.”
More reproach, and again, Luke wondered why. He and Josh were more than friends; they were like brothers. Twin brothers if their personalities and looks were ignored—Luke had dark hair, blue eyes, Josh had blond hair, brown eyes; Luke was calm and calculated, Josh was rebellious, doing everything on impulse.
Luke’s parents died buried under the ashes of Mount St. Helens. His dad a photographer for Vancouver Sun, and his mom an artist had wanted to photograph and paint the volcano. They had died doing what they loved when the volcano erupted. Or perhaps serendipity had a twisted sense of humor and began taking away Luke’s loved ones when he was just a baby.
His maternal grandmother, Rose, had picked up the pieces and raised him. She was the most kind, gentle person, Luke had ever known, but she was no spring chicken anymore. That was where Josh’s family came in, taking over the parental duties where his grandmother couldn’t—football games, field trips, even homework.
Three generations of Monroes gathered daily around a seven-foot table to eat and discuss various issues. In spite of ribbing each other as a result of differing viewpoints, Josh’s family—including his pain-in-the-ass little sister, Lyla—were loving, and they included Luke as one of their own. Their home was his home, filling in the void where his parents used to be. So what the hell had he done or said last night to piss Josh off?
Probably sensing the internal battle going in his head, Josh reached into his pocket and pulled out his Samsung Galaxy S6. With a worried frown, he handed it to Luke. “Read the texts. I think they pretty much cover your questions.”
Reluctantly, Luke took the phone, his stomach hardening into a ball of nerves. Blood roared through his body, pounding in his ears as he browsed through the messages.
9:05 PM Marshal: I called u want to say bye.
9:06 PM Josh: where r u going?
9:09 PM Marshal: 2 join her
9:10 PM Josh: who?
9:13 PM Marshal: Sarah
A slow burn started in Luke’s chest. Clipped, but razor-sharp memories began to roll in short pants as if scanning through random scenes from an old movie. The expanse of blue water stretching in front of him to the horizon. The sound of powerful waves crashing against the crumbling rocks below, and sending white spray high in the air. The sound of the angry swellings colliding with cries of seagulls swooping in frenzied dives to feed on the marine fish scattered on the shore.
New Brighton Park.
The name dredged up memories of him and Sarah sitting on that edge, legs crossed, voices muted. Oh, how much they had enjoyed that view. Between the squawks above and the splashes below, the sounds of the city always disappeared. They’d liked the feeling of peacefulness and solitude, of being out there all alone with nature.
More memories rushed in and pain pulled at his heartstrings. “Relax, it’s just a blind date,” Josh had told him. “If you don’t like her, you can walk away, but I have a feeling you will.”
He did. Tough learning about her military background and how, by working in the police force, she could kick his ass, he’d acted like a bumbling idiot. She’d giggled—the most musical giggle he’d ever heard. Seeing the dumb look on his face, no doubt, she’d become serious. “Oh, come on; I only hurt bad guys,” she’d assured him, then burst the bubble of laughter she had tried to hold back.
They’d begun dating, but he thought she was so far out of his league that it would never work. She’d proved him wrong, and the day they married was the happiest if his life. That was six years ago, almost to the day. But now she was gone forever.
Don’t do it, Luke.
Abruptly, the words sliced through his memories. The child’s voice… The voice that had sounded somewhere outside himself, out beyond his throbbing pain… That was not only in his dream.
That was it. He remembered. The voice.
He’d gone to New Brighton Park to end his life when soft laughter—child’s laughter—seemingly floating around him, had stopped him. He’d seen no one when he turned around, yet the laughter felt real. No, it couldn’t be. It was probably part of his cluttered mind. A subconscious rejection of the decision he’d made.
Wait a minute…why am I still here? Luke wondered with panic. How was it that one moment he was standing on the edge of the seawall, ready to end his pain, and the next he was in his bed—or falling out of it, Jack and Jill style. Time seemed to stop, and he groaned as he ventured a glance at his friend, trying to figure out how much he knew. How much of his plan had he told him last night?
Josh made a circular motion through the air with a finger, indicating he should continue reading the messages. With a long sigh, Luke followed his friend’s silent order.
9:13 PM Josh: U drinking?
9:18 PM Marshal: Yea. I cleer now.
9:18 PM Josh: where r u?
9:19 PM Josh: Luke! Where the hell r u?
9:21 PM Marshal: Hav drink B4 go
So he had called Josh last night. Still, he had a thousand more unanswered questions as he thumbed through the messages.
9:21 PM Josh: where r u?
9:23 PM Marshal: the hole
9:23 PM Josh: Pat’s Pub?
9:27 PM yea
Okay, so that explains the drinking binge, he thought with a stab of resentment. Pat’s Pub was a night club on East Hastings that he and Josh used to frequent years ago. They had named it The Hole for the dimness inside.
How the hell did I end up there? I haven’t been to that place in years.
Raking a hand through his, no doubt, disheveled hair, he continued to read the messages while pushing his brain to remember something—anything—of what went on.
9:27 PM Josh: stop drinking. Be there in half.
9:30 PM Marshal: oly have scoch
9:30 PM Josh: On my way. WAIT 4 ME THERE!
9:35 PM Marshal: ont worry bout it
9:35 PM Josh: Just stay there.
“Do you know what I think?” Josh said when Luke finished reading.
No. He wasn’t in the mood for guessing games. What he really, really wanted to know was how the hell had he gone from there to here, but he had a feeling Josh didn’t hold all the answers. “The question is, do I want to hear what you think? The answer is no. But I have a feeling you’ll give it to me anyway.” Josh didn’t say anything, seemingly giving Luke a moment to compose himself. “Man, my brain is too fogged up to solve puzzles so if you’ve got something to say, say it.”
“Fair enough,” Josh said at last. “What do you suppose Sarah would say about this?”
Ah-ha. Evidently, Josh knew more than Luke would’ve wanted. Okay, so that explained two things. One, why he was still alive, and two, why Josh was here. Clearly, Josh had rushed to him, interrupting his plans, and then stayed with him to ensure he didn’t try anything stupid. Pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, he brushed the other hand through his hair.
“You’re awfully quiet for someone who had so much to say last night,” Josh added.
What had he told him? Luke chewed on his lip, trying to find something smart to say. “You know what they say; it’s better to remain silent and appear stupid, than talk and remove all doubt.” That was the best you could come up with?
Josh seemed to be on the same page. “Excellent choice of words, Champ! Glad you see this from my perspective.” There came the reproach, this time, dipped in sarcasm. “Luke, you’ve been there for me all these years, kicking my ass to keep me out of trouble. I’m telling you this as a friend, who for a change, is trying to save your ass; I know you’re still struggling with Sarah’s loss, but man, what the hell were you thinking? She loved you; she would have never wanted to see you like this.”
Afraid to witness more disappointment sprouting on his friend’s face, Luke dropped his gaze. It was long past time to grieve, Josh had told him time and again. What he hadn’t told him was who made the rules, and why he’d only been granted one year.
Somehow, now he knew. Unexpectedly, Luke saw everything with a clarity he’d never had before. A shaky sort of clarity that staggered at first, but then slowly steadied itself. Josh had a point. For over thirty years, Luke had been the one always trying to keep his wild and rebellious friend out of trouble. But in the last year, the places were switched. Josh probably did everything in his limited power just to keep Luke from falling in the proverbial bottomless pit. He must have worked at least as hard to keep Luke alive, as Luke worked to end his life.
And Josh was right about one more thing; Sarah had fallen in love with a man who was strong, funny, the highbrow of the group. Now, he was none of those things. He was nothing but an emotional mess. If anything, she would be ashamed of him.
The thought shook him.
Sarah loved life. She loved nature. She loved people. She appreciated all the little things in life—things money couldn’t buy. She found happiness in other people’s joy. Instead of celebrating her life—the life she loved—he was tarnishing her memory. No wonder Josh was so upset with him.
He glanced up at his friend. Only one unanswered question remained, one he knew his friend couldn’t answer, but he had to ask. “Do you know how I ended up at The Hole?
Josh shook his head. “No, I guess to drown your—”
After he had dropped Skyler and…
Josh’s words faded and disappeared into Luke’s new recollection.
Bingo! Skyler.
Puzzle solved. That was what—or who—had made him leave New Brighton Park.

As authors, we all dream of our books being made into a movie.  Which of your books do you feel would be a great movie and who would you see starring in it.
I think Resilience would make a great movie. One reviewer said it was a movie waiting to happen. It has a contemporary plot—divorce, and it’s implications—which affect half of the globe’s population, imagine that. Having said that, I truly believe every one of my books would make a great movie, and because they all have hints of romance and humor with a touch of sarcasm, my two most favorite actors, Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, would be at the top of my list.

I know the readers often wonder what we do behind the scenes while writing.  Can you give us an idea of a normal writing session for you?
I like quiet when I write. Though I have the capability to zone out completely, I prefer silence around me. It’s when I’m most inspired. I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive husband. Once I start writing (and if I have a good day where words flow freely) he cooks and cleans (when he’s home) so I write for 10-14 hours straight, with very few brakes. If he’s not home, I survive on sandwiches and coffee. Once I finish my first draft, I take a break for a day or so then I come back with fresh eyes to editing and rewrites.

When you write do you use an outline or just write as it comes to you?
I like to outline my ideas, but the outcome is rarely what I had planned. Once I start writing, the characters take a life of their own and guide me, sometimes on a totally different path.

Okay, last question.  What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I had already reached my goal when I penned my first story in English—a language that is my second language. From here on, every new achievement is a bonus. The sky is the limit.

I’d like to thank Ica for taking the time to let us get to know her better.

It was my pleasure and thank you for allowing me to pour my heart out. Someone once said, (and I can’t remember who) that writing is a solitary occupation, and one of its hazards is loneliness. I can’t say I feel lonely because I have my family, my kids, my grandkids, but I always loved interacting with my friends and readers. My greatest reward is receiving feedback from my readers. I listen to what they have to say because I want to improve my writing, it is how I improve my writing, so if someone reads my book, please consider leaving an honest review. It would be greatly appreciated.

I’d also like to let everyone know that Ica was our guest on Deadly Reads Radio-Journey into the Night this last October for our debut show.  We had such a good time and Ica was so patient with us since Lisa and I were a nervous wreck.  We hope she will come back and spend the evening with us in the future.
Aww, thank you for that. You and Lisa were great hosts, and I enjoyed being on your show. I’ll definitely consider coming back, once I clear my plate.

Thank you again, and best of luck in your writing career.

If you’d like to get to know Ica better, you can follow her on:


  1. Wonderful interview with an author who is a plotting genius. I love her writing and look forward to the next book, Angelic Measures. Through this interview, I learned so much about you, Ica.

    1. Yes, Ica is not only talented, but is also a wonderful person. Thank you for dropping by and showing your support for Ica.