Thursday, August 6, 2009

Silver Screen Heroes

Please welcome Ilona Fridl!

She's one of my WisRWA chapter mates (No, I never lived in Wisconsin, but I-90 runs through it and my other two chapters are in Boston and Seattle at opposite ends of that long stretch. I thought a stop-over in the Midwest would be nice!). Ilona's first book is out now and it only took her two manuscripts to be published. (Took me three!)As always when I have a guest, my words are in bold and Ilona's are in

Here's what Ilona had to say about her SILVER SCREEN HEROES:

What happens when a motion picture studio in 1920 is taken over by a crime family who wants to use it to make illegal liquor? Addy and Zeke, a stunt double and a director's assistant, work with the police to bring these gangsters to justice. One problem, Addy's cousin is married into the crime family. Addy has been given a key to bring down the family and the studio. Will she use it?

Sounds like you've got plenty of excitement there, Ilona. Your story SILVER SCREEN HEROES is set in the roaring 20's, filled with gangsters and bootleg hooch and silent movie stars. What sort of research did you do and what's the most interesting thing you ran across, whether you were able to use it in your book or not?

I've always been interested in the movie industry since I was a child. I guess growing up in the Los Angeles area fostered that. I remember a studio crew filming on our street when I was four or five. We had the old silent comedies on TV in the fifties. I carried that with me when I started research on Silver Screen Heroes.

I read about the making of films in early Hollywood. I put in the book about the rain machines which was just hoses of water sprayed into large fans. On a special on PBS about Mary Pickford, I heard some studios had music played while they filmed, so I incorporated that into the story. I checked the timelines out on the internet to find the songs and movies that were popular at the time. I did some reading on prohibition and found out that if you purchased liquor before the law went into effect and stored it, that was all right. So Addy's Aunt and Grandma had brandy to put into mince pies and fruit cake.

LOL! The letter of the law means you might be able to use the spirits, huh? Can you tell us about your writing process?

I work on writing as much as I can. Right now, I spent time promoting my first book in the series, I am doing edits for the second book, Golden North, and writing the third book, Bronze Skies. I devote, at minimum, four hours a day. When I start a book, I make notes of what I want in it then fill it in. I find the character sometimes have their own ideas and I switch or change things to accommodate them.

You take notes, Ilona? Ah, to be so organized! Every writer is a reader. Whose work inspired you to become a writer?

An early influence was Lousia Mae Alcott. I read all three books in the March Family series countless times.

Me too! Loved Little Women. I was so Jo!

Strangely enough, Ray Bradbury was a big influence in my teenage years. His stories were so imaginative that I was engrossed for hours. I wanted to write stories like that.

My DH is a big sci-fi fan, but he likes Asimov. And just for grins, what's on your bedside table right now?

Right now, I'm reading Kept by D J Taylor. It's a mystery set in Victorian England. I love mysteries.

Just so my readers can get to know you a little better, Ilona, please tell us about yourself.
I'm a real baby boomer who was born in West Hollywood, California. One of my loves growing up was the movies. I remember seeing silent comedies on the local TV during the fifties.

I've always loved to write, but didn't get my act together until around ten years ago. I never got along with typewriters. Then the magic PC came along. I sent short stories to magazines and, amazingly, sold some. I now live in Wisconsin and have to give my undying respect to Kathie Giorgio of AllWriters who pulled an author out of this hack writer. And a big thank you to Diane who convinced me to go to the workshop she took.

I give my love to my husband, Mark, who tends to put up with my flights of fancy. (And for my own PC. Thank you, love!) I also have my Mom, my daughter, Micki and her daughter, Brie, who make up my cheering section.

It means a lot to a writer to have that kind of support. If you'd like to learn more, please visit Ilona on her website. and here is the link to Buy Silver Screen Heroes

Thanks for visiting today, Ilona. She is providing either an e-copy or a print version of SILVER SCREEN HEROES to someone who leaves a comment or question for her today. So let us know you're here! I personally would love to hear about her gangster villains.


Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Congratulations on the release, Ilona! As one movie junkie to another, I'm looking forward to reading this. :)

Edie Ramer said...

Congratulations, Ilona! I've always been fascinated by the 1920's. An amazing decade. I've long thought we should have more books in this period. Especially romance.

EmilyBryan said...

Stacey-- I love movies, too. But they have to be the right sort. Deliver me from bathroom humor!

Edie--I agree. The 1920's was a tumultuous period. Fresh from the War to End All Wars, the country went a little crazy in spots. Makes for a great backdrop for a story because conflict already lives there.

Jane L said...

Finally!! I am so excited to read your new book! I Love the 20's and also agree with Edie, there should be more stories written in this time period! So from Hollywood to Wisconsin, that is quite the change LOL! I live in Minnesota! Thanks for sharing!

Emma Lai said...

Love the Roaring 20s. What a great setting for a book! Congrats, Ilona!

Ilona Fridl said...

Hi, Stacey!
Thanks for the congrats! By the way, I finished Chasin' Mason and it was a great read!

Hi, Edie!
I've found the twenties were as revolutionary as the sixties. I think people tend to forget that.

I was twenty-two when I moved to Wisconsin. Now I have a grandaughter that's nearing seventeen. That's what I get for meeting my husband here! No, I haven't a great love of winters, but I've learned how to handle them.

Ilona Fridl said...

Thank you, Emma Lai!
I agree it was an interesting time period.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Congratulations, Ilona! Dorothy Garlock writes in this time period, and I've always been such a big fan of hers. I have no doubt Silver Screen Heroes will do fantastic!

And I already bought my download, so don't worry about putting me in the drawing. :-)

EmilyBryan said...

Emma-One of the things that intrigues me about the 1920's was the changes for women. Hemlines rose. Hair was bobbed. It wasn't the women's lib that came later, but it was definitely a time for women to stretch the limits put on them.

Donna--Thanks for stopping by to support a Ilona!

Cheeky Girl said...

Congrats Ilona! The 20's is a fasinating time period to set a story in and the hollywood spin makes it that much more interesting!


Ilona Fridl said...

Thank you, Donna!
You have to let me know what you think of it. I appreciate your support!

The book was fun to write. I personally love action stories, so I put a lot of that in the book.

Mary Ricksen said...

Congratulations Ilona! Sell a ton. I can't wait to read it!

Ilona Fridl said...

Thank you, Mary!
Your support means a lot!

Jennifer Ross said...

I am intrigued by the 1920s, but I don't seem to have found the time to really learn about it. So this story sounds awesome to me. Learn a little while enjoying an exciting read. That's what I love about historical romance!

Ilona Fridl said...

I found when I was in school, I loved doing research and those were the days before PCs. I remember sitting at the library with stacks of books to go through.

Skhye said...

Wow, what wonderful research! You'll have to come over to my blog,, and tell us more about your research! Silver Screen Heroes sounds like a fabulous read.

Ilona Fridl said...

Thanks, Skhye,
I'll get in touch with you.


Good luck with the book.


Debra St. John said...

Hi Ilona. I love the titles of your books. The gold, silver, bronze theme. Congrats on your first release! It sounds like a clever concept.

Ilona Fridl said...

Thank you for your good wishes!

I didn't realize I had that metal theme until I was thinking about a title for the third book. (I'm still working on that one.) One of my friends mention it should have a "metal" title, too.

Thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog. I appreciate being on your space to promote my book.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ilona,
Nice interview. I'm a "baby boomer"too. I still love some of the old black and white movies that we got on TV in the middle of the night. I had a shocking tooth ache one night and couldn't sleep because of the pain. I had to sit up most of the night,at 2 and 3 in the morning, they have some fabulous black and white "golden oldies"on. Even as I was groaning in agony, I enjoyed watching them. It was almost worth the pain. Ouch


EmilyBryan said...

Thanks to everyone who let us know you were here. The winner of Ilona's give away will be announced very soon!

Thanks so much for visiting me, Ilona!

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi, Ilona!

I also agree with Edie. The 20's was one of the most fascinating decades. When asked if I could go back in time what era would I pick? I'm always torn between medieval and the 20's!!!!

Can't wait to read Silver Screen Heroes! Congratulations!