Friday, January 6, 2012

Up Close & Personal with Author – Ingrid Ricks, Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story

Hi Ingrid, where were you born and where do you call home? I was born in Youngstown, Ohio – though I grew up in Logan, a college town in northern Utah.  Seattle is now my home.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?  Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is a true story about a feisty teenage girl who escapes her abusive Mormon stepfather by joining her dad on the road as a tool-selling vagabond – until his arrest forces her to take charge of her life.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say? Ingrid, the main character, would say that regardless of the challenges you face in life, you have the power inside yourself to overcome those challenges and not only survive but thrive.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?  Yes, I’m working on a follow up book about my dad. That book is called Still Standing.  I also have just released a short e-book of essays and stories titled A Little Book of Mormon and Not So Mormon Stories. A longer e-book will be released in the spring.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?
I’ve always known I wanted to write. I started my career as a newspaper journalist and magazine writer and was so passionate about my work. But I eventually moved into marketing communications because the income was better and more certain. In 2004, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that first steals your night vision, then knocks out your peripheral vision, then usually takes what’s left.  It took my fading eyesight to realize that the time to pursue my dream is Now.
How did you come up with the title and cover design?  Hippie Boy is the nickname my dad gave me growing up – and since it’s very much a father/daughter story, it’s the only title that would have ever worked for me. The story is about escaping a suffocating, religious home life by living on the margins as tool-selling vagabond with my free-wheeling dad. I loved the vintage motel sign because I felt it captured our life on the road ,as well as the era (late 70s, early 80s.).

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?  Yes. Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is a memoir and it’s all true.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why? Liar’s Club and The Glass Castle. Hippie Boy deals with similar subject matter and I was impressed that both authors, Mary Karr and Jeannette Walls, were able to write their personal stories so that they read like novels and really come alive for readers. 

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Yes, Maya Angelou!!!

Do you prefer eBooks, paperbacks or hardcover? I prefer eBooks, because I love the immediate, global reach they offer.  I also love that they are affordable for the reader. Paperbacks are my second preference, again, because it’s a less expensive option than hardcover and enables me to get a printed version to readers who prefer print.

Where do you prefer to buy your books? Since getting my Kindle – Amazon Kindle Store!

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?  Yes. I was with a great agent for a year. After experiencing the fast-crumbling world of traditional publishing up close, I decided to part ways with my agent and strike out on my own. And I’m SO GLAD I did.

Have you ever read a book more than once? Sure. I reread my favorite books all the time.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version? The English Patient.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? I’m reading The Help,

What book do you know that you will never read?  Twilight. I really respect what Stephanie Meyer has accomplished. It’s just not my genre.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why? No.  I’m very proud of it.

Who designed the cover of your book? Juli Saeger Russell, an amazing designer (and really cool friend, too).

Do you have a book trailer? Not yet, though my nine- and twelve-year-old daughters are working on one for me.

What are your thoughts on book trailers? I think they’re great – a way to bring books to life.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Keep WRITING.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing? If you want to write; write.  I’m pretty sure I got that from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones

Do you write under a pen name? No.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s? Sweats, shorts, old jeans.

What are your pet peeves? Negative People.

Cats or dogs? No. My daughter has a hamster, though.  Her name’s Vanilla.

White wine or red? White.

Coffee or tea? COFFEE!!

Favorite food?  Hmmm…at the moment I’m craving Tater Tots.

Vanilla or chocolate icecream? Neither.

What do you normally eat for breakfast? Hard-boiled Eggs.

What are 4 things you never leave home without? Laptop, iPhone, coffee, keys

Laptop or desktop for writing? Laptop

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing? My local coffee shop – weekday afternoons after I’ve knocked out my client work.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you? Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, John Lennon (assuming I could bring him back).

One of your favorite quotes: “By the mile it’s a trial, by the yard it’s hard, but by the inch, it’s a cinch.” – My dad.

List 3 of your all time favorite books? Liar’s Club; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; The Glass Castle

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed? Movie: The Debt.  TV Show: Survivor.

Where can your readers stalk you?

My web site:

Ebook link on Amazon

Is your book in Print, ebook or both? Both.

Paperback link on Amazon

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me, it has been fun, and allowing us a glimpse into your writing word.  I hope you share this interview with your friends so we can all get to know you a little better.  Patti

Thank you, Patti!!  I’ll definitely share the interview, and your site, with the universe (or everyone I know in it anyway!) Best, Ingrid

Book Review by Maya Fleischmann for 2012

Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is a young girl’s coming of age story showing her struggles as she grows up with a religious fanatic mother, a step-father she can’t stand and the man she idealizes – her father.

Ingrid has always had an idealized view of her father. He has always been her freedom from her mother who is ruled by her blind faith to her religion to the point she can’t see the harm she is doing to herself and her family. Even after her parents are divorced, Ingrid escapes with her traveling salesman father every summer and does her best to support his dreams to become a self-made millionaire. When Ingrid’s mother marries Earl, life at home is filled with “tension and depression” and Ingrid’s father becomes even more important to her, despite his faults and the fact that Ingrid’s acknowledges that “a familiar voice inside me was screaming, berating me for needing and loving him so much.” But Ingrid’s father symbolizes freedom and his promise to provide his children with cars when they turn 16 years old instead of paying child support is a physical manifestation of this freedom that he gives his children. It is not until Ingrid’s father teaches her how to drive that she gets her own sense of independent freedom. And, with this freedom and independence comes perspective and a slow disillusionment and realization of her father’s flaws.

Though the story deals with some difficult topics such as dysfunctional families, author, Ingrid Ricks has created a compelling character in Ingrid, who in spite of all her turmoil manages to maintain her optimism and faith in life. Ricks also effectively captures the struggle of the other female characters, revealing how they are transformed when they are released from the situations that oppress them. Ingrid’s mother, once away from her “nightmarish struggle” with Earl, becomes a new woman – tired but happy. Once Connie has her car and can physically leave the household she tells Ingrid: “It was like this crushing weight I had lived with for so long was just suddenly gone. I felt so free. And so happy.” The growth and transformation of these three women is contrasted with that of Ingrid’s father, who Ingrid finally realizes is not the independent, brilliant and insightful man she believed him to be.

Ricks’ writing is powerful and evocative. Her detailed and revealing descriptions get to the core of her characters and the story, for example with the opening line of the story: “I should have slammed the door in Earl’s face.” Also, her confrontation with Earl unleashes a side of Ingrid that had been buried:

“The phone crashed to the ground just as Earl’s fist connected with my stomach. His punch
was like fuel, stoking the hate burning through my body.” I felt my fingers curl into tight fists
and swing back at him, four years of rage packed inside them.”

Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story is a moving and inspiring story of a teenage girl who is rises above the constraints of her oppressive family life. 

Five stars.

Competition expired February 2012


  1. I love your questions Patti, they are so refreshingly original. You guest's memoir sounds wonderful.
    I absolutely appreciate the copy of your book, thank you so much and for the lovely comment on my blog today:

  2. Ingrid's writing is inspiring, to the "truth of it", and so enjoyable. She is not to be missed! Great interview!!!

  3. Ebook Expert is an Australian owned and operated website that specialists in ebook readers such as the Amazon Kindle.We are hoping to adapt to the
    ebook market in Australia and grow with it.

    Kindle Australia

  4. I have to say reading the 1st Chapter on scribd - I am hooked. CanI win this ebook? I hope so.
    A memoir is my favorite genre.


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