Ilima Todd's debut novel, Remake, was released a couple of weeks ago. It was a well-written book with a unique premise. My review can be found here. Continue reading to learn more about Ilima and how she created the world of Remake.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, kids,etc)?
I’m a full-time mom with four kids. I’ve homeschooled for over ten years now, so that keeps
me super busy. If I have any spare time beyond writing and keeping the house running, I like
to read. I used to sew and spend time decorating my house, but I’m afraid those moments are
fewer now. I have a degree in physics and used to teach high school algebra, tutor math, and
teach tap dance.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Not until a few years ago. I always wanted to write a book just to say I did, so in 2010 I made
a new year’s resolution to do just that. It wasn’t until I actually started writing that a fire lit
within me and I was addicted. I didn’t want to stop writing—it made me happy in a way no
other ‘hobby’ ever did. So when that first book was done, I wrote another, then another, then
another. I think this writing fever is here to stay.
Can you describe your typical writing routine?
When I get an idea, I think about it for months and months until a simple story forms in my
mind. Then I sit down and start plotting the entire thing. This will usually take at least a month,
and then I write the first chapter and revise it until it’s just right, which takes about another
month. At that point I usually draft the rest of the story in a few weeks of writing fury followed
by months or years revising on my own, then with critique partners, then with my agent, and
finally with my editor.
Do you have any habits you have to do while writing?
I definitely need music to write. My favorite go-to band is M83, though it usually varies book
to book. For example, one of my works in progress is set in the south, and I listen to bluegrass
when I work on that one. I also get most of my writing done late at night when everyone’s
asleep, so you can usually find a bottle of Diet Coke on my desk.
Have you ever written a character that resembles you?
I think each of my characters resemble me in one way or another, though many times I don’t
recognize it until I’m done and take a step back from the book. This makes for a very insecure
feeling when I share my stories, but it also makes it personal and fulfilling too. The same thing
goes for others in my life. When my sisters-in-law read Remake, they all told me one of the
characters was sooo my husband. So be careful what you do or say around me...you may end
up in my novel. Haha.
What are some important qualities in remaining sane as a writer?
Though it’s really hard at times, I try not to compare myself to other writers or their work. It’s
easy to read the beautiful polished writing in a published book and feel discouraged when you
compare it to the rough first draft you’re currently writing, which is countless revisions away
from the final product. Also, you have to be patient to be a writer. The publishing industry is
very slow. I suggest keeping busy by distracting yourself with another project to keep your mind
off things out of your control.
Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
Find critique partners and attend writing conferences. Being a writer is a very stressful and
emotionally-draining occupation, and it can be a lonely one. When you interact with others
who ‘get it’ you’re more likely to endure through all the ups and downs that come along with it.
You’ll also learn so much about writing craft and how to improve your own writing.
I’m excited for the release of Remake. Was there an event or thought that sparked an idea for
My family is my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. But for this book, that’s exactly
what I did. I tried to imagine what the world would be like without families, and Nine’s world
grew from there. It was interesting (and scary) to think about how the absence of families
would affect an individual, a community, and the world society.
Will Remake have a sequel?
Yes! I’ve been working on it non-stop and am super excited about it. The series will likely be
three books total.
Can you tell us a little bit about your next project?
Besides the Remake books, I have a number of other projects in various stages of development,
but the one I’m most excited about is set in a future where the monetary system has collapsed
and everything is bartered or traded—including people (like my main character). It’s very
culture-rich with strong themes of self-worth and beauty. I’m itching to start working on it
Thank you, Ilima! I appreciate you taking the time to help us get to know you better!