Ivy Smoak is the international bestselling author of The Hunted series. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge watching too many TV shows, taking long walks, playing outside, and generally refusing to act like an adult. She lives with her husband in Delaware. Learn more about Ivy on her website at http://www.ivysmoak.com or you can find her on: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @IvySmoakAuthor

1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?

I have loved reading ever since I was a little kid. I read more than anyone else I knew. Escaping into a book was my favorite pastime. But I never considered being the author behind the words until college. I needed that encouraging push from my boyfriend (now husband) that I could take such a huge leap into the unknown. I knew it was for me when I first started getting good reviews (thanks guys!). The good reviews are what I love the most and knowing that readers love my words. And I love interacting with readers too!

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?

I write mostly new adult romance and romantic suspense. But I also write the occasionally psychological thriller (because I’m crazy like that). At the heart of all my books is a central romance though. I’m in love with love. You can pretty much find me on every social media platform:

Amazon ➜ http://bit.ly/IvySmoakAMZ
Facebook ➜ http://bit.ly/IvySmoakFacebook
Instagram ➜ http://bit.ly/IvySmoakInsta
Website ➜ bit.ly/IvySmoakWebsite
Reader Group ➜ bit.ly/IvySmoakGroup

3) What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on my Empire High series (a high school bully romance). It’s one of my favorite projects ever. It gives you a glimpse of some of my most beloved characters as high schoolers, but it’s also a standalone. It has a little something for everyone and really takes you right back to high school.

4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

Becoming an international bestseller was definitely the most exciting thing. Seeing your books in the top 100 worldwide is such a surreal experience. I’m super ambitious, so in five years I see myself as an all-time bestselling author. I hope to be in the top of all the charts and be hanging out on the red carpet at my movie premiere. We’ll see what happens!

5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?

Rejection is hard, whether it’s a one star review or an agent turning you down. But (and there’s always a but) that’s all fuel to try harder. Which leads to more success. I’ve learned to shake it off.

6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?

I try to aim for 10,000 words a week. But I don’t have a set schedule and I never outline (to the horror of my husband). I just like to write one chapter at a time and see where the characters take me. And at that pace, it usually takes me 2-3 months to write a story. A little more after the editing process.

7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

Absolutely not! Never! I think there’s room in this industry for everyone who has a story in their heart.

8) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was one of my favorite books. The whole series was amazing. Ann Brashares is one of my favorite authors ever. Of course J.K. Rowling is up there too. Right now I’m reading one of Rachel Hollis’ fiction novels because I loved Girl, Stop Apologizing so much. I read everything from non-fiction to thrillers to everything in between. Reading is my greatest love, besides my husband (I love you, Ryan!).

9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?

Hahaha yes! Other writers hate reading their own work? Why? That’s a terrible thing. If I didn’t love what I wrote, I wouldn’t write it. Whenever I write a book it’s because it’s something I would love to read. And I hope other readers will feel the same.

10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?

Right now I’m entirely self-published, minus audio books. And I love the self-publishing industry. I get full control over my own success or failure. I love the accountability of that. But I’m sure I’d feel the same way if I was traditionally published. It’s all about being willing to go with the flow.

11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

All of my female leads are 100% me. All their reactions are exactly how I would react in different situations. I don’t know how it gets more authentic than that. I struggled with self-confidence before I started writing. I was still trying to find myself. And when I first started getting reviews, the one stars hurt so much because I was the characters. But now I can shake it off. I don’t need other people’s approval. I write from the heart and I know that when a reader feels the same emotions as me we’d be friends in real life. The haters, well we wouldn’t get along. They are not my people. Writing has allowed me to find my tribe. It’s made me feel accepted and loved. So thank you to all my readers out there! Thank you for letting me be fearlessly and unabashedly me.