Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Part II Interview with Ingrid Ricks, author of Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story

Hello again, everyone! Ingrid Ricks had so many fascinating answers to my questions that it was two blogs worth! Here is part two of the interview. Enjoy and sign up to win a signed copy of her wonderful book, Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story!
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Ingrid Ricks is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who focuses on overcoming adversity and embracing life. Ingrid lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters. She is also the author of A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories.

1) I think it's wonderful that you are working with at risk teens to write about their own stories. Can you tell us a little more about your partnership with high schools and your writing workshops for these teens? 
In December, a high school teacher at an alternative high school near Seattle contacted me. She told me Hippie Boy was the perfect book for her students and asked if I wanted to form an author partnership. I jumped at the opportunity because even before publishing Hippie Boy, I envisioned using it as a tool to connect with at-risk teens. Hippie Boy is about a girl who is always trying to escape her life until finds her voice and realizes she has the power within to face down her challenges and claim the life she wants for herself. This is the focus of the writing workshop we started. We use Hippie Boy as a reading/writing guide to help teens reclaim their power by finding their voice and sharing their stories in a narrative nonfiction format. Our first month-long workshop had such a powerful impact on the students that we helped those who were interested in going further to publish their stories in a compelling true story collection (just released) titled “We Are Absolutely Not Okay: Fourteen Stories by Teenagers Who Are Picking Up the Pieces.  

2) A related question. How did the experience of writing this book inspire you to start working with teenagers?
A year ago, I was invited to share my story on an hour-long podcast. It was so empowering and validating to share my story. At least a dozen women posted comments noting that they had experienced something similar and that it helped them to know that they weren’t alone. That’s when I realized how powerful personal storytelling is. Working with at-risk teens was a natural fit because I understand where they are coming from and recognize that by finding their voice and sharing their stories, they can reclaim their power and a create a happy, healthy adult life for themselves.

3) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Yes – WRITE EVERY DAY. Writing is hard work and it’s so easy to get discouraged and make excuses for not doing it. I worked on Hippie Boy sporadically for more than ten years. Finally I gave myself permission to go after my dream and made writing Hippie Boy my priority. Within six months, I had a finished manuscript. That experience taught me a valuable lesson: Dreams don’t become reality without constant, continued action.

4) What is your next project?
I’m working on a memoir called Focus. Eight years ago, at my first ever visit to an eye doctor, I learned that I suffered from a devastating degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa and that I was already legally blind. Focus is about my journey with RP, and about learning to see what matters and make every moment count. I plan to publish it in September.


  1. I would like to thank you for an apsolutely fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading and reviewing. I also would like to add that your reviews on amazon on various other books are most helpful and insightful. thank you x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  2. I love that Ingrid works with students at an alternative high school! I'll be starting a new job at an alternative high school this fall and I can't wait to explore new ideas (hopefully such as working with authors) to engage with the kids. I know we're working on a digital storytelling project that should be great and I'd love to introduce them to biographies and memoirs that they can in some way relate to. :)

  3. Great interview, Chris! Keep up the excellent work!