Interview with Ilona Salley, author of Yesterday is Never Gone






Title: Yesterday is Never Gone
Author: Ilona Sally
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Thriller/Crime
Format: Ebook
Niki is no stranger to horrific personal challenges. As a child, she bravely endured abandonment by her father. While in her teens, she witnessed her mother’s murder and the abduction and presumed death of her only sibling. Although her secrets have always been carefully cloaked from others, they have shaped her personality more than she would like to admit. But with a past as terrible as hers, how can Niki ever hope for a bright future? Years later, Niki is a dedicated profiler in a criminal investigation agency with no idea her life is about to change exponentially. One day, through a quirky twist of fate, she receives startling news that her sister, Inge, is alive. As a driving force compels Niki to search for her, she embarks on a quest that takes her through cities and wilderness on two continents. She encounters difficult decisions, threatening mobsters, near-death experiences, and romance, yet nothing deters her from reaching her goal—not even a gruesome discovery about her father. But Niki is about to discover that things are never what they seem to be. In this thrilling tale, deception and inner turmoil hamper a young woman’s journey toward a new reality as she attempts to reconcile her past and find the truth.




Question1- Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Through writing, I can connect with the reader, and although I will never know exactly how many readers there are, it is a feeling akin to that of being able to see someone and smile at them. Somehow, it is meaningful. It is a form of sharing, I think. Some people like to talk: I like to write.
Also, through the writing, ideas which I have in my mind become clearer and I get a better sense of who I am.
Question2- Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

The perks are a feeling of satisfaction, of personal growth, and of a better sense of self.
The demands are many. I can’t count the time involved, which is enormous, because I would never have finished the book if I hadn’t enjoyed the challenge. It is a challenge on many levels. It is difficult to create something which others might enjoy. That was my first goal. Then, I wanted to make it the best I could, so I spent hours polishing sentences. The characters were difficult to establish. I first created a main character whom I discovered I did not like. So, I went back and modified to create someone less rough, tough and mean – someone feisty, yet fragile.  And the ending was originally okay, but didn’t have the impact it needed, so I changed that too.
When I finished, it was a book of over 500 pages, and now is a book of over 300. It was hard to tear down and rebuild constantly. But then, a thriller has to be lean.
Question3- Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I talked to so many people who were frustrated by efforts to find someone to publish their work. One woman told me that it took her seven years to find a publisher. So, my decision to self-publish seemed clear. I went online and started looking. The next day, I searched again and an ad popped up. It was fate. There it was, a publisher. I researched this one some more, and was happy with what I saw. Then I talked to someone who had used the same self-publishing company, and he too was happy. So, I signed on.
It was a wonderful, challenging, frustrating experience. And I learned so much. It seemed that my mantra during the editing process would have been: Delete. Delete. Delete. When I purchased the marketing packages, it was a time of complete confusion. I had no idea what the people were even talking about: widgets, a blog tour, and book stubs.
Question4-Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

It is just my husband and myself now. He has been extremely supportive, interested and helpful. Mostly, my writing time does not interfere with things we want to do. When we go on trips, twice each year to Florida for weeks on end, and maybe one trip abroad, I stop writing.
Question5- In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I basically allot three hours per day in the morning. That time is devoted to writing. I have always multi-tasked, so answering the phone was not a problem. And since I no longer have another job, that issue is non-existent. But if I were working, I would simply reschedule my life and write in the evenings. I never attempted this because I thought I would be writing for eight hours a day. I did this at the beginning and found it to be very unhealthy for me. My knees became worse after several months of sitting.
Ilona Salley emigrated from Germany to Toronto, Canada, with her family when she was three. Throughout her life, her interests have included squash, skiing, wood carving, literature, art, and languages. Her fascination with architecture and archaeology has led her to travel in search of ancient places and artifacts. After a long career as an educator, she expanded her horizons by teaching in England and China. Now, she spends part of each year in Fort Myers, Florida.
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