Ilima Todd

native hawaiian author

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits otherwise she’s diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn’t trade that job for anything in the world.


Did you always want to be a writer?

No, I actually always wanted to become an astronaut. I loved math growing up and graduated with a physics degree. But I've also always loved reading and writing a book was a bucket list item of mine. Once I started writing, I didn't want to stop. It was so much fun. So now instead of exploring other worlds in outer space, I create them with the stories I write.

What stories or authors influenced you growing up?

I read everything from Stephen King and Jane Austen to Madeleine L'Engle and Mary Higgins Clark. I enjoy mysteries, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, etc. That probably explains why I like to write in a variety of genres today. A few favorites growing up are The Witch of Blackbird Pond, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, and Ender's Game.

Was it difficult to get published?

Yes. Remake, my first published novel, was actually the fourth novel I'd written. And it was picked up by a publisher years after I started writing. But my advice to aspiring writers is to just write something you love without worrying about publication. Write and write and write some more. You'll learn your craft, improve in your storytelling, and (hopefully) be doing something you absolutely enjoy.

What is most challenging about writing?

My answer probably depends on the day. If I'm drafting, I'd probably say drafting. If I'm editing, I'd probably say editing. While a lot of the aspects of writing are difficult, they can also be very enjoyable and rewarding. I think that's true of anything worth doing. If it's easy, it may not feel rewarding. Finding time is also challenging, but most writers must sacrifice something if they want to write. For me, I sacrifice watching TV, shopping, lunch dates with friends, and sleep. But I love what I do and am okay with what I have to give up to do it.