About Me


Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I’m supposed to write things like,”Ilsa J. Bick is<fill in the blank>.” Except I hate writing about myself like I’m not in the room.

So, let’s just say that I’m a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right), although I started out in surgery . . . it’s a long story.  I’m also a film scholar, former Air Force major, and an award-winning author of dozens of short stories and novels.  (Believe me, no one is more surprised about that than I . . . and my mother.)

In case you were wondering?  Yes, I used to write Star Trek.  And Mechwarrior.  And Battletech.  And the occasional ShadowRun.  I loved every minute of it, too.

My YA works include the critically acclaimed DRAW THE DARK (winner of the Westchester Fiction Award, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and Bank Street College 2011 Best Book); DROWNING INSTINCT; and THE SIN-EATER’S CONFESSION (a 2014 YALSA BYFA and 2014 TAYSHAS Nominee).

Among many other nominations and awards, ASHES, the first book in my YA apocalyptic thriller trilogy, was a 2011 VOYA Perfect Ten, 2012 YALSA Top Ten Teen Nominee, 2012 YALSA Best Fiction Nominee, and 2012 Outstanding Book by a Wisconsin Author.   ASHES is currently a 2013 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers Finalist, 2013 TAYSHAS High School Reading List, 2013-2014 Gateway Award Final Nominee, 2014 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Nominee, and 2014 Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award Nominee.

SHADOWS, the second book in the trilogy, hit shelves in 2012, and MONSTERS, the final volume, was released September, 2013, and earned starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus.

WHITE SPACE, the first volume in the Dark Passages duology, hit shelves 2/11/14 and was hailed as a “sophisticated” horror novel for older teens (and they mentioned Stephen King and me in the same breath!).  The book was also long-listed for the Stoker.  Its sequel, THE DICKENS MIRROR, appeared in 2015.

At the moment, I am a cheesehead in exile, living on a mountain in Alabama with the husband and several furry creatures.  On occasion, I even feed them.

isle royale

222 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Well, thank you! I’m so glad you liked that book. I’ll be honest, too; every book I write is my favorite of the moment. Sort of like having kids, you know? 😉

  2. Sure, but if you’re around and you can come…how about the library this Thursday? If not, sure, we can talk. I’m not sure how helpful I can be, but I’m always open. Whassup? 😉 Try ilsa@ilsajbick.com.

  3. Thank you. I started Ashes when the book first came out. I have just finished it within the last 5 minutes and cannot be more happy with the series. These books opened a whole new world to me. Thanks again!

  4. Hi! I’m a student from Hermiston high school. We have this thing called honors credits. I read the drowning instinct by you and am writing a biography. In order to get my honors credits i need to receive a proficient grade on my biography with the correct amount of information for the grade. But I can not find anything that I need for a biography. I have found enough to fill two paragraphs but that’s it. I understand that if you want to be private I can’t help that. But if you could email me with any information that i don’t already have or could answer a couple questions it would be a huge help. Thanks!

  5. Hi, there, thanks for getting in touch. You are spot on; I usually don’t give out a lot of personal information. I am happy to answer what questions I can, though, so fire away and let’s see what I can do.

    Alternatively, I have done tons of guest blogs and given tons of interviews that may already all your questions because people routinely ask how I got into writing and things like that. In fact, if you Google “Bick interviews Ashes,” the very first thing that comes up is a YouTube video of me talking about my background. So do a couple searches first, read and watch what’s there, and then see if you need more.

  6. Dear Ilsa Bick,

    My name is Seth Tinker. I am doing a book report in English class and I happen to choose the book Ashes. Part of the assignment, is to write 2 paragraphs about the Author. Some of the things my teacher listed to talk about was, 1. Tell me about their life, 2. Are they still alive and where are the from, and 3. Do you know why the became an author? If you could write back with some of the information listed above, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Your Friend,
    Seth Tinker

  7. Hi, Seth:

    First off, thanks for getting in touch. I hope you enjoyed ASHES; if you didn’t, don’t tell me ;-).

    Second, in terms of your questions, all the information you need is already available online and in a lot of detail. I’ve done tons of interviews, so all you need to do is Google “Bick Ashes Interviews,” and you’ll get boatloads of material. To be frank, telling you about my life . . . well, that’s kind of a broad question and you’d need to narrow that down quite a bit because, you know, I’ve been around for a while. Anyway, I think that a search will pull up most everything you need, including how I got my start in writing and why.

    Of course, since I’ve answered this…I must be still alive, too. Thank heavens, because there are days . . .

    Good luck with all this!


  8. Hi Ilsa,
    I’ve left comments before. And we actually had a mini conversation about your Ashes Trilogy series, years back on your older website. But anyway, I am a fan. I have read Draw the Dark, and I just finished Drowning Instinct.
    I tell people that not only are you my favorite author, but Ashes is also my favorite novel.
    Thank you for your talent, your books are my “me-time”. I read them repeatedly, and they give always give me a different perspective that I surprisingly find myself enjoying, or giving a second look. And I always find myself catching something new I missed, or even looking at what I finished reading feeling differently.
    Thanks Ilsa.

  9. Hello Mrs.Bick, so I just finished your Ashes trilogy and I loved the book! Just the ending is such a cliff hanger. Could you please just make ONE more book? I am so confused, did she chose Wolf? I really wanted her to chose Tom. Could you please tell me the ending or the rest of the story? I love love love this series and bummed it’s finished.

  10. Hey, Jessica, I’m so glad you enjoyed that trilogy! I don’t know if I’ll continue that story or not, though it’s always possible (I do have ideas). For now, though, you guess is as good as mine 😉

  11. Well, thank YOU, Kim. I really appreciate that. At the rate you’re reading…well, I’d better come up with more for you 😉
    Thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m so pleased you continue to discover new things in my work.

  12. Wow, I didn’t even see this until now! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my books. If you’re hankering over something else of mine to read, do consider THE SIN-EATER’S CONFESSION or THE DARK PASSAGES series [yes, a shameless plug 😉 ].

    Thank YOU for reading!

  13. Well, my goodness! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for letting me know. Hearing from folks who like the work always makes up for hours hunched over a hot keyboard 😉

  14. Hey so I’m doing a wisconsin author project for my english class, would you be ok with me asking you some questions for my class?

  15. Sure. At the moment, I’m not living in WI (much to my chagrin), but I *think* of myself as a WI author and have written a fair amount whilst being in WI, so that probably counts ;-). One thing, though: I don’t give out a ton of personal information, like where I was born, how old I am, my kids’ names, things like that. Also, you might want to Google “Bick Ashes Interviews” or just “Ilsa J. Bick Interviews,” and you’ll find tons of questions I’ve answered for other folks at various times. Those might have the information you’re looking for, too.

    But, sure. Fire away 🙂

  16. For my English final, we had to do a book review on a book of our choice. i chose Ashes, and it was so good that i’m writing my review on the entire series! I love the Ashes series.

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Young Adult/Thrillers/F&SF/Romantic Suspense