In honor of National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), I've been chatting with several soap opera industry professionals-turned-novelists. Terri Ivens has been a fan favorite with television audiences ever since she played wacky temptress Simone Torres on ABC Daytime's All My Children. Now the actress, who currently stars as Orchid in The Bay web series, has published The Buzz: Pointing Fingers, the first in a planned series inspired Ivens' daughter, Kiana.
Daytime Confidential: Congratulations on The Buzz: Pointing Fingers debuting. What made you decide to write a YA novel?
Terri Ivens: Thank You, Jamey. I am thrilled and to be honest for the first time in my life; I am actually proud of myself. This accomplishment was a personal victory of self-motivation and tenacity. The driving force within was to leave a guide of how to survive being a teenager for my daughter, if anything God forbid should happen to me.
DC: Your daughter, Kiana, will soon been a teenager. Does she share similar traits with Kassia, the protagonist in the book?
TI: Kiana shares Kassia’s sensitive nature. All character attributes can swing positive and/or negative upon our subconscious reaction or conscious choice. I believe Kassia embodies the insecurities we all have lived through in our adolescents. Awareness that we have a choice of how to battle through peer-pressures and self-doubt is the core principle in my first book.
DC: Kassia experiences a lot of negativity from haters at her high school, after falling for football hunk Michael. With bullying a hot topic of national conversation, was it important for you to show your character enduring nasty gossip and jealousy from her peers?
TI: Jealousy has many faces, all of them ugly, all of them damaging. I expose the secret, troubling act of self-consideration. I have come to realize everyone is broken. Everyone is going through something. No one’s life is their Instagram photo. Only through the willingness to understand those who cause hurt can to we find compassion in spite of, and learn to love at a distance not to be hurt again. #UCantBullyMe.
DC: I absolutely love the book cover. Who designed it?
TI: Thank You! One day before school, I showed Kiana three different book cover ideas. I asked her which one she wanted to touch. Without hesitation, she pointed to the locker photo, and we ran with the graffiti concept! I give Kiana full credit. I love it too!
DC: Soap fans have loved you for years on serials such as All My Children and The Bay. What would you say to encourage them to follow you on your new journey as an author?
TI:The Buzz is set in 1981. America is thriving. The American dream is tangible. As young teens, we were taught we could accomplish anything we wanted with hard work and dedication. I believe it’s in returning to core family values during this time of economic upheaval that hope is restored. Our children are the future of our great nation. My journey is to edify and comfort our youngest generation and open the door of communication between parent and teen through their own experience of high school.
DC: Actors help scriptwriters create characters all the time, by bringing their own unique perspectives and personalities to a role. Was it a different process to create a character from inception on the page?
TI: In writing a novel series, I found I became the screenwriter, director and the voice of every character. Often arguing with my self. I used the turning of my own Magic 8 Ball for the answers it gives in the book.
DC: YA books are some of the hottest source material these days for Hollywood. Are you hoping to see The Buzz on the big or small screen?
TI: Yes, that has always been the greater vision. The book series comes ready to adapt five television seasons. I have written my story with a producer’s mindset. One focal character, the rest of the cast recurring in and out of seasons.
DC: I've seen several tweets and Facebook posts from the cast of The Bay talking about the filming of the upcoming season. Can you give us any dish?
TI: Let’s just say Orchid spreads her wings in multiple directions in the chapters to come. [Laughs]
To purchase a copy of The Buzz: Pointing Fingers, click here.