Ilana was born in Honolulu, HI. As a military kid who moved a lot, she learned to both adapt and escape, and, fortunately for her, stories were her drug of choice. As a young girl, she plowed through Greek mythology and Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie novels. She spent hours acting out warrior characters she saw on television and the big screen: the original Battlestar Galactica and Lord of the Rings, the Bionic Woman, Star Wars, and Japanese anime and mythology. She discovered the latter during her years in Okinawa, a magical and mysterious place for her, where she freely explored the island’s natural and cultural beauty. Indeed she recalls the two saddest days of her childhood: 1) leaving Okinawa after nearly five years and 2) the moment she realized that technology was not advanced enough to send her into space as a fighter pilot against the Cylons or The Empire.
Ilana blames her 10th grade English teacher for introducing her to the writing craft and the mysteries of great classic literature: Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf and Grendel. When she forgave said teacher, she went on to read Edgar Allen Poe, H.G. Wells, Stephen King, and way more Dean Koontz than was good for her. Her years at Vanderbilt University deepened the well, and she preferred to earn her Lit credits in medieval literature before discovering the likes of Samuel Beckett. She has also devoured C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, Graham Green, William Goldman, Haruki Murakami, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
How to describe Ilana’s writing? She’s been told that she has a “creepy head” which she prefers to call a “head swirling with mystery and magic”. Ilana believes that you need to throw open the door on darkness in order to reveal it and make it your bitch. “Light and shadow”, she will say, “we are made up of both and get into trouble when we pretend we are one or the other.”
Ilana lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and Kiddo. You most likely will find her in the kitchen or her garden, because in a parallel universe she is a farm-to-table chef. Or she is teaching Kiddo to create, to not run from houseflies, and, overall, to be an empathetic and contributing member of society.