We had the good fortune of connecting with Sascha Illyvich and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sascha, what role has risk played in your life or career?
This will be an answer to both the question regarding risk and the question about pursuing artistic careers as well.

To start off, I began writing professionally back in 1999 and sold my first erotic short poetry collection in 2000 when a then unknown publisher took a chance on me. Renaissance E-books was a relatively new publisher seeking erotic manuscripts and while I’d sold several short erotic stories, didn’t have enough material at the time for their criteria. Why did I go into publishing?

I’ve always held the pen. From an early age, I wrote. I wrote lengthy school assignments when we were tasked with writing creative stories. I’ve been in love with the pen forever, the written word a glorious thing that can express the myriad of humanity’s emotions in as little as four characters.

Here’s where risk comes in. The risk I faced was in being a male who read and wanted to write romance. It wasn’t thought of as a manly genre then. It still isn’t, not really. But the more I read, the more I realized I could find a safe outlet for the dark noise in my head. Reading authors who wrote darker romances gave me hope I could take a risk in not only writing romance, but writing the type of romances I wanted to write. I took on this risk because it’s who I am. Taking risk challenges the mind, improves decision making.

Fast forward twenty-plus years later and I’m still writing romance. Only, I’m taking more risks now. Part of that is because I’m an option trader and have real money on the line in trading derivatives. If I’m willing to jump head first into finance, an industry I’ve had real estate investing experience in, but not in Options Trading until 2017, why wouldn’t it make sense to push my writing career with the same ferocity? I went all in to trade, why shouldn’t I be willing to put money (take risk, show self-faith) in my publishing career? I now advertise on Amazon ads and I’ve used risk to assess career moves. Should I buy this Skye Warren course? Should I attend this expensive seminar? What are the probabilities of my success if I put in the work? What’s it look like to risk capital in avenues I haven’t before? And further into the creative: What’s it like to risk writing not just romance, but romance in a genre where you get to exorcise your personal demons through darkness?

Where’s the reward in risking your heart when the prize is giving the world something it desperately needs more of?

I’m a romance author because I, like my sisters and brothers in this genre, am the truth of the world. And we risk it all gladly, not just for the high, but to bring you that truth so you may see it and know love.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve written across multiple genres of romance. In my early days, I wrote erotica but the focus always landed on the happily ever after, as well as the happy ending. The more I’ve dug into this genre, the deeper I go to explore my mind, as well as the human condition from the point of suffering and alleviation.

I’m a goddamned Magyar. And a cancer. That’s double emotional times whammy. I didn’t cry or feel much for a long while until I discovered romance novels. I cried when I wrote them because it was the only sensible emotional outlet I felt I had when I wasn’t trying to pick up some action. (Yeah, that kind.)

I tried to sell the world a story I didn’t buy.
I tried to sell the world hope when I was hopeless.
I tried to sell the world a lie of love when I didn’t feel love.

Now? Things have changed. How I ended up where I am is a long tale that has a short summation. Persistence. Dedication. Drive. If I don’t tell these stories, who will give you hope when you’re feeling hopeless?

Yeah, we could say the same of any other romance author, but not all authors speak to all readers.

What sets me apart from other romance authors? I’m not afraid to show you who I am, flaws and all. Sometimes it comes out in social media, sometimes in social situations, sometimes in my novels. I don’t care. If you’re not honest with your self, how can you honestly expect the world to trust you?

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is Atlanta. So…we have to go to the cigar shop where I sometimes work, stop off and show the owner yet one more woman in the litany of my life 😉

We have to end up at Kimball House, Las Brasas, for “hipster” and Peruvian, respectively. We’d have to stroll through Inman Park to see the beautiful homes they’ve restored. IF she came during the weekend of the Inman Park Fest, we’d HAVE to do the tour of homes. Those restoration jobs are incredible! Little Five Points has Porter Beer Bar, the best fish and chips for at a punk dive bar I’ve ever had. Can’t leave Decatur without beer and lunch at Brickstore Pub and amaro based cocktails at The White Bull.

Centennial Park is beautiful too.

You can see this is heavily food based.

There’s a Hungarian Bakery in Inman Park we’d have to try. Plus, Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market!

I’ve been told we’d need to go to the Clermont Lounge where strippers go to die… Might help if they came during Ascension so we could end up at Masquerade during one of their goth/industrial nights. The location’s architecture is interesting.

Handful of rooftop bars and cigar spots around town we’d hit up.

Red Phone Booth is our local Speak, so she’d need to bring a beautiful dress while I put on my pinstripe suit and cleaned my fedora. Fantastic cocktails in a classic speakeasy situation.

We’d probably end up at Inman Park’s Highland Cigar Co. most nights, as that’s the spot I chill and read at much of the time.

A trip to Marietta and Roswell might not go amiss. Both are quaint throwbacks to older times.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Every reader, every fan, every author who helped me, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Every lover, past and present, every soulmate, all my soul-family, I couldn’t have done this without your love and constant barrage of support, in any and all capacities. You all believed in me. You all bought my success story before I knew it could be such, and I love you for it.
Morgan, you already know…

My cigar family, thank you. Those conversations, those nights spent at the cigar club writing/editing/getting into a situation, it all helped.

All my haters, thank you, and GFY, as they say, because I’m still here.
To my future readers and fans, welcome. And thank you.

Website: http://saschaillyvichauthor.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/SaschaIllyvich

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanceAuthorSaschaIllyvich/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SaschaIllyvich/videos

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.