Growing up poor in a devout Mormon home in Logan, UT was anything but ordinary for Ingrid Ricks. Spending summers on the road with her traveling salesman father, sleeping in trucks, and selling merchandise on the side of the highway was an escape from the strict rules of her mother and controlling stepfather.. In “Hippie Boy,” her best-selling ebook (now out in paperback,) Ricks paints a vivid picture of her childhood living with a mother who made her pray more than seven times a day, a verbally and emotionally abusive, domineering stepfather, four siblings and a father who was never around.
But life was good for Ricks once school was out, spending her teenage summers with her larger-than-life father as his partner in crime and sales associate, traveling the open roads of the rural Midwest. Although a life on the road wasn’t perfect, it was worth it. Their days began before dawn and consisted of fast food meals, running laps around motels for exercise, dust in their hair from the open windows and nights sleeping in cheap motels; it was pure Americana, and Ingrid never felt more alive. But what her father took literally as the land of opportunity he also took for granted. After her father’s arrest, sixteen-year old Ingrid realized it was time to take control of her own life. “Hippie Boy” is a social commentary on religion and status, and the story of a small town girl, vying for the attention of her family, and along the road finding her independence and happiness as a woman on her own. Ingrid Ricks is also author of “Focus,” a memoir about her journey with the blinding eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, and a short story collection, “A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories.” She is currently working on a memoir about her yearlong quest to heal her eyesight, and is blogging about her journey at www.determinedtosee.com. Rick’s essays and stories have been featured on Salon and NPR. Along with writing, she is passionate about leveraging the new world of digital publishing to give teens a voice. She recently cofounded WeAreAbsolutelyNotOkay.org, a program that empowers teens by helping them to write and publish their personal stories.