Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bribery with Chocolate: Interview with Author Kelly Simmons

Today we interview one of my favorite people, writer Kelly Simmons.  Kelly is a member of a group of authors known as the Liar's Club of Philadelphia. I first met her at the Writers' Coffeehouse, a monthly gathering of writers sponsored by the Liar's Club. Her third novel has just been released.

Congratulations on your new book, Kelly. Your first two novels fell into the category of "women's fiction," but One More Day is a thriller. Why the change?

Well, the publisher and agent consider One More Day to be women's fiction with thriller and paranormal elements.  So theoretically, I haven't switched categories. But it WAS a shift for me -- because there is a crime at the center of the book, and because there may or may not be ghosts appearing to help the main character solve the crime --  these were genre elements I had never dealt with before. ​
 My agent felt very strongly that even though she liked the two other manuscripts I'd given her -- that the concept and early pages of One More Day were very exciting -- and would make a bigger splash than the other two books.  

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You've also switched publishers. Standing Still and The Bird Ho​use were published by Simon and Schuster, but your new book is from Sourcebooks. Would you like to tell us why you've switched publishers?

​My original publisher would have wanted to re-launch me more drastically -- with a book that went in a completely different direction -- or possibly under another name.  It was a game I wasn't sure I was ready to play, but I did submit a historical fiction manuscript to them before I went out with One More Day -- and they didn't love it.   So to punish them  (evil sarcastic laugh) we didn't include them on the round of submissions with One More Day -- because who needs more failure in any given quarter?

And Sourcebooks specializes in women's fiction, and functions completely differently than other publishers -- given the choice between them and a larger house it was an easy decision to make.

Like most authors, you support yourself and your family with a day job. You've worked as a reporter and in advertising, correct? Some authors prefer to have a day job that has nothing to do with writing, so they don't get tired of spending hours at the computer. Has it been a problem for you, making yourself get back behind the computer after you've already spent a full day doing that?

​It's true that I spend many days just sitting at the laptop.  Although advertising also requires filming, editing, recording, and going to meetings, so that breaks things up a bit.  Some times I do feel like my brain hurts, and my wrists -- but advertising has been a relatively lucrative choice. So many people write half the time and teach school the other ​
​half -- and I'm like, why would you choose TWO low-paying jobs?  :) 
Good advice!
My favorite publishing story of yours concerns your first book, Standing Still. If I recall correctly, your agent wanted you to add a sex scene, but you did not.  How did that issue get resolved?

Tony, when a girl says no, she means NO.  Even a publishing whore knows that!​

Let’s finish up with a process question: how to you write?  Do you do it in the same time and place every day?

A long time ago I got in the habit of getting up early and writing before sunrise, before my day began to spiral out of control.  The quiet helps. But now that the kids are in college, there is a lot of quiet -- I can pretty much write any time of day that works with my schedule or deadline -- but I don't love working at night.  I have to many times, but I have to bribe myself with chocolate.

We’ll look forward to your next book.  Thank you for your time, Kelly.

Kelly Simmons' books can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million or your local bookstore. You can o​rder personalized autographed copies here:  http://www.mainpointbooks.com/kelly-simmons   

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