Published on December 11th, 2011 | by Jenah0
Welcome Stephany Simmons
S.S. – I was born and raised in Dallas, TX. My favorite thing about Dallas is the Oak Cliff area that my books are set in. It’s like no other place in the city. The diversity and characters you’ll find there is amazing. It’s like a city in itself.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
S.S. – I wanted to be part of the Scooby gang so badly I could hardly stand it. When I realized that dream was never going to happen, I started rounding up my cousins and kids from the neighborhood, making up stories for us to investigate. Eventually, I started writing those stories down.
Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
S.S. – My latest book, Voodoo Dues is the first in a planned Urban Fantasy series about a pair of unlikely heroes helping others deal with paranormal problems. I’m currently working on the second novella in the series, titled Vampire Blues.
Why did you write this book?
S.S. – The simple answer is because it was fun. I’d gone through a period of forcing myself to write something I thought would sell. That was like slogging through muck. When Lian and Figg started knocking on the inside of my skull, begging to be written, it was a relief to write something that was a little scary and fun all at the same time.
How did you come up with the title?
S.S. – At the time, I didn’t give it much thought. Oddly enough, after I published, I realized that Voodoo Dues is also the name of a now defunct World of Warcraft quest.
How did you choose your genre?
S.S. – I’ve loved Urban Fantasy since before it was labeled that. The idea of the monsters and mythological beasties living among us is fascinating. The possibilities are almost endless.
What inspired you to be a writer?
S.S. – Lots of things have inspired me to keep at it over the years, but if I look all the way back to the beginning, the inspiration definitely came from my mother. She made sure I could read before I started school. The other part of the equation, was being an only child, dependent on my imagination for entertainment. Writing down my stories seemed to flow from there.
Who is your favorite character in your books? Why?
S.S. – That’s a tough one. They’re all remarkable in one way or another, but if I have to choose, I’m going with my female lead, Eleanor Figg. She comes into Voodoo Dues completely unaware that magic and other races exist. She’s a normal human who is made extraordinary by her gung-ho determination and compassion for those in need. Her significant skill with firearms doesn’t hurt.
Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
S.S. – Not yet!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
S.S. – The hardest part for me is avoiding distraction.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
S.S. – Writing it is the easy part.
S.S. – I refuse to acknowledge writer’s block. I find that just pushing through, writing anything, however uninspired it may be works just fine. Later, in the re-read, I often find that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was when I was writing it.
Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
S.S. – I love Christopher Moore, his sense of humor is wonderful.
Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures was a huge influence because it was the first time I read shapeshifters written as a race instead of a cursed Wolfman type of character. It opened up a whole new world of imagination for me.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
S.S. – Early on, I decided to self-publish. I suspected that Voodoo Dues was not mainstream enough to get the attention of big publishing and I didn’t want to wait months or even years to find an agent who was willing to take it on.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
S.S. – Determination and a willingness to work for your success.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
S.S. – Trying to pry a shotgun shell apart by hand.
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