Interview with author Rebecca Simmonds
‘Born in Essex in 1979, Rebecca now lives in East London with her boyfriend. She was inspired to write for others at the age of 30 after years of rough and tumble while trying to pursue a career in acting. In and out of various jobs and at times unemployed, Rebecca has now found peace in putting her love for “drama” to the page.’
Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer?
Well, I’m not quite sure how writing happened. I trained as an actor, so I always had a taste for drama and lots of experience with dialogue and character. I was desperate to play in period dramas and at the National Theatre, but not for want of trying, it just didn’t happen. So, I did other jobs, like teaching assistant work, like childminding, like handing out flyers, I even went on tour with Justin Timberlake, not to perform, but to serve his fries. Then I battled with starting my own theatre company in a bit of a protest at being nearly thirty. After I’d worn myself out with that I resorted to writing. Ha, I’m joking. I’ve always written for myself, stuff I would consider self-indulgent ramblings though. But, one day, when I was in a stint of unemployed misery and lounging on my sofa in East London, I picked up my laptop and wrote, Howard Green does not like the dark… and then for the next nine months, or so… I didn’t stop writing. I think that's how I started writing.
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy?
It’s a fantasy novel with a bit of humour and a lot of adventure. It follows a guy called Howard Green who dies in a car crash and joins the afterlife, “Death”, to be precise. Here he meets more challenges and adventures than he ever did in life.
On another level it’s about relationships and ties with the real world and how choice is sometimes not as much of an option as you might have hoped, and how attachment hurts and letting go doesn’t.
Find Mark will be released on March 17th 2012. It’ll be available as an eBook first and then paperback. Dam Good Publishing will have links to all the places – such as Amazon – that you can buy from… http://rebeccasimmonds.onlinefantasybooks.com/
Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent?
I began this novel about a year and a half ago. I tried the traditional route of sending out to agents from the Writers & Artists Yearbook, and guess what… it didn’t work. I then joined Authonomy (a site for writers to post the first ten thousand words of their novel and gain feedback, couldn’t recommend it more) and that’s when things started to happen. I feel very lucky to have bumped into Dam Good Publishing.
In your opinion are agents even necessary?
I’ve never had one, so in all honesty, I don’t really know. You can go it alone. You got to push it though. I would really love an agent. You really got to earn yourself an agent.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
From the people I know. And the silly emotional knots that I get myself in and out of.
What are you working on right now? Tell us a little about it.
I’ve started a blog and I’m writing some short stories that I’m going to be posting. The one I’m working on at the moment is again quite character driven and absurd – laced with realism, of course.
How much of the marketing do you do?
I try to network as much as possible and I’m learning a lot about that side of things.
Dam Good Publishing is great because unlike other publishers they really help you get a platform. They got me this interview, for example.
Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book(s)?
Yes. Here we go…
(The Creative Penn. Great resource. Listen to the podcasts…)
(Media Artists. Great tips on here, for artists in any field…)
(Useful tips on marketing.)
Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?
Yes. They’re available as eBooks. It’s something that Dam Good Publishing sorted out for me, so I feel very lucky.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
As for the marketing side of things, I would say that getting a platform is important, so start blogging and don’t be afraid to network using social media. I’m coming around to the idea of self-publishing, best to get a good editor though.
Creatively, I didn’t worry about what I was writing, my market, etc… I just wrote. I let myself go and had a good time. Then I found a voice. I say let the critiquers critique and let the writers write. We’re the braver. But, be gentle with yourself, I sometimes treat myself like a writing machine, but I’m not a machine, even if the world sometimes feels like it is. Definitely join writing groups, online or off.
Where can readers find you?
Would be great if you could subscribe to my blog, I’ll keep you updated and share my learning and writing and more…
Thanks for the interview Jeanne. I look forward to your supernatural thriller, Dark Angel. And, of course, purchasing and reading, Invisible.
My pleasure Rebecca. Best of luck with Find Mark