After years of writing and collecting rejections, Simone St. James' debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award, and SILENCE FOR THE DEAD was shortlisted for a Goodreads Choice Award.
Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, old 1970's gothic novels, rainy days, coffee, and Sherlock on the BBC. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Her next novel, releasing in 2017, is THE BROKEN GIRLS.
What does a typical day in your writing life look like?
I get up, drink coffee (lots of coffee), futz on the internet for about ten minutes, then write. Writing is always my first task of the day. When I get hungry toward noon I can't write anymore, so I quit and eat lunch. Afternoons, if I'm on a roll I'll write some more, otherwise I'll edit, do email and social media, or do plotting/planning stuff. The exception to this is when I'm in the middle of a book's revisions - I don't write any new words then, because I can't. I spend my morning revising (and cursing) instead, then eat lunch and usually do a second round. Revisions are my least favorite part of the process, because when I don't write new words for too many days in a row, I get cranky.
What are reading right now?
A few different things. Colin Dickey's Ghostland, which is terrific. Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open - I am not a tennis fan and literally have no idea of the rules, but I like to read about things I don't already know. In fiction, I'm between novels but I'm about to start Tana French's Faithful Place. She's one of my favorite writers and I inexplicably have not read that one yet. I recently finished Woman in the Shadows by Jane Thynne, one of a series set during WWII Berlin that I can't get enough of.
If The Haunting of Maddy Clare (a favorite here at Knockin’ Books) was made into a movie, who would you want to play Sarah, Alistair and Matthew?
Interesting. I didn't have actors in mind when I wrote the book, just faces from a few old photographs I found. Sarah looks a little like Carey Mulligan, except her hair is dark. Matthew looks a little like Joaquin Phoenix in his saner period about ten years ago... If you've seen Signs, where he's the quiet brother/former baseball player, that's the Joaquin I mean. I wrote the book before Downton Abbey premiered, but Dan Stevens, who played Matthew, would probably be a perfect Alistair if I had to pick. Sometimes I have actors in mind when I write characters, and sometimes I don't - though I based Alex in Lost Among the Living on Michael Fassbender, which gave me the difficult job of looking at photos of him. These are the sacrifices I make for you, the reader.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be and why? (feel free to time-travel on this one—it can be any author, living or dead)
Huh. I thought this would be a hard question, but it isn't. It would be Stephen King, hands down. It would be pretty awesome to write a book with the master of fear. Also, I think he'd be fun to hang out with.
What’s your favorite line from a book, television show or movie that you wish you’d written?
"Discovering your best friend is like falling in love," from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I wish I'd written that whole book - it's brilliant!
The zombie apocalypse has hit (as we all knew it would one day). Which TV or movie characters do you want as part of your crew? (no superheroes…that’s cheating)
Hmmm... I'd start with Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy, because the zombie apocalypse is the only time I'd have a shot with him, you know? I don't think he normally goes for nerdy women. So, important things first. Then I'd add Jaime and Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones, plus Sansa Stark since she kicks ass. Lastly, I'd add Captain Picard, because we all have a better chance of surviving with Captain Picard in charge. (I thought about this entirely too much, but hey, you asked.)