Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hello! My name is Melanie Simms and my third book, Life Signs and Fortune Cookies was recently released by Sunbury Press Books under Brown Poesy Press.
I am a former poet laureate of Perry County, PA and have over two hundred publications of poetry, short stories and articles to my credit. Awards include a Sophie Award (PCCA), a Vermont Writers Studio Scholarship, Finalist in the Richard Savage Literary Award (Bloomsburg University) and a finalist in the Adelaide Literary Competition (2018) for the poetry and short story categories. I was listed in Marquis Who's Who and Cambridge Who's Who of women in publication, etc.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Life Signs and Fortune Cookies was just released this month. It is my third book. It was inspired by a collection of short stories that first emerged from a creative writing course at Bloomsburg University taught by Professor Jerry Wemple. The stories evolved and grew from there and I decided they need a home.
I was fortunate enough to have a good friend, Dr. Patrick Marino Albano, who just happened to be a gifted photographer and he agreed to contribute photography to match my stories and poems.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Hah! Well, I write a lot from my window or from the water side. In fact I am moving to the ocean soon — well, once the Red Tide chills out in Florida. Give me a large body of water and a pen and I am happy!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Well many. First off my mother and Uncle. My mom was a published poet and newspaper editor and my Uncle has 2 Pulitzer prizes in newspaper writing. I was inspired early to read and write as you can imagine! I was also inspired by my father who read sci-fi books out his ears. I quickly ate up the books of Ray Bradbury in particular — always seduced by Brandbury's tremendous imagery and imagination.
What are you working on now?
I am working on 2 books at the same time, actually. One is a collection of poetry about medicine and healing titled, "Journeys through the Aesculapia" which will be a multi-lingual book, translated into Spanish by my good friend, Argentinian translator, Javier Videla.
I am also working on my very first science fiction novel, titled, Alien Prophecy. This book is going to take some time — science fiction is much more difficult to write than I previously thought, but I am determined to make it work.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Wow — I find that what is most important is to build a fan base FIRST. And it is so hard to do! I start with Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin of course, but I like to use free PR submission sites, as well as book promotion services that are affordable.
I also give books to my library and ask them to put it on their shelves…
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Take classes. Workshop. Write every day. You have to LOVE to write to keep at it. Start by reading as much as possible, until you find your own voice.
Find mentors in your field and don't burn bridges.
Give free public readings, approach libraries.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Well for me, I have found that Thomas Edison had it down:
"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."
When I get discouraged or feel I am not good enough, I remember that hard work pays off, and that, yes, you want to be competitive, but you still have to be your best authentic you — you cant always predict what will happen to your work, but if you keep trying, it WILL pay off eventually 🙂
What are you reading now?
Surprise — reading AGAIN, The Martian Chronicles.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I am pursuing my MFA … I have been applying to different MFA programs in Florida, right now. I hope to get into Florida Atlantic University or University of Florida or Tampa University. Wish me luck… with an MFA under my belt, of course I plan to teach in college. I would love to teach at the junior college level but naturally would accept a teaching post anywhere that appreciated my talents!
What is your favorite book of all time?
That is impossible to answer — I love ALL books!
Melanie Simms’s Social Media Links