In the Spotlight: An Interview with Author Simon Rose

by Suzanne Lieurance


It’s always fun (and helpful) to learn how other writers work, so I like to interview a different author each month. 


This month, the spotlight is on prolific author Simon Rose. He has several other roles, too, which you'll soon find out about.


I’ve known Simon for many years, but we hadn’t stayed in touch lately, so it was nice catching up with him.  


Author Simon Rose

Suzanne Lieurance: Tell us about yourself as a writer, author, speaker, coach, and consultant. What kinds of things do you write? Who do you coach? What kind of consulting do you do? Tell us about your books.

Simon Rose: I’m originally from the UK but am now based in Calgary in Western Canada. I’m the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children and young adults. I’m also the author of several guides for writers, including The Time Traveler’s GuideThe Children’s Writer’s GuideWhere Do Ideas Come From?, and many non-fiction books

My novels are all in the science fiction and fantasy genre. The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Heretic’s Tomb are historical fiction adventures set in medieval England, The Alchemist’s Portrait is a time travel story, The Emerald Curse is all about superheroes and comic books, The Doomsday Mask is all about the legend of Atlantis, and The Sphere of Septimus involves the characters traveling into another world and is in the same vein as the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the RingsFuture Imperfect is a technology-driven story featuring mysterious messages from the future, and FlashbackTwisted Fate, and Parallel Destiny are in the paranormal genre. The Shadowzone series is a science fiction adventure set in a dark parallel version of Earth. The Stone of the Seerseries is a young adult historical fantasy series set during the English Civil War in the seventeenth century.


The Stone of the Seer Series

I’m an instructor of writing courses for adults with the University of Calgary and also offer a number of services for writers, including coaching, editing, consulting, and writing workshops, as well as copywriting services for the business community. I work as a coach and consultant with writers in many different genres. This has involved both substantive, developmental, and copy editing of completed novels, but I also work as a coach for writers with works in progress. You can learn more about some of the projects I’ve worked on that have subsequently been published here on my website. You can also see some of the references and recommendations from other clients that I’ve worked with. 

 

I've just wrapped up work on a study guide for a fellow author's historical fiction novel, set in World War I and World War II. You can learn more about my various coaching, editing, and consulting services, for all age groups and genres, on my website, as well as my services for business writing projects. 

 

SL: How did you get started as a writer?

 

SR: When my children were small, I started reading children’s books again for the first time in many years. Some of the books were wonderful and I wished that I could write something similar. However, some of the books were very poor and I was surprised that they’d ever been published. This made me wonder if I could write stories of my own. I started thinking that I should write fairy tales and picture books for younger children but after reading the first three Harry Potter novels, I realized that I wanted to write for the age group that those books are aimed at. I wasn’t interested in writing about the same things, such as magic, wizards, and imaginary creatures, and instead focused on themes that I was interested in, such as science fiction, fantasy, time travel, history, comic books, ancient mysteries and civilizations, superheroes, other dimensions, and the paranormal. I began submitting to publishers and the first novel came out in 2003, followed by another seven with the same publisher. I’ve since worked with several other publishers, both for fiction and nonfiction, and published my own books as well.

 

SL: Do you also offer courses (either online or in person) about writing? If so, tell us about those.

 

SR: I offer coaching, editing, consulting, and mentoring services for writers of novels, short stories, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and in many other genres, plus work with writers of scripts and screenplays. 

 

I’m also a writing instructor and mentor at the University of Calgary and have some courses coming up in the fall, including Writing for Children and Youth. My own online courses, including Writing Historical Fiction and Writing for Children and Young Adults, are also always available. 

 

SL: Many children’s authors would like to offer school visits and get paid for them. Do you have any tips about this?

 

SR: I offer presentations, readings, author in residence programs, and conduct workshops for children at schools and libraries, including virtual author visits. An author visit can be highly inspirational, inviting children to unlock their own creative potential, and encourage them in their own writing. Younger students especially are almost always thrilled to meet a published author, particularly if they've read their books. It has been more challenging to connect with schools in recent years, so I try to offer more value with a variety of sessions that also help me to stand out from the crowd. I offer presentations covering such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing.

 

SL: What do you enjoy most about being a writer, coach, etc.? 

 

SR: In addition to the writing and seeing my ideas come to life, I enjoy meeting my readers at schools, young writers’ conferences, or at events, and also working with other authors, no matter what the genre. I also like to meet other authors at events and conferences, exchanging ideas and experiences.

 

SL: What does a typical writing day look like for you? Are you working on a new book? What is your most recent book?

 

SR: I’m not sure if I have a typical writing day these days. At the moment, I’m working on my current projects with the novel series and the screenplay, planning marketing and promotional campaigns for the coming months, teaching online course, and working with a few other writers on their projects.

 

I’m working on another historical fantasy novel series, this time set in the early years of World War II, that I’m hoping to publish next year. I’ve recently completed another story that takes place in the later stages of World War II and am putting the finishing touches to that one as well, potentially for publication the following year. Yet another series is currently in development in the same paranormal genre as my previously published Flashback series, which you can learn more about on my website. 

 

I’ve also been working on the script for a film project and continue to work on the adaptations of my Shadow zone series into screenplays for movies and TV shows. You can learn more about my work writing screenplays for clients and creating adaptations of my own work on my website. 

 

My most recently published books were those in The Stone of the Seer young adult historical fantasy series, featuring The Stone of the SeerRoyal Blood, and Revenge of the Witchfinder. The exciting story is mostly set in the mid-seventeenth century during the English Civil War. In The Stone of the Seer, Lady Elizabeth Usborne, Kate, and Tom encounter a magical stone, mysterious parchments and manuscripts, and an incredible time viewing device. In Royal Blood, Lady Elizabeth, Kate, and Tom are in London, witnessing the political turmoil at the time of the Civil War, including the king’s trial and execution. Revenge of the Witchfinder takes place in multiple time periods. The story features weird dreams, disturbing visions, parallel lives, and a bewildering identity crisis, as the lead characters discover to their horror that not even the passage of centuries can prevent a bloodthirsty witchfinder from the 1640s from seeking his deadly revenge.

 

SL:  How much marketing for your books, writing services, coaching, etc. do you do? Do you have any tips for other writers?

 

SR: It’s very important not to forget about the marketing. You may produce the greatest book ever written. However, no one else is going to see it if your book doesn’t become known to potential readers. Be visible as an author. Do as many readings, signings, and personal appearances as you can. Get your name out there and hopefully the rest will follow. Especially for newly published authors, books don’t sell themselves and need a lot of help.

 

I do as much marketing as I can on social media on places such as Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, my blog, and elsewhere online. I also recently exchanged space on my blog with some other authors, something that I’ve done before, in which we posted interviews about each other’s books, which hopefully generated some traffic for each of us again.

 

SL: What is the most challenging part of the writer’s life for you?

 

SR: Writing is in some ways the easy part. It can be a very long process not only to write a book, but also to get it published. A book is a marathon measured in years rather than weeks or months. Don’t be afraid to revise and revise over and over again. Most authors go through many revisions before their work reaches its final format. Remember too that your book will never be to everyone’s taste, so don’t be discouraged. A firm belief in your own success is often what’s necessary. After all, if you don’t believe in your book, how can you expect other people to?

 

SL: What is your best tip for anyone who wants to write for children?

 

SR: Read as much as you can and write as often as you can. Keep an ideas file, even if it’s only a name, title, sentence, or an entire outline for a novel. You never know when you might get another piece of the puzzle, perhaps years later. 

 

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere really. Books, movies, TV, online research, out walking the dog, dreams, an overheard conversation, friends and family, history, mythology, and so many other sources. I have a few ideas that may never come to anything, but I still keep them anyway. It’s always a good plan to save them because you never know if, or when, an idea might fit into a story. My first four novels were all based on very early story ideas and were the first books to be published. However, later ones such as The Sphere of Septimus, or the Shadowzone series were also very early ideas. They just took longer to develop as novels. Flashback was also one of my earliest ideas but again it took a while for me to develop the initial story, and consequently the rest of the series. Even if the ideas don’t work right away, they might in the future, and you just never know when you’ll get another piece of the puzzle.

 

Many new authors decide not to listen to advice regarding their story and suggestions related to how it might be improved or how to fix problems in the plot, believing that they know best. You don’t have to make those changes if you don’t agree with them, but as an author you at least need to consider them. Some new authors, especially those that self-publish their books, also often don’t do enough editing and checking of their work before they make their book available to readers and this should be one of the most important aspects of the process, no matter how a book is published.

 

In many ways writers need to write what they know. This might sound a little odd because no one actually knows how to travel in time, attend a wizard school, visit other dimensions, have superpowers, or go to the edge of the universe, at least as far as we know anyway. But what this term actually means is that it’s much easier to write about what you know or about what you’re interested in. You’ll have far more ideas about your own favorite topics, and you’ll also decide exactly what you want to write about and not just try to do the same as everyone else or follow a hot new trend, whether it’s teenage wizards, vampires, zombies, or something else. If you write about unfamiliar topics, you’ll have to do more research for a story or perhaps plan out the story a lot more, rather than letting the ideas from your imagination flow into the computer or onto the paper as the story keeps coming to you. Writing about things that you’re not passionate about will seem much more like work when writing is supposed to be fun. Write about what you know and love and it’s going to be a much more enjoyable experience.

 

SL: Where can readers learn more about you and your writing and various services?

 

SR: You can learn more about me, my books, and my various services for writers on my website at www.simon-rose.com or elsewhere online.

 

·      Facebook

·      X

·      LinkedIn

·      Instagram

·      Amazon

·      Pinterest

 



For more author interviews and writing tips, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.


Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author with over 40 published books and a writing coach at writebythesea.com.


5 comments:

Terry Whalin said...

Suzanne,

I love reading these interviews with authors. In particular with Simon I was impressed with the diversity in his writing and teaching--which shows other authors how to create longevity in the publishing world. Thank you for this article.

Terry
author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Terry.

Simon is quite the entrepreneur and author!

Suzanne

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Suzanne,
Somehow I missed the notification that you had posted this lovely interview! Thanks to our Tetty Whalin for notifying us on our little private rwriters on the move Listserve. I am especially pleased to know about all the books. Simon has written to help other authors – – Sort of I am #AuthorsHelpingAAuthors project , and one that helps the community as a whole for sure. Regardless of what genre they tend to prefer.

Hugs, Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Linda Wilson said...

Suzanne, I enjoyed your interview with Simon Rose a lot. Although he writes in a different genre than moi, I enjoyed learning how he has expanded his career. Your interview is inspiring and motivating.

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, I love that Simon explains editing and checking their work is one of the most important aspects of the creating a book. Self-publishing has opened the door for those who don't take the time or effort to do it right.

Active vs. Passive Writing: Energize Your Prose!

 by Suzanne Lieurance Ever feel like your stories and articles are a bit slow-paced and wordy?   If so, that’s probably because you’re using...