Thursday, March 12, 2009

Simon Rose - Guest Author Today!

I am thrilled to have Simon Rose as my guest today!
Simon is a science fiction and fantasy author, of The Heretic's Tomb, The Emerald Curse, The Clone Conspiracy, The Sorcerer's Letterbox and The Alchemist's Portrait.
Simon will be checking-in throughout the day to answer any questions you may have. Even if you feel he has been asked your question a 1,000 times before...go ahead...ask away!
Q. Simon, in addition to your five books, do you have a new one coming out in 2009?
A. Yes, The Doomsday Mask (pictured) will be published this spring. It's once again for 8-12 age group, and in the science fiction and fantasy genre-- it's a fast-paced adventure about ancient civilizations, mysterious artifacts and shadowy secret societies. You can read its synopsis at've also another completed novel on a paranormal theme, numerous projects for future novels and am working on several picture books with a local illustrator.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
A. To be honest, anywhere and everywhere really... out walking the dog, driving in the car, something overheard in a conversation, a newspaper story, a billboard, an item on the evening news, other books, historical events, other people's stories, movies, or even something out of the blue. Some may never be used, but I try to record as many as I can. I never know when they might fit in with a story I'm writing. Even ideas that don't seem to work right away may have a use in the future.
Q. Why science fiction and fantasy?
A. One of the best things about writing for kids is that I can write about the kinds of things that fascinated me when I was young. Stories can be very imaginative if they are for children, which makes writing them so much fun. And, of course, in science fiction or fantasy, more or less anything you can imagine is possible, as you craft stories involving ancient mysteries, the unexplained, the paranormal, science fiction, time travel, parallel universes, alternate realities, weird and wonderful characters and a multitude of what if scenarios.
Q. What did you read growing up?
A. Lots of science fiction, as well fantasy writers and ghost stories. I also read a tremendous number of comic books, in which the stories took me across the universe, into strange dimensions, into the land of the Norse gods or had me swinging from the New York rooftops. At high school, I studied a lot of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read voraciously on ancient civilizations, mysteries, the supernatural, and the unexplained.
Q. Now that you're all grown-up, do you visit schools and spend time with kids?
A. Yes, I offer a wide range of presentations workshops and author in residence programs for schools and libraries. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, which you can learn more about at
Q. What about adults? Do you ever work with them?
A. Yes, I conduct workshops on writing and publishing your children novel on a regular basis. I also offer editing and critiquing services and a number of online writing workshops, exploring where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, basic story structure, plot development, creating characters, developing dialogue and so on, as well as looking at marketing and promotion for children's authors. I've got all that info listed on my website.
Q. Do you do any other type of writing?
A. In addition to novel writing, I offer copywriting services for business, such as editorial content for websites, as well book reviews and articles for magazines and online publications on a wide variety of topics.
Thanks very much, Simon, for this interview. Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors!
You can learn more about Simon and his books at or at his blog at


  1. Great interview, Donna. It's great to learn more about Simon.

  2. Dear Donna and Simon,

    Great interview! Simon, your books combining the paranormal and ancient civilizations sound awesome--I'm going to check them out.

    I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask a question.

    I'll be giving my first story writing workshop to kids from 5 to 12 soon... I was wondering if you could offer me some practical tips. I have read books on the subject and have a general idea on what to do, but I know that what differentiates boring from entertaining presentations is the details.

    So, what should I know that the average book won't tell me?

    Anything specific I should really keep in mind?

    I guess that's two questions... :-)

    Thanks in advance!


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Mayra,

    I do a lot of school visits, workshops and presentations, but wondered if you had children from five to twelve in the same audience? That is too large of an age range in my view, especially for a workshop, and it will be hard to keep the attention of all the students.

    Is this a workshop or more of a presentation and reading?

    If you are interested in my books, you can always get copies directly from me, autographed of course.


  5. Hi Simon,

    I should have been given more details.

    The groups will be separated:

    5-6 year olds

    By classes.

    I didn't know you had books on the subject. I definitely have to check them out. My workshop will be first week of May. Yes, it will be a workshop, so I have to teach them how to build a story.

    I just bought a book: How to Teach Story Writing, Key Stage 1, by Pie Corbett.

    For the younger ones, I thought I'd use the mountain or ladder allegory, then give them story starter pages for them to finish.

    I still have to plan for the older ones.


  6. Interesting interview, Donna. I'm glad to learn about Simon and his writing.

    Although I don't write science fiction or fantasy, I enjoy well-written books of almost all genre, especially if well-written and child appropriate. If 4RV gets a submission for children's sci-fi or fantasy, I have one of my grandsons read it and give his opinion. If he says it's good, we accept it. It's funny when he says, "This is a good book, and you should take it. But it will take some work because ..." and he gives me some problem areas. He's been correct every time so far.

    Uh, that's how we accepted Katie Hines' book, with Shane's recommendation.


  7. What a great interview!

    Simon- you seem like a person who has a gift for staying focused and getting the most important thing done- writing! Is there a certain time that you concentrate on writing- what's your secret?

    All the best,

  8. Ladies...thanks for stopping by and commenting today. The fun hasn't stopped yet. Simon will return to answer your questions...I promise! old is your son?

    Best wishes,

  9. Hi again Mayra,

    I don't have any books on this topic, but do have a number of articles about Author Visits on Ezines at You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the list.

    If the classes are split up that will be a lot better, although it appears you don't get much time with them. How long will you have to teach them about writing and how much time will they have to actually create something? Or will they be writing their stories after your time at the school, based on what they have learned in the workshops?

    I spend around an hour on a presentation, but workshops need to be longer and its ideal if they are conducted over several sessions. I just spent a week as the Author in Residence at a local school, working with students in grade k to 3. With grades k and 1, we looked at story structure, creating a story with a well-defined beginning, middle and end and the students gave full reign to their incredible imagination to conceive their own special adventure on a fairy tale theme.

    With grades 2 and 3, we explored the superhero genre, before students created their very own unique hero, and wrote a short story about them. The Emerald Curse, my fourth novel, was influenced by the comic books and superhero adventure stories I read whilst growing up, so this was more related to the subject matter of my books.

    Earlier this year, I did a couple of weeks at another school, where I worked with older grades as well. With grades 5/6, students invented their own time machine or device and explored how to write gripping fiction and cliffhanger endings. The Heretic's Tomb, The Alchemist's Portrait and The Sorcerer's Letterbox all involve time travel and we also discussed the importance of historical research when crafting these types of stories.

    With older grades I also do workshops on developing characters, then creating dialogue for them.


  10. Donna, my grandson is 12 and reads on a grade 12+ level.

  11. Great interview. I'll have to read about your school presentations, Simon. Thanks for telling us about your books.

  12. Thanks so much. I'll check out your articles on the subject.

    I'll have about 45-60 mins with each group and I'll see them for five days.

    With grades K-3, did you create the story orally? Did you use a whiteboard to write and explain the elements?

    I plan to give them the story starters to write after my lesson, not during.

    With grades 2 and 3, did they write the hero story during your workshop, or afterwards to give to their teacher?

    Thank you for your generosity, Simon! I really appreciate this and your responses have been very helpful!

  13. Hi Lori,

    Thanks for your comments about the interview.

    I'm not sure if there is a secret. I write all the time really, but would perhaps prefer to concentrate on new books more often. I do a lot of marketing and promotion just about every day, as well as write articles, blogs etc. Staying focused on it all is important since this is a full time job for me and I am the only one bringing home the bacon.

    There is no set routine really, but I think perhaps I may concentrate more on marketing in the day and do creative stuff at night, but this is not a hard and fast rule.


  14. Hi Mayra,

    If you're with tme for several days, that will work well.

    With the younger grades, I use a whiteboard to record their ideas as we create the story together.

    With the older ones, we talked about the superhero genre and I explained the project, then they wrote the beginning. In the subsequent session, we went over that, then worked on the middle, then the end etc. They wrote their story, both in the classes with me, in later class time with the teacher and even for homework.


  15. Makes perfect sense, Simon!

    Thanks again for giving us your time like this!


  16. Wow, I just took a look at Simon's Ezine Articles on What a wealth of information! I recommend you all to take a look.


  17. Donna, thank you for inviting Simon for this interview.

    Loved the interview, Simon! As a teacher, I might have some ideas for Mayra. What I'll do is write them on my blog and share them with everyone.:)

    Also, I wondered when you mentioned that you were in New York, where you lived? I am a New Yorker and lived in both Brooklyn and Queens.

    You have some great ideas for workshops.

    I enjoyed reading how you organize your day.

  18. Hello All...thanks for taking the time out today and stopping by to meet Simon. It's been a terrific day, but it's not over yet. If interested, make sure you stop back.

    Best wishes,

  19. Wonderful post. I envy such writing talent and success and very much admire Simon and his work. Thanks for sharing.


  20. I'm a first time visitor to your site (I came through Twitter!) and this is a fantastic interivew. Thanks!

  21. Great interview, Donna. I read Simon's The Sorcerer's Letterbox and it's wonderful. I highly recommend it.

    I also admire Simon's work.


  22. Thanks everyone. It was a pleasure to be here today.

  23. was a true pleasure hosting you. I look forward to having you back in the future.

    Warm regards,

  24. Great interview! I'm fascinated by the way Simon combines paranormal and ancient civilizations. Thanks for sharing.


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