I first met Simon when he and fellow authors from Birmingham, UK, came to give readings from their latest works at The Big Comfy Bookshop in my home city, Coventry. I had gone along to check out the shop as a potential venue for my own writers’ group and this seemed as good an opportunity as any. It was a very successful evening. Simon and his colleagues proved to be a great bunch, and the bookshop is a truly welcoming and atmospheric place in which to hold a writers’ group meeting.
Simon is a fantasy author living in Birmingham. His first novel, The Sheriff, was released in March 2014. The following month, it was chosen to participate in the One Big Book Launch. The next book in the series, The Curse of Besti Bori, was released in October 2015.
His debut short story collection, Breadcrumbs, contains twenty-one short stories, including a new adventure starring the characters of The Sheriff.
Simon was also one of ten writers selected for the Ten To One project. Their collaborative efforts resulted in the novel Circ.
What is the title of your latest book?
My most recent novel is The Curse Of Besti Bori. The jungle cloud of Besti Bori is in quarantine. An infection has consumed the cloud, turning its peaceful people into monstrous splicers. Now a team of archers watch over its borders, ensuring nothing enters and nothing leaves.
That is until Sheriff Baran visits for a routine inspection. His sky-horse is mysteriously drugged and he plummets into the darkness of the cursed jungle.
Now, Sheriff Shaula must return from her self-inflicted exile to lead a rescue mission into the most dangerous place in Nephos. Armed only with a team of warrior fairies, Shaula must battle her way through hordes of splicers to retrieve the stranded Baran. However, Shaula soon learns that splicers are not the only danger lurking in Besti Bori.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?
The biggest challenge is finding the time and motivation to write, alongside family commitments, a full-time job and the temptation of Netflix!
The most rewarding moment is holding your printed novel in your hands, knowing that all those months of grafting, writing and editing are now contained in a neat little package adorned with your name. I love sliding my finished novels onto my bookshelf in between famous authors!
What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?
I strongly recommend joining a writers’ group. I joined the Birmingham Writers’ Group in Autumn 2011. They helped me progress from a complete novice to a self-published novelist in less than three years – The Sheriff.
Writing is a solitary activity but you need camaraderie, accountability and feedback to stay motivated. An organised and supportive writers’ group is worth its weight in gold.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently editing my second short story collection, provisionally titled Breadcrumbs 2. I just need to write one more novella and the collection will be complete.
What do you like to read?
My three writing heroes are Terry Pratchett, Stephen King and Agatha Christie, thankfully three of the most prolific writers you can find! My favourite books of all time are His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I am very excited about his follow-up trilogy, The Book of Dust, which begins in October of this year. Generally, I read two books a month: one traditionally published and one self-published.
Where can readers find you ?
NB: You can also find a short story by Simon in the Christmas anthology, Festive Treats, along with my short story, Mary’s Christmas. This is available as a free download from my Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO