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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Conversations w/ Julia Press Simmons

1. Why did you decide to become an author?
I am a writer simply because I write almost everyday and have done so since I was a child. My desire to become an author was a natural progression.

2.Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
Oh, my God. The voices in my head… lol. I have an overactive imagination, and a wealth of dramatic life experience that keeps the words flowing.

3. We know that Strawberry Mansion is loosely based on your life, can the same be said about Begonia Brown?
No Begonia Brown is a purely fictional character. I met her while writing Strawberry Mansion, and I fell in love with her story. I struggled to make Begonia real. I wanted to create a novel based on what I knew went down on the streets. I’ve never been privy to the glamorous side of the hood that a lot of my peers write about. I’m not knocking it, mind you, I’m just not familiar with it and I like to write what I know,

4. Do you stick to a writing schedule?
How much writing do you do per day? Yes, yes, and yes. I have too. I am easily distracted and unorganized person. If I don’t stick to a schedule then nothing will never get done. I usually start with an outline and once that is finished I’ll write anywhere from 2 thousand to 5 thousand words a day.

5. Do you experience writers block?
All the friggen time. I usually get blocked when I try to make it perfect. I get stuck in an editing loop that can take a few days to get out of. When this happens I usually take a couple of days off, watch a few movies, and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. If I’m facing a deadline, I’ll just write through it until the inspiration bug bites me again.

6. Will you aver write in a different genre?
Hell yes! I am a writing a fantasy novel about African Dragons now. I love sci-fi fantasy and am a self-proclaimed nerd!

7. What’s next?
I have three novels in the works: “Hell Couldn’t Be Any Better” coming out in February 2010, the final installment of the Philadelphia Story series, entitled “Violet,” coming September 2010, and my first sci-fi fantasy effort “Adjua’s Fire” will debut in January 2011.

Begonia Brown: A Philadelphia Story

We were named for the flowers in Grandma's Garden. Begonias, Violets and Daisies, and much like those flowers, we were showered with a love that rivaled sunrays. We knew nothing of pain, or sorrow, or just how cruel the world could be until the day God saw fit to call Grandma on home. Her heart stopped two weeks after Daisy was born. My mother smoked us homeless two weeks after that. Now with Grandma gone and mommy on a constant crack high, it's up to me to keep our little family together, and you best believe I'll stop at nothing to do just that…

Begonia’s carefree world has been turned upside down. Forced to become the head of her household she has to trade her paintbrush in for a switchblade, and her love of art into a love affair with the hood. Lying, stealing, and turning tricks, Begonia will do any and everything she can to protect her sisters from the ugliness of the world. However, it just isn’t enough… When her younger sister Violet, desperate to escape the hell her life has become is seduced by an up and coming Corner boy, and their baby sister Daisy is riddled with disease that could be fatal if not cared for, Begonia is caught between the hard knocks of the streets and the nightmare of her home life.

From the critically acclaimed author of Strawberry Mansion comes the tale of Begonia Brown. Raised in the unforgiving streets of North Philadelphia, Begonia Brown is undoubtedly a product of her environment, young, ruthless, and criminally minded.

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