Hi Readers!!! We had fun these last two months off with 21 Days of Love and March Madness, but Fab Friday Feature is back! Today's guest is Empress Simone. Grab your favorite beverage and chair and curl up to read more...
CHELLE: Simone, welcome to the Beautifully Inspired Blog. You may be new to this blog, but perhaps not new to the readers. Let's get to the heart of the matter and give them some details they may not know about you. When it comes to writing would you say that you're a Plotter or Pantser?
SIMONE: I’m not even sure. If I had to pick I’d say plotter.
CHELLE: Tell us a little about yourself? Who is Empress Simone the woman?
SIMONE: As a child, I was born addicted to heroin. I overcame that by being an honor roll student in Catholic school since first grade and having a loving step-mom and father. As an adult, I’m a mom who battles bipolar every day. I’m not ashamed of it. My life circumstances have led me on this path and by the Grace of God I have survived being raped as a child as well as being born addicted to drugs. While my life reads like a novel, it’s not and there are times when I’d say it’s not worth it. However, I hang in there every day. I accomplish my school task and my writing and work tasks only to show and say I am proudly a new self-published author who has published 9 books (and counting as I have 2 new releases in the next upcoming week or two). I am also a radio host of ‘The Tea Live Hosted by Empress Simone’ which is due to end its first season with the last show on May 31, 2016. And finally I just published a literary magazine affectionately titled ‘Strictly for My People: An Urban Literary Magazine’. While I toiled with the thought of not even publishing my magazine, I knew I had to when faced with adversity and after a lady who I thought was a friend. I have a testimony and not a sob story. I push through adversity toward my goals while telling my story because I want everyone to know they may encounter these type of hardships but don’t worry God always hand his children the victory. Stay strong.
CHELLE: Simone, I must say you have overcome quite a bit of adversity. And pursuing your dreams definitely inspires others out there who have obstacles to overcome in life. You obviously have a lot on your plate. How do you create work and life balance being an author?
SIMONE: My strategy is that I don’t have one. I don’t adhere to any set routine. I’m too fickle for that. I create my balance by performing the tasks as the need either arises or the opportunity presents itself. I network with others in an attempt to lighten the load and help them along their journey as I go along with mine. I feel it’s my purpose to help others after being stagnant in my own career for so long. I can see that’s exactly what I am called to do even if it seems as if no one notices me or my work, I am a hundred percent happy that I have helped someone accomplish their goals.
CHELLE: Describe a day around your house and in your ordinary life where writing is not key.
SIMONE: For me writing is key almost every day. Even if it’s just to write one line on a notepad. I’m allowed to do this because my children are grown. They help out by doing some of the chores even cooking. I however must do the cleaning since I like it a certain way they never seem to grasp the knowledge of how to do it.
CHELLE: I can relate to that. My children aren't grown, but it seems as if we're always correcting the way they perform their chores. Simone, most authors have a routine they settle into when they prepare to write. Yet, others toss routine out the window and go with the flow. Tell us about your writing routine.
SIMONE: My routine is to have lots of coffee and silence. Then and only then can I write.
CHELLE: Silence. I like that. Pandora or I Heart? What would we find on your playlist?
SIMONE: Pandora. You’d find ‘So Gone’ by Monica and ‘Almost doesn’t count’ by Brandy.
Definitely ‘Me, Myself and I ‘by Beyoncé and ‘I’m the only Woman’ ‘Be without you’ and ‘Sweet Memories’ by Mary J. Blige.
CHELLE: You have some great artists there. Did you keep a journal or diary as a child growing up? If so, what secret did you not want your parents to read?
SIMONE: Yes, I did keep a journal. I had a crush on a neighborhood guy is the secret I wanted to keep to myself.
CHELLE: What genre do you write and why? What authors have influenced your writing?
SIMONE: I love to write Street Lit Novels. It’s just something I love to do. I like to think of myself as an action writer. If I could I’d bring my books to life via movie screens or web series. I love Frederick Douglass, Terry McMillan, E. Lynn Harris, Nikki Turner, Kendal Banks, Mykal Malone, Terri Woods and Kwan. They all have inspired me during different periods of my life when I have needed it most.
CHELLE: Terry is one of my favorites as well. If you could pair up with another author to write, who would you choose and why?
SIMONE: I’d pair up with Terry McMillan or Kendal Banks. Terry would be because she writes a lot about heart break and I’ve experienced a lot of heart break. Kendal would be because she solidified my decision amongst other reasons to shop my manuscript around.
CHELLE: I'm glad you brought that up. Why did you decide to switch from traditional publishing to indie?
SIMONE: I had different ideas than what the publisher had for his own company. He wanted to grow and become a powerhouse. I like to remain small and with the ladies already signed. I finished my contracted 5 books and left. I was going to sign again but thought I should try this on my own. I like being on my own. I'm my own boss, I make my own deadlines and I get to work with those I'm comfortable with.
CHELLE: I think more and more authors are going that route. If your latest release were turned into a movie, what actors would you select to play the starring roles, and what music would comprise the soundtrack?
SIMONE: I love Taral Hicks she would have to play an extra or something. The character might call for a younger actor so I’d go with Kiki Palmer, Drew Sidora would play the main character’s friend and cell mate. For male roles, Jesse Williams, Idris Elba and Maino (the rapper). The music that would comprise the soundtrack would be Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Keke Wyatt, and 702, Missy Elliot, Biggie Smalls, Uncle Murda, Luther Vandross and Drake.
CHELLE: Kiki is a phenomenal actress. I have enjoyed watching the depth of her talent grow through the years. Idris seems to be on all the writers' list of actors to select. (Laughing). There I go straying again. Anyhoo, we all encounter it from time to time. Some fear it, others walk all over it. Tell us about you. How do you handle the dreaded writer’s block?
SIMONE: I reread my story. I change little details about the novel in hopes that it flows. I usually do this from my windows phone. So far it has worked.
CHELLE: Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing, Simone. Mountains or the beach?
SIMONE: The beach of course.
CHELLE: Provide one marketing tip for upcoming authors that has worked for you.
SIMONE: One marketing tip is to promote in the groups on Facebook.
CHELLE: If there was one thing you would want your readers to know after reading your works, what would it be?
SIMONE: I always try and bring up a taboo issue within the Black community in the hopes it will open up a dialogue in changing a person’s perspective. For instance my days with bipolar are sometimes implemented in my story, my mother’s battle with AIDS is also a subject I reference. My hope is that people will stop thinking that certain issues mean someone is crazy. I’m highly intelligent and made the Dean’s list this past fall, I have 9 plus novels under my belt. It’s an emotional issue but being born addicted to drugs will do that to a person. I like to call awareness to those who might be treating a loved one different and let them know that people with issues will always have issues if they are not talked about and addressed to bring forth solutions. Also I like to show a lot of action in my writing and not everyone can be trusted. Some will seek to harm you and despite this fact you can overcome it. I also try to show the beauty of researching our ancestors by giving my character names of the ancestors who have influenced or inspired me during my genealogy research.
CHELLE: That's beautiful, Simone. I love stories where everything is not always perfect. Art mimics life so to speak. In my mind we can really relate to those stories and have hope to overcome adversity. Writers often have to forsake time with friends and family when deadlines are looming, or the creative muse is flowing. What one person has been your greatest supporter on your publishing journey?
SIMONE: My sons have been my greatest supporters.
CHELLE: Simply sweet and outstanding! Sounds like you've raised great young men. With all of the activities you have going on, including being a mother, describe your idea of the perfect “me-time.”
SIMONE: The perfect me time is a pedicure and retail therapy fueled by lots of coffee.
CHELLE: Sounds like every girls' dream. On to the important question. Kobe or LeBron?
SIMONE: To be honest neither.
CHELLE: (Gasps, hand to her chest, eyes enlarges in disbelief). I am mortified, Simone! (Laughing). Okay, now that my diva drama moment of the day is over let's move forward. We live life beautifully inspired here, at The Beautifully Inspired Blog. Leave us with an inspirational post, comprised of three words.
SIMONE: As my life coach says ‘Perfect by Design.'
CHELLE: Thank you for stopping by and allowing our readers to know more about the woman and author, Empress Simone! Check out her links below to purchase her books or connect with her.
Empress Simone | Author of A Bronx Chick's Story (www.empressedforlife.com)
Author's Page - Author Empress Simone: https://www.facebook.com/empresssimone/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf
Radio Show's Page - The Tea Live Hosted by Empress Simone
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