About SimoneQ: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve always written. At the age of seven I was already writing poetry. At ten, I wrote my first novel and I finished the second by age fourteen. Of course, they were hopeless first endeavours, but I treasure them as though they’re my best works. I also kept a journal faithfully all through my childhood and teens. It was good practice to start me on my writing path. Life got in the way after that, but I picked up writing professionally in my late twenties and haven’t stopped since. First it was in marketing and public relations, at which time I started a magazine about horses and horse racing in Malta. In the interim, I had a weekly political column in a major local newspaper, which I researched and wrote from home for several years. In the last decade I went back to my first love – book-length fiction.
Q: Why do you write?
A: Writing is a compulsion. I write because I need to. There might be periods of time when emotional stress blocks the muse for a while but once it clears up I’m back on my daily writing routine, and then I can’t stop.
Q: Have you published any work other than fiction?
A: Indeed, I have. I have over 500 articles published in both the English and Maltese languages covering a wide variety of topics – local and international politics, social and environmental issues, and any other topic I deemed of public interest. I was also editor and writer of two sports magazines, one of which was international and the other local. The first was the English edition of a German fitness magazine, for which I wrote features on various sports and health matters. I wrote and edited the second magazine in my capacity as Public Relations Officer of the local horse racing club. This was in the Maltese language and featured horses and the local horse racing scene.
Q: Which authors of Regency historical fiction do you recommend?
A: My favourites list is endless, but top of my list for good Regency reads are Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, who were my inspiration and to whom I owe my love of the period. From the many modern authors, my first choice would be Loretta Chase without hesitation. Her novels are not only historically accurate, which is something of a pet peeve with me, but they're also witty and funny. Julia Justiss and Amanda Quick come a close second.
Q: Do you read any other genres besides Regency historical fiction?
A: If it’s good historical fiction, then I will read it. I love to be transported back in time, preferably before the end of the nineteenth century. Georgette Heyer’s medieval novels made me fall in love with that era too. But after Regency, my second love is Native American historicals. Their spirituality, their tribal customs and their history holds an eternal fascination for me. In this genre, my favourite authors are Madeline Baker, Deborah Camp, and Nan Ryan. I enjoy Time Travel as well, which is also historical, and if it involves Native Americans all the better. The best ones I’ve read in this genre are Judie Aitken, who is sadly departed, and Diana Gabaldon.
Q: What writing advice can you give an aspiring author?
A: Read a lot because without reading your vocabulary won’t be up to par. Then write everyday. I find that when I stop writing even for a month, it takes some time to get my brain back into gear. Also, the words come easier when you write to a schedule.
Q: Will you read my manuscript and give me your feedback?
A: Although I’m all for encouraging other authors, I regret that reading manuscripts is not possible. I simply do not have the time. My hands are already full reading and reviewing published works in addition to reading my own research, which barely leaves me time to read books for pleasure. Writing and promoting my own books is a full time job that takes up most of my days.