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GLVWG’s Laurel Bruce had a chance to speak with Kelly Simmons, a former journalist and creative advertising director who started writing fiction over fifteen years ago, while studying creative writing and screenwriting at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her critically acclaimed novels {STANDING STILL, THE BIRD HOUSE and ONE MORE DAY} she is developing a TV series and has been writing a memoir for what seems like her entire life.

Laurel Bruce: Kelly it’s a delight to have you teaching two sessions at the GLVWG Write Stuff Writers Conference this year.

How has your background as a creative advertising director influenced your writing?

Kelly Simmons: It taught me to produce under impossible circumstances​: absurd deadlines, ridiculous revision requests, and committees of clients who were tyrants. Compared to that, the publishing industry sometimes feels like a day at the beach. (Oops! Cliche!)

Laurel: Your first published book is “Standing Still.” How did you go about finding a publisher for this bo ​​ ok ​, AND did that differ from the process of publishing your new book, ONE MORE DAY?

Kelly: Well, first off, I wrote 8 novels before I sold one. It took the right agent and the right manuscript at the right time. ​The same for my latest, ONE MORE DAY — there were several years in between book two and book three, in which it was hard to choose the right material for me, and for that moment in time. It’s a bit lightning-in-a-bottle-ish, even once you have an agent.

Laurel: I read that you are a member of the Liars Club, a group of professional writers from the Philadelphia area. How did you get involved with this club?

Kelly: The co-founders put a group together of people with various capabilities and skill sets, with the primary criteria being “no a–holes.” Proud to not be an a–hole! Non a–holes represent! Our primary role is running monthly networking events to help unpublished writers, in two locations in the Philly suburbs.

Laurel: According to your website, you are developing a TV series. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Kelly: One of my close friends is a television producer ​   ​(Sex in the City, and now Limitless — great show, please watch!) and I helped her write a pilot based on a really cool concept. I sure hope it comes to fruition, but honestly, you never know. The TV and film industry is even tougher than publishing!

Laurel: What one piece of important advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Kelly: Butt in chair. I really want an emoji for it. ​

Laurel: For the Write Stuff Writers Conference could you give us a sneak peek into what you will talk about in your Saturday presentations, “How to Find Time to Organize Your Writing — Even When Life Gets Crazy” and “Crafting Killer Query Letters”?

Kelly: 1. With writing a novel, which takes such a long time, things usually go well when you have free time and low stress, then they stall. As a person with a full time job and three kids, I know all too well how hard it is to juggle your writing time, and I have lots of techniques and tips for how to get back on track or stay on track. 2. Writing short form — letters, synopses, elevator pitches, etc — is a completely different animal than writing long form. I use my advertising techniques to help you craft a strong letter that represents your work perfectly.

Laurel: Thank you again for the interview! We’re looking forward to having you at the conference.


Kelly will be speaking at the Write Stuff conference, Saturday, April 9.

“How to find time to organize your writing” – Saturday morning, 9:50 – 10:40

“Writing Killer Queries” – Saturday afternoon, 2:40 – 3:30


Kelly Simmons pic 3

Kelly Simmons’ novels have been hailed as electrifying, complex and poignant, and aren’t those nice words? Her third novel, ONE MORE DAY, just came out and everyone calls it riveting, so don’t buy it unless you want to stay up all night reading it. Kelly Simmons is a former journalist and current advertising creative director. She is the author of Standing Still, hailed by Publishers Weekly as “an exhilarating debut” as well as The Bird House, which received a starred review from Kirkus, and they are really, really picky. She is a member of The Liars Club, Philadelphia, a group of published novelists dedicated to helping fledgling writers. Read more at kellysimmonsbooks.com.

You can also find Kelly at her and Facebook Page and Twitter Page.