Interview with TM Simmons

When did you start writing?
I'm one of those "late bloomers." Although I wrote some stories during my teenage years, I didn't seriously start working towards publishing and sharing my work until mid-life. It was so much fun, I kept doing it. I could lose myself for hours in my own stories.
What sort of books have you published?
I started out writing and publishing historical romance, since I loved reading that. Then this story with angels in it grabbed me, right in the middle of another historical romance. I just had to write it. An editor saw it and said it was perfect for a new line she had in mind, and bought it. It was the lead title for Dorchester's Angel's Touch line. So I sort of veered into writing paranormal romances. After ten books with New York publishers, I grew jaded with the publishing industry and quit writing. So I thought. But my Aunt Belle had gotten me interested in ghost hunting, and I was keeping diaries of all our fun times. A mystery started flopping around in my muse, and Dead Man Talking was born.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Ohio, actually right next door to Aunt Belle. Only four years apart, she and I were like sisters, and we got kicked out of different bars together and at different times. We were country girls, as are a lot of my heroines. Our families frequently talked about our past history, so that may be what fostered my interest in historical romances. Come to think of it. Aunt Belle and I lived in different states for many years, and when we ended up getting back in touch, my writing veered into the paranormal, with her influence. So Ohio and Aunt Belle were big factors.
How long have you been ghost hunting?
For close to twenty-five years now. And no, don't try to guess my age from that. <grin> Aunt Belle started me out, and made me aware of my own gifts. But I studied a lot under other psychics and even a Native American spiritualist. I've grown my abilities and learned to protect myself ... and Aunt Belle, at times. In return for what she showed me, I've taught her other things. We've run across some nasty entities during our years together, and are firm believers in protection measures.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I usually have two or three books going at once, although I focus mostly on whatever one I'm going to publish next. I always do an annual Halloween and Christmas story. Therefore, as of this writing, Monsters Among Us is being written for Halloween publication. I'm also working on Silent Prey, the next dark paranormal after Winter Prey. I'm keeping notes for another volume of true ghost stories, Ghost Hunting Diary Volume VI. After that, the fourth Dead Man Mystery is on the horizon, Dead Man Ohio, and my Christmas 2013 story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I grew very tired of the editorial interference in what I truly wanted to write. And frankly, I thought my stories were better than what the NY editors turned them into before they would publish them. Then I found out an agent I had totally trusted was dishonest and fired her. I needed to recoup emotionally, and when I started writing again, I went with a small publisher. But I'd been watching the e-book business since its inception. (Still not going to reveal my age <grin>.) I even had the rights back on my romances and had placed them with an e-publisher, although they weren't doing much. So I started on one of my paths for information, like I always do when I'm ready to dive into something, and within months, put my first indie book up. It's been fantastic from there on!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords gave me confidence and showed me how exciting having control of my own work could be. I could track sales and see what was working, although it was a couple months down the road. It allowed me to make changes if I felt they were needed. It allowed my readers to have my books immediately, instead of three or four years down the road from being written to being published. It gave me a lot of the joy back in my writing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hearing from my readers. I get lots of warm fuzzies from them on Facebook or in email.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are part of the enjoyment of the writing life. I love writing my stories, losing myself in them for hours, even reading them for editing. But there's nothing like hearing from fans who have read your stories and liked them.
Do you think you will ever retire from writing?
Never! I've told my husband and family to wait until the hearse is at the curb outside the house. Then they can drag me kicking and screaming out to it.
Who are your favorite authors?
I don't have a lot of time to read these days, since going indie also includes doing promotion for my books. However, I have a few authors I will make time to read. I love James Lee Burke, and J. D. Nance's earlier books, plus her J. P. Beaumont books even now. I didn't much care for her new heroine, Angie. I love C. J. Box. I started reading the Dean Koontz Odd Thomas books when he first started publishing them. Readers recommend books once in a while, and I'll usually try them. I love reading other true ghost stories, if they are well written, and also about other ghost hunters, like Ed and Lorraine Warren.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'll usually wake up thinking I really want to snuggle down and sleep a bit more. But then whatever story I'm working on will start tugging at me. My best writing time is in the morning, so I usually get up and at 'em.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Ghost hunting, of course! Or on Facebook and in email. I'm not much of a telephone person, but I do try to stay in touch with family that way. I love to get outside, so I try to get some sun each day. My very favorite thing is traveling. My husband says all he has to do is say the word, "Go," and I'm in the car. Then I'll ask where we are going. Aunt Belle and I still try to get a few days away by ourselves now and then, with some ghosts for company.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I hear from fans. I also get a lot of e-book newsletters. I totally love my Kindle, but it's so easy to store up way too many books to read. However, in the alternative, if the book doesn't quite work for me, I can delete it rather than pack it away to give to a shelter. We used to call it a TBR pile (to be read pile). Maybe now it's a tbr file?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was back in jr. high. The teacher thought it was so good, he read it aloud to the class. I was such a shy person, though, it embarrassed me to death, especially since I'd used some classmates' names in the story. I didn't write anything else I let anyone read for a long while. But now I am doing that, and I'm going back to it right now. Love y'all!
Published 2013-08-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Living With Dead Folks, Volume Two
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,540. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » The Paranormal
Should you read this one with the lights on? Some of the blog entries might make you reach for the bedside or chair-side lamp. Take your chances!
Upon a Midnight Clear
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,780. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
A short story. Can ghosts travel into the past? Is the magic around Christmas time strong enough that past wrongs can be righted? Upon Midnight Clear is T. M. Simmons' annual Christmas short story for her readers. Enjoy!
Monsters Among Us
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,920. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » Occult
Monsters Among Us, a novella, is T. M. Simmons annual Halloween story. Collin Cassidy, known as The Slayer, has enemies in the demon underground who will do anything to kill him. Faytareena has her own reason for seeking revenge against The Slayer, who killed her demon father and human mother.
Living With Dead Folks, Volume One
By
Series: Short Stories, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,410. Language: English. Published: July 24, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » Supernatural
T. M. Simmons lives with dead folks. Living with Dead Folks Volume One is a collection of the blog entries from Simmons' I See Dead Folks blog from its inception through 2012. Another collection will follow when 2013 comes to a close.
Ghost Hunting Diary Volume V
By
Series: Ghost Hunting Volumes, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 48,450. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » Supernatural
Get comfortable and settle in for another eerie, spooky ride into the supernatural with T. M. Simmons' latest: Ghost Hunting Diary Volume V. Parts of some tales will make you chuckle at the ghostly antics, and perhaps the reactions of the investigators. Others will have you glancing around to assure yourself there are no monsters in the room with you.
To All a Good Night, a Short Story
By
Series: Short Stories, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,550. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2012. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
Jason knew immediately he was dead. The bright light in the east exerted a powerful pull, but something whispered in his mind about unfinished business.
Dragon's Dishonor, A Short Story
By
Series: Short Stories, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,920. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Dragon's Dishonor is a short story, published for my readers who enjoy October and Halloween with me. Devastated and left severely injured in the wreck that killed his wife, Rose, and their unborn child, Matt finds something unbelievable on a periodic visit to his wife's grave. No veterinarian on earth would ever think h
Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV
By
Series: Ghost Hunting Volumes, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,090. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » Supernatural
Boo! Turn up the lights and sit down to read more true ghost tales from the extensive collection of diaries T. M. Simmons kept over the years of her paranormal investigative career. Things do seem to go bump in the night when Simmons and her aunt prowl a haunted house or cemeteries during both dark and full moons. It's a scary Halloween all year round for this ghost hunter and her readers.
Dead Man Hand
By
Series: Dead Man Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 110,300. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Alice, Twila, Granny, Jack, Trucker and Miss Molly are at it again, this time in a haunted hotel in Red Dollar, New Mexico. Shades of the Wild West, the ghosts are carrying six-shooters! The villain is armed with Black Magic, and there's no escape for anyone during the ice storm.
Winter Prey
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Series: Dark Paranormal, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 128,540. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2012. Category: Fiction » Romance » Suspense
Terrified she will harm her newly-adopted daughter in the throes of a PTSD flashback, Kymbria James travels to the Minnesota Northwood to work with a Native American healer. As the monster captures one after another tribal member and drags each off to its lair, Kymbria is forced into the quest to destroy it--to confront both her emotional situation and the monster... if she can find the courage.
Ghost Hunting Diary Volume III
By
Series: Ghost Hunting Volumes, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,760. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » The Paranormal
Turn out the lights, stoke up the fire, and enjoy another set of true spooky tales from the cache of T. M. Simmons' ghost hunting diaries. Perhaps you will be able to turn out the lights before you go to sleep after reading these tales. Perhaps not.
Grave Yarns, a Collection of Short Stories
By
Series: Short Stories, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 34,480. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2011. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
T. M. Simmons provides some of the best scary tales available, both fiction and non-fiction. Grave Yarns is a selection of her fiction short stories, to be read with the lights out only if you dare!
Dead Man Haunt
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Series: Dead Man Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 112,970. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Mineral Springs will never be the same. Gorgeous naked ghost Patrick needs Alice's help to pass through the light, then leads her and her cohorts into a crumbling historical hotel and a new murder — a woman severed in half by elevator doors. Alice ends up under suspicion for murder, deals with a friend's betrayal, survivalists, and the dead woman's ghost, who insists her murderer be exposed.
Ghost Hunting Diary Volume II
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Series: Ghost Hunting Volumes, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,940. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » The Paranormal
Herein lie the second set of selections from over twenty years of diaries kept by T. M. Simmons as she chased down ghosts, spirits and other entities. Some are intriguing adventures, including both fun and scary ingredients. The latter includes paranormal entities definitely not Casper-variety beings. This selection of true stories preludes Dead Man Haunt, the next paranormal mystery.
Dead Man Talking
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Series: Dead Man Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 108,750. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Weird things tend to happen when you live in a haunted house — not that author/ghost hunter Alice Carpenter has a problem disciplining her ten paranormal boarders. When cousin Katy calls for help with Sir Gary, the resident ghost at Espirt d'Chene near Jefferson, Alice comes to the rescue, but not before Katy discovers another dead person, a headless corpse in her swimming pool.
Ghost Hunting Diary Volume I
By
Series: Ghost Hunting Volumes, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 30,890. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » New Age » The Paranormal
T. M. Simmons chased down rumors of ghosts for over twenty years and kept diaries of the intriguing adventures, including both the fun and scary parts. She also chronicled when paranormal entities were definitely not your Casper-variety beings. Encouraged by friends, she is publishing a few of her diaries as preludes to each upcoming Dead Man paranormal mystery. These stories are true.