Meet Ann Simas, Author of Holy Smoke and other stories
AS: I live in Oregon, but I’m a Colorado girl at heart (you can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl). I have been writing since I was a teenager, but I had a big lag during the years when I got married, had kids, and worked fulltime. I sold my first book (The Sugar Cup) to Harlequin/Worldwide in 1993 for their Stolen Moments imprint. I continued writing, but had no set schedule because of family and work.
Three years ago, things finally came together for me and I started writing fulltime. I had written three books that had finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart competition. I went to work on Chloe’s Spirit first, then wrote two novella sequels following four other characters I’d introduced in the first book. That resulted in Chloe’s Spirit Afterstories: Second Chance and Foolish Heart. Those were released in April and June 2013. The other two Golden Heart finalists, First Star and Blessed Are the Eagles, were released in April and June 2014. Loose Ends followed in August, and Dressed to Die (book 1 in my Grace Gabbiano Mystery Series) came out in October. Then came Holy Smoke in April 2015. It’s the first book in my Andi Comstock Supernatural Mystery Series.
AS: Believe it or not, a real life event! At my last job, I was tasked with finding a new building for our institute to move into. That was a one-year project from start to finish. It was a nice building, just perfect for what we needed. It wasn’t long, however, before I began to smell smoke. In the Willamette Valley, we have field burning, slash burning, backyard burning, and the occasional raging fire. However, when I smelled the smoke, none of those things were “in season” and no town has that many structural fires. No one else smelled the smoke but me. It was weird, but I have a sensitive nose, so I didn’t think much more about it until the day I realized there was a funeral home behind our building, on the opposite corner. Being a writer who stockpiles ideas, that smoke stuck in my mind as a great story possibility. Two years ago, I had an epiphany: Finally, I knew what to do with that smoke.
BBB: Tell us about the main character.
AS: Andi Comstock, 29, writes game software. She’s created three game apps on her own, but she has no money to market them. She also needs to eat and temp jobs just aren’t cutting it for her. Finally, she interviews with Orion’s Belt and is hired to revive a game dear to the owner’s heart. From her first day at work, Andi smells smoke, and with it comes a voice in her head. She determines quickly that it’s not someone talking near her office, so what’s going on? Does she have a brain tumor? Is she crazy? Is she imagining things? One of the Smokies, as she comes to dub the voices, tells her to seek out Father Riley at St. Gemma’s Church. Eventually, Andi does and between her and the priest, they figure out the origination of the voices, if not the smoke. The discovery comes just in time, because one of the voices asks Andi for help, and it’s likely the woman, Sherry, was murdered.
Enter Detective Jack Harmon, a by-the-book cop. Jack finds Andi’s claims outrageous, but because of Father Riley, he takes to quietly investigating Sherry’s death. Jack would like it better if Andi focused on writing software, but Andi is intelligent, tenacious, and surprisingly good at sleuthing. She’s certain she can offer something to the investigation, especially since, without her, there wouldn’t even be an investigation. She digs deep, piecing clues together until she finally figures out who the killer is. To prove her theory, she has to put herself in the same situation the victim encountered. Fearless, and much to Jack’s dismay, she plunges headlong into danger.
AS: I have three projects underway. Heaven Sent, to be released July 15, is a book about a woman who dies as the result of a hit-and-run. She likes it in Heaven, but she’s not allowed to stay. Her mission from God: Return to the earthly plane to save a man by saving his daughter. Sliced to Die, the second book in my Grace Gabbiano Mystery Series, will be released late Fall 2015. This time Grace investigates illegal kidney harvests. Also scheduled for a late Fall release is my Christmas novella, Santa’s Helper, a heartwarming romance which will be available only as an ebook. Book 2 in the Andi Comstock Supernatural Mystery Series will be released Spring 2016. I know the premise of the book, but haven’t started writing it yet. Somewhere in there is another book I’m writing from another true-life event. It’s tentatively titled Black Moon Rising and will be available in 2016.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
AS: I would love to have readers visit my website--annsimas.com—or my Facebook page at Ann Simas, Author. Via my website, they can read about all my books, order paperbacks, see some of my Italy photos, and even email me. Also, I’d love to include photos of anyone reading one of my books on my Fan Page. If they visit me on Facebook, I’d be honored to have them “like” my page. I run contests periodically on my Facebook page and everyone is eligible to play.
All my books are available at Amazon (paperback and ebook) and iTunes.Apple, or check out the iTunes app on your Apple device and search BOOKS.