Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, old 1970's gothic novels, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder.. Her next novel will release in 2020.
This month, we’re loving the spooky vibes of Simone St. James‘ novel, The Broken Girls, a “worthwhile read for those of us who enjoy a little hocus pocus mixed in with a well-delivered whodunnit,” as GBC Founder, Erin Woodward says.
We caught up with Simone recently to learn more about her writing and what’s she thinks makes a story great, before getting her to play favorites with us.
Girly Book Club: How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?
Simone St. James: I’ve always written for fun, but I never thought about doing it for a living until I was in my 30s. Then I decided to try and get published. My first published book is not the first book I wrote — not even close. I wrote it because I wanted to read a ghost story that was creepy but not gory, and that had a romance in it. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote it.
GBC: What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess?
SSJ: Good question! For me, a great book sucks me in to the point where I forget about my surroundings. It’s an all-encompassing experience. A great book makes me miss my train stop and makes me forget what day it is, then gives me a book hangover.
GBC: What are you doing if you’re not writing?
SSJ: Reading, hanging out with my husband and my cat, and traveling. I’ve also taken up yoga lately. I’m terrible at it no matter how much I do it, and yet I keep going. I can’t explain.
GBC: Name your favourite bookshop in the world.
SSJ: My favourite bookshop no longer exists — it was the World’s Biggest Bookstore in downtown Toronto. I spent hundreds of hours there and lost count of how much money I spent. It was one of my favourite places, period. A few years ago it was sold and demolished to build condos, and I’m still sad about it.
GBC: Physical book, e-book, or audiobook? – and why.
SSJ: I’ve been 50-50 physical and ebook until this year. I love physical books but ebooks are better for traveling. I started listening to audiobooks this year and they are so addictive, especially when driving or sitting in waiting rooms. So that will be added to the rotation as well!
GBC: What was your favourite book as a child?
SSJ: There are too many to count — I’ve always been a huge reader. I do know that I read my first copy of The Hobbit so many times it literally fell apart, so that probably qualifies.
GBC: We’re always on the hunt for our next great read. Recommend us a book to add to our TBR pile!
SSJ: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved both of them so much. I also just read Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson, and I loved every page.
GBC: What is one movie, TV series, or podcast that you’re loving right now?
SSJ: I’m a My Favorite Murder addict — I love it like crazy. I go back and listen to my favorite episodes while I’m waiting for a new one. I’ve also been bingeing Grey’s Anatomy lately — I have a lot of seasons to catch up on!
GBC: What’s the last thing you bought online?
SSJ: A new Kindle, because my old one was starting to die. When it arrives I’ll use that as an excuse to stock it up with some new books!