Shawn Simon, Author of Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms

Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms by Shawn Simon

“Shawn Simon, Author of Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I  have the great pleasure of interviewing author, Shawn Simon.  Welcome, Shawn.

Thank you, Joan. It’s wonderful to be here with you. Congratulations to Sarah Maury Swan. She won a copy of my book by leaving a comment before midnight April 28, 2020.

That’s awesome. Thank you. We’ll put the details of the drawing after your interview. Everyone’s anxious to hear about you and your new book, “Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms.” Let’s get started.

  1. Where were you born? Inglewood, CA (Yep, I’m an actual Southern California native. Lol

  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? I actually enjoyed living in our apartments in Santa Monica, CA. My brother and I played with all the kids who lived in apartments nearby. We like to say we grew up playing in the alleys behind the apartment buildings in Santa Monica.

  3. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why? No particular favorite place, but I was definitely, and still am, a book worm. My dad and I were just saying the other day how this isolating time is probably much easier for avid readers. I have read so many books during these last few weeks.

  4. How do you keep yourself physically fit? I have three small dogs, so I walk them a few miles every day. I also take barre classes and I love Orange Theory, a newer cardio and strength training workout in our area.

  5. What do you do when you think about giving up? That’s a good question. What makes we want to give up is feeling over-whelmed. So, I try to chunk all I need to do into smaller sized pieces. If I break things down into manageable bites, so to speak, I can typically accomplish what I set out to do.

  6. Do you set goals for yourself as a writer? What helps you reach them? Do you reward yourself when you reach them? I do set goals for myself. I mark them in my calendar as my “to do list.” I also belong to three writing groups. We read to each other when we meet, so knowing I need to read a story keeps me accountable. I haven’t rewarded myself when I reach a goal, but I like that idea. I’ll have to think of a good reward.

  7. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why? In certain areas, yes. I think setting out to write a book, actually completing it, and then jumping through the hoops needed to get it published is all fairly risky. I’m proud of myself for reaching this milestone.

  8. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? At my age, the only amusement park I like is Disneyland. I love the feel of Disney and the old rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, etc. The rides I avoid are any that spin. Those make me sick every time.

  9. What is your favorite genre to write? Why? I love to write non-fiction inspirational stories. It started with writing my stories about my experiences as a stepmom, but when I met other stepmoms struggling with similar challenges, I thought, “Why not write their stories, too?” I enjoy talking with people and hearing their stories. It’s therapeutic and supportive. I think of my book as a stepmom support group in writing.

  10. What’s your favorite book? Why? Picking just one is hard. I suppose my favorite children’s book is Shiloh. I cry every time I read that one. A favorite classic is To Kill a Mockingbird. Three favorite newer books are The Fault in Our Stars, A Man Called Ove, and Don’t Let Me Go. I also love the Chicken Soup Series. I find the stories to be uplifting and inspirational. I liken my book to that series, except my stories are emotionally deeper. And they’ve never published one for stepmoms, so…

  11. When did you decide to become an author? I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a book. But when I became a stepmom and shared my challenging experiences, I kept hearing, “You should write a book. Your stories are so inspirational.” I believe when you hear something several times, you need to listen. So, I listened.

  12. Please name Authors or Books that inspire you. As I said, the Chicken Soup books have inspired me. I also like reading memoirs, such as the heart-wrenching book, The Glass Castle.  My favorite fiction author is Catherine Ryan Hyde. I find her writing style to be refreshingly unique.

  13. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? My husband has supported and encouraged me on this journey, believing in me every step of the way. My writer friends I’ve met have been an incredible source of positivity. All of my friends believed in me when I told them I planned to write a book. My pups are my muses when I write, snuggling in next to me, snoring lightly. Somehow that spurs my creativity.

  14. Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms, your first book has been released by 4RV Publishing. Tell us the story behind your book. I foolishly thought being a stepmom would be easy because I work with kids. Kids love me. When I found myself single again at the age of thirty-eight, I figured I’d most likely meet someone with children. I never felt the need to have kids of my own, so I thought being a stepmom would be ideal. Did I mention it was a foolish thought? Step-mothering was not easy at all. Many factors never crossed my mind: the grief the kids felt due to their parents’ divorce, them not wanting another mother figure, me being further proof their parents would not be getting back together. None of those concerns entered my mind. When I looked for books to help, I found several self-help, academic type books, but I don’t care for books like that. I prefer stories from real people struggling with similar issues. I want to hear first-hand how they handled the challenges they encountered. I found no books with stepmom stories, so I decided to be the first to write one.

  15. How many places did you submit to before being successful? I think I queried around twenty-five agents and four publishers that do not require an agent.

  16. How long did it take to get it from submission to publication? That’s a good question. It took much longer than I expected. My contract tentative release date was February 2016. And here we are, four years later. However, I must say, I’m actually happy to have had the extra time. During these four years, I have joined many writing groups and have learned new writing techniques and styles, all of which have improved my writing. Because my book’s release was delayed so long, I was able to revise and edit several times before the publishing date. Had they not taken so long, I would not have been able to do so. My book is much better for having had the time.

  17. Tell us about the book cover.

Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms by Shawn Simon

The book cover was designed by Aidana Willow-Raven from 4RV Publishing. I love that it is not academic looking, that it’s more fun and playful. To me this reflects the style of the book. The cover relates to the first story that launched the book.

  1. Links to purchase Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms: The best price is from 4RV directly, but it is available on my website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, as well.

Purchase at:

  1. Shawn Simon’s website: StepmomShawn.com,

  2. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stepping-into-New-Role-Stepmoms/dp/1940310962/

  3. Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stepping-into-a-new-role-shawn-simon/1136816236?ean=9781940310954

19. Are you writing other books? Tell us about them. I’ve already written a book for stepdads that needs to be edited and revised.  I’m also working on a second book for stepmoms. In addition, I’ve just started working on a book about people with differences. I was born with one arm, so I know what it’s like to feel odd and left out. From working with kids with learning differences, I realized their stories are similar to mine. This prompted me to include all kinds of differences in this book, which will be a similar style to my step-parenting books. It will include my stories as well as the stories from the people I interview. My goal is to shed light on people identified as different in the hopes of helping the world see we are more alike than we realize.

20. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? Seeing my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and on the 4RV site. Even better, holding my book in my hand. It’s quite an accomplishment to go from thinking about writing a book to actually completing it. And then having it published feels pretty darn good. 

  1. Do you outline and plan your plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Since I’m writing true stories about people’s experiences, the stories unfold from what they share. I record the interviews and then transcribe them to help with the process. Some people hand me gift-wrapped stories just in their telling. They are naturally gifted story tellers, which makes my writing process easier.

  2. How do you know your manuscript is ready for submission to an editor or agent? That’s tough to answer because as writers we never feel our manuscripts are ready to submit. But I’d say it is essential for the manuscript to be well edited before submitting, and I’d highly recommend the editing be done by someone other than the writer.

  3. Do you plan to self-publish or are you going the route of traditional publishing with an agent?  I’m not sure what my plans are for my next books. I did meet two agents at a writers’ conference who are interested in my differences book. I plan to follow up with both when I’m further along with the writing and when my book proposal is completed.

Shawn Simon, Author

About Shawn Simon

Shawn Simon, MA, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist who works with children. Therefore, when she met the man of her dreams, who just happened to come with a couple of kids, she thought being a stepmom would be a breeze. She was wrong. However, as someone born with only one arm, she’s learned to overcome obstacles. Thus, she knew she could face the challenges of step-mothering. Shawn is published in the Association of Educational Therapists’ Journal and is an award winning inspirational speaker in her field. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two step-kids, three rescue dogs, and one sixteen-year-old cat. Shawn is currently at work on more books for stepfamilies.

Website: https://www.stepmomshawn.com
Twitter @ShawnSimon44

Thank you for letting me interview you today, Shawn. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk with Shawn and me. 

Thank you to the 143 people who read this blog post. Three readers left a comment on Shawn Simon’s interview before midnight April 28, 2020:
1. Melanie Robertson-King
2. Sarah Maury Swan
3. Paulette Hannah

Random.org chose number 2, therefore, Congratulations, Sarah Maury Swan, you won a free copy of  Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms! Hip Hip Hooray for all 3 commenters and those who read  Shawn’s interview.

Sarah, I will give Shawn your email address so she can get this book to you.

Be safe.
Stay well. 

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2020 Joan Y. Edwards

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10 thoughts on “Shawn Simon, Author of Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms”

  1. Well done, Shawn. I’m sure your book will be best-seller. When I first became a stepmom back in 1974, there were no books out giving advice on how to be a stepmother. Back then, it was a fairly rare concept. Plus, to have full-time care of my children, and I do consider them to be my children since I’ve been the mother for 46 years, was a daunting task. But we all survived their childhood and they now consider me to be their mother. Good luck with your next books. Sarah

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! I bet being a stepmom in the 70s was new territory. I love hearing how your kids view you as their mom. That’s testimony to how good a mom you are to them. 😍 My kids have their mom, which is a good thing, but they do think of me as a mom. It took patience and time, but we are super close now.

      I hope you’re right and my book becomes a best seller. That would be amazing! Thank you for commenting. Hope you are safe and healthy during these crazy times. 😊

    2. Dear Sarah,
      Thank you for writing. I am glad that you and Shawn Simon have a common experience…being a stepmom.
      Thanks for sharing your experience with her.

      Never Give Up
      Joan

  2. Hello Shawn,
    What a great approach to such an important and relevant topic! I became an “instant stepmom” when I married my current husband 20 years ago. He came with two teenagers and I had no experience raising children. We did okay but there were challenges, of course.
    Much later, his daughter (now in her thirties) said to me, “you know, mom, I hated you when I was sixteen.” We’re close now so we both laughed, and chalked it up to her being sixteen.
    I can’t wait to read your book. Thanks for writing it!

    1. Thank you, Paulette! Believe me, I know the feeling. Lol. My stepdaughter was the biggest challenge for me. That’s what the cover is depicting, her spitting on my dog when she was 6. You can read that story in the chapter “All kinds of Jealousy.” She’s 20 now and we are super close. I asked her if she was okay with being portrayed on the cover. She thought the idea was clever and funny. So yes, it takes time to develop that closeness with step kids, but if you approach the relationship with patience and kindness, it usually pays off for everyone. I’m glad to hear it did for you like it did for me. I hope you enjoy the stories in my book! 😍

    2. Dear Pauline,
      Thank you very much for writing and sharing your Stepmom experience with Shawn. I’m so glad that you are loved and respected now! I know their love fills you with joy!

      Never Give Up
      Joan

  3. Thank you to the 143 people who read this blog post. Three readers left a comment on Shawn Simon’s interview before midnight April 28, 2020:
    1. Melanie Robertson-King
    2. Sarah Maury Swan
    3. Paulette Hannah

    Random.org chose number 2, therefore, Congratulations, Sarah Maury Swan, you won a free copy of Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms! Hip Hip Hooray for all 3 commenters and everyone who reads Shawn’s interview.

    Sarah, I will give Shawn your email address so she can get this book to you.

    Be safe.
    Stay well.
    Never Give Up
    Joan

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