Question 1: Did you write any books before Simone LaFray Mysteries?
I had a few concepts that I kicked around for years, but I only worked through the summary and plotting stages. At the time, nothing felt original or compelling enough to write. Perhaps, I just wasn’t ready.
Question 2: A series seems to be a daunting choice for a first-time author. Would you recommend this to others?
Simone LaFray Mysteries evolved out of a concept summary that was enormous. I was encouraged to take the early chapter book version and convert it into a proper middle-grade novel. Writing a series requires a lot of planning and preparation and I don’t know if it would work for everyone.
Question 3: The first two books are out. Have you finished Book #3 and if so, when do you anticipate its release?
Book #3 is currently in the editing process, as I submitted it to my publisher a few weeks ago. I'm hoping for an end-of-the-year release.
Question 4: Is there anything you could tell us about Book #3.
Like most middle-grade series, Simone’s world is expanding in many ways, and she is now thirteen. New characters are added and favorites return, but this book will clearly usher in the overarching story. The first two books laid a lot of groundwork, and now the story can take off.
Question 5: Is Book #4 in the works and how many will be in the series?
Yes, Book #4 is in the works, although I am hesitant to start writing in earnest until Book #3 is further along in the editorial process. The series was planned for six or seven books, although Book #3, as it is written, accelerates the plot, so it is looking more like six books at the moment.
Question 6: Are you interested in writing something else or is finishing the series most pressing?
I do have two other story ideas that are summarized and outlined, although finishing this series is paramount. I wrote Book #3 in less than half the time it took to write Book #2, so I feel like I’m catching my stride. The goal is to publish one Simone LaFray Mystery per year.
Question 7: If you could go back in time and say something to yourself the instant you started to write your first book, what would you say?
Be patient and don’t settle. Take every aspect of the process seriously and embrace your voice. Be open to the advice of others and if you see it all through, you’re not going to believe what happens.
S.P. O’Farrell is the award-winning author of the Simone LaFray Mysteries. When he isn’t writing, he is championing special education, the performing arts, and numerous environmental initiatives. He lives in western Maryland with his wife and two sons.
Mr. O’Farrell has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Story Monsters Magazines and has been awarded the following recognitions: Moonbeam Award, Royal Dragonfly Winner, PenCraft Awards Winner, New York City Big Book Award, Literary Titan Gold Medal, American Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal, Queer Indie Award, (sm)Art Festival Award, Book Pipeline Finalist, LitPick 5-Star Book Review Award, Gertrude Warner Chanticleer International Awards Finalist, Independent Press Award Winner, and LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award.
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