Home > Writing and Poetry > Friday’s Interview with Simon Rose – Part 1

Friday’s Interview with Simon Rose – Part 1

Good morning, everyone. Simon Rose joins us today. Simon is a full-time writer of SF/Fantasy, speaker, workshop instructor, and much more. Please make him feel welcome.



Claudsy: I’m so happy to have you here, Simon. I’ve been watching you for months now since discovering your work. Tell me, was it your background in history that turned you toward science fiction/fantasy or something else?

Simon: When I decided to try my hand at writing novels and stories, I found myself drawn to the types of things I used to read as a child. I read lots of science fiction, as well fantasy writers and ghost stories while growing up.

I also read a tremendous number of comic books, in which the stories took me across the universe, into strange dimensions, into the land of the Norse gods or had me swinging from the New York rooftops.

At high school, I studied a lot of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read voraciously on ancient civilizations, mysteries, the supernatural, and the unexplained.

Claudsy: And then how long was it after moving to Canada from England that you hooked up with the Institute of Children’s Literature?

Simon: I moved to Canada in 1990 and became familiar with ICL in 1997 or 1998, I think. I began the course with them at the end of 1999 and completed it in the spring of 2001.



Claudsy: You do manage to stay busy with writing. Your first book came out in 2003 and now you have six of those MG/YA books out there for the reading. Good reading, too. The reviews are right about that.

You also wrote a book for writers on writing SF/Fantasy. How long does it take you to complete a manuscript and ready it for publication from its inception?

Simon: The Alchemist’s Portrait, published in 2003, took around two years, I believe, although I was busy with other things during that time as well. The other five novels didn’t take as long, but I would say that from the inception though the crafting of an outline of the story, completing the manuscript, all the editing and revision, right up to the point of the book being printed and published, it’s around twelve months.

I should point out that I am one of many contributors to The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction, my chapter being entitled ‘Science Fiction and Fantasy for Younger Readers’.





Claudsy: You have book awards from all over; from a 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award to the 2009 Canadian Sunburst Award. You won a 2007 EPPIE Award, as well, for non-fiction. Do such accolades verify your abilities for you?

Simon: The anthology, The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction, won an EPPIE award, but I was merely a juror for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Sunburst Award. However, my first two books did receive award nominations and both were for awards selected by children, so it was nice to be chosen by the actual readers of the novels.



Claudsy: Tell me. How were you selected as a judge for the Parsec Awards and for three years running? And the juror position for another large award?

Simon: I stay as active as I can in the writing community and belong to a variety of associations and online groups. This brought me to the attention of the Canada Council for the Arts for the Governor General Award jury, which in turn was a factor in me being selected to judge the Saskatchewan Book Awards and the Sunburst Awards.

However, my status as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, particularly for children and young adults, as well as my membership of science fiction groups, meant I was familiar to the Sunburst Awards panel.

I have also appeared at science fiction conventions in the past and this was how the Parsec Award organizers heard about me.

Claudsy: That says a lot for the importance of membership in professonal groups. When exactly did you develop the Calgary Children’s Book Fair and Conference and why did you do it?

Simon: I had wanted to run an event like this for a while, after seeing, during my own school visits and book signings, just how excited children were to actually meet an author, chat with them about their work, ask questions about a favourite book and so on.

I thought it would be a great idea to get lots of authors together in the same place, so children could meet as many of us as possible on the same day.

To help them to learn about new authors they might not be as familiar with, we also had author readings going on throughout the day. To attract adults who are interested in writing for children, we added a conference, with speakers covering topics of interest to anyone curious about writing kids books – how to get started, finding publishers, the art of illustration, finding and working with an agent, writing non-fiction, engaging in research and so on.

For the children we also had a writing contest called the Children’s Fiction Writing Award, in which the winning entries were put into an anthology, although the stories are also available to view at

www.calgarybookfair.com. I should point out that this event would not be possible without my colleagues, who helped put it all together and will be doing so again for the 2010 event.

Claudsy: It sounds like a very worthwhile event. Could you tell us how much time it takes for you to develop new workshops and the teaching of those events for the National Writers for Children Center (NWCC) or the ICL?

Simon: It does take a lot of work to initially develop workshops and classes, particularly those that take place over several weeks, such as my local classes for adults on Writing and Publishing Your Children’s Novel.

 However, once they have run, if everything went smoothly and the participants were all happy with the material, you can conduct them again with perhaps slight modifications.

My classes with NWCC are only once a month for an hour each time, so I am able to cover a topic in depth, such as planning school visits, character development, writing time travel stories, dealing with writers block etc. Although, my most recent set of classes are a series over several months all about the use of magic in stories for children.

For my classes locally with home school children, which run from September to June, I had to create five sets of classes, each lasting eight weeks, which took a lot of time to develop. This year the themes have been time travel, character development, the superhero genre, the fantasy realm and amazing technology, and I have an entirely new set of topics for classes to run in 2010/11.

My online workshops, for both adults and children, which you can learn more about at


http://www.simon-rose.com/online_wkshp_writers.htm, were crafted to cover some of the topics of most interest to aspiring writers as they seek to develop their writing ability.


Claudsy: As the reader can probably guess, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the second half of this interview. Please join us again on Saturday for the conclusion of Simon Rose’s fascinating interivew and discover how he’s working to provide his books on DVD’s in ASL, American Sign Language.

Thank you all for coming today and come back tomorrow. You won’t regret it. Until then, a bientot,


Categories: Writing and Poetry
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