Five Compelling Questions with Shawn
By Shawn Reilly Simmons
Award-Winning Author and Editor Shawn Reilly Simmons gets to know her guests by asking Five Compelling Questions (plus a few bonus ones) about the writing life. Topics include finding inspiration, staying motivated, writing as a career, staying sane during the creative process, and balancing fictional and real life.
EP42: 5CQ for Author Teresa Trent
Shawn and Teresa chat about women's roles throughout the years, writing a good series with believable characters, keeping things moving while writing that first draft, vomit drafts and Patrick Swayze, writing on the go, and transitioning from being a self pubbed author to being traditionally published.
May 23, 2022
EP41: 5CQ for Author Tina deBellegarde
Shawn and Tina discuss women's fiction and stories worth telling, being good enough to write, believing in your writing self, luxuriating in words and processes, memorable quotes from Shawn, their mutual love of film, and many random things they have in common.
April 08, 2022
EP40: 5CQ for Author Mark Levenson
Shawn chats with Mark Levenson, author of THE HIDDEN SAINT, about colorful family history, being shot at in South Florida early on in Mark's journalism career, Jewish folklore, wanting to be an astronaut, grandma magic, and regional coffee drinking championships.
April 01, 2022
EP39: 5CQ with Author J.C. Kenney
Shawn and J.C. chat about what it's like to be from Indiana, surviving rejection, their love of music, High Fidelity, and J.C.'s new web series TheBookishHour.com
March 18, 2022
EP38: 5CQ with Author Sarah E. Burr
Shawn and Sarah chat about writing multiple series, their mutual love of editing, celebrating progress, the art of the perfect witty comeback, a John Cena and Miranda Priestly character mashup, and Sarah's new venture TheBookishHour.com
March 11, 2022
EP37: 5CQ for Author Jeff Houlahan
In the Season Two opener, Shawn chats with debut novelist Jeff Houlahan about the writing life, if in fact writers are different than other human beings, listening as an art form from a musical perspective, not being a sociopath, and baseball.
March 04, 2022
EP36: FQC with Debut Author Jennifer Bee
In the season one finale, Shawn and Jen talk about Holiday Mysteries, Christmas music, Planet of the Apes, negative reviews, dealing with the jitters that come along with knowing others are reading your work.
December 31, 2021
EP35: 5CQ with Author Libi Siporin
Shawn and Libi chat about travel, finding time for creative pursuits, the joys of being an early riser, and the power of the word "cougar."
December 24, 2021
EP34: 5CQ for Author Clea Simon
Shawn and Clea talk about Clea's new book HOLD ME DOWN, their mutual love of Rock and Roll, the joys and challenges of writing a series and of writing as a career in general, believing in yourself, how being a reporter makes you very good at meeting deadlines, how reading and writing helped both Clea and Shawn "escape" tumultuous households growing up, and criticism as a conversation starter. The author of 29 books (and counting), Clea Simon is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, and her writing pops up occasionally in such publications as American Prospect, Ms., the San Francisco Chronicle, and Salon.com.
December 08, 2021
EP33: 5CQ with Playwright and Thriller Writer Lynn-Steven Johanson
Shawn and Lynn chat about being from I states (Iowa and Indiana...not Idaho!), raising dogs, writing prequels and sequels, staying safe in crowds, maintaining creativity, and a good partner who supports your writing career.
November 29, 2021
EP32: 5CQ for Returning Guest Mystery Author Lori Robbins
Lori and Shawn chat about writing, catering, what not to eat when you're a professional dancer or actor, spending time with characters, and maintaining a mystery series with an amateur sleuth who is not too stupid to live.
November 29, 2021
EP31: 5CQ with Historical Author Paul Martin
Shawn and Paul chat about their shared love of music, wine, and books, and how the music of the sixties has influenced them both.
November 29, 2021
EP30: 5CQ for Returning Guest Author Cathi Stoler
Shawn and Cathi chat about things they have in common including writing radio commercials, living and working in New York City, working in the bar-restaurant world, and writing culinary mystery series.
November 29, 2021
EP29: 5CQ with Author Carol Pouliot
In a very spooky episode, Shawn and Carol chat about spirits, crazy exes, wine, how the French get it right, how different people process things in different ways, and the ghostly encounter that inspired Carol's time travel mystery series.
November 29, 2021
EP28: 5CQ with Debut Mystery Author Gregory Stout
Shawn and Greg chat about writing a mystery after writing over twenty non-fiction books about trains, how everyone has a book in them, the joys and challenges of being a night owl, and finding time to write while working other jobs.
November 27, 2021
EP27: 5CQ with Debut Author Judy L. Murray
Shawn and Judy chat about real estate as a career and inspiration for murder mysteries, famous fictional detectives, sharing a name with a famous person, talking to ourselves, and the unique joy of seeing your books on library shelves.
November 23, 2021
EP26: 5CQ for Historical Mystery Author Jennifer Berg
Shawn and Jennifer talk about big life changes, and dig into different types of mysteries and subgenres, figuring out what they write in the process, the business of writing and publishing, cows, and how to create fictional worlds and characters that are true to life.
November 23, 2021
EP25: FCQ for Author Heather Weidner
Shawn and Heather chat about growing up a cop's daughter, keeping a character bible (and remembering little details), finding inspiration for a new series, and the love of dogs.
October 19, 2021
EP24: FCQ for Debut Author Marlie Parker Wasserman
Shawn and Marlie talk about true crime and fiction, Marlie's unique road to becoming a published author, animals, why we have three names, and finding your voice at any stage of your career.
August 20, 2021
Ep23: FCQ for Author James L'Etoile
Shawn and Jim chat about dogs, cats, and squirrels, the power of words, keester stashes, meth marrow, and how having a career in the criminal justice system influences Jim's writing.
August 12, 2021
Ep22: FCQ for Author Linda Lovely
Shawn and Linda chat about how HOAs can inspire murderous thoughts, the theory that goat yoga is really devil worship, and how a young woman with the surnames Lovely Hooker went from her childhood career inspiration, Perry Mason, to journalism and crime fiction writing.
July 23, 2021
Ep21: FCQ for Author Mark Leichliter
Shawn chats with debut crime fiction author Mark Leichliter about how professional eavesdropping has developed their writing skills, being free-spirited rule breakers, and which are easier to make fun of, cats or dogs.
July 02, 2021
Ep20: FCQ for Shawn Reilly Simmons by Author William Ade
Debut novelist William Ade turns the tables on the podcast's host by asking Shawn the questions this week. Shawn and Bill discuss what role gender plays in writing compelling fiction, and things they've learned as writers through their careers.
June 09, 2021
Ep19: FCQ for Author Linda Norlander
Linda and Shawn chat about advice for writers just starting out, Writer's High, the importance of reading when writing, and more things they'd tell their younger writing selves.
May 21, 2021
Ep18: FCQ for Author Christopher Chambers
Shawn chats with Author and Professor Christopher Chambers about writing in multiple genres, superpowers we'd like to have, what we should tell our younger selves, and navigating landmines. Real ones.
May 07, 2021
EP17: FCQ for Author and (former) Crime Reporter Lori Duffy Foster
Shawn chats with Lori about finding inspiration through real-life events, the value of patience, Mom Guilt, raising identical twins, and writing as therapy.
April 18, 2021
Ep16: FCQ for Author and Musician Jonathan Brown
Shawn chats with Author and Musician Jonathan Brown about writing, music, things we don't want our moms to read or see, arson in real life, and how to make friends at mystery conventions.
April 16, 2021
EP15: FCQ for Author Lida Sideris
Shawn chats with Lida about meeting characters, writers and the movie business, the ups and downs of teleportation, and pigs as murder suspects.
April 09, 2021
EP14: FCQ for Author Marco Carocari
Shawn chats with Marco about his debut novel BLACKOUT, thinking in two different languages, their mutual love of music, setting great scenery, and what would be on Marco's life's playlist. Songs: "Love Has Fallen on Me" by Chaka Khan; "Simplify" by Omar; "New York Bars" by Brenda Russell Find the BLACKOUT playlist on Spotify: https://soundcloud.com/marco-carocari/sets/blackout-playlist
April 02, 2021
Ep13: FCQ with Author and Wildlife and Marine Rescue Volunteer Kerry K. Cox
Shawn chats with Kerry K. Cox about writing what you know, different kinds of markets to sell your work (men's magazines!), advocating for animals, and creating informative fiction while staying entertaining.
March 26, 2021
Ep12: FCQ for Canadian Author Jay Forman
Shawn chats with former television producer and current travel crime writer about early inspirations in writing, which is crazier, TV or publishing (spoiler alert, it's hard to tell!), the world's worst teacher, and which actors should be cast in fictional roles.
March 19, 2021
Ep11: FCQ for Debut Author Tina deBellegarde
Shawn and Tina discuss writing, life on the beach and in the mountains, the many benefits of writing short fiction, what it's like to have your book be mentioned in the same breath as Louise Penny's, and the similar parallels they shared growing up and becoming writers.
March 05, 2021
Ep10: FCQ for Debut Author Mally Becker
Shawn chats with first time author Mally Becker about cocktails, writing in different time periods, dealing with a world of ideas, and which famous writer would be wonderful to have dinner with.
February 19, 2021
Ep9: FCQ for Writer, Producer, Director, and Debut (novel) Author Justin M. Kiska
Shawn chats with Justin M. Kiska, writer, producer, and director of over one hundred stage productions about his debut novel, life in a charming small town (while still keeping murder on your mind), the differences between writing for stage and writing novels, and why everyone loves a mystery.
February 18, 2021
Ep 8: FCQ for Author Kerry Peresta
Shawn talks with Author Kerry Peresta about the power of words, creating worlds, Kerry's unique path to her writing career, and their mutual love of Sue Grafton.
February 12, 2021
Ep7: FCQ for Author C.L. Tolbert
Shawn talks with C.L. Tolbert about researching a novel during a pandemic, social justice, the strength of working moms, and how rage can fuel creativity.
February 12, 2021
Ep6: FCQ for Author Liz Milliron
Shawn chats (and laughs) with author Liz Milliron about writing, ultimate revenge, and the most entertaining answer to the question "coffee or tea?" ever given.
February 05, 2021
Ep5: FCQ for Author Gabriel Valjan
Gabriel Valjan, the Agatha and Anthony Award nominated author of the Roma and Shane Cleary Mystery Series, joins Shawn to talk about juggling multiple series, short story writing and what he wanted to be when he grew up.
January 30, 2021
Ep4: FCQ for Author Lori Robbins
Shawn talks with Lori Robbins, ballet dancer turned award-winning author, most recently of Murder in First Position, An On Pointe Mystery.
December 17, 2020
Ep3: FCQ for Author Cathi Stoler
Cathi Stoler is the author of three mystery series and a three-time finalist, and winner of the 2015 Derringer Award for Best Short Story. Bar None and Last Call are the first two books in her Murder On The Rocks Mystery series. Cathi is a board member of Sisters In Crime New York/Tri-State, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in New York City with her husband, Paul.
December 05, 2020
Ep2: FCQ for Author and Musician Gerald Elias
Gerald Elias leads a double life as a world class musician and critically acclaimed author. His award-winning Daniel Jacobus mystery series takes place in the dark corners of the classical music world. Devil’s Trill, his debut novel, was a Barnes & Noble Discover: Great New Writers selection. Elias’s prize-winning essay, War & Peace. And Music, excerpted from his memoir, Symphonies & Scorpions, was the subject of his TEDxSaltLakeCity2019 presentation. Many of his short stories and essays have appeared in prestigious journals ranging from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine to The Strad. A former violinist with the Boston Symphony and associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, Elias has performed on five continents and has been music director of Salt Lake City’s popular Vivaldi by Candlelight chamber orchestra series since 2004. He divides his time between Salt Lake City and West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, maintaining a vibrant concert career while continuing to expand his literary horizons.
December 05, 2020
Ep1: FCQ for Author Peter W.J. Hayes
Join Award-Winning Author and Editor Shawn Reilly Simmons as she gets to know her guests by asking 5 Compelling Questions. Shawn's very first guest is Author Peter W. J. Hayes Peter was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and lived in Paris and Taipei before settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and marketing executive—including six years as Chief Marketing Officer for a multinational corporation—before turning to mystery and crime writing. He is the author of the Vic Lenoski police procedural series, and is a Derringer-nominated author of short stories. He is also a past finalist for the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Debut Dagger award. He can be found at www.peterwjhayes.com. Shawn Reilly Simmons is an Award-Winning Author and Editor. She's published seven novels in her Red Carpet Catering mystery series as well as twenty short stories which have been published in various anthologies. Her story The Last Word, which appeared in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2019. Shawn, with co-editors Verena Rose and Rita Owen, also won the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection for the same anthology.
December 05, 2020