Where do I begin? Back in 1996? When I first met KP Simmon. I know, neither of us look old enough to have been in college in the 90s! But seriously, this woman has been working her encouraging, empowering, and enlightening words into my life for years. We both love words, and while mine fight to bring a page to life, KP’s words bring the fight out of her authors. Across the industry KP’s influence may come across as a whisper one day and a shout from the mountaintop the next, but we are all tuned in to what she’ll say and do today.
Here’s an inside look at why I’m so thankful for my friend KP…
Warm-Up: Would You Rather…
Join a gym or a fantasy league? Well….I don’t think my idea of a fantasy league is what you mean, so I’m going with gym. 😉
Walk a fashion week runway or sing in a halftime show? Definitely sing in a halftime show.
Write a self help book or a cookbook? Write a self-help book
Eat only turkey, or only pumpkin pie for a week? Turkey.
Be tied to a chair at the Thanksgiving dinner table all day or in a Black Friday line for two hours? Black Friday line for 2 hours.
Main Course Questions:
What are three things you’re most thankful for in our industry?
- People. I have seriously made some of the best relationships in this community and industry.
- Choices. This is an amazing time to be an author and work in this industry. There are so many choices and ways to publish and work. I love it.
- Books. I know this seems obvious, but I’m addicted to books. I love the power of words. They can lift up, encourage, empower or break, crush and decimate. And we wield that power so we must be good stewards of it and the words.
Do you have any strange working habits? (snacks, routines, etc.)
I check all of my email and social media every single morning from bed before I crawl out of the covers and wake the boys up to get ready for school. Michael makes fun of me because despite having 2 desks I could be working at during the day, I choose to sit in the same spot on the couch without fail-and it hurts my back. Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I like the view from the couch. I also cannot work without being distracted if the house is cluttered anywhere in my vicinity. It’s like the laundry is mocking me as it sits in the basket. And I’m pretty sure many people would say one of my strange working habits is that I never seem to stop working, but that’s not actually true. I do take breaks…sometimes. As for snacks, I’m happiest with a mug of hot Earl Grey tea or a bottle of Mexican Coke.
What is your favorite part of working in PR?
I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one thing exactly, but I do love getting to walk alongside authors and see their dreams come to fruition. It’s a pretty amazing spot to be in, and I never take it lightly.
It would be me. 15 years ago would put me at 23. I was struggling with the decision to give up performing opera and classically, and I was a newlywed. Performing had been one of my life’s greatest joys, and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life-even though I knew it was the right one at the time. I remember telling myself I’d “never have something like that again, but that was okay because at least I’d had it. And that was more than most people.” Some pep talk, huh? 😉 Thankfully, I’ve gotten better at them. But if I knew then what I know now, I’d tell myself this:
“There is no rule that says you only get to have one dream. Or even one dream at a time. And you have no idea, but you are going to be doing something in 15 years that you love even more than performing. Not only that, but you are going to get to see lives changed and others’ dreams come true because of it. There will come a day when you will sit on this stupid couch that hurts your back and stare out at a view that you love and sob like a baby because you won’t be able to believe you are living this life. That day is coming, KP. Hold tight because it’s a crazy ride and love yourself along the way.”
I’m a big fan of listening to music while I work, and I know you’re an even bigger fan of music… What do you listen to while you work? Are there different styles of music you listen to when working on different things?
I think this is going to surprise a lot of people, but I don’t listen to music at all while I work. It’s distracting to me actually. I go into musician mode and analyze every decision the singer and musicians make as I listen. And then I find myself thinking about how they could have done this chord progression differently or something like that. No work gets done. So I either sit in extreme silence or I have mindless TV on in the background, like HGTV or Food Network. That being said, when I take the time to write (it’s rare these days), I do listen to music. But usually the music has strong storytelling lyrics that I think matches what I’m writing at the time.
Describe yourself in five words.
Driven, Intelligent, Loyal, Loving, Creative
What’s the best advice you can give someone in our industry?
Don’t ever give up. There is enough room here for you too. Be realistic in your expectations, and know your business. Study it. Learn as much as you can. Do your homework. Be brave, and always ask the questions that you have. My favorite saying is, “The answer is always no unless you ask the question.”
What’s one thing you’re planning to achieve in 2015?
I’d say balance, but I can’t actually say it and keep a straight face. So I guess we know that’s probably not going to happen. Balance is overrated anyways. 😉
Seriously, on the personal side, I’d like to finish writing something I’ve been working on for a few years. I don’t know what I’ll do with it yet, but just to have it finished would be huge for me. And I’ve never made it a secret that I love writing picture books. I’d like to finally publish a few of those.
As for on the InkSlinger PR side, my goals are for us to continue on the path we are on and striving to be the best at every turn. Anything less is unacceptable to me and my team. We work hard, and want the best for our clients, whether that’s an author or a publisher. I never want that to change.
Complete this writing prompt in 5-8 sentences…
We’re supposed to be in this together… He said he would never leave me or forsake me, but the evidence is sitting here on his shirt. The red lipstick, the heavy sweet scent clinging to the cotton. All of it points to a web of lies that I have unknowingly walked into. The strings sticking to my skin while I claw and fight to get them off me. But was it really unknowingly? I can’t help but wonder if I was just choosing to ignore the signs. The late nights, mysterious phone calls, last minute trips. There’s no ignoring the bright flashing arrow pointing to the obvious now. The scales have dropped from my eyes.
Favorite animal at the zoo? White Tiger
Favorite place you’ve traveled? New York City
Favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Stuffing
Favorite holiday pastime? We wrap 25 Christmas picture books and number them every year. Then we open them according to the date and the matching number and read it every night before bed starting on December 1st. This is our Advent countdown. Of course the 24th is always The Night Before Christmas. My boys are getting older, and they still love this tradition as much as I do. You’re never too old for a picture book.
Favorite read for the holiday season? It will always be Harry Potter.
Curious about the professional side of KP Simmon? Well, you’re in luck, here are some details.
KP Simmon-Owner-Kelly P. Simmon (KP) is a former opera singer, former teacher, and former corporate marketing director. She is a current wife, mom of three, aspiring picture book author and owner of InkSlinger PR. After an eclectic marketing and public relations background in the “corporate world”, KP found her home in the literary world merging her passion and her work together. KP is all about helping authors and publishers get the word out about their latest literary projects. Specializing in Young Adult, New Adult and Adult fiction, she is passionate about assisting authors to build their platform and create a brand that will carry them into the future. Working with authors and publishers doing what she loves most is a dream come true. Find her on Twitter @kpsimmon
Lastly, I want to list some reasons why I love KP…
(and why she’ll always be one of my best friends)
Black & White Cookies… I would never have known about their deliciousness if it weren’t for KP. I also look forward to what is now our tradition of going to NYC in the Spring for BEA every year!
Books… It’s rare to find someone with the same passion for storytelling, and I’ll never let her go.
Gumption… KP has fight, fire, hunger, excitement, and more for what she does. It’s contagious.
Family… Her love for her husband and children is not just a feeling, but it’s an action and I see her actively loving her family on a daily basis.
Faith… KP is a sister in Christ, and no matter the situation or circumstance I know I can depend on her because I know who she ultimately depends on.