Author’s Bio: Ann Simas lives in Oregon, but she is a Colorado girl at heart, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains. She has been an avid reader since childhood and penned her first fiction “book” in high school. She particularly likes to write mystery-thriller-suspense with a love story and paranormal or supernatural elements.


An award-winning watercolorist and a budding photographer, Ann enjoys needlework and gardening in her spare time. She is her family’s “genealogist” and has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct first-hand research in Italy for both her writing and her family tree. The genealogy research from decade’s old documents in Italian, she says, has been a supreme but gratifying challenge.

Deliah Lawrence: What inspired you to write your book?

Ann Simas: Now or Never is the fourth and final book in my series, Fossil, Colorado Books. Here and Gone, the first book, started out as a single-title release, but I had so many reader requests about what was coming next, I decided to write one book featuring each of the other Ward siblings. Noah Ward meets Hannah Mason in the first book, Here and Gone. The oldest brother, Brant, appears in Disappearing Act with Georgie Flannery. In Run or Don’t, Jules hires Beck Ford to find her stalker, and that brings us to Now or Never, where Simon takes a tumble for Kit Piper.


I love Colorado and I love the mountains, so it was fun revisiting the places I’m familiar with in the Rockies. However, Fossil is a town I made up, as is Pike County. The fact remains, there are a lot of dinosaur fossils in the area, which I find intriguing. It’s also beautiful country and offered many options for my stories. Some of what takes place in Here and Gone occurs on Painted Rocks Road, where my brother lived. The outcrops of red rocks on that road are amazing.


Here’s a short blurb about Now or Never: Kit Piper is kidnapped by two men who weren’t interested in making sure they had the right victim. When they stop for food and a hooker, she sees her chance to escape and takes it. On the run, she stumbles upon a cabin where Simon Ward is vacationing. Kit’s anxious to find the men who kidnapped her. After all, she’s a cop and that’s what cops do, they investigate. Soon enough, she realizes something’s not right and Simon, also a cop, agrees. Is it possible Kit hadn’t been kidnapped by mistake?


DL: How do you handle writer’s block?

AS: I don’t have writer’s block very often, but when I do, it gives me a chance to think about the possibilities of which way the story can go. Sometimes, I lie in bed at night and explore those different ways. Then I have to get up and start writing, so I don’t forget my thoughts. Engaging in research is another way that can help me avoid writer’s block. I never know what I’ll discover, how I can use it in a book, or if it will lead me down a whole new path. For instance, in Heaven Sent, which is a near-death-experience book, I had no idea that mirror-gazing existed, but once I discovered it, it was a perfect fit for my book, which was inspired by my mom, who also had a near-death experience.


DL: What is your writing process?

AS: In 2012, when I really got serious about writing, I took a fresh look at three of the books I had in progress. For years, I’d been told to plot everything ahead of time, write a synopsis of the entire book, chapter-by-chapter, so that’s what I’d been doing. It finally dawned on me that plotting in advance didn’t work for me. I sat down first with Dressed to Die and read it with fresh eyes and no preconceptions. Finally, it came together exactly the way I wanted it to. Dressed to Die is the first book in my Grace Gabbiano Mysteries. Hidden to Die, the eighth book in the series, will be released on July 29, 2022.


Here’s how my new system works—I get an idea for a book and the two main characters. I start a Word document called (Book Title) Characters, in which I list an overview of my two protagonists (height, hair/eye color, occupation, what they drive, what they do for a living, etc.), and then I start writing. Obviously, I want to engage readers right away, so I begin with something that will draw them in.


From there, I do my research as I need it. If it’s a whodunit, I sometimes change whodunit one or more times. Sometimes, I don’t even know whodunit until I get near the end of the book. If I’m writing a romance, that’s usually more straightforward, though the couple in question are not without their problems/concerns. Regardless, each book I write has twists-and-turns. Sometimes, I finish a book, but I don’t like the way it worked out, so I go back and alter it so that I’m happy with the ending. Once I send the book to my editor, I rely on her to tell me if my plot(s) is(are) working.


DL: What do you think makes a good story?

AS: For me, what makes a good story is one that has red herrings, mystery, suspense, maybe some paranormal elements, and a good love story. If it contains all of that, then I read all the way through the book. That’s how I want my readers to feel about the stories I write. They have to be compelling, thrilling, and mysterious. I want them to fall in love with my characters. I want them to cry and laugh and get angry, if need be, on behalf of those characters. When all is said and done, I want them to think about what I wrote, and maybe go back and read the book again because they liked it that much.


DL: What were some of the challenges when writing this book?

AS: I had two challenges when writing Now or Never. The first was whether or not I wanted Kit to be kidnapped. I’d used that trope in the previous book in the series, so I knew I had to handle this kidnapping differently. Was Kit the actual intended victim, or was she mistakenly abducted? Once my character began to wonder about that, I knew I’d handled the kidnapping in a completely different and believable way.


The other challenge concerned Kit’s injuries. Her kidnappers weren’t easy on her, dragging her around, throwing her into the back of an SUV, uncaring that she was already injured and rolling round as they drove willy-nilly down the canyon road. Being a cop, she’s resourceful, but that doesn’t help keep her safe and injury free. It also doesn’t keep Simon for falling for her.


DL: What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

AS: The first thing I would tell an aspiring writer is, don’t give up! The second thing I’d say is, follow your instincts when you’re writing. If you don’t feel like plotting ahead of time is your bag, try plotting as you go. You never know where it will lead you, and you could be pleasantly surprised.


The last piece of advice I would offer is, know how to write. In other words, read, read, read and study what you read, including use of punctuation, spelling, and format. Know when to use dialogue tags. Know the difference between active and passive voice. Understand that “very” is usually redundant and words ending in “–ly” should be used sparingly. (Now, don’t diss me for ending this paragraph with an –ly word!)


DL: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

AS: Persistent. Innovative. Happy. And if I could add one more, it would be Content, as in, I’m content with my life.


DL: Would you like to share an excerpt from Now or Never?

AS: Sure, here you go!


Dumbfounded by the possibility she’d been kidnapped by mistake; Kit opened her mouth to scream her frustration. The tape curtailed her outburst, but her internal tirade continued.

Frustrated, she slammed her feet against the rear door to vent her anger.

The last sixteen days had been some of the worst of her life and now, the biggest cherry of all time had plopped down on top of all those shitty days and left her with a Sour Sundae.

Bobby Ray and Jasper had kidnapped the wrong person!

How the hell did you set out to abduct someone and take the wrong person?

Still angry, she kicked the rear compartment door again and much to her surprise, it eased open.

Great, now what?

She scooted forward on her butt and considered her options. If her feet were free, she could make a getaway, but how was she supposed to undo the rope around her ankles when her hands were tied behind her back?

She wiggled her legs, hoping for some leeway in the restraint. Much to her surprise, there was, but how far would she get taking baby steps? Far enough that her captors wouldn’t find her? Not likely.

A deep laugh floated through the night air. Kit recognized it immediately. The two men were coming back already. Had the meal been horrible, or had they eaten like pigs because they were anxious for what came after? They’d had plenty of time to find a woman to give them a little somethin’-somethin’ for dessert.


DL: What new projects are you currently working on?

AS: Up next for me is Hidden to Die, a Grace Gabbiano Mystery, #8 (08.29.22). After that, Last Rites, An Andi Comstock Supernatural Mystery, #6 (10.14.22). Then Merry Witchy Christmas, A Sugar Plum Creek Holiday Book, #1 (11.18.22). After that will be Fortune’s Cookie (01.26.23). I have many more books planned, but these should hold you for a while.


DL: Where can readers learn more about you and purchase your book(s)?

AS: Readers can learn more information here:

DL: Thanks so much for being here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

AS:Thanks again for having me on your blog!

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Deliah Lawrence Attorney, Author, Blogger, Workshop Facilitator

Deliah Lawrence is a Maryland-based attorney and award-winning author of two romantic suspense novels (Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back) set in Baltimore. She’s also a blogger and workshop facilitator who writes poetry and short stories.

When Deliah isn’t writing, you can find her reading a book, indulging in her addiction to investigation discovery shows; or painting her yet-to-be exhibited oil artworks of landscapes, portraits or whatever else comes to her creative mind. Constantly on the go, she is also a member of the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland and Sisters in Crime.