Monday, October 15, 2012

Featured Short Story Author – Rona Simmons

Today I’m featuring a short story author, Rona Simmons, who retired after thirty years in corporate finance to pursue her creative side, including creative writing and photography.

Though having written countless mind-numbing memos, letters, and reports and published business articles throughout her career, she enjoys the freedom and creative aspects of fiction. In the last year, Rona published two articles, one showcasing her photography, completed and submitted one short novel for potential publication, and authored a collection of short stories. She is working on the final draft -- if there is such a thing -- of a general fiction novel. Meanwhile, Rona lives with her husband outside Atlanta, Georgia on eight wooded southern acres that provide inspiration for both her writing and photography.

The Figurine Synopsis

The Figurine is one of ten short stories included in a collection titled “Into the Light of Day”. Over the summer and fall of 2012, Rona Simmons interviewed several individuals, some life-long friends, some distant relatives, and some complete strangers all of whom were gracious enough to contribute their memories and moments. Rona poured over existing story drafts, copies of emails or message board posts, and photos from the contributors then created dialogue and added narrative to bring the stories to life.  To some, she added characters, scenes, or situations for dramatic purposes, but she always remained true to the original. Though a few of the stories are set during the war years, they are not war stories, but rather stories of giving to and caring for others, of learning life’s hard lessons, and of growing up in turbulent and troubled times. Among the stories in the collection, a nurse finds herself comforted by a gift from a patient; a brother causes an enduring rift in a family with one senseless, selfish action; a soldier takes matters into his own hands and learns the hard way about military protocol; a husband and wife suffer through the effect of her debilitating stroke and the loss of most of their personal effects in a fire but survive as proof of lifelong love and enduring faith; and a young man learns about prejudice and dignity in the new South. 

The Motivation for The Figurine

Ten years ago, Rona captured her father’s World War II experiences in his own words. What made the memoir most compelling to her were the inclusion of myriad small details, single moments that still sparkled brightly through the fog of the many years since 1944. They included both the young pilot remembering looking down over cotton fields in Arkansas during a training flight and seeing what looked like giant maggots only to discover they were bags bulging with freshly picked cotton and, when his tour of duty was over, being recognized by a Brazilian native who remembered his skull-shaped pipe--one he had smoked on the same beach before departing for North Africa a year earlier. Certain that everyone has memories worth telling and preserving, and convinced of the need to see these stories brought to the light of day before they are lost or forgotten, Rona set out to find others from the same era who would share their stories.  "Into the Light of Day" is the product of that search.

Motivation to Self-Publish

Though I continue to plow the tortuously slow path of traditional publishing, I believe some stories just can't wait. This collection of stories is one. The moments in time from which the stories were drawn were contributed by old and new acquaintances -- friends who would not understand they might have to wait a decade or more to see their words in print.

Links to purchase the book:

Links to author website, book trailer, etc:
Author Website:  
Photography: author page:  

Thank you, Rona for sharing your experiences with us and taking part in Pay It Forward. Now let everyone know about Rona by sharing this link –

Creativity and Life Stories,


  1. The immediacy of self publishing is pretty intoxicating. Good luck!

    1. That it is, Libby. Sometimes the story just has to be told NOW.

  2. Thank you Bea (Denise) for featuring Rona's book and her collection of stories in "The Figurine". I like her project for the book and how she interviewed people, heard their stories, rewrote them and put them in a book.

    Loving stories myself I'm realizing there's just so many stories I can tell myself and thought what a wonderful way to capture fresh new stories and points of view.

    I'll add her link to my FB and LinkedIn and may be inspiration for me to write another post. Good luck to Rona and wishing her much success in her new book.

    1. It's great to hear, Pat. I love real stories about people's lives too. I think you found the inspiration already. :)

  3. Many, many thanks to Denise for all her efforts, SOME of us will STILL pay it forward (and backward!). Wishing all of Denise's fan's the most in writing.
    And for those of you interested, the next story in the collection from Into the Light of Day will be on Amazon this week (FREE -- see how easy it is to pay).

    Rona Simmons

    1. Thanks so much for this interview, Rona. I truly enjoyed getting to know you in the virtual sense. I wish you the best of luck with The Figure, your other books and your photography.

  4. Hi Denise, I came visiting in hopes of seeing your DIY side. I'll be back :)
    I can't wait to see your leaves.
    Have a marvelous week and thanks so much for visiting. I hope that Germany is being good to you and that everyday is an exciting new adventure.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

    1. Hi Connie,

      I'll be throwing in my 2 cents of a life within a week or so. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I am really drawn to how she used real-life interviews and stories as a springboard for the short stories. It just goes to show how often artists blur the line between fiction and nonfiction.