Courtney was born in North Charleston, SC. She currently resides in Goose Creek, SC with her son and daughter. Being raised by a single mother of three, not having the best childhood, and then being a teen mom herself, she was determined to make a better way for her and her family. She attended college at the age of 17, graduating with an Associate’s in Health Science. Although she has been in healthcare for the majority of her career, she’s always had a passion for writing. Becoming a published author has always been her dream. Since she was a little girl, Courtney enjoyed reading and writing. With her devotion to writing, she wrote every chance she got, about any and everything. She also had a passion for storytelling. With the combination of the two, she started writing short stories. Due to life experiences, writing became more than a hobby for her; it became therapeutic, and that’s when Author Courtney Simone was discovered. In 2019, Courtney Simone published her first novel, “Love, Lies ‘N Betrayal” and became the C.E.O of Dream Ink Publications. As she starts her journey as a published author, she strives to entertain young adults with material they can relate to, hoping that it will help them cope with the hardships, struggles and frustration that’s dealt to them on a daily basis.
“Being an author to me is more than putting words on a paper and calling it a book. Being an author to me is being able to express my thoughts and feelings about the problems in society, marriages, relationships, friendships, different ways and meanings of love, etc. Being an author to me is like being a mentor; being able to help my readers get through challenges and obstacles they face on a daily basis.”
BLAQVERSITY MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
COURTNEY SIMMONS: My journey as an author began in 2019. I was working at MUSC. We had a slow day in clinic and there my pad and pen was, in my backpack not too far from me. I started doodling as I thought about the failed relationships and friendships I had in the past. I thought about all the betrayal I’d experience and those who stabbed me in the back. Then boom, Love, Lies N’ Betrayal, which was my first published novel, was born.
BLAQVERSITY: Was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue? Who motivated you?
COURTNEY : Becoming a writer was most definitely something I’ve always wanted to pursue. I’ve always loved writing since I can remember. It always felt good to use my imagination, live in another world on paper and be many different characters without being judged. I used to write on everything about anything. I was that weird girl in school who loved when we had to do long essays and who wrote tons of notes down, just to be able to write more.
Now, about my motivation, it was more so my family and Zane who motivated me to do it. I was obsessed with Zane books and used to sneak and read them as a kid. Even though at that time I had very little understanding of the things she talked about, I loved it, and knew I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Everybody around me talked about her books. So, to me, she was the hottest author out and I admired her. I wanted to write books like hers. Not necessarily in that genre, but I wanted to write books that were the topic of people’s conversation, books people actually enjoyed and make a name for myself like she did. My family played a big part as well in my writing. It was important to me to show my kids that I to practice what I preach about following dreams and never giving up. To this day, my four and eight year old tells me how proud of me they are that I’m living my dreams and working hard to achieve it.
BLAQVERSITY: What are some of your favorite authors out right now?
COURTNEY : Some of my favorite authors out right now are Jade Jones, Latisha, Demetrius Meaty Walker and Keisha Ervin.
BLAQVERSITY: Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
COURTNEY: Since becoming a published author, the challenges I have faced are gaining readers, gaining exposure and getting reviews. It’s hard as hell, much harder than I expected it to be actually. Many readers stick to the authors they’ve been rocking with and not many are willing to read upcoming authors like myself. That also pours into exposure. As a new author, I don’t get much exposure, which may also tie into why it’s hard for me to gain new readers. Although these challenges have came about, I still promote my books regardless and I’m thankful for the readers who have given me a chance, who’s rockin’ wit me and supporting me and leaving reviews. I don’t know what it is about leaving a review after reading the book, but people don’t like to do it. I have a few reviews on my books, but it doesn’t nearly amount to how many books I’ve sold. I’m hoping readers start to understand how important it is to leave reviews and my reviews start to increase.
BLAQVERISY: How many books have you written? What is your genre?
COURTNEY: I have 4 published novels to date. I write romance novels and urban fiction.
BLAQVERSITY: What message do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?
COURTNEY: It’s hard to say I want them to take a general message from all my books besides that every book is written in a way that can connect to it and to help them in some way. Each of my books deliver different messages and lessons that I hope they can learn from.
BLAQVERSITY: Do you have any writing tips/suggestions for any new author who wants to write their book but doesn’t know where to start?
COURTNEY: The writing tips and suggestions I have for new authors is to research, take their time and to be careful. They have probably heard that from every author they have asked this same question to, but it’s true. You must do research on your own; help is cool, but it shouldn’t be your main source for knowledge. Take your time when you write and on your journey as a self published author. Don’t rush it because you will regret it. Anything with your name attached to it should be done considerably well and the only way for that to happen is to not rush. Last, but not least, be careful. When you are a self publisher it takes lots and lots of money to make it happen. Being that the money is coming out of your own pocket, we tend to deal with a lot of freelancers vs high end companies. That’s cool and all, but not all are legit. There are a lot of scammers in this industry. I myself have dealt with a few. You have to understand that everything that glitters ain’t gold and if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Spending that extra twenty dollars or even a hundred dollars may be worth it. Now, I’m not saying every person that charges a high price is legit either. Some people charge lots of money services, but it ain’t worth the prices they charge. So, with all that being said, you have to be the judge and make rational decisions. That’s why it’s important to be careful!
BLAQVERSITY: Are you currently working on any new book projects? If so, when can we expect them to be released?
COURTNEY: Of course I’m working on a new book project, but the release date has not been determined. I’m hoping for this project to be ready and released by the end of April 2020 though.
BLAQVERSITY: What does being an author mean to you?
COURTNEY: Being an author to me is more than putting words on a paper and calling it a book. Being an author to me is being able to express my thoughts and feelings about the problems in society, marriages, relationships, friendships, different ways and meanings of love, etc. Being an author to me is like being a mentor; being able to help my readers get through challenges and obstacles they face on a daily basis. Also, to open their eyes up to situations that I discuss in my books, that they are probably dealing with, but often overlook. Being an author is everything to me because helping others through storytelling serves as my purpose.
BLAQVERSITY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
COURTNEY: In the next five years, I see myself sitting in a directors chair with Executive Producer and Director credentials behind my name from turning my books into movies.
BLAQVERSITY: Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
COURTNEY: I am currently a full-time author. I quit my job to have more time to pursue my dreams as an author and entrepreneur.
BLAQVERSITY: If you could co-author with any author in the world, who would it be and why?
COURTNEY: If I could co-author with any author in the world, it would most definitely be Jade Jones. You ask why I would do it, but the real question is why wouldn’t I? The girl is a talented author! Not only is she a dope author, I think she would be able to give me a lot of advice on becoming a better author and give me more insight on the book world. It would be an honor if this would happen.
BLAQVERSITY: Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author? Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
COURTNEY: It’s definitely challenging to promote my books at times. Being a new author in the industry, it seems like no matter how hard you push or what you do, you hardly get recognized.
BLAQVERSITY: How can readers connect with you and support you?
COURTNEY: Readers can connect with me on many different platforms. I am on Facebook(@officialcourtneysimone), on IG (@author_courtneysimone)
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