As a young girl, Simone Pond loved writing in her journal and making up stories, but after reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, everything changed. Amazed that a woman could write so convincingly from a teenage boy’s perspective, Pond became determined to become a writer as well.
In 2013, Pond released The City Center, the first book in her dystopian fiction series. A fast-paced tale of love and adventure that will appeal to young adults and seasoned readers alike, The City Center is a bestseller in Amazon’s post-apocalyptic science fiction category and was the recipient of a gold medal award from Reader’s Favorite.
The second book in the series, The New Agenda, was published in May of 2014, and a third, The Mainframe, is scheduled to be released in December.
Pond currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their Boston Terrier. Learn more about her and her writing at www.simonepond.com.
What were you like as a child, and how did your upbringing shape who you are today?
My mother always fostered creativity in our home either with sewing, arts and crafts, and music. I loved using my imagination. I used to pretend I was magic and that I could fly; my superhero alias was “Star.” I also loved going to the library, getting new books and reading them over and over — Peter Pan and Charlotte’s Web were my favorites. I loved writing stories and illustrating them, although my drawing skills were questionable. I played piano and the accordion for a little while. I joined the neighborhood girls to write plays and perform them for the neighborhood. All of these things gave me a solid foundation for my writing. By the time I was twelve years old, I was filling up spiral notebooks and reading stories to my classmates.
How did you initially become interested in dystopian fiction, and what is it about the genre that you find most exciting?
I’ve always enjoyed fantastical stories that force me to stretch my imagination. Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Phillip K. Dick. The most exciting part about this genre, whether I’m reading or writing, is picturing something that doesn’t currently exist — a world, tech device, or society — and putting my own creative take on it.
What was the inspiration behind the story of The City Center and The New Agenda?
One night my husband and I were talking about the future and I said, “What if in the future people lived inside giant city centers that they thought were safe havens, but they were actually prisons?” And he said, “Now that’s a good idea for a story. Have you seen Logan’s Run?” The seed was planted for my first book. When I was writing The City Center, another idea came to me for The New Agenda. And the same thing happened in the middle of that draft. I figure this is the genre for me.
What challenges did you face in bringing the story of The City Center to life and making the world feel believable?
My biggest challenge was writing in third person, since my go-to move is first person. But I knew this story needed to be told from that perspective. Once I felt more comfortable, I really got into constructing the society both on the Inside and the Outside. I felt like an all-powerful architect. The other challenge was keeping track of the timeline and the family lineage. The story spans over three hundred years and the series moves around. I had to be very specific about dates, family lineage and the back story. It’s a lot to keep track of, but I love a good challenge.
What role did your advertising background play in the shaping of this story?
I examined the darker side of media, and how propaganda can be used to manipulate the masses.
How do you celebrate the release of a new book?
I send out emails to my friends, family and readers, announcing the launch to get the ball rolling. Then I host an online book launch on Facebook to generate more excitement. I spend a lot of my time emailing people and thanking them for their support. I think for this next launch I’ll go to Ojai and sleep for a few days.
Do you read reviews of your own work? If so, how do reader opinions affect your approach to writing?
I limit the number of reviews I read because sometimes I take the negative ones a little too seriously. Some of the harsher reviews have actually been helpful, but only if the reader provides constructive insight. Sometimes I’ll come across a one-liner that is hurtful and provides no constructive criticism. I try to keep it all in perspective. You cannot please everyone.
What does your writing environment look like?
Very neat and organized. I don’t like clutter. I usually sit at my dining room table with a hot cup of tea. I drink about five more throughout the day — decaffeinated. When I get stuck or need a change of environment, I go to a coffee shop and sit among the other writers — there’s no shortage of those in L.A.
How do you believe the world will eventually end?
I have a recurring vision of everything just blinking out of existence. Like we’re just going about our regular routine, drinking tea or sitting with a group of friends in a restaurant, and suddenly — nothing.
What’s the best meal you’ve had recently?
I ate a wild mushroom and truffle pizza that was pretty amazing.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve recieved?
If you want to be a writer — write. Sometimes the hardest part is just sitting down and writing, but once I start, I’m all in. Hours go by and I don’t even notice. I just keep writing no matter what.