Friday, May 15, 2009

Another guest hunk, Simon Wood

Jungle Red: We are happy to introduce Friday's guest hunk, Simon Wood. He's an ex-racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and five cats. He's had over 150 stories and articles published. His stories have been included in "Best of" anthologies and he's a frequent contributor to Writer's Digest. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper and We All Fall Down. As Simon Janus, he's the author of The Scrubs and the forthcoming, Road Rash. His latest book is a self-help called, Will Marry for Food, Sex and Laundry, written under the pen name, Simon Oaks. We asked him if he could try to explain the zigzags his path has taken and he agreed! Take it away Simon...

Simon: My latest book is WILL MARRY FOR FOOD, SEX AND LAUNDRY. It’s a love and relationship book which makes it a departure from my usual fare as a thriller and horror writer. Seeing as relationships can be a thrill ride and more than a little scary, it may not be that big a departure.

When it comes to writing, I’m quite gregarious (wrong word). I don’t write what I know. I write what I love and because of that, my writing taste is all over the place. I love writing mysteries, thrillers, horror, supernatural, humor and essays. It was my essays that led to me writing FOOD, SEX AND LAUNDRY. An editor Adam’s Media had been reading my weekly columns over at and contacted me. They'd been looking for someone to write a relationship book but they wanted a different perspective. They wanted someone with a quirky and down to earth viewpoint. I think these traits were supposed to be complementary. Together, we thrashed out an outline for the book and it was off to the races.

The book was a little daunting to write because unlike fiction, I couldn’t make stuff up. But I’m a very empirical person. I blame my engineering background. I needed to collect raw data to make an opinion, so I held a couple of parties for friends and interviewed them on their relationship experiences on various topics. One thing people have no problem discussing is their dating train wrecks. I also looked up a number of studies and surveys on various issues. This gave me everything I needed for the book. Naturally, the book gave me the opportunity to inject my brand of humor into it, something I don’t get to do in my fiction.

I wrote the book under the pen name Simon Oaks, because it doesn’t have a correlation to my novel career or my current readers. This isn’t the first time I’ve written under a pen name. My thrillers and mysteries have been written under my name Simon Wood and I now write horror and fantasy as Simon Janus. The reason for the pen names my writing taste is so far and wide, my readers tend to fall into distinct pockets where there isn’t much in the way of crossover. I don’t make a secret of my identities, but it’s very clear that if someone picks up a Simon Wood book or a Simon Oaks book, they know exactly what they're getting.

Because I love to write and love exploring different types of genres, I wouldn’t be surprised if I pick up a couple other identities along the way. My big hope is that FOOD, SEX AND LAUNDRY will be the platform that will allow me to write some quirky romantic comedies that have been bouncing around in my head.

Yours ever changing,
Simon Wood/Janus/Oaks (delete where applicable)

Jungle Red: Thank you Simon! And since all three of you are here:), we now welcome all kinds of questions--questions about writing mysteries or horror, and of course, marrying for laundry!


  1. Welcome Simon! I'm in awe of your productivity! (We didn't even mention that Simon has written hundreds of short stories.) We just talked here yesterday about our own private hunks and some of the reasons we love them.

    How about telling us your favorite dating train wreck story from the new book?

  2. Well, I can't wait to read this! Welcome, all you Simons. Such fun having you here.

    I've spent most of my reporter life writing fact--actually, okay, ALL of it writing fact--so I worried about how switching over to being able to make stuff up (As I always put it, too)would work.

    It's just a different brain part, maybe?

    Anyway Simon Oaks,--what does the title mean, Simon? Tell us more about the theme, and what you discovered!

    (Oh, I just got it. Wood, Oaks.)


  3. G'morning, Simon. Like Roberta, I am in awe of your creative energy. Do you ever meet yourselves coming and going?

  4. Hi Simon,
    Welcome to Jungle Red, I applaud your genre diversity, am both awed and little freaked out by your productivity.

    Forcing myself back to work now....

  5. Hello Simon!
    I never realized you were a relationship guru, but I now suspect that John married me for all the reasons in your title.

    I hope it's a funny take on relationships. (for anyone who doesn't know Simon he is really, really funny in person. We've done signings together and he has this wonderful deadpan delivery. He'd be a great stand-up comic, if anyone could understand his English accent!

  6. Hello.

    Thanks for having me.

    I think the best story in the book cames from a friend who was having a party. Because it was snowy outside, she told her boyfriend to get something to protect the floor. So he covered the floors with paper bags from the market. All she wanted was him to go buy an area rug. It was a good example of communication or lack of.

    The book is a guide for ladies and the theme is just a reminder that some of the simple things work the best in a relationship. I think the biggest thing I could learn is that I could write the book. The editor was convinced I could do it. She wanted someone outside the field and I was very outside it. It was a little scary at times.

    Yes, some days I crash into myself, especially with my mailbag. Actually, it was tough writing the book. The deadline for this book and my novel were a month apart, so I was having to switch from one to the other to get them done.

    Yes, Rhys, the book is a funny look at the world of relationships. I couldn't do anything else if I tried. :-)

  7. Food, sex and that order? I just came back from the bookstore...rats, I should have checked JR first...because your book would make a perfect gift for my husband who is from the same decorating school as the guy with the paper bags.
    Great to have you on Jungle Red!

  8. I think Simon is improbably the perfect person to write this. I'm thrilled that it's out - can't wait to read!