Recently, I had the opportunity to sitdown with Simone Kelly to discuss her recent release ‘Like a Fly on the Wall,’ Life, and so much more.
A Cleavester Interview
Cleavester: Congrats on your new novel ‘Like a Fly on the Wall.’ Tell the readers about it?
Simone Kelly: Thank’s so much! I’m very excited about my new baby. It was released on July 11th and it about an Intuitive named Jacques Berradi. He’s Moroccan-born and Manhattan-raised, his genuine, sexy-smooth allure goes hand in hand with a unique gift. Since Jacques was young, he has had the ability to read peoples’ energies, communicate with spirit guides, and even catch glimpses of people’s futures. Now a professional “intuitive counselor,” Jacques’s clients pay him handsomely for his insight. Unfortunately, Jacques’s psychic abilities don’t come with an off switch to tune out the world’s noise, nor do they always provide him with easy answers; recently Jacques has begun having dark, alarming dreams about his beloved father, a Moroccan immigrant who died when he was a boy.
Meet Kylie Collins, an adventurous, Miami twentysomething who is trying to find her footing after being laid off from a cushy music industry job. When a mishap brings them together, Kylie is instantly mesmerized by Jacques’s cool demeanor and intuitive abilities, and he’s captivated by her outgoing charm and breezy good looks. Seeking to learn more about her family history—including the identity of the father she’s never known—Kylie visits Jacques’s office to gain some insight about her future, and about her free-spirited and headstrong Jamaican mother, True.
But on the night that they meet, a rolling blackout cuts off power throughout Miami. Kylie and Jacques, and a few of his clients, head to the only place in the neighborhood with enough light to see: Like a Fly on the Wall Detective Agency. There, Kylie serendipitously lands herself the perfect new job as an apprentice private eye.
As partners, Jacques and Kylie are an unstoppable duo. Can Jacques’s intuition reveal the scandalous history of Kylie’s mother and father? Will Kylie’s newfound detective skills uncover evidence about the death of Jacques’s father? And will the chemistry that charges their friendship bubble over into something much, much hotter…?
Cleavester: Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Simone Kelly: Well, there were a few, but I’ll give you the two main ones. One was inspired by a family mystery in Jamaica from my own family that still remains unsolved. It lead me to write about family secrets, since almost everyone can relate to that. The other part is that I’m fascinated with intuition, spirituality, and metaphysics overall, so I wanted to show what it’s like to live the life of a psychic.
Cleavester: How long did it take for you to write it?
Simone Kelly: It was just an idea way back in 2004 and then I wrote it in about two years as a self-published book in November 2015. I landed my publishing deal with William Morrow/HarperCollins in early 2016. They wanted me to write a longer book instead of a sequel like I originally planned. That second part of the book only took about five months. Then another few months of editing with a team of editors.
Cleavester: What kind of person is the lead character Jacques Berradi?
Simone Kelly: He’s sensual, sexy, spiritual, kind, and the voice of reason for many. He is the friend and lover that many women dream they could have. I have some ladies booking flights to Morocco in search of him right now!
Cleavester: When you wrote the last word, what did you do afterwards?
I honestly don’t remember, but I’m sure it was SLEEP. I was pulling a lot of late nights during the editing process.
Cleavester: What has writing this book taught you about yourself and others?
Simone Kelly: It’s taught me that when you don’t really worry about what others will think and you write from your heart that you can change lives. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the results of Like a Fly on the Wall. I’ve had people tell me how it’s helped their love relationships, how they have embraced their intuition and are studying it more, how they also were inspired to write their own books. The feedback has been amazing thus far and I’m so grateful.
Cleavester: Please give the readers a brief bio on you and as a writer/author & Business Woman?
Simone Kelly: Aside from being an author, I’m also the CEO of Own Your Power Communications, Inc. My business focuses on personal and business development coaching and trainings. I also teach various classes such as Discover Your Intuition Levels 1-3 to help others tap into their innate gift.
Cleavester: What was life like growing up?
Simone Kelly: I had a very good childhood growing up in the North East Bronx with Jamaican Parents. They were separated and so I was raised mainly by my mother. However, my Dad was best friend and playmate. He really inspired the creative side that I have now. My story telling began with a gift from him in the late 70’s; a tape recorder. My friends and I would develop stories and act them out and I was usually always the director, producer, and main character. Yes, I was an extremely friendly yet bossy kid. Ha! Funny enough, those same girlfriends to this day said they always knew I would be some sort of writer or producer since I was always coming up with a wild idea for us to do.
I also grew up in a pretty diverse neighborhood and had friends from all backgrounds –Jamaican, African American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Italian, Jewish, etc…. It’s another reason why I love to sprinkle a little bit of culture around in my writing. One of the things I loved about growing up in New York is that you are exposed to so many different kinds of people!
Cleavester: What kind of dreams did you have for yourself growing up?
Simone Kelly: I saw most of my father’s side of the family as entrepreneurs and I knew I wanted to be my own boss.
As a teen, I wanted to produce commercials and work in an advertising agency. I ended up studying everything from Media arts, video production, Advertising, Marketing and received my degree in Business Administration from Long Island University. My internships landed me in the music industry and from there excelled at some dot.com start ups before branching off and starting my own business.
Cleavester: What is your writing process?
Simone Kelly: I’m always looking for ideas. I pay attention to people more than they know. I love watching people’s mannerisms, speech patterns, they way they walk, their funny sayings.
As a coach, I hear so many stories in a day from love relationships, traumas, and family dramas. I take mental notes and when I get a good idea I jot it down. I like to do a rough outline of my characters first to describe them in detail. This helps make them three dimensional. Next, I flesh out the story outline some more.
I also am old school and love to write in composition notebooks first. I might do a scene or a chapter at a time and then I type it up. I write mainly in the library or the beach. My favorite escapes!
Cleavester: What advice would you give to writers wanting to publish a book?
Simone Kelly: Study your craft, network with other authors who are already where you want to be, and stay consistent with your writing. I had times where I wouldn’t write for weeks and it was excruciating trying to get back into the groove. The more consistent you are, the easier it is for your writing to come smoothly. It won’t be hard to channel the little universe you made up. Those voices in your head will flow like water again. Honor your work!
A good way to stay on top of your writing for beginners is to find a writing group, get a friend who can hold you accountable, or take a class. That helped me tremendously when I first started out. Now it’s so much easier with so many social media groups.
Cleavester: If ”Like a Fly on the Wall’ is made into a film, who would you like to play Jacques Berradi and others? Why?
Simone Kelly: I’m still up in the air about this, but so far I am digging the actor Christian Keyes look…I don’t know if he can do a slight French accent yet, but he has dreamy eyes, just how I pictured Jacques!
Cleavester: What is next besides running your daily business? Have you started working on your next book?
Simone Kelly: Yes, I am working on the next book and very excited about it. It’s in the same vain of a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist and some of the characters from Like a Fly on the Wall will return! I would love to have a TV series as well. I’m putting it out there in the universe!
Cleavester: When this life is said and done. What do you want your legacy to be?
Simone Kelly: I want to be remembered as the woman who uplifted others to believe in themselves and showed them how to OWN THEIR POWER and step into their greatness!