Workshop Description
Writers, whether of fiction or nonfiction, argue whether the story or the character is king and Rona Simmons says she’ll talk about that in her workshop and maybe the other often repeated mantra, that setting is a character. But, her focus will be on events. Stories, characters, and settings do not (or rarely) take place in a vacuum and woe be unto the author that doesn’t live, breathe, and eat the events that surround their story. Simmons will lead the attendees in a top down, broad to narrow approach to establish the time and place behind your work. Painting the period with a broad brush, then filling in the details with ever finer lines.
Includes: choosing the time period, filling in with backstory, researching the social, political, and economic details, finding subject matter experts, sweating the small stuff, and finally putting pen to paper.

About Rona Simmons

Rona Simmons is an author of both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her first published works were novels, and primarily works of historical fiction set in the first half of the last century. “The sweep of events, from the First World War to the Great Depression, to World War II, had momentous impact on our lives,” she says, “and is a period we can still almost reach with our fingertips.”

In 2016 she met and befriended WWII veteran and artist Jack Smith. Together they produced the book Images from World War II: The Art of Jack Smith (Cyrilla, 2016) celebrating the art of the nonagenarian. Then, Simmons again turned to the Second World War for her book, The Other Veterans of World War II: Stories from Behind the Front Lines (Kent State University Press, 2020).

Her latest book, A Gathering of Men (to be released by Koehler Books in early 2022), combines her interest in the World War II era and her passion for history and research to tell another story with a unique perspective on the war. This time, the tale is historical fiction, but based on a true story and countless hours spent in the library and our nation’s WWII museum archives.

Simmons is a frequent speaker on WWII and veterans stories as well as writing, blogging, editing, and marketing. She blogs about World War II-related topics on Gone for a Soldier. Her stories, articles, and interviews have been published in literary journals and online magazines, and in local newspapers.

To give back to her local writing community, Simmons has hosted multi-author events for non-profit organizations, libraries, and theaters and featured local authors in online social media events. She created and managed both The Book Widows and The Killers Next Door, groups of Georgia authors who spoke at bookstores, libraries, and festivals. On a pro bono basis, Simmons has given her time and expertise to the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Arts and Business Council, The Gilmer Arts Council, volunteered as a (successful) grant writer for the Dahlonega Literary Festival, and served as co-director for the Milton Literary Festival. Simmons currently acts as a contributing writer for two military-related organizations: (dedicated to reading and lifelong learning) and (with a mission to document the lives of all of America’s fallen in WWII).

Rona Simmons graduated from Tulane University and received her post-graduate degree from Georgia State University. She spent thirty years in business, ending with a period as a business consultant for International Business Machines and retired to north Georgia where she launched her second career in writing.

Rona’s Books

2021 Season Gold Medal (History Category), The Military Writers Society of America