Author Spotlight - Getting To now Simone St. James



Simone St. James is a New York Times bestseller and award-winning author, and when it comes to writing thrillers, Simone is right up at the top of the list. Her ability to portray convincing characters and scary situations that remain in your thoughts long after the lights are turned out keeps us coming back for more.

From Television to Thrillers: Simone St. James' Journey to Success

Simone was born in Toronto, Canada, and has always loved stories. She has always been passionate about writing and wrote her first ghost story when she was in high school. But the road to success has been challenging for Simone, and she spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television industry before making the break to write full-time.


The Haunting of Maddy Clare book cover features a spooky, abandoned barn at sunset with birds flying and a haunting atmosphere. Author: Simone St. James.


The Haunting of Maddy Clare: Simone's Award-Winning Debut

She initially wrote three novels that were never published, but she never gave up, despite being rejected for six years before an agent signed her.  In 2012, Simone finally published her debut novel, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, for which she won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. Finally, her career as a successful writer was established.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare is set in England during the 1920s. Sarah Piper, a woman of limited means and no experience, finds herself teamed up with an obsessed ghost hunter. Together they must confront the vengeful spirit of Maddy Clare. But nothing is as it seems!

A Career of Captivating Thrillers

For Simone, her proudest moment was when she went to her favorite bookstore and saw her first book on the shelf. It was a dream come true. She now has an impressive list of books to her name, including the Silence for the Dead, The Other Side of Midnight, The Broken Girls, and The Sun Down Motel, and she was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller. 


The Sun Down Motel book cover features a vintage motel sign at night with a haunting ambiance. Author: Simone St. James. Background: desert highway.


The Sun Down Motel: A Chilling Success Story

The Sun Down Motel, which was published in 2020, has been a tremendous success. Set in a creepy motel in upstate New York, where strange and terrifying things happen - trust us, you won’t be booking into a motel for a while. The story alternates between two timelines: one in 1982, when a young woman named Viv Delaney takes a job as a night clerk at the motel, and one in the present day, when Viv's niece, Carly Kirk, comes to town to investigate her aunt's disappearance. The Sun Down Motel is a fabulous combination of suspense, horror, and mystery, and she will successfully keep you guessing right until the very end.


The Broken Girls book cover features a shattered window framing a haunting image of a distant, eerie building. Author: Simone St. James.

The Broken Girls: A Psychological Thriller with a Supernatural Twist

Another one of her popular books is The Broken Girls, which takes place in a boarding school in Vermont that was once a home for wayward girls. This psychological thriller, with its supernatural twist, is filled with suspense. The Broken Girls also alternates between two timelines: one in 1950, where four roommates bond and their friendship blossoms until one of them mysteriously disappears, and one in the present day, when a journalist named Fiona Sheridan investigates the reopening of the school where he sister was murdered 20 years previously and uncovers some dark secrets. 


The Book of Cold Cases cover shows a rainy night scene with a car parked on a wet road, lights from houses in the background. Author: Simone St. James.

The Book of Cold Cases: Winner of Our Best Adult Subscription Box Award

We simply love Simone St. James’s books; they always seem to capture us from the very first page. Her novel, The Book of Cold Cases, was so popular it won our Best Adult Subscription Box award for 2022. Her inspiration for this book came from her interest in exploring true crime and our ideas and perceptions around serial killers from the perspective of women, and to top it all, she loves ghost stories.

She says that you aren't doing it right if you don’t have any surprises during a two-year writing and editing process.  When writing The Book of Cold Cases, she reflected that she was surprised when the plot didn’t turn out to be the one she started with. But then, as she says, this business is always full of surprises.

Simone St. James' Unique Blend: Historical Settings and Supernatural Elements

There is something about her style and how she blends historical settings and supernatural elements with masterful skill. She creates stories featuring strong female protagonists who find themselves caught up in dark and dangerous situations and have to use their wits and strength to survive.


Ghost 19 book cover features a window with dark curtains, a vase of flowers in silhouette, and a chilling atmosphere. Author: Simone St. James.


Ghost 19: Simone's First Short Story

Her latest publication, Ghost 19, is her first-ever short story. The plot centers around a woman who moves to a town where she becomes obsessed with watching the lives of her neighbors while stuck in a house that refuses to let her leave. In true Simone style, you won’t be able to put it down.

Life and Passions: Simone St. James Beyond Writing

Simone currently lives just outside Toronto with her husband and, as she says, a spoiled rescue cat. Besides her passion for writing, Simone says she is addicted to sushi, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder. And her advice to aspiring readers is, “Finish the book! Most of the aspiring writers who ask me questions about publishing haven’t finished anything they could publish. Always finish the book just to prove you can. Worry about publishing once that part is done.”

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