Monday, January 22, 2018

Interview with writer Fiona Maria Simon

Welcome, readers. My special guest today is Fiona Maria Simon. She’s chatting with me about her business memoir, Gambling on Granola: Unexpected Gifts on the Path of Entrepreneurship.

Fiona Maria Simon was born and raised in a tiny mountaintop community in southern New Mexico. Former owner of Fiona’s Natural Foods, she holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in Spanish. She has worked as a journalist, travel copywriter, and bilingual editor. An avid writer, traveler, and dancer, Fiona loves to cook, bake, and develop food products. Her hobbies include hiking, biking, spending time with family and friends, and exploring other cultures. Fiona enjoys live music, expanding her cultural horizons, spiritual growth, and learning. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Welcome, Fiona. Please tell us about your current release.
This is my story of starting a granola company as a single mom, and of my trials, tribulations, and triumphs as I grew my company and raised my daughter.

What inspired you to write this book?
Many people over the years asked me to share my story.

Excerpt from Gambling on Granola:
That night, I shared the story with Natalie. I related how helpful Spice had been and what a huge favor he had done for us. She listened, processing the information. Then she got up, found paper and pencil, and started drawing. She folded the paper into fourths. At the top of the page, she drew a granola bar. Then she wrote:

Thank you! Spise. For being so nise!
We aprishrat that you’v ben so kind to us.
Why do you have so meny peersings?
      Love Natalie

True enough, Spice had piercings. His ears had gauges, those large earrings that stretch the earlobe and need to be replaced as the hole enlarges. His nose was pierced, and he sported a few tattoos. Natalie was keenly observant, and she didn’t let these aspects pass her by.
She opened the card and drew Spice, with his piercings, then wrote “Spise” with an arrow pointing to him. She drew a wide smile, with mouth open, and a dialogue bubble: “I Love Fionas prodect.” On the adjacent page, she drew shelves of granola, granola bar caddies, and signs that read, “Fionas.” On the back, she drew a heart with curlicues at the bottom and wrote “I Love you Spise” inside it. At the top, she added, “This page is dron by Fiona.”
“Honey,” I said, “I didn’t draw that page, and maybe we shouldn’t tell Spice that I love him.” She just smiled and said, “Let’s give it to him the next time we go in.”
I gave her a big hug, thanked her for making the card, and said okay. How could I refuse? He’d get a kick out of it, and I wanted to honor Natalie’s efforts to make him such a heartfelt gift. A few days later, Natalie gave him the card. He broke into a huge smile. “This is friggin’ fantastic! Thank you, Natalie! I’m gonna hang it right here so everyone can enjoy it.”
Sure enough, he did. For well over a year, Natalie’s card hung in that office for all to see. Occasionally, receivers would ask, “Fiona, did your daughter make that for Spice?”
“Yep,” I’d proudly reply. “That’s my Natalie.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
A mental image of what the next year of my life might look like.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve loved to write since I was young and received many words of praise for my writing talents starting at a young age.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For the past few years, I have dedicated most of my time to writing my book. I start early in the morning, take a mid-day break, then get back to it in the afternoon and evening. I also tend to travel a lot.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I listen to different music styles all day long.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer for National Geographic and an anthropologist.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope they enjoy and are inspired by my story.

Thank you for joining me today, Fiona!