Underneath the Hat is about the journey of Amanda Jayne in her role of First Lady and wife to Campbell. It shares the lessons she learned while dealing with his infidelities and how she learned who she was Underneath the Hat.
Tell us something about yourself.
Sherri Simmons is a wife and a mother to her beagle K.B. She is the oldest of four children (two sisters and one brother) and the aunt to three nephews. She has been an educator in the Chicago Public Schools for 14 years, where she has taught 3rd, 1st, Intermediate Math, served as an Assistant Principal, and is currently working as a STEM Integration Specialist. She is also the Founder and President of Young Ladies At All Times, NFP (Y.L.A.A.T.), a mentoring program for young girls and a member of Young Women’s Professional League (YWPL). She began writing Underneath the Hat in 2013 after her separation from her first husband. The book served as therapy for her to get through the ordeal. Due to the book, she has expanded her brand to a YouTube web series and a podcast of the same name. She hopes that others will be helped as they learn through her journey of rediscovering who she is by revealing what’s Underneath the Hat.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was in a low place where I was running away trying to avoid thinking about “Campbell” when a co-worker suggested that I write everything down. I started that day at Red Robin restaurant writing things down on napkins and soon I had an entire book.
How did you celebrate when you finished writing the book? When it was published?
I celebrated with a Book Launch in January 2018. Family and friends came out to help me celebrate. We had food, music and giveaways. It felt good to see people come from far and wide to support me on this journey It was published in January 2018 by CreateSpace Independent publishing.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I didn’t. I am the LAST person to want to write anything. It started out as therapy because I was holding so much in. It was a way to release the thoughts and feelings I had bottled inside. I began by writing things on napkins, then as more things transpired I began to record myself speaking about it until I had the whole book on my phone. I love that I did it that way because so many people stated they loved the fact that they felt they were in the room with me while they read it, and that is exactly what I wanted.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am a planner. I had an outline of how I wanted to record the story and I pretty much stuck to the plan I started with.
Do you have a daily or weekly writing schedule, or do you write only when you are inspired? How many words or pages do you complete in a typical day?
I write only when I’m inspired. I have to have a certain atmosphere before I write because I want to be focused on the story and process.
How many drafts did you write before publishing your most recent book?
I’d say 2.
What software do you use to write? Or do you prefer to write longhand or dictate your work? What made you choose the method you use?
My phone was my software. I then typed out each chapter on my laptop. I wanted to keep the voice of how I was feeling when I was going through the situations, so I wrote it in my voice with the language and diction I felt when I was going through.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. Even though I sat with a finished manuscript for over a year under my table, I am glad it came out when it did because I was able to handle the critiques and questions that came with it.
Do you read reviews?
Not really. The few I’ve seen have been positive and honest but I know that when the time comes and I gain more exposure of the book, I will be able to handle any comments that will come.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Tell your truth. Don’t worry about how others will take it. This is your story and your opportunity to heal and release so that you can be the best version of you. Every few years we change as people and in order to change you have to reflect and change and the only way to do that is to be YOU.
Do you have friends who are writers? How do you help each other to become better writers?
I have met more now that I have written my book. I do bend their ear and ask them for ideas based on what I noticed they did to publish and promote their book.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
This book’s main audience is women who have lives that require them to wear many HATS, and it shows how to manage all of those responsibilities while taking care of themselves Underneath the Hat.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?