Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of nine novels in the Red Carpet Catering mystery series featuring Penelope Sutherland, chef-owner of a movie set catering company. She’s also written several short stories which have been published in various anthologies, including “Burnt Orange” in Passport to Murder: the 2017 Bouchercon Anthology; “The Prodigy” in Mystery Tour, the Crime Writers' anthology.
Shawn’s story “The Last Word,” appearing in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2019. Shawn also won the Anthony Award as editor of the Best Anthology or Collection for the same anthology the same year. Her story “The Red Herrings at Killington Inn,” appearing in Masthead: Best New England Crime Stories, received an Agatha Nomination in 2020 for Best Short Story. The following year, "Bay of Reckoning," appearing in the anthology Murder at Sea, published by Destination Murders, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story in 2021.
Shawn was born in Indiana, grew up in Florida, and began her professional career in New York City as a sales executive for an international airline after graduating from the University of Maryland with an English Lit degree. She has worked as a line cook, bartender, marketing executive, and bookstore manager, sold fine wine, written radio commercials, organized an annual mystery convention, and cooked for the cast and crew on movie sets.
In addition to her own writing, Shawn is President and Managing Editor at Level Best Books, a crime fiction press with a roster of roughly two hundred authors. She hosts a weekly podcast, Five Compelling Questions with Shawn, where she chats with writers across all genres about writing. She is also a co-host of the YouTube series We Are What We Read, which features authors highlighting books that have inspired and influenced them and their careers.
Shawn is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the UK, and a founding member of The Dames of Detection. Shawn served on the Board of Malice Domestic for over twenty years (2002-2023), where she welcomed hundreds of mystery writers and fans to the Washington, D.C., area each spring to celebrate the genre of Traditional Mystery and Agatha Christie.
Shawn lives in historic downtown Frederick, Maryland, with her husband, son, and Dino, their very huggable French Bulldog. Visit her website at ShawnReillySimmons.com.
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