Strawberry Mansion: Local Author Writes About Growing Up in the Neighborhood

Julia Press Simmons, 34, has been writing since her father called her a “little liar” and gave her a pen and pad at the age of 11. He told her to start writing her lies down. Her lies became her poetry.

Her poetry evolved into something much more. She became a full-fledged author. Simmons said she writes drama, “women contemporary fiction, stuff you would see on Lifetime Movie Network. Drama about social issues I grew up around- domestic violence, drug addiction and prostitution.”

Author Julia Press Simmons autographed "Strawberry Mansion" for a fan on Dauphin Street.

Simmons started writing her first book “Strawberry Mansion,” when she was 16 years old. It was published 15 years later, by Queen Midas Books, in 2008. She called it “semi-autobiographical,” which she had difficulty writing because the main character, Tabitha, who is in a physically abusive relationship, is based on her life.

As she continued writing, Simmons found that her characters became her alter-ego, especially her character, Begonia Brown. Brown is a woman who speaks her mind and does anything, including “lying, stealing and turning tricks,” to take care of her family.

Simmons has written three novels, the fourth one will be released Nov. 11.  All of her books are about girls growing up in the streets of North Philadelphia and Domestic Violence. Simmons wants people to “get involved, speak out and be an ear to women in unsafe situations.”

Readers can find the Domestic Violence hotline for each state in the back of all three of her novels.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.