Saturday, November 17, 2012

Indiereader Review released

See IndieReader review:
Verdict: Simon Says is journey of self-destruction, self-discovery and ultimately, redemption. And while Poe depicts a familiar story of downward decline, his novel has more complexity than the traditional “downfall tales” we’ve come to know.
Author William Poe’s heart wrenching novel begins with central character Simon Powell, recounting a sexual experience with a childhood friend.

The two, just boys at the time, were engaged in an innocent, but physical relationship. Simon recalls his mother coming into the room and scolding him and the boy, who subsequently dropped out of school by eleventh grade and was dead of an overdose at twenty-two.

Simon is a gay man, yet the homophobia he encounters from his family—and even from himself—prevents him from experiencing the fulfillment he so desperately craves. Brought up in a devoutly religious home, he has been indoctrinated to believe that homosexuality is an abomination and that in order to be right with God he must repress his true feelings.

Eventually Simon attempts to fill his emotional void by joining The Unification Church, a religious sect headed by Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Simon spends ten years adhering to the harsh limitations and heterosexual lifestyle promoted by the church, until he meets a charismatic man named Lyle. Lyle, who is also gay, sweeps Simon off his feet. When their relationship ends, Simon, is left to try and make sense of his life. With nowhere else to go, Simon returns to the place he fled from so many years ago: home. There he finds that his father is dying, leaving Simon as his primary caregiver. When Simon’s father finally passes away, he is devastated. Eventually, he decides to move to Hollywood with Lyle, where he inevitably falls into a hard life of drugs and sex addiction.

Simon Says is journey of self-destruction, self-discovery and ultimately, redemption. And while Poe depicts a familiar story of downward decline, his novel has more complexity than the traditional “downfall tales” we’ve come to know. While Poe’s Simon begins at a low point—the reader knows almost from the start that he’s destined for a fall—there is also an inevitable and heart-warming rise that makes this a book worth reading.
Reviewed by Rebecca Nichloson for IndieReader

Monday, September 3, 2012

Midwest Book Reviews, Bookwatch

Reviewer's Bookwatch, Volume 12, Number 9, September 2012

For many young gay individuals, trying to understand life's destiny is often quite difficult. "Simon Says" tells the chronicle of Simon Powell, escaping the damnation of eternal hellfire his church has put upon him, and trying to face his family as well as being dragged into the world of hustling, drugs, and illicit sex, all while trying to find something that makes life matter. A coming of age story of finding what really matters, "Simon Says" is a choice read, not to be overlooked.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Press Release: Simon Says, a novel by William Poe, published May 18, 2012

Gay man battles religious cult, drug addiction in new novel

William Poe draws on his own experience with recovery and Reverend Moon’s Unification Church to portray the life of a young man in over his head in “Simon Says”

SILVER SPRING, Md. – In “Simon Says” (ISBN 0615559573), William Poe writes the fictional life of a man whose destiny has not been so different from his own. For nearly a decade, Simon Powell was a follower of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his cultish and highly controversial Unification Church. After breaking with the church, protagonist Simon returns to his home in Arkansas where he is haunted by the personal struggles that forced him to leave, including his drug addiction, his inability to accept himself as gay and a painful breakup with a lover. 

While living in Arkansas just after leaving the Unification Church, Simon learns that his former boyfriend Lyle is out in Hollywood living with Sandra, secretary to a lawyer who defended Reverend Moon on tax evasion charges. Against his better judgment, Simon returns to California to seek out Lyle and Sandra. They were his only friends outside the church, even though they turned him on to cocaine. In Hollywood, Simon quickly begins to ramp up his cocaine use, picking up men in seedy hustler bars and taking up work for a shady European film distributor.

For a time, Simon seems to develop a real relationship with a stable man named Thad, but this too proves to be an illusion, and after their breakup, Simon tailspins into freebasing crack and laundering money for his boss through corrupt film deals. At a desperate end, Simon flees Los Angeles, heading home again, only to quickly lose himself in an orgy of sex and violence. With nowhere else to run, he enters rehab, seeking a fresh start.

In the conservative South, however, he is ostracized for being gay and is driven to the very ends of despair. To survive, Simon will have to draw upon inner resources he never knew he had and friends and family who must push past their prejudices to save him. With its examination of religious cults, Hollywood’s gay scene, drug addiction and the seedier fringes of the motion picture industry, “Simon Says” is a novel cinematic in scope and timely in its themes and message.

“Simon Says” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author:

A writer and visual artist, William Poe earned a bachelor’s in art from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a master’s in anthropology from the University of Nebraska. He has written two books and several short stories. He joined the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church when he was 18 years old and remained there for most of the next decade. “Simon Says” is based on his experiences with the controversial church and his struggle to carve out an identity for himself as a gay man.


William Poe


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