Like Him With Friends Possess’d is a story about a 40-year-old woman who suddenly realizes that her life is not perfect. Co-authored by Toni Cantrell, novelist, and Bea Simmons, secretary in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Anderson University, the story will certainly grab the attention of its audience.
Simmons, novelist and mother of two boys, has been writing since her middle-school days. She began writing poetry and later developed an interest in short stories and novels after excelling in a creative writing class in the 1990s. Along with publishing her novel, her accomplishments include publishing two poems and being ranked in the top 100 winners in the 1995 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.
Cantrell and Simmons met in a creative writing class. In the class, Simmons wrote a short story that would later be the inspiration for her novel. One day, Cantrell approached Simmons and said that she had a dream about her story and that they needed to write together.
Cantrell and Simmons began to meet weekly to work on the story. They would write separately and then bring their ideas together to create scenes for the novel. The pair started working together in 2000 and finished the novel by 2002, when they began the editing process. The novel was then shelved for a few years, but the story was submitted and accepted for publication in 2010 by Bellfire Press. Their debut novel, Like Him With Friends Possess’d, was published last November.
According to Simmons, the title is taken from a line in Shakespeare's 29th sonnet. “There are references to other sonnets interspersed throughout the novel, and the chapter titles are lines from the sonnets also,” said Simmons. “But the 29th fits the theme of the story the best, and it provides a common tie to the two main characters.”
After the novel was published, Simmons and Cantrell attended multiple book signings and fairs including the 4th Annual Local Author Book Fair and Signing at the Anderson Public Library, and Moneyhun's Fine Gifts and Furnishings also hosted a signing for them.
“I loved the novel! It was intriguing and attention-grabbing,” said Inge Baird, assistant professor of German and Spanish at AU. “For me, what was really neat was that there was a big chunk of the story that took place on a farm. I could relate to that. The novel was very vivid in the respect that I felt like I was actually there and could easily visualize what was happening.”
Dr. Timothy Fox, professor of Spanish and co-chair of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, had nothing but good things to say about Simmons. “I can’t say enough about what Bea means to us in this department,” said Fox. “A lot of us consider her a dear friend.”
Simmons’ novel may be purchased through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, among other places. She is currently working on a few stories and plans to continue writing. “I would eventually like to publish more novels,” said Simmons.
— Tiffany Vega is a junior from Valparaiso, Ind., majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. Vega is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.