Simon is increasingly being asked to hold workshops on teaching creative writing, how to write a novel, and crime writing. It's something he's come to enjoy enormously.
"When I was at school, long years ago, I always thought I wanted to be a teacher. That's why I read sciences at university, so I could teach maths, physics and chemistry to A level, but I got beguiled and waylaid by the media", he says. "I never lost the feeling for teaching though, which is why it's been so good to come back to it. I'm just glad the people I'm talking to seem to be enjoying it too!"
Recent teaching sessions include at the Sleuths Crime Festival in Torbay - where Simon was flattered to be given a 95% approval rating in the feedback questionnaires - and at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School.
The style, manner and content of Simon's work have been lauded by those who've joined the courses.
Some comments -
In the workshops Simon covers all areas of how to write a novel; from drafting an enticing opening line to structuring a compelling plot, complete with lots of pace and twists and turns. There's also advice on how to create memorable and believable characters, and conjure up a vivid sense of place. A section on how to promote yourself as a writer, the secrets of getting published, and how to handle the big moment when it arrives has proved particularly popular.
Practical exercises are used to illustrate all the major points. The course can run as a series of lectures over a week, or be tailored to a morning, afternoon, or day long event. Individual tuition can be offered to help with the teaching.
Simon has also taught creative writing in a series of schools, something he has found equally rewarding. With the kind support of the BBC, he gives talks to Sixth Forms on the realities of a career in the media and how to go about securing one. He's produced an accompanying video to give a taste of life in a modern TV newsroom.
"One of my proudest achievements is the number of young people I've helped to find a career in the media, where before they might never even have considered it," Simon says. "At Christmas, I still get cards from them, wherever in the world the job might have taken them, thanking me for my help. They never forget and that makes it all so worthwhile."
If you're interested in asking Simon to hold a workshop, give a series of lectures, or do some creative writing or media careers work with young people, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site.