As a writer Jo-Ann Simmons' work has appeared in a number of publications. Her creative output over the years has ranged from poetry and song lyrics to short stories and reviews.
Although born in Sydney, Simmons was largely raised in Darwin, Northern Territory. From 1981 to 1984 she lived in Armidale, N.S.W., graduating with a teaching diploma from the Armidale College of Advanced Education. During that period she was also associated with the rock band Shoot the DJ (q.v.), initially as lighting/sound operator (later focusing on lighting). Simmons collaborated with Clay Djubal (q.v.) on many of the band's original songs and stage designs. Although she once claimed that her worst poetry often made the best lyrics, the variant metres, themes and writing styles reflected in her poetry/lyrics during that period allowed Shoot the DJ greater opportunity to experiment with new musical directions and thereby evolve from its initial hippy/punk leanings towards a more intricate rock/pop sound. Her collaboration with Shoot the DJ continued when the band relocated to Sydney in 1984. She also contributed lyrics to a number of songs recorded by the creative collective Some Trippin' Diggers (q.v.). Her lyrics can be heard on the retrospective releases Mind-Driving (Shoot the DJ, 2008) and Paralytic with Intelligence (Some Trippin' Diggers, 2009). One of her songs ('... And I Laugh') also appears on the Some Trippin' Diggers CD The Larrikin Demofestos (2008).
Simmons and Djubal returned to Armidale in early 1987, having spent much of the previous year on the Gold Coast, and established the artistic/literary cafe, Clayz Kitchen (1987-1988). In 1994 Simmons returned to live in Darwin, and has since spent many years on the North Queensland coast. She also writes reviews and articles under the name Joann Djubal for magazines such as Multihulls.