Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Melissa Groeling on "Lights Out"

 Hi Zrinka! *waves* How are you? Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! It’s a nice break away from the Christmas shopping, all the ho-ho-hoing and the craziness of baking, wrapping, decorating and did I mention the baking? Okay, so anyway...and away we go!
Please tell us about your writing. Can you explain the title without giving too much away? 
All right, so, Lights Out is my new thriller that just came out on December 7th through Black Opal Books. It’s a dark, violent story, one that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be published. It was such a struggle to write it, such a fight to get it to where I wanted it and somehow I think that struggle is mirrored in my main character, Paul Holten. He’s a man at the end of his rope, burnt-out and exhausted. The struggle that he contends with is bone-deep, in the dark and that’s where he’s always kept it, until it begins to fester and take on a life of its own. There are so many areas of darkness in this story, both figuratively and literally so the title definitely suits it quite nicely.
What was your journey as a writer? 
Ooooh boy, my journey as a writer…let’s see. To me, being a writer is a constant thing. I’ve never gotten to the point where I think, “oh well, I’m published now so my journey is over.” It’s far from that. Writing is a perpetual thing. You’re always working at it, always revising, always dabbling in it. There’s never an endgame and I don’t think I would want there to be one. I’ve always wanted to write since I was in…seventh grade, I think (wow, now I really feel old). The journey to get to where I am now has been a hard one but it definitely isn’t over.
I am inspired by authors like Arturo Perez Reverte, Jack Vance, Dan Simmons, Beatrice Small, J.R.R Tolkien, C. S. Lewis. What writers inspire you? 
Zrinka, I am high-fiving you right now. Dan Simmons is hands-down one of my favorites. His writing is so potent. He’s one of the few authors I read over and over again. Let’s see who else is there…Karin Slaughter, Dean Koontz is another big one—I’ve been reading him since I was a kid. There’s Stephen King, Christopher Rice, Preston and Child—these two guys co-write a superb series featuring Agent Pendergast who is so memorable. I have to say that even Nora Roberts is good inspiration and Tami Hoag. Their romantic suspense elements are fantastic. I think that about covers it…although I’m know I’m forgetting some.
 When you have time, what would we find you reading? 
I make sure I always have time to read. I am a total book nerd. A lot of the things I read come from the authors listed above so it’s lots of fiction of the suspense variety. Right now, I’m reading Koontz’ Relentless and as usual, it pulls me in from page one!
Who has been your biggest supporter? 
Definitely my family. They constantly push me to keep going, even when I don’t want to. If I’m slacking, someone’s always there to light a fire under my a**. (*grins*) And it works!
How are you promoting your work? 
Ah, the wonders of promotion! I’m constantly asking people to review, to allow me to post my work on their blogs. I’m on Goodreads all the time. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and of course my blog. Sometimes I really think that writing the book is the easy part. The promotional side of writing can be very difficult to navigate but it’s worth it because the more people who get to know about your work, the better.
What advice can you give to aspiring writers? 
Read, read, read! You cannot be a writer without reading. Whether it’s the back of cereal boxes, magazines, short stories—it’s important to read as much as you write. That’s how you can find your voice, your style and then write the book that hasn’t been written yet!
Where can our readers find a copy of your work? 
Here’s a list of where Lights Out is available as an eBook or paperback:

 And finally, as an author, do you have any quirks or habits that help you write better? …chocolate. Isn’t that crazy? I swear, eating chocolate fires me up. It’s a beneficial love affair, I think.
Thank you for being my guest today. I wish you the best of luck with your writing.  Thanks so much, Zrinka! Happy reading!


 Even when the lights are out, he can still see you…
            Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past---and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option. 

They had to get out of there—and fast—but he couldn’t see a thing…

Jesus, it was dark.
It was disorienting in its completeness, in its total lack of light. In his lifetime, Paul had had his sight temporarily taken from him many times. Mostly by people who didn’t want to be looked at or identified if—God forbid—something went wrong. But there had always been some degree of light leaking through the blindfold or a shift in someone’s hand that was clamped tightly over his eyes, or the loose weaves in a rut-sack that was tied around his head. He’d always been able to see something.
This, however, was like the deepest part of the ocean. This was like having his eyes glued shut. This was what it meant to be blind.
The air grew colder and with that came the struggle to breathe. He didn’t know if it was claustrophobia but it came pretty damn close. His chest hurt and his throat felt like someone was cramming cotton into his mouth. He tried to breathe more slowly, to at least calm the thundering in his rib cage, but the darkness around him fed the panic that was skating through his bones. The stones beneath his fingers were wet in some places and icy in others and, under his feet, things crunched and squeaked like he was stepping through snow and ice.
He hoped it was snow and ice.
Echoes came from all sides of him. It was impossible to decipher one sound from the next. He wondered if people who heard voices were anything like this. Just one gigantic ball of murmuring sounds and words that didn’t make any sense.
There was a scraping sound behind him.

Melissa Groeling graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves chocolate. Lights Out is her second novel to date.

Come find me at Facebook!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the book that almost didn't make it off of your computer. It's good that you were able to push through and get it published.