Friday, August 8, 2014


Author Interview: Melissa Groeling

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About the Author:

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. 
What made you want to become a writer?
Oh boy, is that a loaded question. I don’t think I set out to become one—it just sort of happened. I don’t really know how to shut my brain off so it just keeps bubbling with all these ideas (some weird, some downright scary) and it’s up to the rest of me how I want to deal with it. Weird, right? Then I figured if I’m going to write stories, why not have people read them? It’s all very accidental. 

Where do you get your inspirations from?
Anything will do and I can’t stress that enough. I could be sitting there working at my job and all of a sudden, I’ll think of a stack of pancakes. Next thing I know, I’m building an entire story around pancakes. I get a lot of ideas when I’m driving too, which actually backfires on me, because it’s not like I whip out a pen and a pad of paper...not while I’m in the middle of making a left-hand turn, you know? 

Other than writing books, what else do you do in your free time?

Oh, I am a HUGE book nerd. I’m always sticking my face in a book, whether it’s one I’ve never read before or one I’ve ten times already. I’m always reading. And when I’m not reading, I like hanging out with my friends and family, see what kind of shenanigans I can get into. You’ll also find me eating cupcakes and drinking Starbucks---the worst combination in the world but they’re so good!

If you could work with another author, who would it be?

Ooooh that’s a good question. Let’s see...I think it’s a toss-up between Dean Koontz, Karin Slaughter and Dan Simmons. I am such a big fan of all three of them. Their writing is phenomenal. 

What are major themes of your work?

I want to say my themes are all over the place but they’re really not. I didn’t realize that my work had a common thread until Lights Out was published. And that common thread always seems to run towards society issues and family structure—two things that I think go hand-in-hand. When I wrote Traffic Jam, there was a strong undercurrent of family—in particular one pulling together to save one of their own and I think that kind of action gets lost in today’s society. As a family, you need to look out for each other. You need to know that someone is there to help you. You need to know what everyone is doing. I think there are so many families that don’t feel that way because everyone is so disconnected. We, as a society, need to reconnect and we need to reconnect in the worse way. Wow, that was quite a long answer! Sorry about that! J

What do you think people look for in a book?

I think what people look for in a book is something that can really suck them in. Not necessarily a story that they can relate to but one they can get lost in and forget about their own lives for a while---kind of like giving their brain a break. I think people want a story they can see in their mind, one that they can feel, taste and smell. If they find themselves inside the story then you, as the author, have done an awesome job.

Are there any recent works you admire?

As of right now, I’m a hardcore admirer of Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night. If you want to be sufficiently creeped out, read that book...with the lights on preferably.

Questions About the Book (Traffic Jam):

Which character in the book do you think you can relate to the most?
In Traffic Jam, I’d probably relate to Val the most. She’s a nerd, first and foremost and second, she doesn’t try to fit in. That is something that I can definitely relate to. I’ve discovered in my relatively short life that fitting in is no fun. At all.

How did you come up with the character's names?

With the pace of the story being what it was, I wanted the names to be short and quick. We have Val and Sam—our two main characters. We have John, who is Val’s crush. There’s also Ed, who is not very pleasant to be around. I knew that the action was going to be quick so I definitely needed the character’s names to roll off like a gunshot. 

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Traffic Jam came to me while I was watching the news which is pretty hysterical because I never watch the news. Ever. As soon as the news program was over, I started doing some research and the rest, as they say, is history!

*The questions and answers of this author interview are only for Ethereal Book Reviews to use.  If you would like to get interviewed, please visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an e-mail.