Melissa Groeling grew up in New Jersey and now resides in the City of Brotherly Love. Only after she graduated from Bloomsburg University did she start to take her writing seriously. She’s a diehard New York Giants fan, loves chocolate and stalks cupcakes. Traffic Jam is her first young adult novel. Lights Out is her first dip into adult fiction. Melissa met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about her new release and the role of redemption in her writing.
Tell us about your novel.
Lights Out is a dark and gritty tale that follows Paul Holten, an anti-hero if there ever was one. Except he doesn’t know he’s an anti-hero. He’s just trying to survive and he’s barely able to do that between a tyrannical boss hell-bent on keeping Paul under his thumb, a heavy case of night tremors and the demons lurking inside his head. With every breath, Paul wonders if dying would be easier. Until he meets Ethan, who conjures for the first time, the possibility of redemption. But with so much darkness and violence following him, can Paul even hope to achieve it?
How important are redemption and justice to your writing?
Oh, absolutely, especially redemption. I think that’s because of a subconscious need to correct things that are wrong–at least in my head. I know that sometimes makes any story seem unrealistic–you know, stories that tie up neatly in a bow–and we know that real life is hardly like that. But that’s why it’s called fiction!
Who are your literary influences?
Dean Koontz, Dean Koontz and did I mention Dean Koontz? I was constantly getting lost in his books when I was younger. He blended the right amounts of horror and humor, especially his earlier books. To this day, I still remember “Phantoms” as the one that kept me up at night. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve branched out more–Dan Simmons, Karin Slaughter, Stephen King (of course), Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (their Pendergast series is so awesome). Anything that’s creepy and well-written is right up my alley!
What else is on the cards for you this year.
Well, I’m working on my next story called Choke Point. It’s a creepy story set for the new adult genre. I’ll be attending ThrillerFest this year and hope to pitch it while I’m there. I entered the Neoverse Short Story Writing Competition with a short story I wrote called, A Light in the Window and also took part in the “Women of Horror” anthology that should be available online in mid-March. Pretty excited about it!
Thank you Melissa for a great interview.
Read more about Lights Out and find more buy links at Goodreads