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Meet Melissa Groeling!
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. Traffic Jam is her first young adult novel.
Hello! What’s your name?
Hi there! My name is Melissa Groeling and I’m a writer who dwells on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! I love chocolate and the New York Giants (please don’t hold that against me) and I am THRILLED to be here today! Thanks for having me, Lisa!
What do you write and why?
Well, I write novels and my genres are literally all over the place. I’ve never been able to stick to one genre AT ALL. I blame this scattering on my brain. It does not adhere to any rules. I am at its mercy. J I’ll get an idea that might turn into a romance or a thriller or a young adult novel—it really depends on what the idea is and what my brain is willing to do with it.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
The only genre that I write that I actually read is the thriller/suspense genre. That’s the genre that’s always appealed to me even when I was a kid. But even as much as it appeals to me, I find that I can’t write just in that genre alone. It’s weird, right?
What is the title you are promoting right now?
Right now, I’m promoting a young adult novel called, Traffic Jam [to be released May 26, 2012] and I am so excited about it!
What is it about?
It’s about human trafficking and the impact it has on one teenage girl and her family.
What makes this book different from others in your genre?
I think what makes it different is the fact that the topic of human trafficking has never been truly discussed. It’s a dark, dangerous world that’s like a disease—it just eats away at everything that makes you human. And not only that but I think Traffic Jam also offers a look of how a lot of families nowadays have this major disconnect amongst themselves. A lot of them are losing their focus on what holds a family together and what makes a family solid. I mean, everyday you read about a couple of kids who get into some serious trouble and their parents are always saying, “I had NO idea my kid was doing that” or “I simply CANNOT believe my kid would do something like that!” And therein lies the problem. So I think this book can be seen as reminder to pay attention and that we have to start connecting again and not by way of texting and emailing or anything electronic. I’m talking about basic human contact—real conversations that don’t include “lol” or “ttyl” or “brb.”
What’s the story behind the story?
Believe it or not, I got the idea from MSNBC! I remember I was reading a book and only listening to the TV with half an ear and the topic of human trafficking came up. Immediately, I was hooked and horrified to learn human trafficking happens not only outside of the US but inside the US as well. Even in middle-class suburbia! So after watching that, the wheels in my head started turning and grinding…and the rest is history. J
What is your goal as an author?
My goal as an author is tell a story. I’m not out to change the world. I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading. To not write is like depriving myself of chocolate and that, my friend, is not good! So, as an author, I just hope to tell some stories that people will like to read.
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
Of course! I’m working on a potential ghost story at the moment! I’m in the midst of revamping it. But the gist of it revolves around two guys who lead completely different lives but who somehow end up in the same predicament. It’s going to be a creepy story, creepier than anything I’ve written. That’s the goal anyway, so wish me luck! J
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
Oh man, my favorite author?! And my favorite book? Wow! This is nearly impossible because I can’t name just one! But okay, let me see…there’s Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons, Christopher Rice, Stephen King, Karin Slaughter, Preston & Child, Toni Morrison, Joe Hill, Jonathan Kellerman and of course, the old greats like Poe and Dickens…I should tell you that I bawled like a baby at the end of A Tale of Two Cities. But moving on to the favorite book part of the question. At the moment, I am in love with Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night. This book is superb—capturing a lazy summer, a group of friends who encounter an old evil and a fight to stay alive. It’s such a fascinating book—I’ve read it twice already!
Where can readers find you and your work?
Ah, my readers can find me at my blog or on Twitter or on Facebook, of course! My work can be found on your usual sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as my publisher’s website, Black Opal Books. So feel free to stop on by!
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing? Ideally, which one would you prefer and why?
Oh boy, there isn’t enough space here for me on this topic J But ideally, I would prefer the self-publishing only because you, the author, have more control over everything—from the printing to the marketing and everything in between. Sure, it’s more time-consuming and you really have to be committed if you want to get your work out there, but the traditional way of publishing still has a lot of catching up to do and that’s not even mentioning the fact that everything’s going digital nowadays anyway. On another level, it’s extremely difficult to break into a traditional publishing house, too. Most of them don’t want to take a chance on an unknown writer or step out of the box at all, which is why I think a lot of writers go the way of the self-publishing.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”—Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
Before I read this book, my mom quoted this to me and it just hit me deep in the chest. After I read the story, I thought it was so poignant. This was the ultimate sacrifice, which is probably why I cried like a baby at the end!
What is the most important advice you have for aspiring authors?
Do Not Give Up! You keep writing, you keep reading! Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it. I know how cliché it sounds but it’s the truth! DO NOT GIVE UP!
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish up?
It’s been great being here, answering these questions! Feel free to pop by my blog or to contact me on Facebook or Twitter to chit-chat some more! Thanks so much! Write on!
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you!
You’re welcome and thank you again!
Please take a moment to visit Melissa at the links below!