Thursday 16 May 2013

Traffic Jam Review & Author Interview

15765289Traffic Jam by Melissa Groeling

Book Synopsis

When you’re caught in traffic, you’ve got nowhere to go…

Val Delton’s life is spiraling and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Her dad lost his job, her mom works fourteen hour days to pay the bills and yet somehow there are high-end shopping bags and an iPod in her older sister’s room. Naturally, Val becomes suspicious but her sister’s lips are sealed. Then by accident, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret hidden behind her sister’s bright smiles and cool indifference. Val has no idea how far and how deep the repercussions of her sister’s secret will reach but she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Will she succeed before her sister’s secret destroys everyone she loves?

Claires Review 5 of 5 stars

Well I started this book with no real expectations as hadn't read any reviews on it prior to starting. the beginning few chapters I found quite slow, however after managing to read half of the book in one sitting I was hooked!

For a YA novel it tackled a very serious subject but did this very well. I loved the twist and how despite everything, Val got her happy ending. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with Alison and would be interested in reading more about Sams side to the story from how everything started.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book to the point that I couldn't put it down and read it within 12 hours! I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more of Melissa's work in the future.

Melissa Groeling

Author Bio

I'm a fiery red-head who’s been writing for years and has no intention of stopping especially now that TRAFFIC JAM, my young-adult novel is available for the masses! So gear up, folks!

I'm a New York Giants fan but please don't hold that against me! I have an on-going, intense love affair with dark chocolate and you should also know I'm just this side of crazy...which I think is normal for someone who writes. Right?

What inspired you to write your first book?

Ah inspiration—it comes in many forms, doesn’t it? My very first book, a romance called “Beauty Marks” was actually inspired by a dive bar not far from my house! Isn’t that hysterical? My current young adult book, “Traffic Jam” was inspired by good ol’ MSNBC, which is funny because I never watch the news. Too depressing but on that particular night, it was a segment on human trafficking. And the rest is history!

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not really. As long as I’m interested in what I’m writing and there’s some chocolate nearby, I’m good! Does chocolate-munching count as a writing style?

How did you come up with the title?

It actually came to me when I was watching that MSNBC segment. I figured the entire concept of trafficking is being trapped and that’s generally what happens when you’re in a jam.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes! Oh my God, yes. I want readers to grasp that human trafficking is a very serious problem not only in foreign countries but in the United States as well. You wouldn’t think slavery of any kind could exist here, being the Land of the Free and all. But be advised, it is here and it’s very easy to get caught up in.

How much of the book is realistic?

I’d like to say everything in the book is realistic—from the topic of trafficking to the hell that is high school and back to the sibling relationship between Sam and Val. Anyone with siblings can definitely relate to secret-keeping, the frustration, the love/hate they share and of course, the rivalry. It’s all there and I think a lot of people can definitely connect with that.

Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Ha! No, not at all! All events and people exist inside my own mind.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Probably Dean Koontz. I’ve read so many of his books, some more than once. His flow of detail has always captivated me; not to mention all the creepiness of his earlier books that kept me up at night.

What book are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading Jonathan Kellerman’s, “Victims.” It’s such a good book. I absolutely love his Alex Delaware novels.

What are your current projects?

Let’s see, currently, I have a story in the first round of edits from my publisher, Black Opal Books. It has a tentative title of “Lights Out” and it’s a suspense-thriller. I think it still needs a lot of work though.

Do you see your writing as a career?

I would like to but I have to be realistic. Many writers I know have day jobs. It’s very difficult to make a living on your writing alone. That’s why it’s important to write for the sake of writing and not to get rich.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really. I’ve always enjoyed it, from grade school on up. But I didn’t really take it seriously until after I graduated from college.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure! It’s a suspense/thriller, with a working title of “Lights Out.” Here, let me give you an excerpt:

Pure darkness stared back at him. He swallowed against the desert in his throat. Throwing a quick glance back at Ethan, he saw his eyes peering over the top of the mattress. Paul motioned for him to put his head down before easing his own out into the hallway.

A dark shadow rushed him and there was a loud crunch next to his head that wrenched his eardrum.

He jerked back with a shout.

He squeezed the trigger again and again, shooting at something and nothing as he flew back into the room and kicked the door shut. He backed away from the door, bullets blasting through it in a rainstorm of splinters.

He kept shooting until the gun clicked empty.

Who designed the covers?

“Traffic Jam” was designed by the totally awesome Joe Onorato of Onorato Art & Design. Here’s his website—he’s so great to work with:

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part was the beginning. I always start creating the story somewhere in the middle and trying to get the before down is always the hardest! It’s like working backwards!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing! And read everything you can! And of course, the most important thing—don’t get discouraged. Everyone has an opinion. If you have confidence in your work, you’ve already won half the battle! Go for it!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I would like to say thanks to everyone for their support! Happy reading!

Thanks Claire! It was a pleasure to be here!

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