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Lights Out by Melissa GroelingBy Jeff Ayers

Readers are finding that Melissa Groeling’s latest e-book, LIGHTS OUT, is difficult to put down.  The synopsis is even suspenseful!

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.

Melissa chatted with THE BIG THRILL.

What sparked the idea for LIGHTS OUT?

The idea for LIGHTS OUT actually came to me in pieces. One was my “Introduction to Art” class in college. There was a guy named Aaron who sat a few rows over from me and for some weird reason, I remember thinking, “Hey, there’s a name I haven’t used yet.” So I had a name for a character but no plot. Then I ended up taking a course called, “Aztecs and Mayans” which was, hands-down, one of my favorite classes. I always thought that was a little odd since I was an English major but it had a lot to do with the professor. I wish I could remember his name. He was so informative, so completely absorbed in what he was teaching us. Every class was a slide show of pictures of far-away places he’d visited: temples, museums, artifacts. There were stories about gods, battles, bloody worship, and the end of the world. How could you not get a story from something like that?

How did you find your publisher, Black Opal Books?  

So I found Black Opal Books through a pitching contest and it unfortunately wasn’t baseball. This was a contest where I had to pitch my book in only three lines which I thought was completely impossible. How can this be done? But I somehow managed to slice-and-dice my synopsis into so few lines and when Black Opal Books contacted me, I was floored! It’s been quite a ride!

Why write thrillers?  And, what appeals to you about anti-heroes?

Thrillers are too much fun not to write. They’re roller coaster rides and I love roller coasters! There’s something very satisfying about pushing a character out of his or her comfort zone—not in a mean or vindictive way but in a way that helps them get beyond the place they’re in because let’s face it, nine times out of ten, your character is always in a place he or she doesn’t like. As for anti-heroes, they’re always the ones you never expect to do something other people won’t. I guess in some sadistic way, I like how tortured they are and how hard they work to find a way out of it. You can see them evolving even when they try their hardest not to and when they finally see their full potential, it’s very gratifying.

What’s next?

Oh, let’s see, what’s next. I’m working on a story now called, TWO EVILS. It’s about a young man trying to find out the truth behind his brother’s suicide. The gist of it is: is the truth really worth the madness? So this will definitely be another thriller so hold on your hats!


While the subject matter is more than a little uncomfortable, the book is extremely well written, riveting, and superbly crafted. – Faith, senior editor of BLACK OPAL BOOKS.

The characters are extremely well-developed, three-dimensional, and are eerily real. As uncomfortable as the subject matter is, I found the book riveting and very hard to put down. – Taylor Jones, Reviewer

The plot is strong, well-thought-out, unpredictable, and totally authentic. The story is gripping, and although its shines a spotlight on the depravity that humans are capable of, it also showcases the nobility that they can sometimes display. – Regan Murphy, Reviewer


melissaMelissa 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.

To learn more about Melissa, please visit her website.

Jeff Ayers
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