Author Melanie Surani is here to tell us about her new book & herself. She'll also give a commenter a $30 Starbucks card. Pretty appropriate for someone with book named AWAKE.
Tell us about yourself:
I am a blogger, hairdresser, and author in New York City. I live with my husband and cat, and when I'm not reading or writing, we're usually watching something unwholesome on TV.
What was your first book?
My first book was a novelette called Emily. My sister said it was stupid because nothing happened in it. Basically, Emily went on teeny tiny adventures, a'la Anne of Green Gables, but set in the present (i.e. the late 80s). I was constantly writing something, re-doing it, starting something new.
Describe your first break.
I sold a short story to a literary magazine back in 2006 or so -- a flash fiction piece about a young girl who realizes all life ends in death.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
I love reading mysteries or psychological thrillers. Something with a little suspense and really great characters. It's what I like to write as well.
Are Happy Endings are must in your stories?
Absolutely not. I like my endings to be satisfying, but even as a kid, I often ended a story on a funeral. Kind of like, sure, most of the story wrapped up well, but some of it is still bad, just like real life.
What makes a protagonist interesting?
I love a character I can relate to. If the book is about a rich socialite who has problems with "the help" and her pony is sick, I can't get into it. If the story involves a woman who gets stuck between stations on the subway and the guy next to her smells and she's running late for work, I can get behind that. It's something that makes me nod and shake my head all at the same time. Yup, I feel ya! Keep on going, protagonist!
What is the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about it is being able to daydream all I want, record those daydreams, and then revisit them as often as I possibly can.
What is the worst thing?
Negative comments about said daydreams. According to some people (my own grandparents included), I'm "going to hell" for some of the things I write about.
Pantser or plotter?
I'm a big time plotter now, but I wasn't always. I used to start with an idea, type Chapter One, and go until I couldn't figure out what to do next. Then I'd either abandon the story or plot it a little.
What do you see the direction of your future writing taking? What can we expect next? Give us a little taste.
My newest release, The Silent Treatment should be out (or nearly out) as of the release of this interview. There will be two more stories involving the characters in that novel. I'm also writing a modernization of a famous 1920s German Expressionism horror film. And it wouldn't be proper if I didn't write a murder mystery set in a New York City salon.
Just for fun
Cat or dog person?
cats! I love seeing dogs on the street, but cats are so much easier to take care of. They're fluffy and introverted, and say they love me in quiet, subdued ways. No noses in crotches. No drool. Just a rub around the ankles, a kneaded belly, and a nap over my typing arm.
I love so many types of food -- it's one of my favorite things about travel. In Dubai, I ate tons of Arabic and Indian food. In Scotland, I ate the haggis. In Paris I ate duck in mustard sauce and croissants. Each food has its own merit, and it's so difficult to pick one out as being a favorite. There's almost nothing I won't try at least once. Brain masala, anyone?
Along with the food question, this one is tricky. I read in many different genres. A few of my favorites have been The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes, and maybe Blankets by Craig Thompson.
I think my favorite movie is officially listed as Metropolis (1926, Fritz Lang). Maybe because it's the movie that made me fall in love with silent film. Maybe because I followed the the progress of the plot from the truncated version widely seen in the USA after its release in Germany (re-written and chopped nearly in half), to the novel, to Kino International's restored version including newly found footage from the original, 3 hour release. No other movie has taken me on that kind of journey before.
Christmas was a huge deal for me growing up, but of course it's not the same now that I'm away from my family.
Would you rather be the princess or the villain? Why?
I mean, every day I do think about the best way to murder someone and get away with it, so villain it is!
Who has more fun, orcs or hobbits?
Hobbits, for sure. What do Orcs do? They go to war and have that horrible hand-on-my-face makeup. Hobbits live in a beautiful place, they go to the pub, have parties. Except for Rivendell, Hobbiton was THE place I wanted to live.
In author Melanie Surani’s edgy thriller novel, opera singer Joshua Gray wakes in an eerie art museum exhibit. He comes to believe he’s been kidnapped and abandoned. And he isn’t the only one…
As Josh and four others struggle to piece together their new reality, they discover the museum’s main building has been razed and the place is boarded with no obvious exit. Who left them in the museum and why? How can they escape? The only link that binds them together is a mysterious woman named Blair, who they each encountered before blacking out. Josh unexpectedly finds himself drawn to one of the other captives, a long-time fan named Sophia. Their attraction plunges the group into a dark pool of suspicion. When allegiances shift and pieces connect, the strangers are forced to reassess their situation. Is the real danger inside or outside of the museum?
Suspenseful, romantic and filled with drama, Awake will keep you up all night.
Blair didn't go to the theater for a night of opera, but to kidnap Sophia Stewart. At the last minute, she bought a ticket and followed cues around the old, gilded theater to her seat in the topmost balcony. The seating sloped straight down, in hopes of giving each ticket holder the best seat in the house, though Blair's spot in the nosebleeds barely made the trip upstairs worth taking, if her goal had been to see anything on stage.
The house lights dimmed and rose again, signaling everyone to take their seats.
Sophia had already taken her spot, smoothed her dress and glanced around with shining, eager eyes. Her hair hung over her shoulders in loose brown waves, pinned over one ear with a peacock feather. The seat beside her was empty.
She's waiting for a date. Two for one if he's good looking.
Despite the suits and pearls and floral ensembles around her, Blair hadn't dressed for a fancy night out. She hadn't been to an opera or symphony in so long she didn't realize dressing up was still a big deal at these things. A blue button-down shirt, dark jeans, and a ponytail were all Blair could muster on her rush to get to the theater.
Everyone's sure to remember Sophia's purple sequined dress, even if they don't remember me.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Melanie Surani is a blogger, hair stylist, and author with a heart for international travel. When she isn't cutting hair, Melanie is thinking about ways to kill people (for mystery novels). She lives with her husband and cat in New York City, where she is hard at work on her next book with Booktrope Publishing. Melanie is a member of the International Thriller Writers society. Follow her adventures at: http://melsurani.tumblr.com/
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