Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with Melissa Simsonson, author of "Blood Echo"

Today we're pleased to feature our KBoards interview with Melissa Simonson, author of the newly-released novel Blood Echo.

We received an advance review copy of the novel, and really enjoyed this suspensful horror. In it, Iris Avery's world is shattered by the shocking death of her best friend, Estella, and she seeks answers while dealing with her own strange newfound powers. And, it seems Estella is not so far away, even in death.

Told in the first person, Iris is a compelling, anguished leading character, thrust unwillingly into a high-profile murder, while confronting her own inner demons.

This book deserves to get good exposure from the Blood Echo blog tour which kicks off today. Check the blog tour page for upcoming interviews and reviews of the book!

Now, on to our conversation with Melissa Simonson!

Congratulations on your new novel. In a few words, how would you describe your book to someone who hasn't heard about it?

I’m really bad at describing my books. An editor once said it’s Fight Club meets Memento, which I thought was giving me a little too much credit, but those movies are awesome, so I’ll take it.  

How long did it take you to write the novel? Can you give us some insights into your approach?

I didn’t write it on a strict schedule. It was more on and off. From start to finish it took something like two and a half years, but I’d forgotten about it for about two of those years and came back to the manuscript when I was bored. I’m a lot more diligent now, but I didn’t know the first thing about writing then and mostly did it because I needed a project.

"Nobody knew that inside, we were as cold and hard as the diamonds we wore on our fingers and our throats." "The vodka he'd used diluted the rusty taste of the blood..." We enjoyed the writing style of your book - very readable, with the story driving forward at an exciting pace, and the short descriptive passages are vivid. What was your writing background prior to this book?

None. I barely know what a preposition is, but I end sentences on them all the time. I hear that’s bad. I did okay in English classes in high school, but they didn’t exactly teach us creative writing.  

The story is told in the first person. We felt it was an effective choice that gives readers an intimacy with the troubled narrator. What led to that writing decision?

I’m not sure it was a conscious choice; it was just how I started writing it. I find first person easiest to write in because it helps me get more in-touch with the character. But since this book was my first-ever writing attempt, I did what most writers do—modeled my MC after myself. First person was a no-brainer.

The revelation that Iris is a vampire and has life-draining abilities is told in a subtle fashion early in the book. Please comment on how you set that up as a writer.

Well…in my first drafts I didn’t come out and say the word ‘vampire’ ever, and I never intended to. I don’t know why I was so against spelling it out for the reader; maybe because I figured they’d all be able to connect those dots. Normal people don’t drink blood—what else could she be?

But as not ever mentioning it could potentially lead to confusion, I had to say something about it. So I did, but I wanted it to be as nonchalant as possible. I used to love vampire books until the market became absolutely flooded with them, and I know plenty of people feel the same as I do in that regard. So if I kept it subtle, I thought I’d be more likely to interest vampire lovers and haters alike.  

The discussions that Iris has with Dr. Blanik are fascinating. Can you comment on that part of the book?

Dr. Blanik was generally just the vehicle I used to get backstory on Iris’s dead best friend. I’m not a huge fan of shrinks, and I guess Iris isn’t either. I named her Blanik because I saw a pair of my mother’s Manolo’s lying by the staircase when I was trying to assign her a surname.  

What advice would you give to other writers or would-be writers?

I don’t know that I’m qualified to give anyone at all advice on any subject, but I guess I’d say not to get too torn up about rejection. It happens to everybody. And then (this seems so obvious, but easier said than done) get some extremely thick skin. No matter how hard you try, someone is going to hate your characters, writing style, the font, etc. You can’t please everyone.  

Okay, let's get a bit more personal. Tell us five random things about you!

1) I wish Dexter Morgan was a real person so I could marry him. (the fact that he might try to kill me is a minor quibble) 2) A cut purring is my favorite sound in the world. 3) I’m a former drug addict, but I’ve been clean six years. 4) I’m one of those weirdos who actually likes cleaning. 5) I’m also one of those weirdos who absolutely loves office supply stores.  

The book's ending, with a devastating revelation becoming apparent to Iris, is unforgettable. Are you working on a new book? Is a sequel in the works?

I haven’t even thought about a sequel. I’m not sure what I’d even do with Iris’s character from here, nor whether anybody would even be interested enough for me to bother with a second book. I think series and sequels can be very overrated these days—everyone’s writing them—so it’s not likely I’ll carry on with Iris.  

Thanks for talking with us. We're pleased to feature your book on KBoards!

Thank you!

Blood Echo is available now to download to your Kindle!


  1. Great interview. I love finding new authors that don't have a huge backlist (cuts down on my feeling the need to buy them all to catch up, lol). I don't read horror often, but do read paranormals a lot so I will have to check this book out :)