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#AreYouAWAKE? Check out my interview with AWAKE's Melanie Surani | $30 GC #Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for AWAKE by Melanie Surani, a thriller available now from Booktrope. I am hosting a read along for...

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for AWAKE by Melanie Surani, a thriller available now from Booktrope. I am hosting a read along for the novel that starts tomorrow. Request a review copy here and join us!

Click the banner to see the other stops on this tour!

by Melanie Surani


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.



Costumed mannequins, wearing everything from Rococo dresses to the "50's Housewife," lined the room and clustered in the center. They had coverings over their heads: burlap sacs sewn to fit the face, or draped with gauze over antlers, or covered in feathers.

One of them might move.

To get to the rest of the exhibits now, she either had to go through or turn around and catch it from the opposite direction. As she turned, though, an Employees Only sign caught her eye.

The door opened with a creak. Sophia checked the costumes for any sign of life before ducking inside and slamming the door. She panted for a moment with her eyes shut. When she opened them a crack, the light hadn't come on. After waving her arms over her head, she threw the door open again with a hammering heart.

Like so much topiary at the Overlook Hotel, she expected the mannequins to have clustered around the door. Of course, nothing had changed since she'd checked the gallery before. She eyed the figures again, before propping the door open and returning to the dim office.

Unused items crammed the floor. A computer and phone sat on the single desk, files stacked on the floor. An empty closet in the back stood open, yawning darkness. Multiple metal signs leaned against a wall, notices pointing toward restrooms, galleries, a café, and the lobby.

"Damn it," she whispered. Who the hell took all the signs down?

Sophia picked up the phone, pressed the switch-hook, but no dial tone sounded.

"Why…" Why leave the electricity on and cut the phones?


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:

Connect With Melanie











Melanie Surani will be awarding a $30 Starbuck Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The intended audience is adults between 20 and 40, male and female (I don't know, though. My mom and Gramma liked it, but it might be because they know me). It's definitely rated R for language, sexual situations, and violence. So if you can get past all that, you should read the book if you love suspense and surprises.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The cover for AWAKE is fantastic. Ashley Ruggirrello was the designer, and we spent far too much time making sure everything was perfect, then starting over. The creative process is tricky, but she is a total pro.

I liked the idea of an empty museum for the cover, because it best represented what you get from the story first off. Usually museums are bustling places, but this one is perhaps after hours, perhaps abandoned.

The cover image is almost exactly what I had in mind as I was writing the story. Plain walls, weird lighting, and the art still hanging there.

In looking at your Twitter feed, it seems like you spend a lot time on the subway. Do you ever do character creation while people watching?

I spend roughly 15 hours a week on the subway, which might be why I have so many murderous thoughts. Lucky for my fellow commuters, I only take it out on fictional people.

One of my biggest problems living in New York City is that I suffer from something called Enochlophobia, which is the fear of crowds. Not just any crowd, or long line, but a pressing, torrent-of-people, stampede kind of crowd — and that's exactly what rush hour on the subway is like (and why I refuse to leave my house on Black Friday).

So, during my hour+ long commute, I'll put in my earphones to drown out the noise (and listen to awesome music), and either read my Kindle, or make notes on my phone. During some of those times, I wrote down some observations of the most common commuter behavior. Sometimes I'll see someone so strange (or scary), I'll write down what I think about them, knowing full well I'll never show it to anyone, and that kind of honesty has let me get some of those feelings out while not being able to move.

I'll tell you, though: the "fight or flight" response is a real bitch when you can do neither.

How many people have you killed (in your fiction)?

Looking back in the archives (I recently found a stash of old writings), looks like I killed a LOT of people. Back then, apparently, there was no better way to drum up the tension and turn on the waterworks than a good old fashioned death. While I can't give an exact body count (because who wants to read through a thousand pages of unpolished teen angst?), I can say that in my current work, I think I've only killed *mumble* ten, tops. So I'm no George R. R. Martin, but I do write in the mystery/thriller genre, so someone's got to go every hundred pages.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

This is such a tricky thing for a writer. At least for me, from the time I get the first sentence down until the time I hand in the final draft, I'm constantly wanting to change something. The manuscript is a living thing, and it's difficult to stop working on it. Even now, thinking back on Awake, I wish I'd put more character background in it. I wish I'd read it one more time in case there was a detail here and there I could have added, or one cringe-worthy sentence I could have taken out. This story is especially difficult to give up because I worked on it for over ten years. I recently recovered the first version of the story dated 2002. Back then, only 2% of the story is what you can read today. Awake has been through more re-writes and trashes than I care to admit.

Your bio says that you enjoy traveling internationally. Where are you planning to go on your next adventure. Why?

The next big step is for me to move out of the country. I visited Edinburgh, Scotland earlier this year, and I fell absolutely in love with it. Not only is it a very literary city (home of Robert Louis Stephenson, Ian Rankin and J. K. Rowling among countless others!), the architecture is so old and gorgeous. Edinburgh reminded me a bit of Paris in terms of beauty.

After that, I'll have Europe at my doorstep and countless cram-them-in £50 flights to choose from. I'll probably go to Spain for my next vacation, because I've never done the whole relax-on-the-beach kind of trip. Plus, everyone I've ever known who has gone to Spain says they're going to retire there. Gotta see what all that's about.

What can we expect from you in the future?

My next book, The Silent Treatment, will be out in about August this year. It's a re-release of a self-published book I did back in 2012 about a recovered lost silent film that points to ~murder~!

Beyond that, I'm always working on way too many manuscripts. One of them is a modern remake of a classic 1920s horror movie. Two are sequels to The Silent Treatment. I'm also toying with a romance, and a murder set in a hair salon.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Tell someone about it! Recommend Awake to your friends. Go to your local library and have them order an e-copy. Leave a review on your favorite review-leaving website. Word-of-mouth is huge, not just retweeting links, but saying what you loved (or didn't love) about a book.


You can enter to win an autographed copy of AWAKE (along with 15 other thrillers) in the Thrilling Summer Giveaway found here at Readeropolis.

You can check out the AWAKE book trailer under the video tab on the right side bar.


  1. Thanks for sharing! What was the hardest part of writing Awake? Staying awake? lol!

    1. The hardest part was actually getting the story to stay in line! I kept changing the characters' names, changing motives, the setting. If one character didn't feel right, I would switch his personality traits with someone else's and see what happened.

      But it was a lot of fun to write (took me long enough!), and I hope you enjoy it!

    2. Great interview, Melanie! Completely amazing cover! Thank you for sharing!

    3. Thank you so much! And yes, the cover is fantastic. Look up Ashley Ruggirello for more of her designs!

  2. Hi! Thanks for posting and for the interview! I'll be around throughout the day if anyone has questions or just wants to chat.

    1. P.S. Trying to get my profile to cooperate with me! This is Melanie.

  3. Wow, this book seems really interesting! I will add it to my amazon list!

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

  5. Sounds like a great book, thanks for the opportunity to win.

  6. Sounds like a great book, thanks for the opportunity to win.

  7. I enjoyed the excerpt and the interview! Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

    1. If only I were also giving away cats, we'd have books, coffee and cats: the three best things to have together. Good luck!

  8. I love reading mysteries. I grew up reading my Mother's suspense books and of course I read the Nancy Drew Series.

    1. Nancy Drew gave me all kinds of trouble as a kid. When I read my gramma's old hardbacks and "the yellow ones" from the bookstore, things were peachy. But once I got hooked on the Nancy Drew Files written in the late 80s and 90s, my parents thought because they were modern, there'd be sex on every page and I was banned from reading the series. I gotta say, though, reading is a real quiet activity and I read through the entire series anyway. And that's the extent of my teenage rebellion.

  9. Thank you for the generous giveaway! I enjoyed reading the excerpt.

  10. Thanks for the chance!


Get carried away with love!