Welcome to one of the June 9th stops on the blog tour for Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley, organized by XPresso Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, other author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Where does inspiration come from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I live on the Oregon coast, so inspiration often comes from that, exploring tide pools, hidden beaches, and the quirky tourist towns that have sprouted up near the Pacific Ocean. Several of my books are set in Oregon: Constellations of Scars, Pitcher Plant, and Sunset Empire. Since I live here, it’s helpful for visualizing the setting and drawing inspiration from our vast forests, native wildlife, and the storms that pound the coastline, dredging up flotsam and jetsam.
I love to read fantasy and horror, so sometimes inspiration can come from ordinary situations with a dark twist. For Constellations of Scars, I was thinking about oysters and what it would be like if a human being were the one growing the pearls. A gift like that would be both a blessing and a curse. You could sell the pearls and become wealthy, but the act of growing the pearls would take a toll. It would be painful and leave your skin marred by scars. It would also be a dangerous gift, because if the wrong people found out about it, they might exploit you to enrich themselves.
I started writing Pitcher Plant after I visited a beach house in Seaside, Oregon that was for sale. It was too much of a fixer-upper and I decided not to buy it, but it was both charming and had a creepy basement, making it the perfect setting for a ghost story and a murder mystery. I kept the layout of the house in mind as I wrote the story, and certain real-life details made their way into the story because they were too good to leave out. For example, when I inspected the kitchen, I peered into the sink and there was a dead rat lying there. It had been there for a long time, and not more than bones were left. If you were going to put your house up for sale, wouldn’t you clean that up? I was fascinated that the homeowner had left it, as well as other bits of garbage and belongings. Who had lived there before? What was their history? I decided the house had a story to tell.
Sunset Empire, another novel with a ghost story, is set in Astoria, Oregon, which is famous for the labyrinth of tunnels under the town’s streets, as well as its rich history. There’s even a local legend about a sea monster. All of that served as inspiration for the book and I enjoyed incorporating interesting sites such as Fort Stevens and the Liberty Theatre, which is rumored to be haunted.
About the Book
Constellations of Scars
by Melissa Eskue Ousley
Published 9 June 2021
Midnight Tide Publishing
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Page Count: 258
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
“An indelible story of loving yourself in a world of dreadful realities.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse.
When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.
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About the Author
Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, two charming cats, and a piranha. Her suspense novel, Pitcher Plant, is set in Seaside, and won a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. Her young adult novel, Sunset Empire, debuted in a bestselling boxed set. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine, The North Coast Squid, and various anthologies. When she’s not writing, she can be found volunteering for her local wildlife center, caring for injured owls and hawks.
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Comments on “Author Guest Post with Melissa Eskue Ousley”
Ooooh, the cover of this book is so pretty. Great post! ✨
Thanks for hosting today! 🙂