Thursday, October 22, 2020

Simone St. James Interview - The Sun Down Motel

Photo Credit: Lauren Perry

After years of writing and collecting rejections, Simone St. James' debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award, and SILENCE FOR THE DEAD was shortlisted for a Goodreads Choice Award.

Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, old 1970's gothic novels, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest (though not all at once). Her next novel will release in 2020.


What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
I’ve always written as a hobby, but when I started reading romance novels, I decided I wanted to write one. I joined my local romance writers’ group and got serious about finishing something. I wrote three romance novels that got rejected (rightfully so!) before I wrote my first published book, The Haunting of Maddy Clare. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
There are lots, but getting sent on book tour is pretty amazing. It’s stressful getting on a plane to a new city every day, but the booksellers and readers are wonderful, and the experience is a real thrill. Of course, book tours are not happening at the moment (except virtually), and no one knows when they will come back. Someday! 

Tell us about THE SUN DOWN MOTEL. 
It’s a mix of Psycho and The Shining, mixed with Stranger Things and true crime. I love all of those things, and I really wanted to read a book that had elements of all of them. That book didn’t exist, so in order to read it I had to write it myself. That’s how I get most of my ideas, honestly. I think of my ideal book, I can’t find it, so I write it. 

What do you hope readers will take away from THE SUN DOWN MOTEL? 
I want them to forget the crazy world for a few hours. I want them to be engaged and chilled and I want them to have a lot of fun. I want them to love my characters as much as I do, because I love writing books in which women are the central characters, and the story is their story. We still don’t see that enough, in my opinion. Like I say, I want to read it, so I had to write it. 

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  • The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart
  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
What part of Viv did you enjoy writing the most? 
Viv definitely has a dark side to her, and she isn’t perfect. I liked writing a female character who wasn’t a flawless heroine. I also liked watching her find her courage and her purpose, and start to see that she could right a wrong. Viv was complicated and a lot of fun to write. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
Oh, that’s a good question. I guess I’d introduce Viv to Norman Bates and see how that encounter worked out. 

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer? 
Seeing my first book on bookstore shelves is a good one. Whenever I first see the cover for my next book, that’s a great day. That’s the day that the book starts to become a real thing instead of just an idea floating in my head and some words on a computer screen. I find covers really exciting. 

Where can readers find you? 
I keep my latest release news on my website: I’m also on Facebook at and on Instagram at 

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…


“Deliciously creepy. A chilling blend of mystery and ghost story that will thrill fans of both.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Lock Every Door

"Simone St. James knows that true terror, as she effectively illustrates in The Sun Down Motel, goes beyond things that go bump in the night....St. James deftly melds an engrossing mystery with a tense supernatural thriller....keeps the tension high with myriad surprising twists." —Associated Press

“There are very few novels that leave me feeling genuinely spooked....Simone St. James's The Sun Down Motel is very much one of those books, taking twists and turns that are equal parts compelling and creepy.” —PopSugar

"This creepy supernatural thriller will send shivers down your spine.” —

“[A] truly nightmarish trip back and forth in time and into the supernatural...guaranteed to keep readers rapt...What a story!” —Booklist (starred review)

“This novel is a creepy delight.” —The New York Post

"When are we too old for ghost stories? As long as they are as taut and twisty as Simone St. James' latest novel, make that never....Readers of this thoroughly entertaining thriller won't be disappointed." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Spooky, unsettling, and brilliantly written, The Sun Down Motel is mesmerizing from the first page. A breathlessly suspenseful supernatural mystery that will hook you early, and never let go.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts, ITW Thriller Award winner for Best Novel

You can purchase The Sun Down Motel at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you to STORYTELLERS BOX for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James Storytellers BOX.


  1. Just unsure how gross the bedding is.

  2. Running into strange people in the parking lot.

  3. Having a stranger follow us to our room and pound on the door for us to open it. No way.

  4. The fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and we had to all file out into the parking lot.

  5. "Scariest experience in a motel/travel?" Pizza delivery guy at the motel with sharpened pointy teeth like a shark.

  6. I was spending the night at motel by myself while I was travelling. The owner knocked on my door twice and said he had to check on the heating system in the middle of the night. The first time I was just annoyed and the second time I was really creeped out. I was only 19 and it was the first time that I was travelling by myself.