Author Interview ~ A.G.R. Goff

I’d like to welcome A.G.R. Goff, author of The Sky Above, to my blog today. She is going to tell us a little about her book, her writing process, and her life.

About A.G.R. Goff
A.G.R. Goff is an author who just published her second novel “The sky above”, a dystopian story about the collapse of the world as we know it based on current political conflicts. Goff grew up in East Germany and has since lived in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She is married to an English guy and enjoys British humor and unexpected adventures. When she is not writing or travelling she plays the saxophone.

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My pen name is A.G.R. Goff. It’s a short version of my real name and I’d like to keep the mystery by not revealing it.

Where do you call home? At the moment, George/South Africa. But I have also lived in Germany and the UK.

Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m also a translator. I like it but my passion is writing.

If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? Just a simple flat in an apartment block in East Germany.

Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I love my dog, but I guess that’s not really a hobby and I also play the saxophone.

What is your greatest dream? To be able to make a living with my writing.

I think there are a lot of us out there that feel the same way as you. I’d love to make a living with my writing as well. For now, I will settle for just enjoying the craft and sharing with others around me.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? A sporty person. I guess I’m not passionate enough when it comes to physical exercise.

Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Yes, but we never became a couple. I was 13 and met him when I was out with friends during school holidays. I kept going back to the same public swimming pool, just to see him. He never even looked at me.

What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? The death of my 16-year-old nephew. He died of pancreatic cancer.

What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I always used to read a lot and I guess one day I thought, I can do this. But it took years to finally finish a book. I think I had to become proficient enough in English to feel the passion. My mother tongue is German and I wrote a lot whilst growing up in Germany but I never thought of myself as a writer.

Who is your role model? My mum. She’s an unbelievably strong woman.

What is your greatest fear? To become so sick that I cannot look after myself and my family.

Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? It depends on the mood I’m in. I read a lot from indie authors and that’s mainly e-books but when I’m at an airport I prefer paperbacks. When I walk the dog I listen to audio-books.

Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? Yes, Stephen King books but only his older stories like Cujo, Carrie, The Shining. I was obsessed with his writing when I was a teenager.

See, now you are speaking my language. Stephen King is my favorite author of all time. I get that his older stories are amazing, they are what made me fall in love with reading. But, if you haven’t already read some of his newer stuff like Mr. Mercedes, Elevation, or 11/22/63 then you should. They are great.

What is your opinion of novellas? They have their place and sometimes it’s nice to finish something quickly.

Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? All the time. When I’m travelling I buy books in stores based first on genre and then the book cover.

What is your favorite film based on a book? The Green Mile

YES! YES! YES! It is SO GOOD!

What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Thriller and Suspense

What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey. A friend recommended it me.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? The Murderer of Cardim by Noah Alexander. I’m doing it to give a review. It turned out to be quite a good story.

If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Jodi Picoult and Stephen King, just because I love their books. Ray Charles, to talk about music and his life and Jamie Oliver for recipes.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? The Sky Above. A fictional survival story about the end of the world due to recent political events.

Book Cover by Chloe Belle Arts for The Sky Above by AGR Goff

Can the world survive when hate wins?
In the year 2021, a religious civil war rocks the world, destroying civilisation and pitting Muslims against Christians. Fear rules as looters and rapists control the streets, and people are killed for nothing more than the colour of their skin. Those who survive are left to starve to death or die from lack of clean water.
Brought together by the cruellest of fates, two schoolmates, Mark and Ben—one Christian, one Muslim—band together in a desperate quest for survival. Not knowing who to trust or what the future holds for them, or humankind, they try to stay alive while caring for Ben’s little sister, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Well it is a stunning cover. I would definitely pick this one off the shelf at a bookstore to read the back cover.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? I asked a professional graphic designer. Chloe Belle Arts.

Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? Not this time. I usually like it quiet but sometimes music can be nice.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? It was something one of the characters said in the book and I thought it was a good title.

In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? A normal 13-year-old boy who is forced to fight for survival and changes in the process. His whole world is turned upside-down.

What is your character’s greatest strengths? To adapt quickly.

And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? To lose faith.

What are some of his favorite foods? He eats anything he can get his hands on. There is no choice.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he has? He is good at looking after others without intention.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? Probably both because he’s torn between his upbringing and the need for survival.

What first gave you the idea for your latest book? Recent political events and what it could mean.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? Definitely a pantster. I never know where my stories begin or end. It just comes to me whilst writing.

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? I’m still learning, so it’s difficult. Writing is very personal, so I wouldn’t change anything. But when it comes to publishing – Maybe learn more about marketing.

Marketing is the hardest part of it for me as well. I’m much more the creative type. Id rather be writing then putting myself out there to post about my books.

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? Self-published and it’s hard work.

Yes it is. I’ve published 7 novel, working on #8, and I can absolutely say it is’t easy. For those people out there that say anyone can write and publish a book now because of indie-publishing – YOU’RE WRONG! It takes a lot of time, hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears!

If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? As a new author, it’s almost impossible to publish traditionally even if you have a very good story. A self-publisher has more control, financially and otherwise.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Just write every day even if it’s garbage.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? Do a course to get you started and then write, write, write.

Where can your readers follow you?

ALSO BY A.G.R. GOFF

Letting Miranda into his house is a big mistake. But aging comedian Dave also has some secrets. Maybe she should never have come looking for answers. As this story about murder, betrayal and dark desires unfolds, things take an unsuspected turn. Things from the past find their way back to the surface and the dead might not be so dead after all.
A diverse collection of short stories attempting to resist categorization. It starts with the love story between a cape-coloured worker and his white boss in South Africa and moves on to a Stasi-agent in East Germany and his struggle to keep secrets. The heroes of these stories are lovers and friends, acquaintances and strangers and they have one thing in common – they want to escape the boredom of their daily lives.

Finding Inspiration in the least likely place!

My university degree is in the performing arts; a dual major in Theatre & Communications. Acting has been my passion for a very long time. After college, I moved to Los Angeles, like so many other hopeful young actors, to make a go of it. I booked a few low budget films, a dozen commercials, and a handful of indie-films, but my big break never happened.

Eventually, some life changes took me away from Los Angeles and my dreams of becoming a professional actor. Don’t get me wrong, I did NOT give up on acting. I still do the occasional play, every now and then, when I can make my real job line up with rehearsals. Although, it isn’t the same. 

I’ve been away from Los Angeles, and my dreams, for over 15 years now and I still find myself overcome with sadness every time the Academy Awards are on.

How’s that for honesty?!

Truth be told, I have a great life and a family I adore. Plus, I’ve been lucky enough to have found other artistic outlets that bring me true happiness; theatre of course, but also writing. 

Last night, while I sat with my son while he watched an episode of Liv and Maddie (Season 2 Episode 2) I found inspiration in something the father said to Maddie, “Just because you can’t do something you love, doesn’t mean you have to stop loving it.”

For the last 15 years, I’ve felt guilty for missing Los Angeles. As if leaving my dreams behind meant that I had to give up that passion. I felt like the ‘move’ was supposed to be easier and that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t able to just let go of the goals I had been working toward for so long. Last night I realized that it’s ok to hang on to that passion, those goals, those dreams. It’s okay to embrace them not only through theatre but also through other forms of art such as writing. 

So, whatever your passion is, know that you don’t ever have to give it up – not fully.


Once Upon A Time…

Not all fairy tales start with Once upon a time. Not all fairy tales have a happy ending. Not all fairies fly around like Tinkerbell with fairy dust.

COMING SOON! COMING SOON! COMING SOON! COMING SOON!

Austin discovered at the young age of ten that fairies aren’t exactly what Disney made them out to be and that blood tastes a lot like honey. Now, as an adult, he struggles to balance his public life with the one he’s so desperate to keep hidden. With the death count adding up, will he be able to keep his secret or will his world come undone? In this exciting interactive adventure, you’ll get to decide who lives and who dies. The body count is up to you, are you ready?


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Quit talking and begin doing!

Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

We’ve all suffered from procrastination at one time or another. We make excuses. We tell ourselves things like, ‘I just don’t have the time right now,’ ‘I’ll get to that later’ or ‘I have other, more important, things to do right now.’ In reality, we are letting our fears of failure stop us from achieving our full potential. As authors, we do this a lot.

Today, I stopped talking and began doing! I let go of my fears, dropped the excuses that I knew were only holding me back, and sat down with my WIP (Work in Progress). I had finished the first draft during NANOWRIMO November 2018 and have since been putting off the much needed edits/re-writes.

Today, instead of putting it off for another day… week… or month, I decided to dedicate two hours this evening to writing. I made it through ten chapters and discovered a burst of creativity I’ve been longing for. I’m motivated in a way I haven’t been for quiet some time. Instead of dreading my next writing session, I’m looking forward to it. Instead of being worried I wont have anything to write, I can’t seen to turn my brain off. Sometimes all it takes is a little coffee and a bit of self-encouragement.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

TITLE:                    Turtles All the Way Down (2017)

AUTHOR:               John Green

GENRE:                  Young Adult Fiction

PAGE COUNT:       320

Re-Print:                June 11, 2019

RATING OVERVIEW [Overall: ★★★★.★ (4.5)]
Story: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

THE INSTANT #1 BESTSELLER IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

FEATURED ON 60 MINUTES and FRESH AIR

“So surprising and moving and true that I became completely unstrung.” – The New York Times

Named a best book of the year by: The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Publishers Weekly, BookPage,A.V. Club, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Vulture, and many more!


JOHN GREEN, the acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Aza Holmes never intended to pursuethe disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Pickett’s son Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

I knew nothing about this book, other than what was stated in the Amazon description, when I started reading it. It was a book club selection and probably one I wouldn’t have picked for myself otherwise. With that said, I am very glad I read it. I enjoyed it way more than I expected to.

STORY (★★★★★): In a nutshell, this story is about Aza Holmes, a young girl who suffers from a mental disorder that keeps her trapped in an inward spiral of her own thoughts, as she struggles to live a normal life. We get to see a glimpse into Aza’s life, watching/reading as she learns new things about herself and life, pushes her best friend away, finds love, looses love, and fights internally to decide what is right and what is wrong.

There is also a secondary storyline weaved throughout Aza’s story, that is of the missing billionaire. Ok, maybe it isn’t so much about him, but more about the two sons he has left behind; Davis and Noah. Davis, a long-lost friend of Aza’s and Noah, his little brother, are living in a mansion alone because their mother abandoned them when they were younger and their father has disappeared.

John Green is a wonderful storyteller. He knows his characters inside and out. The way he writes Aza is so detailed its as if he is literally in her head. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. The way he ties the two storylines together is seamless and beautiful. I think there could have been more about the missing dad, allowing us to relate to that family a bit more, but he gave the reader, and Aza, just enough to understand what the boys were going through and how to react.

WRITING (★★★★★): John Green’s writing style is fluid and easy. His chapters flow from one to the other with little, if any, breaks. Everything feels cohesive and complete. I think I read this one over a five-day period in about three sittings. I have no complaints about his style and would definitely pick up another book. In fact, I have my eyes on Paper Towns next.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): I loved the characters of Davis and Noah, honestly, I wanted to get to know them more. Aza, the lead character, was very well written, but I couldn’t relate to her in any way. Her anxieties and OCD behaviors were so realistic and well developed, but her constant negative self-talk and obsessions with her inner thoughts drove me a little crazy. Maybe that was the plan… maybe the author wanted the reader to feel a little trapped in Aza’s constant thought spiral, trapped so that we could experience what she feels. However, for me, her thought spirals were the reason I’d put the book and take a break. I needed a little time away from the negativity, second guessing, and often disturbing thoughts.

APPEARANCE (★★★★): I have the paperback, and it is a pretty simple cream-colored cover with large black lettering and an orange spiral. Again, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up and read it, if it hadn’t been for book club, the cover just doesn’t really pull me in. The cover just doesn’t do justice to the story inside.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Your now is not your forever.”

“Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

“No one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Green
(Photo from Author Amazon Page)

John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars.

His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers) and co-created the online educational series CrashCourse (youtube.com/crashcourse). You can join the millions who follow him on Twitter @johngreen and Instagram @johngreenwritesbooks or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com.

John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Also by John Green

Click on the cover image to read the book’s description and purchase your copy!

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Author Interview ~ Francis H. Powell

I love days when I get to support other authors and showcase some of their work. Today is one of those days. I’d like to welcome Francis H. Powell, author of Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation to my blog today.

About Francis H Powell
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis Powell attended Art Schools. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, writing both prose and poetry.

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My full name is Francis Hulbert Powell and my author name is Francis H Powell.

Where do you call home? Brittany in France, I have lived in France for over 20 years

We know you are an author, but do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I am a teacher and have been for the last thirty years, so I can’t be too terrible at my job. I mostly enjoy it, but there are occasional hard days, with problematic students.

What is your family like? I am married with a wife, a child who is nearly 7  and a dog that does not get on with other dogs, when he feels he should be protecting us.

What is your favorite film based on a book? I love One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, it is a great story and film, with some great acting, it is the kind of film, that sticks in the head, for the rest of your life. The ending is tragic of course.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? My most recent book is called Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation. The title says a lot about it’s content. It is a mixture of horror, science fiction, with quirky characters and a bit of humor, so it is not all doom and gloom.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book? I wanted to do the cover, because I am an artist and went to Art school. I sent many versions, which were rejected by the publisher. Last Christmas I took a photograph, at night, in the town where I live and they finally accepted it.

What if the human race was considered irrelevant and then each being was just uploaded then locked away on hard drives called “brain pods?”

What if a sub species was to come into fruition, then the human race turned on it, hunted it down before trying to annihilate it? Imagine you found out you were an ancient soul, who is reunited with another being from your former life?

Set in different time in a variety of settings and time periods, the past, the present and the future, the book explores the inevitable unknown that lies before us all “death”. Death can be arrive in a multitude of forms. Each part of the book explores different themes. There are characters who following their demises have to face up to their lurid pasts….

How did you come up with the title for your book? I wanted to have a title that (hopefully hasn’t been used by another author). I wanted the idea that the book was like an adventure/ journey, as death is the ultimate journey.

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? The book is published by Beacon Publishing company.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? Maybe start with short stories. Try to develop your own unique style. Develop a strong  rich vocabulary.  Develop your craft.

Also by Francis H. Powell

Flight of Destiny

A collection of 22 short stories about misfortune characterized by unexpected final twists at the end of each tale.

Where can your readers follow you?


#Theredheadedauthor Presents the January 2020 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – YOUNG ADULT

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 Young Adult selections for January 2020!

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the cover image, the title or the [BUY IT HERE] button.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


#1 Children of Virtue and Vengeance

by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie must stop the threat of civil war in Orïsha.


#2 Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie fights to restore magic to the land of Orïsha.


#3 Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott

Stella and Will are in love, but they can’t get within five feet of each other.


#4 The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

A 16-year-old girl sees a police officer kill her friend.


#5 One of Us is Lying

by Karen M. McManus

For five students, a detour into detention ends in murder.


#6 Dear Evan Hansen

by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

When one of Evan’s letters to himself is accidentally found on a suicide victim, the victim’s family assumes that he was a close friend.


#7 Loki Where Mischief Lies

by Mackenzi Lee

Loki is sent to Earth to investigate a string of murders that used Asgardian magic.


#8 The Fountains of Silence

by Ruta Sepetys

During the fascist rule of Spain, Ana and Daniel’s romance blooms amid the turmoil.


#9 Wayward Son

by Rainbow Rowell

Simon, Penny and Baz head to America where they find trouble.


#10 The Secret Commonwealth

by Philip Pullman

Lyra Silvertongue’s adventures begin again as she searches for a refuge for separated daemons.


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