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.

Week 32 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 32nd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin the main character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Write about something you can’t forget!

His voice...
Deep.
Commanding.
Angry.
Slurred, from too many glasses of cheap whiskey.

I can hear it, almost as if he were standing right behind me. Yet he's been gone for years. Long since buried 6 feet under.

He used to scream at my mother and I, but his yelling wasn't what scared me. It was when he got quiet... still... that's when I knew he was really angry.

I'd have to strain to hear him. But it was in those moments, trying so hard to hear... to understand... that I knew pain would quickly follow.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write about something you can’t forget!


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


Author Interview ~ Matt Nagin

One thing I love to do is interview other authors. Not only does it introduce me to potential books I can add to my ‘to read’ list, but it also helps spread the indie-author love to other readers. Marketing is hard and if I can help a fellow author, I’m happy to do it. With that in mind, I’d like to welcome Matt Nagin, author of Feast of Sapphires, to my blog.

Matt Nagin, author of Feast of Sapphires, AKA Bart Schumacher (Standup Comedian)

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Matt Nagin. I do not use a pen name, but I do have a comedy alter ego, a standup comedy character, if you will, named Bart Schumacher.

Where do you call home? I live in New York City. 

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 am an actor, a comedian, and, when I can find the work, a college professor. Yes. I believe I became a better actor and educator over time. I enjoy very much the areas in which I work since I am passionate about them and they are connected to my overall artistic orientation.

What is your family like? I have a large family; four brothers, a nephew, thirteen cousins, many uncles and aunts etc. In addition to my parents, I’m fortunate enough to have a 99 year old grandma who turns 100 in January.

Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I love watching films, particularly classic films and/or films that in some way tell an innovative story. I also enjoy traveling, since it expands your understanding of your own little area of residence, helps you get a better grasp of your particular social and cultural predilections, and occasionally even inspires creative work.

What is your greatest dream? To make a living as a writer by completing works others find meaningful.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? I would like to be working creatively at a higher level than I am now. By this I mean I would, ideally, like to be more productive. What is stopping me, I suppose, is I get distracted easily and I have a million little obligations that keep me from focusing and completing work. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, which, at times, can be a hindrance.

Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Yes. Lasted a year and a half. Unfortunately, she became a lesbian. It broke my heart at the time. Now it seems vaguely humorous.

What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Getting hit by a speeding car while walking across the street in a construction zone with an obstructed view was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. More than twenty stitches in my wrist. Glass in my arm. Ten herniated discs in my back. A number of ongoing issues with my knees. There have been a few others. A plane nearly crashing–the gas masks coming down. A boat nearly going under during a storm. Three surgeries for Crohn’s disease. The point is it has been a struggle, at times, just to persevere.

And how long have you been writing? I have been writing around 25 years, but the first five years I did not work with any level of seriousness. There have been periods where I didn’t write at all, but, eventually, I always came back to it. Of late I’ve been trying to maintain a regular schedule.

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not? To be a writer/actor/filmmaker etc. To a certain extent, I achieved my dream. This is because in pretty much all the fields I’ve pursued I’ve had at least a few accomplishments. All that being said, I still feel I have a long way to go.

Who is your role model? Most of my role models are artists with an uncompromising yet powerful vision. Examples include Stanley Kubrick, Charles Bukowski, Phillip K. Dick, Emily Dickinson, William Blake and Salvador Dali.

Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Paperbacks. The presentation is generally the best. I also think the idea of a book as something really special and unique is lost when you read it on a Kindle.

What is your opinion of novellas? Novellas are a great form. I enjoy the unusual length very much. I also think it is a great way to develop characters, setting, and a compelling plot without dragging a story on endlessly. Finally, in the age of social media, where readers have very little free time, novellas make a whole lot of sense.

What is your favorite film based on a book? Barry Lyndon. It’s based on a Thackeray novel.

What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Satire/Humor.

What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I have read many King books, but never actually got to “The Stand.” I’m looking forward to reading this classic.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I’m reading the book of a friend, David Voice, “The Can Man: My Five Cents Worth,” that I’m enjoying. Kindle format. I generally don’t read much on my Kindle, but, since this is a relatively short book, it made sense.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

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 book is ‘Feast of Sapphires.’ It is a poetry collection that aims to be illuminating in a variety of ways. I take daily experiences, or interesting phrases, or magnetic ideas, and use them as a springboard for poetic exploration.

FEAST OF SAPPHIRES

“Feast of Sapphires,” is a compendium of poems covering topics both timely and universal. There are poems of psychic revolution, poems on social media and gun control, poems about MRI’s, gambling, and mystical storms of all varieties; then, too, on a deeper level, more than a few of these poems are about the desire to surmount the collective facade in search of a kind of truth that cannot be hyperlinked.

Located from Costa Rica to the LIRR,  this metaphysical cartography of anticipation and despair is perfect for those seeking answers in the bottom of the tea, in the resonance of a thunder storm, or, even, in the ethereal high of a linguistic flight of fancy. From comedic monologues to existential reflections, from angry rants to countercultural analysis, from wily narratives to verbal pyrotechnics, this is a book that strives, in new ways, to be illuminating… CONTINUE READING

Is the above book part of a series? No. That said, it is a follow-up to my first poetry book, “Butterflies Lost Within The Crooked Moonlight,” which  did fairly well on Amazon.

BUTTERFLIES LOST WITHIN THE CROOKED MOONLIGHT

This highly-accessible, dynamic collection offers existential ponderings, comic situations, poetic meditations on death, musical riffs, political commentary, striking imagery and more. The 45 poems in this collection represent a range of styles and subject matter. 18 of these poems were previously published in such journals as Antigonish Review, Grain Magazine, Arsenic Lobster, Dash, Spillway, The Charles Carter, Downtown Brooklyn, and many, many more. This debut collection of poetry from Matt Nagin is sure to, as the title suggests, comment on the way even the most delicate and majestic of us tend to be drawn, willy-nilly, towards the crooked moonlight.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?Julia Noel Goodman designed the cover. We reviewed the concept together and went through a number of iterations of it till we settled on one we thought best.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? I pick a bunch of different possible titles and go with what sounds best. I also ask friends/associates for input.

Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? I created a trailer for my first book, ‘Butterflies Lost Within The Crooked Moonlight.’ Watch it below:

Also, I have videos of readings of individual poems from ‘Feast of Sapphires,’ set to imagery. One of these, ‘Regret,’ is available below:

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am a pantser. I go with what inspires me–allowing it to lead the way. Then I go back and edit. At times this editing is extensive. At others very little is required. It totally depends on the state of the first draft. I sometimes edit immediately after I complete the writing portion. At other times, I like to wait a few weeks till I return to the work, since I often can then see it much more clearly.

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? The biggest challenge I’ve encountered with publishing is properly formatting poetry for Kindle on KDP…something that sounds easier than it is. The second biggest challenge is acquiring new readers in an oversaturated marketplace.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Not sure if I was ever specifically given this advice, but it is what I always tell others: keep at it! This is the key to success in any field, but particularly with writing a high level of self-discipline is required. 

Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mattnaginwriter/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17008526.Matt_Nagin

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Nagin/e/B01M6ZZV3J

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/naginplease/

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to have several other books published by then. Right now I have a humor book coming out in the next few months with an indie publisher, and, after that, I am looking to publish a short story collection. There are a few more books, as well, I’m at work on, so I am really hoping to get a lot of work out into the world soon.

Any last thoughts about your overall journey? It’s been a wild ride–these last few years–and I have really enjoyed expressing myself creatively and reaching out to others with my creative ideas. I’m also grateful to be doing something I’m passionate about, something that fills me with a sense of purpose. What can I say? I’m very lucky!

CALL TO ACTION: If you have questions for Matt that weren’t addressed in this interview, I invite you to comment below and he will respond here!

Week 26 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 26th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Stella, one of the characters in the novel I am currently outlining. I’m not sure if this will be a selection in the novel, or just part of my character development journal.

Today’s writing prompt:

Complete this thought: “I wish an alarm would notify me whenever…”

I wish an alarm would notify me whenever it was time to wake up and go to school. I’m twelve years old and I haven’t been to school in almost two years.

I miss it.

It’s funny, when I was going to school every day, I hated it. Sure, I liked seeing my friends and recess of course, but sitting in a class, listening to the teacher talk all day… I can’t say I enjoyed that.

But now, I miss it.

I guess you always miss the things you can’t have; the things that are taken away to early.

You see, where I’m from, if they find out you have powers that can be useful to the government, like mine, you’re carted away to the Operation Atlas headquarters. I’m one of four watchmen with the power of telepathic perception. Basically, it is the ability to receive information from another mind. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the picture.

I have alarms that wake me up, tell me when to eat, when to leave for work, when to sleep, and just about everything else. My movements are monitored and I can’t do anything out of order or without permission. For once, I’d love to sleep late, skip a meal, play outside, or just go to school.

There are times, first thing in the morning before I even open my eyes, that I forget where I’m at. I forget about the ten-foot by ten-foot whitewash room they keep me in. I forget that I’m not just another normal kid. Those first few seconds of the day are my favorite. But lately, they’ve been happening less and less. I think I’ve started to forget… forget my past, my friends, even my family.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Complete this thought: “I wish an alarm would notify me whenever…”


What books have made your August reading list? Check out the New York Times bestsellers for August 2019 by CLICKING HERE!


Are you an author who is looking for ways to stay organized and on track with all your writing goals? Check out my author workbooks below. They are full of all the tools I use in my writing process!

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel


Author Interview ~ Elaine Kaye

I’m excited to welcome Elaine Kaye, author of Halloween Ride to my blog. She is a children’s author with 6 published books and so many stories to tell. 

Elaine Kaye Author

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

1. What is your name and do you write under a pen name?

Elaine Kaye is my pen name. Elaine is my given name, and Kathryn is my middle name, but I shortened it to Kay and added an “E” because it looked better. Pretty simple for me. Plus, it’s easy to remember for children’s books.

2. Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy all kinds of needlework, such as cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, and quilting. Also, on the craft side, I like to paint ceramics. Since I am retired now, I spend a lot of my time making bookmarks, reading, writing, and watching my favorite movies. I am a big fan of medical and cop TV dramas, like Station 19, New Amsterdam, The Rookie, and The Resident. I also binge watch Game of Thrones and Vikings.

3. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

Back in 1982, when I worked at a telephone company, an office worker, whose desk faced mine, told me about a novel she was working on. I mentioned to her how I’ve always wanted to write, and she told me to go do it, so I did. That changed my life.

4. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?

I prefer paperbacks and hardcovers because I like the feel of a real book in my hands. I like the pages, the weight, all of it. Also, I can use the many cute bookmarks that I make by hand.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

1. 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?
Halloween Ride is about a boy and his teddy bear who take a ride on a broomstick on Halloween night.

Halloween Ride Cover.jpg

2. Is the above book part of a series?

Yes, it is the third installment of A Gregory Green Adventure series, although each book can be read as a standalone title, and they can be read in any order you wish.

3. How did you come up with the title for your book?

Well, it’s Halloween and they go on a broom ride, so quite simply it’s a Halloween Ride. Immediately you get an idea of what the story is about, what sort of adventure my characters will be having, which is best for children’s books.

4. What are some of Gregory Green’s favorite foods?

Pea soup! He eats a lot of it in Pea Soup Disaster, because he just loves his mom’s homemade pea soup, but something happens from eating all that pea soup thanks to the Green family curse.

Gregory also loves pizza, Cheez Balls, pickle-flavored chips, red licorice sticks, and raisins.

Sammy, his teddy bear, likes cookies (of all kinds), marshmallows, shelled peanuts, and…GUMMY BEARS!

5. What first gave you the idea for Halloween Ride?

I once had an idea of my characters flying up to the moon, which they almost do in Halloween Ride, and I wanted to start writing stories for each holiday, so the two ideas just meshed together on their own. The rest of the story unfolded naturally as I went.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

1. Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?

I self-publish all of the books for A Gregory Green Adventure series. After many years, and I mean decades, of not getting anywhere traditionally with my children’s books, and finally having the means and resources to self-publish, I took the plunge.

2. Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

Website: https://www.elainekaye.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16488350.Elaine_Kaye
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Kaye/e/B06X42CV9R
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElaineKayeAuthor/

If you enjoyed learning about Elaine and her story, please click like and share this interview on your social media platforms.

Until the next interview… Happy Reading! 

Want to know more? Comment below with your questions and Elaine will answer.

5 KEY INGREDIENTS FOR A STRONG STORY

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

5 KEY INGREDIENTS FOR A STRONG STORY:

• A strong opening – Right from the start of your story the setting should set the mood and tone for your readers.

• Balance – You need to have a balance between SHOWING through strong, but not overwhelming, descriptions and TELLING through script-worthy dialogue

• Diverse, well-developed characters – Keep in mind that not everyone is beautiful, people have scars (emotional and physical). Your characters should all be uniquely themselves, with their own back-stories, personalities, etc.

• Conflict and Resolution – Every good story needs conflict, it’s what allows the characters to develop, adapt, and change, throughout the story.

• A satisfying conclusion – This doesn’t mean a Hollywood “happy” ending, it just means that all the plot holes have been filled in and questions have been answered… that is unless you’re leaving your readers with a cliffhanger! I have to admit, I love a good cliffhanger. 

What else do you feel are key ingredients for a strong story? Share your thoughts and comments below! 

Where I Write

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