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.
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.
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?