Everything in the city was clammy, doorknobs and train handrails slick with other people’s sweat, the air heavy with the smell of yesterday’s lunch.
If that isn’t enough from page one of Sara Novic’s debut novel, Girl at War, perhaps sentences from page two will prick your writer self:
We took cold showers and walked around the flat in our underwear. Under the run of cool water, I imagined my skin sizzling, steam rising from it. At night we lay atop our sheets, awaiting fitful and fever dreams.
There are many wonderfully written books on the market today, including those from RMFW members, both PAL and IPAL. However, I chose Novic’s work to illustrate two important gifts writers need:
Descriptions that arouse the senses.
Not everyone will like, let alone enjoy, your work.
Following are excerpts from a review of Girl at War:
“Girl at War draws loosely and unconvincingly on the war in Croatia…”
“Dialogue is not a strong point.”
“Of course, the war is what gives the novel its relevance, yet many readers will be bewildered by the author’s apparent confusion of Croatia with Bosnia. The war-torn version of Zagreb that appears here never existed…”
The Published Authors Liaison (PAL) is a sub-organization within RMFW that exists to provide networking and promotional opportunities for traditionally published authors. This begins a series of profiles on some of our PAL members in the hopes that you will make an opportunity to read their books and meet them either at Colorado Gold or in other venues throughout the country and the year. . .
INTRODUCING CHRIS GOFF
Kevin slid a paperback across the table and said, “Try this author. She’s really good, and I think she is, or was, a member of RMFW.”
The book, A Rant of Ravens, by Christine Goff truly was a good read, and a fun start to the great Birdwatcher Mystery series of five books with regional bestseller status and nominations for several awards. The sixth in the series, A Parliament of Owls, is set for release this fall from Astor+Blue Editions.
Christine Goff (Chris to friends), has been writing fiction since 1984, joined RMFW in 1988, and has played several key roles our group. She is the 2002 RMFW Writer of the Year, and has a number of other successes in the Rocky Mountain writing communities. Like many PAL members, Chris continues to support our community with behind-the-scenes efforts.
WORKING WITH RMFW
“I’ve often judged 30 or more entries a year in the Colorado Gold contest,” said Chris. “We all have a responsibility to give back. I got a tremendous amount out of RMFW in my formative years, and enjoy celebrating the new success stories.”
Chris’s multiple roles in RMFW have been a tremendous boost to our community, but the three she enjoyed most are Newsletter Chair, PAL Chair, and President.
“I have a graphic production/editor background, so Newsletter Chair was right up my alley,” said Chris. “And then PAL members offer so much in the way of support and credibility to the (RMFW) organization, and often behind the scenes--judging manuscripts, mentoring, critiquing, teaching and championing those who are working so hard to make it in the business—that as PAL Chair, I was pleased to get some things happening in support of our published writers. Lastly, as President, I was proud to be able to steer us through a controversial year and help RMFW weather a public relations storm.”
You’d think that a writer with such an illustrious resume might be tempted to sit back and relax. But not Chris. She’s on to new writing adventures and continues to support our writing community with fresh projects.
Last spring, Chris gathered several organizations together to help bring about Genrefest, a one-day workshop that highlighted national best selling author, David Morrell. Mr. Morrell, a friend of Chris, was one of the famous authors to endorse her newest offering, Dark Waters, a thriller set in the Middle East (Crooked Lane Books).
“Dark Waters is Chris Goff’s breakout book,” said David. “A relentless international thriller with a terrifying topic and an impressive heroine, Raisa Jordan. It’s been a while since I had such fun reading the work of a fellow writer. Well done!”
ANNOUNCING DARK WATERS
“Dark Waters is a book that came into my head years ago,” said Chris. “The idea sparked in 1999, when I was in Israel with my then 11 year-old daughter, who was there for some medical treatments. But, with my first Birdwatcher’s Mystery coming out in 2000, and three-books under contract, I put the idea aside. Then in 2008, finding myself out of contract, I decided to pick up Dark Waters again.
“Seven years later, I just got my hardcover copy in the mail and the book will be coming out to the world in September. Writing a thriller is very different than writing a cozy. It was a big change for me. There’s a difference in pacing, a difference in character development, a difference in stakes. And then there was the international setting and the political aspects of the book...just a lot of things that made it much more challenging. I have my fingers crossed readers are going to like it.”
Knowing the quality of work Chris generally produces in every aspect of her writing life, the book is bound to be a success. You can find it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and IndieBound.
MEETING UP WITH CHRIS
Chris will be at Colorado Gold, September 11- 13. She’ll be on a panel with Jeffery Deaver, and presenting a workshop on Elements of Mystery.
“I’m easy to approach,” said Chris. “I hope people feel free to just come up and introduce themselves. I figure unless someone is clearly having a private meeting with an editor or agent or another author, anyone should feel free to step up and listen in on the conversations, and join in when there’s an opening. I love to meet people at conference.”
Chris will also be one of three Guiding Members of RMFW to receive recognition for their long-term support of our organization at the conference this year.
Asked for her one piece of advice for aspiring writers, she said, “If you want to be successful, treat it like a job. It’s so easy when you’re working on your first book to treat writing like a hobby. So many of us put in our three or four hours, then go off and do other things. But the truly successful authors treat it differently. They’re putting in eight to ten hours a day, sometimes six days a week. They spend their most creative hours writing and their less creative hours editing, social networking, making phone calls, promoting. As soon as you have a multiple-book contract, you have to start looking at it like work. Fun work, but work nonetheless.”