Monday, October 30, 2017

Sara Goff doesn't scare us a book giveaway

We're pleased to have Sara Goff visiting us today to talk about her debut novel, I Always Cry at Weddings, and get us in the mood for Halloween. She has print and e-book copies to give away!

Sara Goff spent seven years as a New York City fashion designer and merchandiser before leaving her career to make a difference in the world. She founded the global educational charity Lift the Lid, Inc. in 2010, which supports underprivileged schools and encourages young people to exercise their creative expression through writing.

Sara attended Sewanee Writers’ Conference and received two fellowships to Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya. While living in Manhattan, she loved her work as a writing instructor for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop, founded by author Ian Frazier, and for The National Arts Club’s creative writing program for students. She’s currently Chair of the Literary Committee at The National Arts Club in Manhattan and is a public speaker on such topics as volunteer work and finding purpose in life, and the writing process and the power of the written word.

After seven years living in Stockholm, Sweden and then London, England, Sara is back in the States, enjoying life in Connecticut, with her Swedish husband, their two sons, and sweet little girl...a Yorkie named Pia. Her first novel, I Always Cry at Weddings (WhiteFire Publishing), is a New York City tale about figuring out life and finding love. Visit Sara at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Ava is ready to set Manhattan abuzz with her wedding. At least until she realizes her fiancé wants marriage for the wrong reasons, and maybe she does, too. In a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable--she calls it off, taking on more debt than she can afford and returning to the single life.

When Ava loses her job in fashion and her mom succumbs to cancer, she decides to revamp her life entirely, taking a vow of chastity and going for her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Change brings trial and error, and she's inching closer to financial ruin, but an undercover cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy beneath her stoop brightens her days.

When her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live and what in the world love--unconditional love--means. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you?
The road to publishing I Always Cry at Weddings was a series of learning lessons, from landing top agents who wanted me to be someone I wasn’t as an author, to finding my own writing voice and a publisher who would best represent Ava’s story. I can sum it up in one word: Hilly!

Your non-profit, Lift the Lid, Inc., works with students at underprivileged schools to explore self-expression through writing. Tell us about a moving experience involving a student.
Oh, there are so many stories. I just finished putting together a hardcover book of 27 students’ personal stories, poems, and photos, and it holds so many accounts of struggle and triumph. (We’re giving it as a gift for every donation of $100 or more to our library fund!)

But here’s the story of how I was first inspired to start a charity. In 2006, I applied to a writing program in Kenya through Summer Literary Seminars and received a partial fellowship. I’d never been to Africa before. My husband and family thought it was risky, and for the first time in my life my grandmother told me not to give something a try. But I went anyway.

Two weeks into the workshop, I took a break from critiquing manuscripts and joined a tour group, at the last minute, to see what life was like outside the city of Nairobi.

The bus stopped on a windy cliff overlooking a sloping green plain, a picture of paradise. Below the shifting clouds and warm sun, a cluster of Maasai children and a few women sold handmade jewelry. One girl with a slender face and big brown eyes, who I later learned was seven years old, stared at my long, curly blond hair with pure fascination and some trepidation. I smiled and held out a curl, which she cautiously touched and then smiled back. She wore a dress similar to a burlap sack and was barefoot, and like all the other girls, her hair was shaved to her head.

Marjorie, her name, indicated that she lived about eight kilometers in that direction. Not an easy walk to make barefoot. When I asked if she attended school, she looked down and shook her head no. I bought what jewelry I could from her, imagining the arranged marriage that likely awaited her in just a few years. She showed me more jewelry, and I showed her my empty pockets. It was also time to go, so I reluctantly boarded the bus.

“Ms.,” she called out in her sweet voice. Turning around, I found her warily climbing the steps of the bus, holding a bracelet I had admired. “I’m sorry,” I said, again opening my shilling-less pockets. “No money.” She could’ve sold me the world, if I had brought more cash. But then she held out the bracelet for me to take. I reached for it and watched her step off the bus. Sitting back in my seat, I buried my face in my hands and cried. My life at that moment was changed.

The following year I returned to Kenya to visit rural schools and orphanages. A few years after that I founded Lift the Lid, Inc. Because of the charity, that program I attended in 2006 continues to shape and inspire my life, and I’ll never forget Marjorie.

If I Always Cry at Weddings was made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Emma Watson would make the perfect Ava (particularly in her role in Beauty and the Beast.) As an actor, I believe she’s human and curious about humanity, and that is exactly how Ava relates to New York City and pursues her dreams. Open to life and learning. No airs.

Emma Watson as Ava? I can dream, too!

For Chris, the homeless man, I would cast Aneurin Barnard (War and Peace, Dunkirk, Bitter Harvest.) Aneurin has the right poetic eyes, strong jawline, and dark hair with scruffy potential. Did I mention his smile? That works, too.

Oh, and I picture a rough and tumble Tom Bateman (Snatched, Murder on the Orient Express, B&B) as Julian, the undercover cop with hidden personalities.

Favorite Halloween candy:
I’m old school and like candy corn, but not too much of it.

Most memorable Halloween costume:
While we were living in London, my husband and I and oldest son Lucas went to an all vampire Halloween party. I thought we did an excellent job with our vampire costumes.

The scariest movie you've ever seen:
I was pressured into watching the entire movie of Silence of the Lambs. That was back in 1991, and it still bothers me to this day.

Thanks to Sara for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends November 5th at midnight EST.


Janine said...

The most memorable Halloween costume that I ever wore was a very sleazy mix of rock n roll and biker chick (I might have actually ended up looking like a nasty groupie). It was leather mini skirt, satin bustier that I bought at Frederick's of Hollywood, biker style leather vest and very high heeled boots. And there were a lot of fake tattoos and huge teased hair. It was a crazy mess! I was newly dating the man who would become my first husband at the time and we were going out to a night club. Little did I know his parents were in town and I would meet them that night when we stopped by his house for something. I was so embarrassed at how I looked to be meeting his parents.

Aire para respirar said...

We do not celebrate Halloween, but Samain instead, and especially, Carnivals, one of the oldest in the world. One that I was praised for it was the old lady, with real clothes from my great grandma

Leslie Lawrence said...

Little Red Riding Hood.

traveler said...

Anne of Green Gables was my favorite costumer which I loved.

Kristy F said...

It was based on Laverne from the Laverne & Shirley tv show, although I used a K

Melanie Backus said...

My memorable costume was a gypsy.

Linda Moffitt said...

I don't remember any I was always homemade Cats or Babies nothing special

diannekc said...

My most memorable costume was Carmen Mirada.

diannekc said...

My most memorable costume was Carmen Mirada.

bn100 said...


Mary Preston said...

I make a great witch.

Unknown said...

Janine, I cringed reading the part about your boyfriend's parents!

Unknown said...

Nice. A costume with meaning is even better. It's also fun to put ourselves into the future!

Unknown said...

Oh, I loved that show. Brings back memories...

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Way to go encouraging the classics!

Unknown said...

Oh, I would love that one, too! My all time favorite series growing up. :)

Unknown said...

That's funny because I never make a big deal of my birthday, so they all blend into one memory! Cake. Family. Happy.

Tatum Rangel said...

I dressed up as The Bride, from "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." :)

Unknown said...

Tatum, that's a fun one. Did you have that look in your eyes? You know, when Uma Thurman snaps?