I’m so pleased to host my friend and fellow WhiteFire author, Sara Goff, on Inspiring Daring today!
Rachelle: Let’s start with what advice you’d give yourself a year ago, Sara!
Sara: I’m super happy to be on your blog today, Rachelle! Thank you for having me. Your first question — what advice would I give myself a year ago, knowing what I know now — could not be more appropriate, given the extraordinary changes in my life over the past 12 or so months!
I just released my first novel, I Always Cry at Weddings, with WhiteFire Publishing. After many years of rewrites and learning the trade, this is truly a momentous achievement, a time in my life I will always cherish.
A year ago I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. The publisher I had at the time closed their fiction line before my novel could make its debut. I was crushed. Going back to shopping my novel scared me so much that I didn’t tell anyone the bad news, not even my husband. After all the excitement over having landed my first book contract, how could I disappoint everyone? Though it was no fault of my own, I feared they might lose faith in me. I was losing faith in myself!
Having no other choice, I picked myself up and began the process of querying publishers, again. I had broken ties with my agent to pursue indie houses, so I was really on my own. This time, however, it didn’t take long. A few months later I had a new publisher, and not just any publisher. Years back I had sent an email to my agent asking her to contact WhiteFire. She declined, thinking I should stick with the bigger houses. With no memory of that email exchange, I queried WhiteFire and was given a contract. Shortly thereafter, I happened upon that email to my agent and knew I was right where God wanted me all along.
My advice to my former self: Setbacks can be signs that God is at work! Have faith and embrace change as another step closer to your goal. Only through God can you achieve your greatest potential!
I love your story–what a testimony that you came full circle like that. And you used my word for this year: embrace! Speaking of words, however did you come up with the title of your book?
Everyone is curious about the title! It came to me in southern Thailand and kicked off the initial idea of “what makes a wedding” for the novel. Pre-children, my husband and I were traveling through Asia, when we came across a beach wedding in Phuket, an island off Thailand’s mainland. The bride was in tears, and I couldn’t tell if she was crying from overwhelming happiness or bitter sorrow. I still don’t know, but my husband shrugged at the time and said, “Some people always cry at weddings.” The seed was planted!
Ah, so is that what first sparked the idea for I Always Cry at Weddings?
The idea started with Manhattan weddings. From there, I built other themes into the plot which I’m passionate about; such as, living true to yourself, rather than living up to society’s expectations; waiting to have sex, a better option to having regrets; and knowing yourself before you can know real love.
The city, magnificent and gritty, is a supporting theme in the story. It compliments and challenges Ava from beginning to end. It explains the lifestyle and fuels the actions of other major characters, as well. I couldn’t write a New York City love story without a spotlight on the city. (For more on setting, see my recent post on International Christian Fiction Writers: “Four Ways I Bring the Setting Alive in I Always Cry at Weddings.”)
So neat! Since we’re talking settings, what are your thoughts on the current setting for authors? What have you most enjoyed about the publishing process so far?
The best part of publishing is the camaraderie. Family, close and distant friends, fellow writers, new fans, and even the family dog, it seems, are rallying around my achievement and helping to make it a success. Without the support of others, I don’t know how a new book could make it in today’s market. It’s the group effort that brings me so much happiness!
What is your favorite place to write?
I am a nomad when it comes to writing. I can write in moving cars, on crowded trains, in quiet or happening cafes. At the gym, I write longhand on the stair master, or I prop up my laptop on the stationary bike and type away. I get some strange looks!
My husband bought me a beautiful antique roll top desk back in 2005. It has been with us in Manhattan, Stockholm, London, and now lovely Darien, Connecticut. I love having this stately desk, my own desk, but still I roam. I’ll take my computer to a window seat, to the barstools in the kitchen, or even to bed. Since moving to a rambling ranch house in Connecticut, I seek out places with a view of our backyard. After twenty-plus years living in big cities, open space and the rising tide is all the inspiration I need!
What a beautiful bay in your backyard! Thanks so much for sharing–and for visiting today, Sara!
About the Author
Sara Goff recently moved to Connecticut with her husband of 14 years and their two sons after living in Sweden and then London for six-and-a-half years. I Always Cry at Weddings, her debut novel about figuring out life and finding love in New York City, was released September 15th by WhiteFire Publishing. Proceeds from the book will go towards her educational charity Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.