Monday, September 10, 2018

Night Writer - Leigh Goff

Come sit for a spell while I visit with Author Leigh Goff and talk to her about Witches, her books and writing Dark Fiction for Young Adults and the Adults who love to read them, and did I mention Witches. Did I mention how much I LOVE Witches? 

Alrighty then, let's begin.

About Leigh Goff

I live in Annapolis, Maryland, and I've always loved to write. Fun fact--I recently learned that I am the eighth great-granddaughter of an accused Chesapeake witch, and I didn’t stumble upon that interesting bit of info until after I wrote Bewitching Hannah. So I can say I’ve got witch in my blood! I'm also a University of Maryland grad and a member of SCBWI.

About her Books

Bewitching Hannah, 2017 from Mirror World Publishing.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.
Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn't certain she will survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.


Disenchanted, 2015 from Mirror World Publishing.
A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice... Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that's the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she's forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

My Q&A with Leigh Goff

Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?
I chose YA because I love to read it and it’s fun to write. I get to revisit the world from a sixteen-year-old’s point of view, which is a time of taking risks, feeling things intensely, and anticipating what’s to come. In YA the main character’s experiences are new and exciting. She’s discovering who she is and what she wants in life. It’s awesome!!

What do you enjoy about writing books for kids and teens?

My books appeal to kids and teens, but I don’t eliminate adults and thank goodness since half of YA readers are over eighteen (including me!). I find that YA stories, in general, are stories that have the same lessons and adventures with the same complexity as adult novels. However, in YA there is more emotional intensity and a coming of age perspective.

What is your favorite Paranormal/Dark/Gothic novel?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is a favorite that has been made into a TV series starring Matthew Goode (no release date yet!!) and The Rules of Magic, the prequel to Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. I have an affinity for witches. What can I say?

What is your favorite Gothic motif/theme/element? Any particular reason why?
Strange and mysterious settings are a favorite. I like to take my readers to places where otherworldly events happen such as Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. One of my favorite settings to write in Bewitching Hannah was the old Calvert family chapel where Hannah’s love interest resides. Here’s how I described it.
Candlelight danced in a side window of the two-story, semi-hexagonal, brick chapel that looked like it had been abandoned a century before. My eyes flashed wide and without thinking, I threw my other leg over and pushed off. My body crashed to the hardened earth, rattling my bones. Ignoring the unpleasant jolt, I bounced up and raced toward the light.
I staggered to a standstill and cupped a hand to my mouth. “W?” I whispered into the breeze. My heart thumped fast as my imagination reached its peak.
I tiptoed along the cracked brick path where moss chewed away at the gray mortar. I inched closer to the narrow double doors, my curiosity dying to be indulged.
I reached for the handle, expecting it to be locked. With a click, it released. The scent of candle smoke and incense wafted past me as I peered into the glowing sanctuary with cautious eyes.
The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white wall as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.
I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing your series?
I use a lot of exotic plants and flowers in my witch characters’ gardens, spells, and potions so I often refer to an online plant guide to understand the real effects they might have in a fictional recipe.  I also like to use a Victorian flower language guide, which explains the meanings of various flowers and flower combinations. Here’s an example of Sophie from Disenchanted recalling the meaning of a specific flower combination.
I stuffed the flashlight back in my pocket and plucked tiny flowers from the lemon verbena and valerian and a red velvety petal from a dwarf rose. I rubbed them together in my palms and brought my hands to my nose, unable to resist inhaling the sweet citrus scent. The smell summoned memories of summers long gone, but I struggled to recall what the combination meant. Was it protection and luck or purification? No. I shook my head and took another sniff. Hmm. Amantibus something. Ugh, I thought. The meaning hit me like a falling tree. I gasped. The combo was “lovers uniting.” The flowers were the main ingredients in Aunt Janie’s Forbidden Passion Potion. I wiped my damp hands against my shorts. That was not what I needed, standing alone in the garden. Bleh. 
What’s next for you? Is there anything you can tell us about it?
I’m working on my third YA novel. It’s tentatively titled Diamonds & Pearls and it takes place in a fictional Maryland coastal town. The main character doesn’t know it yet, but she’s not who or what she thinks she is and it has everything to do with a secret her mom and the sea goddesses in town are keeping.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking to write YA Paranormal or Dark/Gothic fiction? Any tips? Any groups they should be checking out? Any places they should be visiting, etc.
Join a writing group such as RWA or SCBWI. These groups are a great resource for promoting your books and helping you network with other writers in your area. Also, find a great proofreader/editor, and make time to write. When you’re ready to query, I highly recommend visiting to research and narrow down the best agents for your manuscript.
Where can we find you?

I’ll be at the Cascades Library in Sterling, Virginia for their annual Eat Local/Read Local event on Saturday, September 29th from 10am-1pm. If you’re in the area, please visit me!  If you can’t make it, you can find me at the following links.

Thank you so much, Leigh, for sharing your brand of magic with us!
As always, stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers!
♥ Shadow.


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