9.17.15 – 7 Minutes With… Chris Goff

By JT Ellison

Chris Goff has a delicious new thriller out—DARK WATERS—that I think you will love. I sure did! The setting, Israel, completely drew me in; the story clips along; the characters are fascinating, and Raisa Jordan kicks serious ass. It’s a wonderfully crafted book, not a surprise to anyone who’s read Chris in the past; her Birdwatcher mystery series is highly acclaimed. And, she’s from Colorado, which should say more than anything I ever could. I know you’re going to love her.

Welcome, Chris!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

Tracy Byrd’s “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo”

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

RED SKY, the sequel to my first thriller, DARK WATERS. It’s a book set in Ukraine, and with the changing landscape there, I might really need the Cuervo.

What’s your latest book about?

DARK WATERS is a thriller set in Israel. It introduces Raisa Jordan, a Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent. She is the new ARSO in Tel Avi, when a shooting happens in Dizengoff Square, killing a Palestinian with ties to the Palestine Liberation Committee and her predecessor at DSS. She is sent to investigate and to protect a federal judge and his daughter who were caught in the crossfire. During the course of her investigation, she uncovers a plot years in the making—one that leaves millions of lives hanging in the balance.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I have a great little office with an eight-foot picnic table as a desk and a view of the backyard and the tomato plants. I love pens and pencils. I use a fountain pen, lots of markers, a dry erase board, a large foam board for plotting and my trusty PC.

What was your favorite book as a child?

SILVER PENNIES. It’s a collection of Modern Poems for Boys and Girls published in 1925 by Blanche Jennings Thompson. My favorite poem was one about a little doormouse who takes refuge under a mushroom during a rainstorm – “and that’s how umbrellas first were invented.”

What’s your secret talent?

I knit. I love to knit, especially baby sweaters. I think my favorite to date was one I made for my niece, Evelyn. My family name is McKinlay (Scottish) and I took the family tartan, graphed it for a sweater and knit it as a baby shower gift.

What book are you reading now?

CRASH AND BURN by Lisa Gardner

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It sounds cliché, but I made the decision in third grade after writing a “book” as a school assignment, and my grandmother told me I should be a writer. The book was entitled “The Haunted Mansion,” and it was about these kids who discovered a haunted house. They would wait for the witch to go out at night and fly on her broom, and then they would sneak inside and play with her Eye of Newt. That is, until one night when the witch came home early and . . .

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?

I have a lot of writing idols, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of them. But the first big name writer I ever met was Mary Higgins Clark. I had read her first suspense novel, Where are the Children, my first year in college and loved it. I remember being really inspired by her personal story, too. Years later, I met her at my first Malice Domestic conference. Of course, I had every intention of playing it cool, but I’ll admit it—I went totally fan girl.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

A workshop instructor once said, “Never forget that your villains are the heroes of their own story.” It stuck. It helps me keep my villains real. While I may not like what they do, my villains aren’t just evil. They have strong motivations for what they do.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

Not writing isn’t an option, not when you’re on deadline. So, I usually go back a few pages, maybe a chapter, and work through the pages until I’m back into the story and can move forward. Usually if I’m stuck it’s because something is wrong with how I’m laying the story out on the pages. If I can just figure that out . . .

Are you creatively satisfied?

Yes. There have been times in the past when I would have said no, but right now I’m writing what I want to write, and I have a publisher who’s publishing my books. It doesn’t get much better.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Professionally? For telling a great story. Personally? For being a great mom. I have one son and five daughters. I hope I’ve taught them by example to follow their dreams and to know they can be anything and everything they want to be.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

  • Beach or mountains? Beach, though I’ve lived in the mountains all my life.
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Skydive or bungee jump? Neither. I’m terrified of heights. If you made me pick, skydive. Death would be less immediate.
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
  • Winter or summer? Summer, though I love to ski.
  • Cake or pie? Cake
  • Cats or dogs? Dogs
  • Pens or pencils? Pens
  • Truth or dare? Dare
  • Print or ebook? Print


Chris Goff is an award-winning author of international thrillers and the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series. She began her career as a newspaper columnist, and has written for local, regional and national publications. She has edited rock and ice-climbing guides for Chockstone Press, worked in graphic production for a division of The Morehouse Publishing Group, taught writing workshops and served on the board of Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Colorado. DARK WATERS is her first thriller.

You find out more about Chris at ChristineGoff.com.

And here’s a little more about DARK WATERS!

Raisa ”Rae” Jordan, an agent for the United States Diplomatic Security Service, isn’t in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is gunned down in a Tel Aviv square by a sniper. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. A desperate cadre of terrorists has their sights set on the secretary of state’s upcoming visit. But is an attack on the secretary of state just the beginning?

With millions of lives hanging in the balance, Dark Waters, Chris Goff’s explosive new thriller, is a series debut that mirrors the headlines around the globe and will have readers frantically turning pages.

And you can pick up a book and meet Chris at these signings:

September 24, 7:00 p.m.
Tattered Cover Bookstore

2526 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO

October 8-11

Raleigh, NC

October 21, 7:00 p.m.
Author’s Night at the Douglas County Parker Library

10851 S. Crossroads Dr.
Parker, CO

November 18, 12:00 Noon
Moby Dickens Bookshop Book Club

124A Bent St.
Taos, NM

Via: JT Ellison


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