Sara Goff, author of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS joins Fresh Fiction to talk
weddings, self-discovery, and fate.
Jen: Hi, Sara! Thank you for joining us at Fresh Fiction. I ALWAYS
WEDDINGS is a story with romance and love, but it’s a story about self-
discovery. Ava’s identity had been subsumed by her fiancé’s. She tried to be
Ava he wanted her to be, then she tries a lot of different things to find
she wants to be. (I love red hair!) Why do you think finding love goes hand-
hand with self-discovery?
Sara: Thank you for having me. I appreciate your insightful and
provoking questions, especially looking at the relationship between finding
and knowing yourself! We’re always evolving, experiencing new phases and
about ourselves, but are we making decisions that feed our passions, our
and beliefs? Or are we putting other people’s expectations first?
I think finding love does go hand-in-hand with self-discovery, for two
First, the more you know yourself, the more you’ll know what to look for in
life partner, and second, you need to love yourself before you can fully
someone else, without the judgment or expectations you might have been
Ava reaches a point where she realizes her wedding, her entire life, meets
people’s expectations. Will she start over on her own and get to know the
Ava . . . or will she take the ‘safe’ route and get married? I think we know
Jen: Another wonderful part of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS is the need
a person, truly see who they are without judgement. Ava has to see Chris as
person and not just a homeless man living below her stoop. You’ve worked
homeless. Can you share your experience working with the homeless?
Sara: I’ve learned my greatest life-lessons from homeless men and
The value of self-sufficiency, acceptance (of the things you can’t change),
humility, and most important, how to freely express yourself without fear of
failure or judgment.
Ironically, I learned from the homeless while working as a writing
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop in Manhattan. I often wondered
was teaching whom. A group of participants from the soup kitchen, along with
or three instructors, got together in the vestibule of the church on a
basis throughout the spring to free write.
While I wrote stories from my life, keeping in mind sentence structure and
vocabulary, the participants poured their souls out, lost themselves in the
experience of self-expression, and let their creative voice fearlessly guide
their pens. Every week I’d walk home from the workshop in awe, wishing I
achieve that level of unfiltered emotion put down in writing. One day, I
figured out their secret: They were writing for themselves and no one else.
not trying to impress others they were able to be completely open and
Jen: I for one would like to know what brought Chris to Ava’s stoop
what made him stay? Of all the stoops, in all New York…. Do you believe in
or was their meeting a chance city encounter that changed the course of two
and rippled out to change others?
Sara: Okay, I have to tell you how I met my husband. Jonas is from
but came to the States to attend high school at United World College in New
Mexico. He eventually found his way to New York City, where we met at a
exchanged numbers. After a week or so, he invited me to another party. We
connect and that was the end of that . . . until five years later when he
talking to me at my gym. We went out on three dates before remembering that
had met before! During those five years, I had moved downtown to Gramercy
Jonas had left the city for Boston to go to business school, and we both had
in rather serious long-term relationships. We’ve been married fourteen years
and we complement each other, I have to say, perfectly. In no way do I feel
our meeting twice was pure coincidence.
I won’t explain why Chris chooses Ava’s stoop to call home, so not to give
any of the story, but to answer your question, I believe God has a plan for
all, a plan which taps into our fullest potential, even beyond what we think
can achieve, but it requires following our heart.
Jen: Your own life follows a similar path as Ava’s. You both worked
York’s fashion industry as a merchandiser, want to make a difference in the
world, and dedicate yourself to helping others through creative expression.
it easier or harder to write Ava because you share some common goals and
Sara: Ava and I both go for what we want in life, even if that means
stepping outside our comfort zone. In some scenarios, Ava is more reckless
am. The red hair, for one! But if I had gotten engaged to and planned a
with any of my past boyfriends, perhaps even against the calling of my
would have gone through with it. I’m very loyal by nature. In fact, it’s my
loyalty to writing that has made this moment possible. So, in writing I ALWAYS
WEDDINGS, I had to ignore my own instincts and check in with Ava before
making her decisions. She came to life for me as a friend I didn’t always
with, although I knew she’d figure it out in the end!
Jen: Can you tell us what you’re writing now?
Sara: I have a second novel underway, which is set at the Jersey
but I’ll leave the rest a secret for now. ;)
Jen: I'm looking forward to it! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Sara Goff is a former New York City fashion designer and merchandiser
after seven years in the industry, left her career to follow her dreams to
difference in the world. In 2010, Goff founded the global education charity
the Lid, Inc., which supports underprivileged schools and encourages young
to exercise their creative expression through writing.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+
Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.
Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite's son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz
her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn't
should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the
unthinkable--she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now
she'll save sex for marriage.
She's convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an
cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless
under her stoop brightens her days.
But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't
only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants
live...and what in the world love really means.
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