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Interview: Author Chris Goff used heavy research, current affairs to drive “Red Sky”

Her second tale featuring Raisa Jordan also had more to tell about the protagonist, a U.S. diplomatic agent with family ties to Ukraine

Chris Goff is the award-winning author of a popular mystery series, and this is the second title in her Raisa Jordan international thriller series. “Dark Waters,” the first in the series, was released in 2015 and was a finalist for a 2016 Anthony Award for Best Crime Fiction Audiobook, the Colorado Book Award Thriller category and the 2016 Colorado Authors’ League Award for Genre Fiction. “Red Sky” was a Colorado Book Awards finalist as well.

What inspired you to write this book?

Chris Goff

I’ve always been fascinated by World War II and the ensuing Cold War Era, so—when it became clear at the end of “Dark Waters” that my protagonist, Raisa Jordan, had to travel to Ukraine to investigate her father’s past—the current tensions with Russia became the perfect jumping-off point. So much of what I touch on in the book has a basis in current affairs—the Russian invasion of Ukraine, advance weapons development, trade and alliances—it wasn’t hard to extrapolate the events that take place in the book. Whether I’ve shown any prescience remains to be seen.

“Red Sky” by Chris Goff.

Who are your favorite authors and/or characters?

I love Alex Berenson. His books are prescient and harrowing. I love his main character, John Wells, who is a very conflicted man.  I also really like John Gilstrap and his Jonathan Grave series. And, of course, Gayle Lynds, who is one of a handful of women writing international spy thrillers.

Why did you choose this excerpt to feature in SunLit?

It makes sense to have the reader start at the beginning. It’s gripping and lays out the groundwork for the book. The reader should have a good sense of who Raisa Jordan is, what she’ll be coming up against, and will hopefully be interested in reading more.

What was the most fun or rewarding part of working on this book?

I love weaving together the threads of a story. “Red Sky” required a lot of research, and before it was published I took my youngest daughter and went to Ukraine, Poland and Germany to get a sense of the mood of the people, the lay of the land. It’s important to make the reader feel like they’re present. And I loved the intricacy, the questions that are raised and the solutions. It’s always satisfying when it comes together.

What was the most difficult section to write in this book? Why?

The story eventually takes Raisa to China. I wanted to make sure my reader could visualize the action, and that it was believable and motivated. There is a lot of information about China, but there is also a dearth in many areas. Finding the information I needed was a challenge. That and making sure I could explain the technology used.

That said, the hardest parts of the book are often the most satisfying to write.

What was one interesting fact you learned while researching this book?

If I had to choose one thing, it would be how much power China’s “paramount leader” President’s Xi Jinping has, and how his vision for China’s future could impact the world we live in. It’s scary! Which is also what makes it so intriguing. Did you know Jinping has dethroned Putin as Forbes 2018 most powerful and influential man in the world?

What project are you working on next?

I’m working on a third book in the Raisa series. I haven’t finished telling her story. I also have a new thriller in the works, a stand-alone, set here in the U.S. At the moment, I don’t have a pub date for either one, but stay tuned!

Buy “Red Sky” at BookBar.
Excerpt: “Red Sky” by Chris Goff.