Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet Roberta Goodman, Author of Snow Escape - A Mystery/Thriller

I met Roberta through Twitter; a great way to network and meet new authors. Her debut novel sounded awesome so I wanted our Readers to meet her and learn more about Snow Escape.

Louise: Roberta, welcome to our blog! We’re so excited you could join us for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Roberta: Thank you, Louise. A twist of fate actually helped me get published. I apologize in advance for this lengthy response. Snow Escape was my second manuscript. I’d written a tragic romance/family saga first but had been unable to acquire a literary agent. I ended up writing the manuscript for Snow Escape after I was inspired by a bad winter I had endured. I completed it in June of 2010 and started the process of querying agents. After several months, I had no luck so I moved on. I had no inclination to self-publish either manuscript. I wrote a third non-fiction manuscript, which I completed in the summer of 2011. I’ve been told that one is too personal therefore it’s not marketable. It’s about my husband’s battle with Testicular cancer and how my family dealt with it.

In July 2011, my police officer husband was at the State’s Attorney’s Office for the county he works in and through a conversation he discovered one of the lawyers there is a published author. He had known this man for over a decade and had no clue he was a writer. He called him up and asked him how he got published. He was given the name and phone number of this man’s small independent publisher. I called her at her home and told her a bit about my little murder mystery and she asked me to email her a synopsis and the first three chapters. Five people were going to review the work and deem it worthy of being published. Within a week, I was contacted and told she was going to publish me. Snow Escape was released in e-Book format in October 2011 and paperback in May 2012.

Louise: Well congrats. Sometimes knowing someone with a contact really helps. Please tell us a little about your new release Snow Escape.

Roberta: Snow Escape is a murder mystery/thriller that takes place in Brooklyn, NY on the night the biggest snowstorm in history is occurring. My main character is a 30-year-old single school teacher named Allegra Maxwell. She’s used online dating to meet potential love interests and one of these men chooses the night of the snowstorm to contact her. They talk via Instant Messenger for several hours. Ultimately, during this conversation, she discovers he’s been stalking her and claims to live in her building. This is where his threats to harm her begin and will continue throughout the night. She turns to neighbors for help with tragic consequences ensuing. She’s basically trapped in her apartment building because there is a tremendous amount of snow on the ground, which is hampering her attempts to leave. It’s also keeping the police from reaching her. 

Louise: Readers, enjoy an excerpt below. Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Roberta: I never plan the characters for anything I write. I feel it would limit the direction I could take them in. 

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits to share?

Roberta: It depends on what I’m working on. I tend to use the internet a lot, especially if I’m writing about an area I’m not familiar with. For the manuscript about my husband’s cancer, it was a simple process. I just wrote down what we were going through while it was happening. 

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Roberta: I’m a complete Pantser. I do make notes about the characters, but I never outline.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Roberta: I do write full-time. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom since my son was born in 2001. I worked for a hotel and in retail before that. When my second child started pre-K in 2008, I made the decision to start writing my first manuscript. I’ve also been doing some freelance work for several years, which consists of article writing.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Roberta: I write in my bedroom on my pc. I have a big comfortable chair I sit in. I feel I do my most compelling writing in this atmosphere. The best time is preferably when the house is quiet, because it helps me concentrate.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Roberta: Lately, I’ve been writing whenever I get a chance. After getting my two children off to school, I set aside several hours during the day to work on a plethora of things. I’m either writing articles or working on my current project. 

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Roberta: Well, I’ve revised my first manuscript and I’m hoping to land an agent with it. Here’s a description of my tragic romance/family saga: When Serafina Conti meets Joe Pirelli in October of 1936, both of them realize immediately they’re soul mates. Their intimate encounters can only be described as earth shatteringly intense. Remaining inseparable for two years, Joe becomes sick and decides to end their romance to save Serafina the heartache of having to watch him die. Unaware as to why he’s broken up with her, and devastated beyond belief, she eventually turns to the man who will become her husband. A Sojourn in Hell is a multi-generational tale spanning almost eighty years. From the Great Depression through WWII and beyond, the reader is a witness to the changes one woman’s life undergoes as she becomes a wife, mother, and grandmother as well as the trials and tribulations her own children end up going through. Alcoholism, untimely deaths, physical and mental abuse, adultery, and life-long regrets abound in this heartbreaking character study of human emotions. 

I’m also currently working on something that I describe as a cross between Bridget Jone’s Diary and 9 ½ Weeks. Its humor mixed with sensuality. I’m hoping to have it completed by the beginning of next year.

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Roberta: I love fiction, but ironically enough my favorite book of all time, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is non-fiction. Honestly, there really isn’t any one particular person I could single out and say they’re my favorite. Some modern writers I like are John Berendt, who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Elizabeth Gilbert, Elizabeth Strout, David Nicholls, and if I’m in the mood to spice it up, Anne Rice. I’m also partial to classics writers. Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and Charles Dickens hold my interest.

Louise: We live near Savannah, GA and we have driven by the Mercer House several times. Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Roberta: Writing is my passion. In expressing myself through the written word, I can help others escape boredom and for me that’s a powerful thing. If writing is your dream, then never give up. Even in the face of adversity, push through it and don’t let others tell you your work isn’t good enough to get published. It’s a tough business to break into. Sometimes you have to take a non-traditional route to get your work out there such as using an independent publisher, like I did, or self-publishing. The work doesn’t end once a book is written or even published. Getting the word out about your book is equally important. If no one knows about it, then you can’t expect anyone to find it and read it.

Louise: We totally agree. Authors shouldn't be shy about contacting fellow authors or bloggers to feature them. Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Roberta: Here are our my links and sites to purchase.

I'll give away Three eBook copies (in PDF) of "Snow Escape" to Three commenters. Leave a comment and your email address or Twitter handle for a chance to win. Good luck!

Purchase info for Snow Escape:


Roberta Goodman grew up in Philadelphia. As a stay-at-home Mom of two children, she discovered her creativity could be expressed through the written word when she embarked on writing her first manuscript. In addition to freelance writing, she has written a total of three manuscripts in two and a half years. "Snow Escape" is her first published novel. Roberta and her family reside in a small town on the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Set against the backdrop of a historic snowstorm, Snow Escape is the story of one woman’s innocent foray into the world of online dating turned deadly.


While using Instant Messenger to talk to Charles, a man she met through an online dating site, Allegra realizes he might be up to no good.

Sitting back down at the computer, she saw that Charles had written that people should expect widespread power outages to occur. The weight of the snow on tree branches would eventually cause some of those branches to snap, taking power lines down with them.

“God—I hope that doesn’t happen,” Allegra remarked. “Without power there won’t be any heat and with it being so cold out it would be freezing inside my apartment in no time.”

“Then I guess we’d all just have to bundle up, putting extra clothes on to stay warm,” Charles added.

Not wanting to think about worst case scenarios, Allegra tried to change the subject, but Charles continued to talk about the fact that the snow was going to wreak havoc on everyone and everything.

“Think about it, what if something horrible happened right now? Do you think the police would be able to get to anyone in a timely manner? Yes, snow plows were out, but the snow was falling so fast that as soon as a plow cleared the road, snow was just covering it up again. The blizzard conditions would also make it difficult to drive, with those out on the roads having to drive slowly and carefully, especially at night.”

Allegra typed, “Why dwell on worst case scenarios?"

“In situations like this, Allegra, Mother Nature is calling the shots and one should think about what one would do in an emergency.” Then he asked her, “What if one of your neighbors was up to no good, in just a situation like this, there would be no one to stop them.”

“What do you mean no good?"

He went on to elaborate by saying, “Suppose the person living next door to you decided to kill his wife and she manages to call for help, do you think the cops would get to her in time before her husband offs her?"

“I don’t want to think about a neighbor of mine doing that, it’s morbid.”

“Ah—but things like that do happen, Allegra, as well as many other awful things. There are people in this world who wait for once in a lifetime weather events like we’re experiencing right now to commit the most heinous crimes imaginable.”

Confused by what he was saying and the fact that their conversation had taken this unique direction, she wrote, “I don’t like where this conversation is headed Charles.”

“Why Allegra, do you think that our building is so secure that nothing like what I’m talking about could ever happen here? Do you think the individuals that live here aren’t capable of snapping, of losing their minds, and committing horrible crimes?"

The words “our building” and “live here” hit her like a tornado. She typed, “You live in my building?"

For several minutes, she waited for him to type a response. When none came, her heart racing she wrote, “Who are you and why can’t you answer my question?"

Finally, he wrote, “I’m the one who will burrow inside your head. I’m the one who will turn you inside out. I’ve been watching you for weeks now and I know all about you and what you’re about.”

“What kind of sick game are you playing Charles? I don’t appreciate it,” Allegra demanded to know, figuring he was obviously an unbalanced individual who got off on scaring people.

“It isn’t a game; it’s who I am and what I’m about. Our conversation is over, but you will be hearing again from me soon.”

Allegra wrote back, “What the hell does that mean,” but by the time she had sent it, he had logged off. With her hands shaking and her heart beating a mile a minute, she tried to process what just happened. How had such a pleasant innocent conversation taken such a sinister turn? Who was this person and why had he said all those awful things? It was as if he had talked so nicely to her for almost two hours, trying to gain her trust, just so he could fuck with her mind in the end, but why? Her thoughts racing, she jumped when she heard the ringtone of her cell phone, which was sitting on her bed, start playing. Grabbing the phone, she saw it was Maggie returning her call.


  1. Hi Roberta! So glad to have you visit this week! Is there any other genres you would like to write in?
    I'll try to get the Raffelcopter again this morning. I did send a support email. Dang it, I hope the site is back up. ~Louise

  2. Hello, Thank you again so much for featuring me here :) I love writing all types of fiction. If I had a wish, it would be to branch out and write screenplays someday, but for right now I think I'll concentrate on writing novels! I would like to encourage everyone reading this, who loves a good mystery, to enter to win a copy of Snow Escape. I spent countless hours not only writing it but perfecting it!

  3. Very nice interview :-) this book sounds very good indeed !!!

  4. Thank you, BookJunkee00 :) I appreciate your interest in reading it! Writing Snow Escape was a labor of love for me.