Author: Leigh Goff
Narrator: Erin Seidel
Length: 8 hours 7 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: July 14, 2021
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother. As the 16-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing? As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.
Q&A with Author Leigh Goff
- What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
- For me, they must come together at the same time. I always outline the story first, so I need both of those elements fleshed out in the outline before I start to do the actual first draft. That being said, the characters are always a bit easier to develop than the plot.
- What part of the book was the most fun to write?
- In Koush Hollow, the climactic end was absolutely the most fun to write. It’s actually the darkest thing I’ve ever written. I totally enjoyed visualizing those events and writing them down. Great fun and bit cathartic!
- What would you say to an author who wanted to design their own cover?
- I’ve never had to design my own cover and I’m not sure that’s my strength anyway, but I have had input into all of my covers. I’m appreciative that the publishers asked for that input and took my advice to tweak the art to make the cover design more pertinent to the story. No one knows the story better that the writer so it’s always nice to add those little touches.
- Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?
- You know, I wish I had used a variation of my name. I thought about using L. A. Goff, rather than Leigh A. Goff when my first book, Disenchanted, was published in 2015. With Koush Hollow, which is my third, I requested that change in my name for the cover, but since I already had a following under Leigh A. Goff, the publisher wanted to stay with that. However, in the future, if I write in a different genre, I may push for L. A. Goff.
- What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
- My favorite part is the excitement that comes with the offer letter. It means someone read the work and loved it. There’s nothing you want to do except pop a Champagne bottle and toast to the book’s future. Least favorite part—public speaking events to promote it. I’m absolutely terrified of public speaking, however, I love speaking with small groups or book clubs or doing book signings and meeting the readers. That’s pretty awesome.
- How important was professional editing to your book’s development?
- Oh my gosh—editors are critically important to finishing and polishing the final version. When a writer has been in a story for months, it is difficult to go back and see the trees (the trees being all the mistakes hahaha) for the forest. It’s not always fun to see those mistakes, but editors are a necessary part of a writing team. I am always so grateful for their insight and suggestions to make the work the best it can be.
- How did you come up with the title for your book?
- Koush is a play on the French word, cauchemar, which means a terror that comes in the night. And there are legends in the South about witch-riding nightmares where people dream about a witch or demon sitting on their chests or backs trying to suffocate them. This strange phenomenon is called a cauchemar. And since there are mystical characters, strange waking dreams, and nefarious women in Koush Hollow, it seemed like an appropriate title.
- What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
- Cold Lemon Spindrift in the warmer months/hot chocolate coffee in the colder months, Summer my dog next to me, a comfy chair, and my laptop. I need to be comfortable so I can just focus on writing and nothing else.
KOUSH HOLLOW—Where Did the Title Come From?Leigh Goff’s newly released audiobook is titled KOUSH HOLLOW. Koush Hollow is the fictional town on the outskirts of New Orleans where the story takes place. The name was inspired by the word cauchemar and it’s Southern meaning. Koush is a derivative of cauche, which means a terror that comes in the night. In French it means to press or trample. The word mare comes from Old English and means an incubus or night-goblin. In southwest Louisiana cauchemar has another meaning. It refers to a witch-riding, a supernatural attack while one sleeps. Various cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas have different names for this phenomenon that has been experienced over the centuries. In seventeenth century North America, victims of accused Salem witches suffered from these witch-riding nightmares. The same kind of attacks are mentioned in present-day Southern folklore. The terrifying supernatural event occurs in the moments before waking up when one tries to move, but cannot. The paralysis is blamed on the supernatural and described as a feeling of pressure on one’s chest as if a demon were sitting on it or as if a witch were riding the person. Some believe the evil creature sucks the breath out of its victim while slowly killing them. During this sleep paralysis, victims claim to be choked or prodded with the creature’s claws, and they are filled with panic until the creature disappears into thin air. Some believe there is no meaning to the event while others believe it is a warning to seek forgiveness for one’s sins. The painting by Johann Heinrich Fuseli aptly titled The Nightmare depicts a cauchemar with a demonic creature posed on a woman’s chest while the horse in the background stares wide-eyed with fear on its face. As KOUSH HOLLOW is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. BLURB “Beauty is a curse on the world for it keeps us from seeing who the real monsters are.” After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother. As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing? As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined. EXCERPT The excerpt below comes from the first chapter in Koush Hollow. The sixteen-year-old main character, Jenna, has a waking nightmare where an interesting creature appears, but only to her. Is it real or is it a dream? Tap, tap. My eyes flashed wide. A curvy, gray-haired lady tapped on my passenger side window. Jenna, snap out of it, I thought to myself. I breathed and remembered how to roll the window down. “You okay, hon’?” She stared at my hands. “You’re shaking like you drank ten café lattes.” “I’m j-just a little on edge. I mean, I thought I hit that…that woman.” She jolted upright and looked around. “What are you talking about?” My gaze flitted all around her. “She w-was r-right there—the painted woman,” I stuttered and pointed. “Where did she go?” My knees finally stopped knocking, allowing me to slide out of the car. “You didn’t hit anyone. Are you on something?” I stumbled to the front and bent over searching underneath the car. Nothing. No one. I stood up and scanned the sidewalks, but I didn’t see the mysterious woman anywhere. “Maybe you shouldn’t be driving, hon’.” Maybe I shouldn’t be. “Is there someone I can call?” she asked. I wiped my sopping wet forehead with the back of my hand. It had to be stress affecting me. It had been a tough few months and maybe it was catching up with me. I turned to the kind woman. “I’m only a few minutes from my mother’s house.” I’d get the Diet Cokes and vitamins later. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.” We both returned to our cars. She waited for me to move. With trembling fingers, I managed to shift into drive. I pumped the brakes to see if they worked. They worked fine. The rattling sound in the engine was gone, too. I could hardly think straight. Was that Voodoo woman real or a figment of my imagination? I shoved aside the bad feeling, inhaled a calming breath, and decided to apply logic, which suggested the whole thing was a brain-glitch from stress. However, no matter how logical I tried to be, the uneasy feeling remained.
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