I got a chance to take an interview of Samantha Goodwin, the author of Murder at Macbeth, her debut novel which is a murder mystery. I have finished reading the book and just loved it. If you haven’t read it grab it now, you will not be disappointed. I am thrilled, to present you the full interview, Enjoy!!
1.Hi mam, for those who don’t know, could you start by telling us a little bit about you and your book.
I’m Samantha Goodwin and I’m a crime author from England. In my day job I’m a Chartered Marketing Manager working for a national charity that supports people with learning disabilities and autism and I live in Leeds with my husband and 2 year old son, Jack.
Murder at Macbeth is my debut novel and it’s a classic whodunnit that centres around a talented young actress who unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with. Suspicion soon falls on her eclectic castmates, but who had the motive to kill the leading lady…
2.Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to write a book since I was about 5 years old. I used to write short stories and poetry all the time when I was younger and it was my husband, Chris, who finally convinced me to take the plunge and write my first novel.
3.When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always felt like I was a writer as it was such an integral part of my life while I was growing up. Although the first time I felt like a real author was when I held the paperback version of my debut novel. Nothing beats that feeling of holding something in your hands that used to only exist in your head.
4.What was your favourite part, and your least favourite part, of the publishing journey?
I really enjoy the initial writing stage when all the ideas are flowing and the story is starting to really take shape. There were a lot of sleepless nights as I found myself lying in bed constantly thinking of new ideas! In contrast, I’m not a huge fan of the final editing and proofreading stages when I was going through the manuscript for the umpteenth time making minor changes. That level of detail is of course really important, but as an author I find it a lot less exhilarating than the writing stage.
5.What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
I actually interviewed some of my friends who are police officers so I found learning more about the behind-the-scenes of police interview procedures really fascinating. I must admit we met in a restaurant and did attract some concerned stares from some of the other diners!
6.What were the key challenges you faced during writing this book?
My main challenge I faced was in the form of a tiny newborn baby. I was pregnant when I was writing my first draft, which I had just finished the day before I gave birth to my first child (luckily he was late otherwise I might have never completed it!) Naturally I didn’t touch my manuscript for at least 4 months after that and then when I finally did come back to it to start the editing process, I had to type one-handed while holding a sleeping baby. That was certainly a challenge but it was worth it in the end.
7.If you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters who would it be?
What a great question! For obvious reasons, all my characters have a lot of flaws so that’s a tricky one to answer. I’d probably say Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra who is working the case. She’s a really no-nonsense strong female character, so I could definitely get on board living my life out as her.
8.What would you like to see more/less of in the mystery genre?
I would love to see more character-driven stories. I think sometimes the mystery genre focuses too much on clues, and while the evidence is obviously an important piece of the puzzle, I think there would be more depth if the reader got to learn more about the characters and what their possible motives could be.
9.How do you develop your plot & characters?
I started with the main storyline of who was the culprit and why, and then from that I started fleshing out all of the other characters and developing what their motives would be. It was really important to me to have a convincing, multi-dimensional group of suspects who each have their own story to tell. Everyone has a compelling reason as to why they could be possibly driven to murder, so it helps to keep the readers on their toes. Then alongside that I incorporated the development of the two detectives too in order to add an extra element to the story.
10.Why do you choose to work in this genre? Do you consider yourself a genre writer, or do you want to try other modes?
I really love the crime genre and am a big fan of whodunnits, both in books and TV shows. So, it came very naturally to me to write a crime mystery novel. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a genre writer though. I love reading contemporary and YA novels, so would definitely be interested in exploring other genres to write in too.
11.Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
Yes I do actually. A lot of readers have got in touch with me to say they really enjoyed my novel and couldn’t see the twists coming, which is great to hear. My writing style often gets compared to a modern day Agatha Christie, which is the biggest compliment ever!
12.What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I think the best writing strikes a good balance of incorporating important elements such as visual descriptions and characterisation, without overdoing it so it becomes cumbersome. Ideally the reader will feel very connected to your characters and can vividly imagine the action that is taking place, but at the same time never feels that the writing gets in the way of the story that is being told.
13.Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
I think my favourite character is actually the victim, Nikki. She was definitely the most interesting character to write because there are so many different facets of her personality. There are a lot of elements to her backstory which are gradually revealed throughout the novel which goes a long way to explain why she acted the way she did.
14.The last book you read that you loved?
I really enjoyed the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. I’m intrigued to see how it is going to translate to film when the first instalment finally comes out next year.
15.Who is your favourite author?
There are a few, but I think if I had to choose one it would have to be J.K. Rowling. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and for quite a while was exactly the same age as Harry as each book was released, so I really connected with that series while I was growing up.
16.Your Favourite book
I absolutely love Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. It’s a YA novel that explores race in such an interesting way that I found it really captivating. I first read it when I was 14 and it had such a profound impact on me that almost 2 decades later the characters still dance through my dreams.
17.Are you working on anything at the present, you would like to share with your readers about?
I’m actually working on a new non-fiction writing book called Indie Writing Wisdom that’s due to be released later this year. It’s a collaborative project with numerous well-respected authors and we are all coming together to share our expertise on different elements of the publishing process from writing and editing to cover design and marketing. Our hope is to help inspire the next generation of writers and answer the question we all get asked most frequently, which is, “How did you write and release a book?”
18.What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?
Honestly to me the definition of success as an author is to simply write a book that other people enjoy reading. I still get incredibly excited when my international readers get in touch with me to let me know what they thought of my book. I started an Instagram World Book Tour when I launched my book and in the first year my book travelled to 49 countries and 34 US states which I’m absolutely thrilled about. It’s really cool to think that something I wrote has been read by people all over the world.
19.If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be.
I’d love to meet J.K. Rowling and I’d be interested to talk to the author Paula Hawkins (who is the author of The Girl on The Train and Into The Water) as her writing style really influenced my own novel, so it would be great to talk about how she comes up with her ideas. Plus, I think I’d invite the comedian Michael McIntyre too because he could keep us all entertained!
•Tea or coffee
Neither! I’m one of these strange creatures who doesn’t like hot drinks.
•Text message or calls
Calls. I can talk for hours!
•Movie or book
•Reading or writing
•Paperback or e-book
•Cats or dogs
•Twitter or Instagram
•100 Social Media friends or 2 real life friends
2 real life friends, no question about it!
20.And lastly, What advice would you like to give to a new writer, someone just starting out?
Write every day! It’s that simple and it’s that hard. Writing consistently means that you will always be driving the story forward and flexing your writing muscles, so to speak. Even if you only have 10 minutes to write, it’s so helpful to get into the habit of picking up the pen (or computer) to keep you focused. And never try to please everyone. Just because someone doesn’t like your book doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer! Especially if you enjoy writing, always write for yourself first.
Thank you for your time Samantha, Its been a pleasure to interview you. Good wishes for your future projects!!