Morning lovelies and welcome to another scorching hot day! I hope you’re able to enjoy a bit of the sunshine today (but don’t get burnt!) I’ve got two posts for you today, starting with a Meet the Author interview with the lovely Samantha Goodwin. We’re discussing inspiration, advice, trying to write with children, her debut novel, Murder at Macbeth and more…
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a crime author from Leeds, England. In my day job I’m a Marketing Manager for a national charity and I’m married with a two-year-old son who likes to keep me on my toes. One year ago I released my debut crime mystery novel, Murder at Macbeth, which went on to win a Chill With A Book Award and was longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved the escapism that comes with creating stories. It was my husband, Chris, who finally convinced me I could do it. Plus, it ended up being the last conversation I had with my Dad before he died suddenly of encephalitis three years ago, so I felt very driven to finish it as a tribute to him.
I like to think that I get my ideas from everywhere; people I meet, books I read, TV shows I watch. Anything and everything can be inspiring.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took about a year to write the complete first draft. I was working full-time and was pregnant at the time, which was certainly a challenge. I finished the day before my son was born! The editing phase then took another year, which involved a lot of one-handed typing while holding a sleeping baby
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Write every day. It’s that simple and it’s that hard! A fellow author told me that wise nugget of advice and at the time I remember thinking, “surely not every day though?” But actually he was so right because allocating some time to write every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes, means that the story never stalls as it is always fresh in your mind.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
All important, but I would say having strong characters is the most important. After all, it is the characters in your story that resonates with readers; they want to go on a journey with them. I believe the same is true for crime novels too, even though they stereotypically have more emphasis on the plot. In Murder at Macbeth, I put a lot of time into creating compelling, multidimensional characters who really drove the story as everybody had a legitimate motive that could drive them to murder. I also think it’s great practice to drip-feed subtle clues along the way. Ideally the reader will still be shocked by all the twists and turns, but with the benefit of hindsight will think, “yeah, that makes sense.”
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
I absolutely love Jurassic Park, which I would argue is one of the rare occasions when the movie has been better than the book! I have fond memories of being wowed by all the dinosaurs when I watched it for the first time when I was younger.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
So many things! An author, a vet and a Blue Peter Presenter were some of my favourite career choices.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would love to be able to stop time as I’m always late to everything and could always do with the opportunity to have more sleep!
Describe yourself using three words only…
Friendly, loyal and conscientious.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I’m a big movie buff and love musical theatre. I also enjoy walking outside in the country and simply spending time with my family and friends.
What is your favourite time to write, and why?
Honesty, I simply write whenever I can, which more often than not is in small snatches of time whenever I can find a spare moment. I always handwrite when I’m doing my first drafts as I find my ideas flow a lot better. In an ideal world I think I would be a night-time writer, but my toddler doesn’t really facilitate that as I’m far too exhausted by that time!
What inspired your novel?
I was inspired by a newspaper article about a London West End actor who was accidentally stabbed live on stage. That got me thinking; what if that had been intentional? What a dramatic way to murder someone and believe you could get away with it.
I’ve always been fascinated by the superstitions surrounding Macbeth about it being cursed and the fact the play itself is about corruption and deception provided an interesting parallel to the murder mystery. Plus, I found the concept of interviewing suspects who are also actors really interesting; they could so easily be playing a part to hide the truth.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Murder at Macbeth is my debut crime novel. 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…
A lot of reviewers have likened it to a modern-day Poirot (high praise indeed!) and said it reads like a really good episode of a prime-time crime series, like CSI or Person of Interest.
Something wicked this way comes…
When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates.
But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?
As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.
Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much Samantha for coming over to talk to us. I always love hearing about what inspires an author to write, and thinks it’s so important that you wrote your book following your conversation with your Dad. Writing with a baby/toddler does sound like quite a challenge, so I can completely understand why you write as and when you can!! Murder at Macbeth sounds fantastic – I love a crime thriller, and being likened to Poirot is a massive achievement, congratulations!
If you have any questions or comments for Samantha, you know what to do lovelies!
I’ll be back soon!