Okay, so it took me a minute to wrap up my Indie Author Spotlight Interview series… but the last in the lineup is totally worth the wait. This indie author presents a polished work that is both unique and stylistically classic. Who doesn’t appreciate a good mystery? Samantha Goodwin’s debut novel, Murder at Macbeth, takes the audience into a scene of scandalous secrets, twisting mystery, and unfolding deceit. Take a closer look at this indie gem. (The book and the author!)
Samantha Goodwin, author of Murder at Macbeth
Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Keen to support upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others.
When she is not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, countryside walks, movies, musicals and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds, England with her husband, Chris, and son, Jack.
Murder At Macbeth
By Samantha Goodwin
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…
INTERNATIONAL FLASH 500 NOVEL AWARD LONGLIST
What life experience first led you to know that you are a writer?
I’ve always written stories, ever since I was about 5 years old! It’s been a dream of mine my whole life to write a book, so I’m really excited about finally releasing my debut novel. It’s been a long time coming!
How do you come up with your ideas?
For Murder at Macbeth, 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.
What is a typical example of your daily writing practice?
I wrote my debut novel, Murder at Macbeth, while I was working full time and pregnant which was certainly a challenge! I carved out time to write every day but it usually ended up being only 30 minutes in the morning before work or 1 hour during my lunch break. At first it seemed completely impossible to write an entire book with such little time, but before long I found I could get into the swing of it and write pretty quickly.
I found having a one-page outline really useful for staying focused so I could pick up writing from where I left off while maintaining oversight of the whole story arc. I actually found the balance of doing my editing and looking after a newborn much more difficult. I did a lot of one-handed typing while holding a sleeping baby!
What would you say is the most common trap new authors fall into?
Rushing into publishing without spending proper time on the editing process. It’s really frustrating as a reader to come across errors in a published book. It took me over a year to complete the editing, proofreading and beta read process to get my own book ready. It’s a labour of love but worth it in the end.
How do you publish your works?
I decided to publish through Amazon KDP as I loved having complete creative control of every aspect of the book and it was important to me to do everything to my own timescale because I recently became a new mum, so was having to balance everything around looking after my new baby! I love being an indie author, but the best advice I can give to others is to ensure that you pursue quality in all that you do. I worked closely with an editor, proof reader and a graphic designer, in addition to a fantastic team of beta readers, and found all their input so valuable.
Attention to quality certainly shows in your work, presentation included. Well done. And, congratulations on your newest journey into parenthood!
How do you research for your writing?
I definitely think all crime writers must be on an FBI watchlist somewhere! I had to research quite a lot of weird things while writing this novel, including how much internal damage a stomach stab wound would cause and where to commission a bespoke design dagger! Happily I have some friends who are police officers so I set up interviews with them to get some insider knowledge as well.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Crime mystery is the perfect genre for me as I love all things crime-related, from books and TV shows to murder mystery games! I think everyone enjoys an intriguing whodunnit. There is such a sense of satisfaction in trying to identify the culprit, especially when there are lots of twists and turns as new clues turn up. I’ve always found the best mystery books hook you so well that you end up thinking about solving the crime even when you’re not reading it.
What is your latest work about? What have you learned from writing it?
Murder at Macbeth is my debut crime mystery novel. It’s a classic whodunnit that centers around a talented, young actress who unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with. Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…
I think the most surprising thing I learned was the sheer extent to the catastrophes that have happened at a number of Macbeth productions over the years – it really does seem cursed!
What’s the most important thing you could tell readers about your book before they read it?
That it’s a classic whodunnit that a lot of readers have compared to Agatha Christie in style (which is a huge compliment to me!) It was longlisted for the international Flash 500 novel award and only a small handful of people who have read it so far have managed to work out the murder mystery before the culprit is revealed…could you be the next person to guess correctly?
What is one of the most crucial experiences from your life that has inspired your work?
I’ve always wanted to write a book and that ended up being the last proper conversation I had with my Dad before he died suddenly of encephalitis two years ago so I felt very driven to finish it as a tribute to him. I found the whole process of writing very cathartic during grieving, it was helpful to be able to pour my energy into something positive.
So sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I lost both my parents to illness in 2017, so I understand some of where you’re coming from here. I think it’s wonderful that you were able to channel your grief into creating something new and positive for yourself.
What’s the biggest hurdle or challenge you’ve had to overcome as a writer?
Simply having enough time to write!
If you could go back to when you were just getting started as an author, what advice would you give yourself?
Write the book that you want to read and don’t worry about other peoples’ opinions. I used to write all the time when I was younger and then for a long time I stopped because I became too worried about what other people thought. I’m so much happier now I can just focus on enjoying the writing again!
Is there a topic or genre you’d like to write on that you haven’t yet?
I absolutely love reading dystopia books, so it would be interesting to explore that genre.
I think it’s so great to have that sense of escapism of experiencing another world.
How many WIP (works in progress) do you currently have?
I’ve only just released my debut novel, Murder at Macbeth. So I’m currently working on promoting that, doing author interviews and guest articles etc to help spread the word.
How do you handle negative feedback or constructive criticism?
I think constructive criticism is so helpful to shape your writing and make it the best that it can be. I had a whole team of beta readers, in addition to a professional editor and proofreader so I had a lot of input to consider! As for negative reviews, it’s always good to remember that you can never please everyone.
What part of your creative process requires the most energy and effort from you?
Definitely final editing and proofreading, that level of fine-tuning is a lot less exciting than coming up with the initial ideas.
Tell us about your support system? How have those who support you in your work helped you along the way?
I’m very lucky to have a great support system in my family and friends. It was actually my husband who convinced me to pick up a pen and start writing again. He knew I could write a novel before I did! My sisters and a number of my friends were also part of the beta reading team too which I found really helpful.
What’s the most emotionally uncomfortable scene or topic you’ve ever written?
There’s a very uncomfortable scene in Murder at Macbeth which I found very challenging; but to explain more would be to give away spoilers!
Is writing your full time “job” or do you have other work?
Writing is my hobby. In my day job I’m a Chartered Marketing Manager and I work for a national charity that supports people with learning disabilities.
For your fans and HFC readers, Name a book that has: (links are to Goodreads pages)
Inspired you as a person or a professional.
The Girl on A Train – Paula Hawkins (it inspired me to write my debut novel)
Made you laugh.
Made you cry.
Changed your life.
The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
What do you hope readers get from Murder at Macbeth?
I hope readers get to enjoy an intriguing whodunnit where they are genuinely captivated by the mystery which keeps them guessing right until the end.
Favorite Quote: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” – Shannon Hale
Home: Leeds, England
Thank you so much Sam for taking some time to share about your writing process and your overall experience as a new independent author. And of course, thanks for sharing your debut novel with us! Everyone really does love a good mystery and yours intrigued me from the start. It’s been a pleasure learning about you and all that has inspired you to pursue your passion for writing!
I so appreciate Sam’s participation in this Spotlight interview for fantastic indie authors! I’ve learned a lot and found inspiration through all of these shared journeys. I hope that HFC readers will find inspiration through these interviews as well.
If you have enjoyed this Q & A with Samantha, please visit her links, show her some love and support through social media, and consider purchasing her book! If you get the opportunity to read her work, maybe go a step beyond and leave some feedback for her on Amazon or Goodreads – these kinds of actions help indie authors get noticed and reach a larger audience. Thank you for joining us for the interview – be sure to check out the other featured indie authors here on HFC!
Leave us a comment and let us know how you felt about this interview!