Murder at Macbeth
Whose deadly secret has taken centre stage?
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
1—What started you on your writing career? I’ve always wanted to write a book and it was my husband, Chris, who finally convinced me that I could do it. Also, it 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.
2—How different is it writing fiction than non-fiction? Which do you prefer? It’s so different! I’ve written professionally for my business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning my hand to fiction. In my day job I work for a national charity that supports people with learning disabilities and I’m the editor of their UK-wide magazine so I do a lot of non-fiction writing which I do enjoy. I think however, I do prefer writing fiction. I love the escapism that comes from creating your own world and coming up with the backstories of the characters you develop. It’s such a creative process and incredibly satisfying to see your novel start to take shape.
3—Tell us a little about your lead characters. The murder victim is a talented, young actress called Nikki Gowon. Initially she is very much presented as a golden girl, but before long her seemingly perfect life quickly starts to unravel as more is revealed about the scandalous circumstances leading up to her death. Then there is the astute Detective Inspector Finley Robson who leads the murder investigation. Smart and resourceful, he has an uncanny ability for getting to the bottom of the toughest cases. However, he is also struggling to overcome his own troubled past and finds the unusual theatrical case resonates deeply with him. Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra is his tenacious, no-nonsense partner who has risen quickly through the ranks to become one of the youngest detectives at the London Metropolitan police force. Fiercely loyal, she maintains a healthy disregard for bureaucracy and is a force to be reckoned with.
4—What makes your book stand out from the others? What makes it different? Why should we read yours over other crime mysteries? The crime itself is a very intriguing one; an actress unwittingly stabbing herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with. It’s different than other crime mysteries, as the action is conveyed through interviews with her eclectic bunch of castmates who gradually reveal what happened, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Plus, Murder at Macbeth was longlisted for an international debut novel award and has received a lot of advanced praise from a number of other authors, including Carol Deeley, author of the Britannica series, who said it is “a classic whodunnit that entertains in true Poirot style and read like a really good episode of a prime-time crime series.”
5—Is there a genre you won’t ever write? Why? I’m not a fan of erotica. I like to write novels that I feel happy with my family and friends reading and definitely cringe at the prospect of them reading erotica!
6—Who is your favorite author/book? My all-time favourite author is J.K. Rowling. The level of detail through which she brought the Harry Potter universe to life is astounding. The fact that there is an entire theme park dedicated to her books’ world is incredible to me. Plus, I find her dedication very inspiring as she wrote the first books while she was a single parent looking after a young baby. I can definitely relate to how challenging that balancing act can be.
7—What inspired your writing/this book? 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.
8—What are you working on now? Currently I’ve been mainly focusing on my book launch for Murder at Macbeth, so have been working on numerous guest posts and author interviews to help spread the word. I do have a few other future projects in mind, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out more.
9—If you could have coffee with any of your characters, who would it be and why? I would definitely choose Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra. I think she’s a really strong female character and I love her no-nonsense approach to life. She would be an interesting conversationalist as she would have a unique take on everything.
10—What is the hardest part of your writing? For me, it’s simply finding the time. I wrote my debut novel while working full time and pregnant, which was certainly a challenge! The biggest struggle I found was changing my mindset so that I could make the most of being productive during short writing sessions, rather than thinking I could only write if I had 3 solid hours to spend on it. I carved out time to write every day, but it was usually only 30 minutes in the morning before work or 1 hour during my lunch break and I’m still gobsmacked that I managed to write an entire novel with such little time! Then I had to balance the editing process with looking after a newborn, which was a new struggle to contend with. I did a lot of one-handed typing while holding a sleeping baby!