Q&A With Matt Goldman

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Q&A With Matt Goldman

My next guest to have a Q&A with me is New York Times Bestselling author, & Emmy Award Winning television writer Matt Goldman! Matt is the author of Gone To Dust, Broken Ice, The Shallows, Dead West, Carolina Moonset & A Good Family.  Matt has written for the television shows Seinfeld, Ellen, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, & Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. 

Q: Matt would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about your current release The Good Family? 

A: A Good Family is centered on Katie Kuhlmann, mother of two, who married into wealth. She lives in a perfect neighborhood, but just when her husband finishes overseeing the remodel/addition of his dream home, he begins behaving strangely, and Katie fears the life she married into isn’t what it appears to be. So she starts digging…

Q: I enjoy reading mystery books and obviously you enjoy writing them. What intrigued you about writing in the mystery genre?  

A: I mostly wrote comedy when I worked in television. What I love about comedy is its humanity. It centers on our flaws and quirks, and that’s what connects us to the stories. I wrote on Seinfeld, and they say Seinfeld is a show about nothing. But I think it’s a show about selfishness. Those are the most selfish characters on the planet. And that’s very human. I find the same thing in crime fiction. Tragedy brings out our humanity. And a crime, a dead body or missing person, builds an engine into the story. The phone will ring and someone will say “we got the prints off the gun” or something like that, and the story will move forward. That means the characters don’t have to carry the whole weight of the story, and the writer can focus on them as people and on their relationships, which again, makes it about being human.

Q: Is it fair to say that your television writing influenced your book writing? When creating fictional worlds and people do you use bits and pieces of real people and places as well?

A: TV did influence my writing in a big way. Mostly, it taught me a story. It also taught me character, dialogue, character arcs, and series architecture. And yes, I do bits and pieces of real people and places. I use real places, especially restaurants and other businesses. I don’t use specific people but traits and mannerisms.

Q: You wrote for Seinfeld, Ellen, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, & Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. What was it like writing for these popular shows? Did you get to meet the cast of any of these shows?

A: When you write on a TV show, your focus is mostly on the day-to-day production, not on the popularity of the show. But knowing people are watching and liking the show helps motivate you when things get hard. Writers are the producers in television—it’s a writer’s medium. We supervise the director and casting, everything. So we work with the actors on a daily basis, giving notes after rehearsals and on the stage while shooting. In TV, writers and actors have a very close relationship.

Q: Do you still write for television? If so, are you currently writing any pilots to new shows? 

A: I’m not working on anything for TV at the moment, but that could change. I am talking to another writer about an idea for a show—hopefully we’ll write the pilot soon. Everyone asks me about whether or not I’ll write TV again, as if that’s the ultimate goal. But for me, writing books was always the ultimate goal, so I’m quite happy doing that.

Q: Have you written screenplays for any of your books and does Hollywood have the rights to them? The entertainment industry needs new material. 

A: The entertainment industry does need new material. There has been some interest in my books. Some options. But nothing has materialized yet. 

Q: Are you currently writing your next book right now? If you are, can you reveal any details or is it too early to say?

A: My next book is finished. It’s called Still Waters and will be published in May of 2024. Liv and Gabe Ahlstrom are estranged siblings who haven’t seen each other in years, but that’s about to change when they receive a rare call from their older brother’s wife. “Mack is dead,” she says. “He died of a seizure.” Five minutes after they hang up, Liv and Gabe each receive a scheduled email from their dead brother, claiming that he was murdered.

The siblings return to their family run resort in the Northwoods of Minnesota to investigate Mack’s claims, but Leech Lake has more in store for them than either could imagine. Drawn into a tangled web of lies and betrayal that spans decades, they put their lives on the line to unravel the truth about their brother, their parents, themselves, and the small town in which they grew up. After all, no one can keep a secret in a small town, but someone in Leech Lake is willing to kill for the truth to stay buried.
 Q: What advice do you give to those wanting to write great mysteries and writing for television as you do?

A: Try to write every day, even if it’s just a little, even if you have no idea where it’s going. The words add up quickly, and often, over time, reveal to the writer what the story is or can be. It’s hard for everyone. Be kind to yourself. And remember that everyone’s first draft stinks. Everyone’s. Even the most famous, successful writers.