Today I’ll be hosting a question answer session with Phoebe Morgan in here. She writes domestic thrillers and her debut novel, The Doll House has been an Amazon bestseller. Her second novel, The Girl Next Door just hit the stores.
Me: Hi Phoebe. Your debut The Doll House was a compelling read. How did it come to be?
Phoebe: I wrote most of The Doll House whilst working full time in publishing, and babysitting in the evenings – a lot of it was written when the baby went to sleep! I then sent it out to agents and luckily Camilla Bolton at Darley Anderson liked it, and took me on as an author. She then sent the manuscript out and HQ offered to publish it – it was lovely and I felt very lucky, although up until that point there had been more than my fair share of rejection, for sure!
Me: All those rejections must have been worth it after getting approved by HQ, as The Doll House went on to become a bestseller later. How does all of it feel?
Phoebe: I’m still so grateful that it was published at all, and then when the ebook did reasonably well I was over the moon! I’m always looking forward to the next thing, though, so I’m quite hard on myself and have so much more that I want to try to achieve.
Me: And how has the journey been from there till today as an author?
Phoebe: After The Doll House, I then got a two book deal with HQ which was a lovely moment as it gave me a year or two of security in terms of knowing I would definitely have two other books out rather than go back out on submission, which is not a fun process! It’s been wonderful being published by HarperCollins, and of course, connecting with readers. I love getting messages from people who have enjoyed my books – it makes it all feel worthwhile, and I try to remind myself of that when I’m struggling with a plot point or in the depths of a brutal edit!
Me: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Phoebe: I wanted to be a journalist after university, and trained as a journalist, with my first proper job as a reporter on a local newspaper. Then I went into publishing, and loved it – I love my day job as an editor and would never want to give it up. Writing is something I always wanted to do in some capacity but I didn’t know whether it would ever actually happen – it still feels like a dream come true that I can hold a copy of my book in my hands! So I suppose I did always want to write, but writing fiction is something I only took seriously after I was about 24.
Me: And what about the plot or the genre? Have you known what you wanted to work on since then?
Phoebe: In my day job I work on commercial fiction which is really my passion; I love stories that allow people to escape and that are accessible to all. I was not a good journalist – I always wanted to have a bit more artistic license than court reporting allowed!
Me: So why domestic thrillers? What do you love most about writing them?
Phoebe: I read a lot of domestic thrillers and love the way they create mystery and keep you guessing (well, they should do, anyway!) I like not knowing what’s coming next, and I like twisted, difficult, dislikeable characters, so I was naturally drawn to this genre. I also love short stories though and recently have got more and more into non-fiction too.
Me: What according to you is the element that makes or breaks such books?
Phoebe: I think there’s never really one thing – it’s all a mixture of timing, talent, luck – you name it! All any writer can do is find a good agent and then do your absolute best to write your best novels, listen to the advice of your publisher, and know when things feel right or wrong. I think there are some brilliant books that might never see the light of day, and equally some not so great novels that end up getting published, so all anyone can do is keep trying and hopefully your manuscript will land on the right editor’s desk at the right time! Then the really hard work begins…
Me: So do you plan on sticking with writing on this genre. Or do you want to explore?
Phoebe: At the moment I’m not sure – the third book will be in the same genre but after that I might explore! I’d definitely be open to writing something different, but equally I do love crime so might stick with that if people still want to read it!
Me: Tell us more about your upcoming release The Girl Next Door and why is it important to you? It seems equally chilling.
Phoebe: The Girl Next Door is about Jane Goodwin and her husband Jack, who live in the town of Ashdon, Essex. The small, gossipy community is rocked to the core when a young teenager, Clare Edwards, is found dead in a local field – and the book explores how she came to die and why. I loved writing this book and I hope people enjoy it – it’s my second book and so I feel like I can’t take anything for granted, which is very nerve-wracking indeed!
Me: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Phoebe: All sorts of places really. I might see a photo or picture that inspires a story, or a certain person who could form a character which I’d create a story around. My third book was an idea I thought of whilst on holiday in France, and it’s partly set in France, so sometimes locations can be inspirational as well. It’s always best to keep an open mind and take inspiration whenever it comes!
Phoebe Morgan is an author and editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan. The Doll House is her debut novel. It became a bestseller, topping the iBooks charts at #1 and the Amazon charts at #35.
You can find Phoebe on
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