Hey guys, hope y’all are having a wonderful start to a new week!!
Today I am so excited to have Phoebe Morgan on the blog as she discusses her new book ‘The Girl Next Door’ which had a grand release just a week ago. The book is already winning hearts (including mine, of course!) and I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks about it! It’s a spellbinding thriller, fast-paced and perfect for a binge read!
On the Interview today, Phoebe has some fantastic insights to share about her books, and secrets she hides for her readers to find!! YES, it’s true! NO, not kidding at all!!! She also has several tips for aspiring authors that she spills out of her years of experience in the publishing Industry. Read along to know more. xxx
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 and an instant ebook bestseller. The Girl Next Door is her second psychological thriller.
A conversation with Phoebe Morgan…
Syllables of Swathi: Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Phoebe Morgan: I’m an editor and author living in London, and The Girl Next Door will be my second book. My debut, The Doll House, came out last year and I’m just putting the final touches to my first draft of book three, which will publish in 2020.
SOS: Where were you raised? Where do you live now? Do you have any pets?
PM: I was brought up in Suffolk having been born in London – we moved out to the countryside when I was two. So I grew up primarily in the absolute middle of nowhere, a place called Pixey Green which is exactly as it sounds, and then after going to university in Leeds and the US, I returned to London aged about 21 and have been here ever since. I currently live up in North East London with my boyfriend and sadly no, we don’t have any pets. I would love a kitten but it would be a bit cruel to keep one in a fifth floor flat!
SOS: Your new book The Girl Next Door’ is all set to release soon. Tell us a bit about the book. How long did it take for you to write it?
PM: The Girl Next Door is a psychological suspense novel – I can’t believe it’s finally being released! I enjoyed writing this one – it probably took me around 4-6 months to do the first draft and then another month or two of editing it alongside my agent and editor. It opens with the murder of 16-year-old Clare Edwards, who is found dead in a local field in the small town of Ashdon, Essex. Ashdon is a gossipy, claustrophobic town where everyone is hiding something, and as the murder shakes up the rural community, secrets are gradually revealed… It’s all about the way people are desperate to keep up appearances and the nastiness that can go on in seemingly perfect relationships.
SOS: How did you come up with the concept for your new book? Tell us about your inspiration.
PM: Clare is found dead in a buttercup field which is based on a place I used to go walk in when I was little – it was a really beautiful local field just absolutely full with buttercup flowers. So I really liked the idea of contrasting that natural beauty with a horrible murder (writing that I’m wondering what’s wrong with me…!) and the idea kind of came from there really. Small town communities are quite fascinating to me, the way everyone knows each other’s business and gets involved, and I wanted to explore a fictionalized version of that in The Girl Next Door.
SOS: Could you tell us an early experience you had, where you learned that language had power?
PM: I was always a huge reader when I was younger, we didn’t have a TV so it really was my main source of entertainment (and still is, although now I also make a living out of it!) So I always knew that language had power really as whenever I was upset, or unsure of things, I’d lose myself in a book for a while and things would somehow seem easier afterwards. I love that escapist power books have and I firmly believe that they should be accessible to everyone for that very reason.
SOS: Do you have any unpublished and half-finished books?
PM: The Doll House was the first book I ever wrote and I was very lucky that it was published, but before it finally found a home I did write another book that we haven’t sent out on submission yet. It’s slightly different I suppose and still needs a lot of work, but I’d love for a version of it to find a home some day! I also have part of a historical novel that I want to finish at some point too.
SOS: What does literary success look like to you?
PM: Oh gosh, I don’t know. It’s so hard, the goalposts always move. I used to just want to get published, and I am still so grateful that that’s happened and that essentially I have done what I set out to do. But it’s hard not to compare yourself to other people and there are so many markers of success these days – I think it’s best not to get too caught up in it and just to focus on the writing and connecting with readers. I love getting reviews of my books on Amazon, that feels successful to me because it means that at least one person other than my mum has read them!
SOS: Having worked in the publishing industry yourself, what do you think are common traps for aspiring writers?
PM: I think linking to what I said above, it’s very difficult to ignore the comparisons and focus on your own goals but if you can do it I’d definitely advise it! There will always be someone doing something differently to you but your journey is your own and you never know what might be just around the corner. In terms of the actual writing, I think it’s sometimes tempting for new writers to rush things a bit and contact editors or agents before their manuscripts are fully polished – better to take your time and get it right before approaching someone, and ensure you get your book to the very best standard before sending it out. Also, always be nice – the publishing industry is a small one really and it’s worth getting to know other writers, as the writing community can be very supportive.
SOS: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
PM: It all depends on the book really! For both of my books I did speak to a former police officer who was really helpful, and for The Girl Next Door I also spoke to a doctor friend who had to tell me what might happen to a body if someone was killed in a certain way. A cheerful conversation! For my characters, I tend to make little notes in my phone about people’s mannerisms or turns of phrase when I am out and about and those might find themselves in my books, but the rest of it just comes from my head, no research involved!
SOS: Fun fact: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
PM: Haha, not intentionally! But people that know me or my background well might recognize certain things or people, although often I use names of people I know and those won’t be related to the actual characters at all. So don’t be offended if you see your name in one of my books, it will just be because I’m terrible at thinking of fictional names!
SOS: What are you working on currently? When can we expect your next book?
PM: I am now working on my third book, the working title is The Babysitter but this will probably change! It’s due out in April 2020 at the moment, though again sometimes publication dates move a bit. I’m hoping to send it to my editor in a few weeks and will then anxiously await her feedback!
SOS: Your words of wisdom for aspiring writers.
PM: Talk to other authors and people in the industry, as often they will have good nuggets of advice or tips to help you with your writing or with the editorial process in general. I have a lovely group of writer friends who I really rely on to talk me off the ledge at times! And if you are looking for tips on writing or publishing, visit my blog at www.phoebemorganauthor.com which contains lots of info about getting an agent, marketing your book, the editorial process and more.
Let’s wish Phoebe the best of luck for her book release and wish for it to be one of the best sellers of the year! I can’t wait to read more of your books, Phoebe. Thoroughly enjoyed reading The Girl Next Door recently and had a wonderful time chatting with you on syllables of Swathi. Thanks so much for your time and my gratitude to Lucy Richardson from HQ for the opportunity.
So guys, if you have read any of Phoebe’s books, come let’s chat about how amazingly she plots her thrillers! xxx
The Doll House
‘Tense, suspenseful and unsettling!’ Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me
You never know who’s watching…
Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.
But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…
How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?
A gripping debut psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of I See You and The Widow.Amazon
The Girl Next Door
One little lie just became deadly…
Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.
So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.
Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…Amazon