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 womenâ€™s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings.
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
I am 29 and live in North London with my boyfriend. I work full time in publishing, and write my own books during the evenings and weekends. I wrote my first book, â€˜The Doll Houseâ€™, whilst I was an assistant and it was published last year, after I spent a few months working on it editorially with my lovely agent. â€˜The Girl Next Doorâ€™ is my second book, and I canâ€™t wait to see what everybody thinks of it!
I have always loved writing, but only began to take it more seriously when I was about 24. I studied English at university and did a great creative writing class in America that inspired me to do more of my own work. So much of writing it about persistence, and now Iâ€™m very glad I kept going with it even though there were times when I felt like giving up.
- Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book, â€˜The Girl Next Doorâ€™
â€˜The Girl Next Doorâ€™ is a psychological thriller about a small Essex town and the secrets that lie behind closed doors. The whole community is shocked when sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards is found dead in a field known as Sorrowâ€™s Meadow, and DS Madeline Shaw is brought in to investigate the murder. Most of the narrative is told in the perspective of Jane Goodwin, a member of the school PTA and the wife of the town doctor, but is she as perfect as she tries to appear? Youâ€™ll have to read it to find out!
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
Oh, thatâ€™s a good question! My absolute favourite writers are Maggie Oâ€™Farrell, Liane Moriarty, Melissa Banks and Liz Nugent so Iâ€™d love to sit round a table with them! I read so many fantastic books for work that itâ€™s quite hard to find time to do my own reading now, so joining a book club might actually be a good way of being able to read more for pleasure.
- Is there anything that you would change about your writing journey?
Hmm, I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s been a particularly easy journey, so I might make it a bit easier for myself, but then I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™d feel as grateful as I do now or appreciate it as much. All writers have a different path to publication and I try not to get hung up on other peopleâ€™s â€“ itâ€™s best to just focus on your own and I feel very lucky to have a supportive agent and editor who have been great to work with on â€˜The Girl Next Doorâ€™.
- Whoâ€™s your favourite literary villain?
I like Tom Ripley out of the Patricia Highsmith novels!
- Whatâ€™s your favourite opening line from a book?
Liz Nugent always does brilliant opening lines, she is the master of pulling the reader in straight away. Theyâ€™re always so sinister!
- Whatâ€™s your favourite book of all time?
It changes, I think â€“ Iâ€™ve always loved â€˜The Bell Jarâ€™ by Sylvia Plath, and â€˜After Youâ€™d Goneâ€™ is my favourite Maggie Oâ€™Farrell novel, although theyâ€™re all great. When I was younger I read tons of Enid Blyton and Harry Potter so those all have a special place in my heart too.
- Why did you decide to write crime fiction?
I write crime mainly because itâ€™s what I enjoy reading â€“ I decided to try to write books that Iâ€™d want to read myself. I publish a lot of crime and suspense at work as well, so it was the genre I felt the most confident in, although I donâ€™t know whether I will stick to crime forever.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
Hmm. I would bring the fourth Harry Potter book, â€˜The Goblet of Fireâ€™ because I love that storyline, thereâ€™s so much going on! Iâ€™d also bring â€˜The Wonder Spotâ€™ by Melissa Bank, which Iâ€™ve read hundreds of times but never gets old, and Iâ€™d bring a â€˜Bridget Jonesâ€™ book to make me laugh!
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
I think itâ€™s very important to read a lot, get to know your genre, find out what works and what doesnâ€™t work. Iâ€™d also suggest getting your work read by beta readers or joining a writing group that might help critique your manuscript â€“ itâ€™s always good to get other opinions and find out if whatâ€™s in your head makes sense on the page! Donâ€™t be afraid of editing your book, either â€“ get your first draft down and then go back through it, again and again, moving chapters around or making cuts where necessary. No one ever writes a perfect first draft so the editing process is something you need to get used to.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
I donâ€™t really need anything other than my laptop, but I like lighting a candle if Iâ€™m at home, itâ€™s nice and calming! And tea. Or wine.
- And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
â€˜The Girl Next Doorâ€™ is out now and then my third book will be out next year. Itâ€™s about a couple who go on holiday to France, only for the police to ring the doorbell of their villa and accuse the husband of a murder back in Englandâ€¦ I hope you all like it! You can stay up to date with my book news by joining my newsletter â€“ you can subscribe here: