Let’s welcome Phoebe Morgan to the blog today. Phoebe is an author and commissioning 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. The Doll House is her debut novel. I rocketed to the number 1 iBooks bestseller and spent over 8 weeks in the Kindle top 100. Phoebe’s working on her second book now. Read on for insights into Phoebe’s process.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Oh, I had so many! I loved Enid Blyton because she was just so imaginative; I used to be part of a little Secret Seven with my friends, we made badges and held mystery meetings in the shed at the bottom of the garden. I also loved anything by Roald Dahl and a series called The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. We didn’t have a television (my parents still don’t) so I spent a lot of time reading – I’m actually really grateful for that now.
Did you study in college with an eye towards your writing career?
I studied English Language and Literature at university, and then on a placement year at an American college I took a creative writing module and loved it. It was a great class and I got some really nice feedback on a short story, so I think it was at that point that I began to think about writing more seriously. I trained to be a journalist, though, so I never really thought about being a full-time writer (I still don’t) – but I did know I wanted to do something related to the book or writing world. I had a couple of very inspiring teachers in secondary school and I often think about how much their encouragement and creativity helped me get to where I am today.
What is your day job?
I work as a commissioning editor at Avon Books in London, specializing in commercial crime, thriller, saga and women’s fiction. It’s been fascinating seeing the process from both sides now that my own book is published, and I hope it will help me become a better editor too! I’m always on the hunt for exciting new fiction voices, and I love how rewarding it is seeing an author make the journey from submission to publication. I’m lucky to have an amazing list of writers, and I’ve found the publishing industry to be an incredibly supportive one. Working with words is brilliant – I’ve never been a numbers girl!
Tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write it?
My debut is out now and it’s called The Doll House. It’s a psychological thriller about two sisters and the secrets their parents have been keeping from them. I’ve always been fascinated by the sisterly relationship – I have two brothers – and I’m also interested in childhood, and how much of an influence it continues to have on our adult lives. The book explores these themes and hopefully keeps you turning the pages, too! I was inspired to write it by a doll house that my Dad made me, a big pink affair, and in the story the doll house that the sisters have symbolizes the idea of the perfect home and the perfect family – which is something that if you look under the surface, nobody really has.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear – I’m about 80% of the way through (I do most of my reading on my Kindle) and am absolutely LOVING it. It’s very twisty and complex at the moment and I can’t quite work out where the narrative is going to take us. The narrator is a 26-year-old policewoman who I find really engaging. I read a huge amount of crime and thriller books but this one stands out to me – I’d definitely recommend it. In the past year or so I’ve also loved Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, which is another thriller, and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney which is much more whimsical.
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