I love a psychological thriller so when I was asked to be part of the launch celebrations for The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan, I jumped at the chance. Even better, Phoebe has agreed to tell me a little about how she started writing and how her debut The Doll House came into being.
The Doll House was published by HQ Digital on 14th September 2017 and is available for purchase here.
The Doll House
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…?
How I Started Writing
A Guest Post by Phoebe Morgan
My grandmother sent me a parcel in the mail the other day, a padded envelope with her trademark smiley face on the outside. Inside were several sheets of folded up A4 paper, and written on these was my very first ‘book,’ complete with some questionable pictures. It wasn’t great, I’ll be honest, but the drive was clearly there.
I’ve always loved writing, but it took me a while to make myself take it seriously. It wasn’t until I was in Chicago on a year abroad that I took some creative writing modules as part of my degree, and picked them up again when I was completing the course at Leeds. We mainly wrote short stories, which I loved, and it was from the seed of one of these that The Doll House was born. Those classes were so valuable in many ways – they showed me about discipline, because I’d literally have homework, and they gave me ideas; in one class we visited an art museum and had to each choose a picture to start writing about. Second-guessing the story behind a picture is still something I do today if I feel a bit stuck for inspiration, and it’s a really handy technique.
It can be hard to make time for writing when life gets in the way. When I first moved to London as an adult, I was working three different jobs. I remember being at a friend’s housewarming one night when a man asked me what I liked doing. Someone else said ‘she likes writing!’ and I blushed, embarrassed because I wasn’t actually doing any writing at the time. He looked at me and said, ‘if you like writing, why don’t you just do it?’ Something shifted then – I knew he was right and those words still come back to me now when I’m feeling lazy.
Once I had a full first draft of what would go on to become The Doll House, I started emailing literary agents. I met up with one, then had interest from another – Camilla Wray at Darley Anderson. She emailed me within about 24 hours of my first email, which was so exciting. Along with this, though, I had lots of rejection emails – a couple of close but not quite emails, some form rejections, and some pretty basic ones that were personalised, but still not for them. The rejections hurt a little at first, but not a lot – I knew I had to keep going and if there was specific feedback I always listened to it. I also knew from reading that nearly everyone gets rejected, and that I’d need a tough skin if I was going to pursue writing! Once I signed with Camilla, we worked on the book for another few months before it went on submission. And then I had to start another book, and another one! But I always know now that if I can do it once, I can do it again – because why not?
About Phoebe Morgan
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.