Ham&High Podcast: Writing a book and getting published, with Phoebe Morgan

Phoebe Morgan

Phoebe Morgan - Credit: Phoebe Morgan

How do you write a book? And how do you get published?

These are the questions at the heart of this week’s Ham&High Podcast, with guest Phoebe Morgan. With four thrillers to her name so far and as editorial director at Harper Collins, the Crouch End resident is the person to answer them.

The 31-year-old has responsibility for crime and thriller novels, whether it is "cosy crime", "up lit", the darker British detective novels – or a new trend waiting to happen.

Phoebe herself has sold more than 150,000 books and her latest thriller, The Wild Girls, sees old friends reunited in Botswana after becoming estranged on a night when everything fell apart. 

"I wrote most of it in March, April, May 2020 when we were in proper lockdown," she said. "So, actually, it was really nice to be able to escape into a hot, lovely location, rather than just sat in my north London flat."

She added: "I found it really escapist to write, and I hope people have that same experience if they read it." 

The Wild Girls, by Phoebe Morgan

The Wild Girls, by Phoebe Morgan - Credit: Phoebe Morgan

In her day job, Phoebe looks after a roster of authors, seeing books through the publication process and looking for the next big thing.

The first stage is reading submissions and deciding whether to make a case for the company to take an author on.

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She says it is important for hopefuls to not get despondent, as there can be many reasons for a book not getting picked up – not just its quality. It could be to do with books already on the firm's roster or the current market. 

"There was a manuscript a few months ago that I absolutely loved," she said. "I thought it was so beautifully written. It was really, really great, but when I took it to a meeting, not everyone loved it because it was post apocalyptic and it was quite dark. To be honest, it was a little bit depressing, even though it was beautifully written, and I think the general public appetite maybe just isn't there for that kind of book at the moment because of the pandemic."

Phoebe's book The Wild Girls is out now and you can find out more about writing and publishing at www.phoebemorganauthor.com 

To hear the full interview, listen and subscribe for free to the full podcast via https://podfollow.com/hamhigh/. You'll also be able to find interviews with previous guests including Sir Keir Starmer, Michelle Collins and Esther Rantzen.