In conversation with... Phoebe Morgan (#2)

Hi Phoebe! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Babysitter! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: The Babysitter is about a murder investigation in Suffolk – a woman called Caroline Harvey is found dead one evening, and the baby she was looking after is missing. The book opens with a family holiday being rudely interrupted by the French police, because the husband is being arrested on suspicion of the murder… It’s a thriller about families, secrets, sacrifice and Suffolk!

Did you know from the beginning who had killed Caroline or did you find out later on, like your readers do?

A: I had an idea, but it slightly changed as I was writing! Often twists come to me as I go, so I always keep an open mind regarding how the novel will actually end.

Was The Babysitter your working title or has it changed along the way?

A: When I was first writing it, it was called The Suspect, but that had been done by another writer. So my publisher suggested The Babysitter, I think, which I was very happy with!

How do you choose where to set your novels? Is location important for you or is your storytelling more character-centric?

A: Setting is really important to me – it’s often what I start with. This one is set between an amazing holiday villa in France, which is based on somewhere I stayed one summer, and Suffolk, which is where I grew up. My fourth book (out next year) is set in Botswana, South Africa, and that setting hugely informs the storyline. I always like the setting to feel almost like another character.

You told me before you don’t picture your characters as actors but I have to ask anyway: if this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Caroline and Siobhan?

A: I honestly don’t know, haha, I find this so hard to picture! I am open to suggestions, though…

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: There is a scene in the book where the baby Eve is being given a bath, and it’s a pretty tense one! I found it quite tricky to write as it’s really emotional, and I’ve had lots of reader feedback about it being hard to read, too…

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Hmm, yes I am sure there is. I did quite a big edit on it, particularly around the ending, but to say more would be a bit of a spoiler…

The Babysitter is your third novel. Do you approach the writing and publishing process in a different way now that you have two successful books behind you?

A: I think I feel more confident because I know I am able to finish a manuscript – there is nothing more daunting than the blank page! But I know the process well, and I know what to expect, so I think I am less anxious than I was at the beginning.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: Book 4 doesn’t have a title yet but it’s about four women who are reunited at a birthday party in a luxury Safari lodge in South Africa. None of them have spoken for two years – but we don’t yet know why… It’s another thriller but a bit different to my first three, I think. I hope everyone will like it, I’m nervous about it.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I am reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – it’s brilliant! She captures suburban America so well, I think.

Thank you for your time!


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