There’s always something rather special about featuring an author on publication day, and it’s a real pleasure today to introduce you to Fiona Morgan. Her début novel, Free, caught many readers’ attention last year – and I very much like the look of her second, What’s Mine, published today (26th April) by Pegasus.
Bronagh seems to have it all: her own flat, a fantastic new job as a party planner and a blossoming romance with long-term friend, Max. Little does she know that someone is plotting to take everything away from her. Elaine, now out of work, having been replaced by Bronagh, is hell-bent on revenge. She begins a campaign of terror, beginning with abusive text messages, which quickly escalates leading to devastating consequences. Will Bronagh and Max’s relationship survive the turmoil that ensues? Will Elaine get the revenge she so desperately wants?
Set in Glasgow, this is a powerful tale of love, hate, manipulation and control, which examines the wide-ranging consequences and damage inflicted by a callous act of revenge.
It was a real delight to meet Fiona through the Writers Authors & Readers Facebook group, and it was lovely to have the opportunity to carry on our conversation…
Hello Fiona, and welcome to Being Anne – would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi Anne, thank you for having me on your wonderful blog. My name is Fiona Morgan and I am married with two gorgeous girls and a massive love of shoes, mostly high heels so I can reach things as I don’t quite hit 5 foot. In my day jobs I am a deafblind guide communicator and a British Sign Language Facilitator in a college, interpreting for our deaf students. I find time, somehow, to write at night and at the weekends, or even on lunch breaks if the ideas are flowing. I am a massive coffee lover and love taking myself off for an hours peace to my local Costa to write my books and people watch.
We’re here today to talk about the publication of your second book, What’s Mine, but let’s take a look first at your début, Free. So many lovely five star reviews! Tell me more about it – domestic violence at its centre, everyone calling it a roller coaster of a read…
I am amazed and humbled at the amount of five star reviews I have for Free, especially with it being my début novel. It is based in Glasgow, which is the city nearest me, and has domestic violence at it’s centre along with a love story. I wanted to show that domestic violence doesn’t only take place in the bread-line, not so financially secure homes, that it can and does happen in the more affluent homes also. I didn’t want to dwell on the abuse itself, more the getting away and have my female character, Ava, to come into her own, to learn to love herself again after being controlled and beaten for so long, but I am also a sucker for romance, a love story and a happy ending, so I knew I would have these in my story.
I have been told that Free is an emotional roller-coaster as it is close to real life. I feel this is a great compliment to my writing which amazes me.
Let’s talk covers – I loved the birdcage and the bird flying free, but the new one is altogether darker and more sinister, and very striking. Your own work, or do you have a talented designer?
My husband and I sat together and threw ideas about for the cover. He came up with the better ideas and I am forever grateful for his input. My youngest daughter is a great drawer so I asked her to do the sketch to send to my publisher and between the ideas, the sketch and the amazing work by the designers at Pegasus Publishers they gave me the gorgeous covers.
I chose the birdcage as, it may look beautiful, it is still locked. So being in there the bird is trapped. This signified Ava’s relationship with Nathan. He may have the money and the huge house, she is trapped in a gilded cage.
A darker cover – a darker book? I’m seeing revenge, hate, manipulation…
What’s Mine is a darker cover and a slightly darker story. It deals with jealousy, stalking, revenge, hate, manipulation and a battle to keep a love story together. I also deal with two different types of love through it and the consequences of both.
Tell me who this book will appeal to. Hardcore psychological thriller readers? Or are we talking romantic suspense, perhaps with slightly softer edges?
Personally I think it’s a thriller romance book. It has suspense and violence and parts I struggled to write, real life scenes with feelings and heartbreak and hangovers, but it has it’s softer edges, some steamy bits, and a best friend that hands out some comic relief.
I see you started writing as a hobby, fitting it round your busy life. Tell me more about how and when you write…
Yes it was a hobby for me that has grown into a passion and hopefully I will get to write full time! At the moment I write whenever and wherever I can. I arrive early at work to miss traffic so write before I go to class or pick up a service user, I try to write at any breaks I get or lunch times, but more so a night sitting on my couch and at the weekends. This can bring about strange conversations with my hubby when I start asking questions about the logistics of some of the violent scenes, or look into the distance working out torture scenes.
And how did you actually start? Just by sitting at your keyboard, or did you do the rounds of “how to” courses and creative writing groups?
I wanted to push myself to do something I always wanted to do, so as not to go backwards with my depression. I bought a pad of lined paper, a notebook and a packet of sticky notes and went for it. I told myself that the story was only for me, and so I wrote myself a story. During it I asked my friend to read it over for me and she was enjoying it, so once I had it typed up and what I thought was edited enough, I picked out a few publishers to send it to and I am a published author! I wish I could say it was that easy, but I got there and that is what I concentrate on.
After I finished writing Free and it was at the publishers I noticed I was missing my characters, they had become like friends, I also missed the act of sitting writing and tell a story, so I knew then that I had to start again, so out came the ever present notebook and A4 lined pad of paper and off I went again.
Planning, writing, editing, getting ready for launch, the marketing – what’s your favourite part of the whole process? And the most difficult?
My favourite part of the journey is the writing, I love telling the story, thinking about how things will come together and getting a surprise when things turn out different to what even I thought would happen. I find the editing hard going and I think I have it polished, then cringe when the proofs come back full of red pen and mistakes pointed out. I tend not to plan too much of the story. I plan what my characters will look like and I have definite idea of the main event that the whole story is working towards and sometimes other smaller events that I want to happen, but how it all comes together is in the heat of the moment and where the words take me. As for marketing… oh my goodness!!! That has been a learning curve that I’m not sure I have climbed up the other end of yet! I am not one for blowing my own trumpet, so marketing has been hard, but I just keep plugging the books when I can.
I had my book launch in Glasgow, where my books are based, and had an amazing night talking about my dream come true and I am for ever grateful for everyone who attended. I spoke in both English and British Sign Language at the launch as I had a very good friend attend who is Deaf and their first language is BSL, I have the skills to include the D/deaf and deafblind community in my launches, so everyone is always welcome.
And what writers do you particularly admire? If someone said “your writing reminds me of…”, who would you like them to mention?
I love Stuart MacBride and how he can bring humour into a gruesome scene without being crass. I like Lee Child and Peter James also. Any thriller or police books. I have a weird fascination with the Kray twins so read anything on them.
Some of my readers likened Free to a Martina Cole novel, I was over the moon with that. Here’s hoping I can produce as many books as she has too.
What’s next for you? Are you already working on something new?
At the moment I am gearing up for the release of What’s Mine on 26th of April so it will be all hands on deck for the marketing, launch and promotion of that, but whilst that manuscript has been getting made into my dream coming true I have been working on my third book, working titled… book three (a lot of thought went into it), so fingers crossed I can get it finished and made into another dream. My plans for the future are to continue to write and get published and I feel that I am on my way to doing just that.
And I wish you every success in achieving that dream, Fiona – it’s been so lovely to meet you, and I’ll look forward to the opportunity to catch up with your books. Wishing you every success with What’s Mine – and let’s just take another quick look at your first book, Free…
Free (available in paperback and for kindle)
Ava owes everything to Nathan, her boyfriend. Without him she is useless and incapable of independent thought or action. Ava knows this because Nathan has told her, repeatedly, and just to reinforce the point, the occasional slap or punch helps, doesn’t it? After all, it is her fault, as she does push all his buttons’ and cause him to be so angry.
This seems to be the pattern of Ava’s life until she has a chance meeting with Neil, a man who is different, who seems to understand, and she takes the brave step of asking him to help her leave her possessive, abusive relationship. Leaving is never that easy and Nathan’s persistence in pursuing Ava is the cause of much mental anguish for both her and Neil, for whom the long-buried memory of an abusive father is brought back into focus. They are both caught up in uncertainty and physical violence, which test the tender love that is growing between them.
About the author
Fiona lives in the small town of Airdrie near Glasgow with her husband, Liam, and their two daughters, Erin and Sian.
She works as a deafblind guide/communicator and a British Sign Language facilitator, learning British Sign Language after the birth of her second daughter.