Sarah Morgan is a USA Today bestselling author, who in her words writes hot, happy contemporary romance accompanied by her trademark humour and sensuality. Sarah has sold over 15 million copies of her books around the world, and has been described by RT Book Reviews as ‘a magician with words’. Sarah Morgan has been nominated an incredible five times for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 for her book Doukakis’s Apprentice and 2013 for A Night of No Return. Sarah Morgan spent her childhood dreaming of becoming a writer, and is now proud to say she is living the dream. Please enjoy my interview with the prolific author, with fans all around the world, Sarah Morgan…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I tell them I’m a novelist. If I say I’m a writer people immediately ask me what I write, so these days I start by giving them the detail.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. A brilliant book that tackles important issues.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read it so many times the cover fell off.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first completed work was the biography of my hamster, which I wrote when I was eight.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A writer, but I didn’t think I could make a living doing that so I trained as a nurse and later had a career in marketing and public relations before leaving to write full time. I don’t regret the path I’ve taken. Everything I’ve done has played a role in my writing. My nursing experience gave me my first writing break because I wrote medical romance before moving on to write other things. My marketing and public relations experience has proved invaluable in recent years because a publisher now expects an author to develop their own platform and take an active part in promotion.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
My school aged self would be thrilled that I’m doing what I always wanted to do and that I’ve sold more than 15 million books globally.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
I would gift myself On Writing by Stephen King.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I always read before going to bed, but often at other times of the day too if the book I’m reading pulls me in. One of the many good things about writing full time is that I control my day. If I want to go for a long walk or read a book, then I can. Of course I then have to make up the time later!
Can you talk us through your writing process, from the first spark of an idea, to having your first completed draft?
A book often starts with a ‘what if’ idea, and also with characters. I don’t plan in detail, but my publisher requires that I produce an outline so I do have the bare bones of a story with the major turning points and conflict mapped out before I start. The detail often changes as I write because ideas come to me as the story builds and I gain deeper knowledge of the characters. I try and complete a first draft and resist the temptation to go back over what I’ve done. Once I’ve finished a draft I will keep working on the book until I’m happy.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far? How did it impact it?
Four years ago I wrote a book called Sleigh Bells in the Snow which was my first novel after years of writing shorter ‘series’ books for Harlequin. I enjoyed having the longer length to work with and the bigger scope. It changed the direction of my career.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
Finish something. Starting a book is easy but sticking with it to the end, working through difficult parts and completing the book is the hard part. And read. Every writer should read. It’s a way of replenishing creative energy.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s a perfect book.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I read both, but generally more fiction.
Do you think reading is important?
It’s essential. It informs, entertains and adds quality to life.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
The one I’m reading now; Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I prefer physical books, but I read digital for convenience when I’m travelling so I appreciate both.
Name a book that you feel everyone would benefit from reading and explain why.
Again, the book I’m reading now, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It tackles such an important issue and challenges the way we think about ourselves.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte would definitely be on my reading list. From recent reading as well as those already mentioned, I’d recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen, The Witness by Nora Roberts.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
Too many to list. I usually read one or two books a week, sometimes those recommended by friends with similar reading taste, sometimes books I see reviewed that interest me, sometimes books sent to me by my publisher.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Never Give Up.