5 Minutes with Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan is a Sunday Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She has sold over 16 million copies of her books globally and has won the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America three times.

Sarah lives near London with her family. When she isn’t writing or reading, she likes to spend time outdoors walking or riding her mountain bike and occasionally stops to take photographs. You can see some of them on Instagram at @sarahmorganwrites.

What was the last book you read? 

Becoming by Michelle Obama. I found it inspiring, emotional, and thought-provoking. Sad in places, funny in others. It also confirmed my suspicion that I would never want to be President.

What did you read it on? 

Hardback, because I knew my family, and extended family, would want to read it too. When it comes to books, we’re a family of sharers. We had two copies between us. Obviously I had priority!

What’s next on your reading list?

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister. We’re doing an event together soon and I always try and read the work of my fellow panellists. It’s a great way to discover new books, and this one looks wonderful (I confess I might have already sneaked a read of the first few pages).

Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?

Shakespeare and Co in Paris. Apart from its idyllic position on the Left Bank opposite Notre Dame, I love the charming, slightly haphazard feel of the place. Each room has its own personality. Upstairs it feels more like being in someone’s living room. Also, they have a piano. If you’re lucky, one of the customers will play it while you’re curled up on one of the comfortable chairs leafing through a book.

Name your favourite app and why

Instagram, although I’m not interested in selfies or celebrity. I love photography. I follow people like Jimmy Chin (@Jimmychin), who is a climber and photographer. One glance at his feed makes me feel as if I’ve started my day in snowy mountains, breathing in fresh air (the reality is less than fresh air, in London). Instagram also has a global community of book lovers, and if you follow the hashtag #bookstagram you’ll find some beautiful images.

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?

A mini reindeer and a ‘snow’ covered pine cone. I’m currently writing A Wedding In December, a festive themed book that will be published in November and I need to be in the Christmas mood even though it’s February. Because of my writing schedule, it’s Christmas for six months of the year in my house.

What distracts you from writing?

Almost everything if I let it, particularly if a book isn’t going as smoothly as I’d like it to. I have an office at the bottom of my garden and decided not to have an internet connection because that’s the biggest threat to productivity. I’m also distracted by sunshine, but that one I allow. I try and walk most days. Writing is a mostly sedentary job, and it’s important to keep moving. I listen to audiobooks or podcasts while I walk, and I’m always pondering on the book so I like to think it still counts as work.

What was your first job?

I trained as a nurse. That may not sound like a useful background for a writer, but I learned a lot from the experience, particularly about human behaviour but also about the power of words. I saw how the right choice of words could make a moment better for a patient, or infinitely worse. Words matter. Now I’m offering those words through fiction, but I think I’m still trying to comfort people and offer them something that makes the moment better. My books are always hopeful, and my favourite reader letters are the ones telling me that my books have helped them through tough times. There’s still a nurse in me somewhere.

What was your favourite childhood book?

I had a few, but The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith is probably my most thumbed (or should I say dog-eared) copy. That story has everything – adventure, romance, great characters, both human and canine, all with distinct personalities. And, of course, one of the most memorable villains in children’s books, Cruella de Vil.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write and keep writing. Don’t wait until you have time, make time. Write the book that excites you so much you can’t wait to get to your laptop. Write through self-doubt, through interruptions, through rejection. When it’s hard, keep going. Perseverance is important, as is resilience. And those skills are as important when you’re published as they are when you’re unpublished.

Sarah joins London Book & Screen Week 2019 to host a sparkling discussion with internationally bestselling author Nicola Cornick, followed by a screening of the hit rom com, In Her Shoes. The evening is held in association with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Book your spot here: https://lbsw-romcom.eventbrite.co.uk

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