Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Visit with English Author Morgen Bailey

Morgen Bailey is a writing-related blogger who also hosts the weekly Bailey’s Writing Tips audio podcast, two in-person writing groups (based in Northamptonshire, England). She's the author of numerous short stories, novels,  and articles, and has dabbled with poetry, but admits that she doesn’t “get it,” and is a regular Radio Litopia contributor.

She's also Chair of another local writing group (which runs the annual HE Bates Short Story Competition), belongs to a fourth, and can regularly be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. When she’s not researching for her writing groups, she's a British Red Cross volunteer, walks her dog (often while reading, writing or editing) and reads (though not as often as she’d like, but is spurred on by her new Kindle).

Morgen, you conduct so many great interviews with writers, how do you find time to write?

<laughs> By giving up my day job. Still trying actually. I quit 1st October 2011 but they’ve only just found someone to replace me (I guess I should be flattered) starting next month so I’ll leave after I’ve trained her. To answer your question properly, I find time by being given a deadline. or no problem. Tell me I’ve got as long as I like to do something? Not a good idea. :) I have just joined Tuesday Tales and Indies Unlimited – both give prompts for a short story a week. The Tuesday Tale story (no word limit) goes on my blog then is linked on TT (which I then promote) alongside an average of 20 other writers. Indies Unlimited have a 250 word limit and you paste the story in the relevant comment section by Tuesday afternoon (US MST time) then voting opens on the Wednesday and closes on the Thursday with the winner announced on the Friday. I’ve only done one of these (this week’s) so far but the combination of both sites are getting me writing at least two stories a week and I’m loving it.

I love your profile caricature, but why do you prefer it to your photograph?
Oh, thank you. Despite (or maybe because of) being a photographer’s daughter I don’t think I’m particularly photogenic but then most people don’t like their own photographs. I walked past Adrian’s (Teal) studio to and from work and have always love cartoons, so couldn’t resist then I put it online and it stayed. I’d put a proper photo on Facebook, tagging friends who were sitting either side of me and had a few people raving about it so I put it as my profile pic on Twitter. I’m still fond of the caricature though (which remains my main Facebook picture).
Have you found differences in the way writers on both sides of the pond promote their books?
I can’t say I have. The only way I can tell the difference when an author approaches me for an interview is if they have a email address (for example) or phone number (if they’ve put it) or if they tell me. Regardless of where an author comes from they all want the same thing; to have their ‘voices’ heard – figuratively and literally. :)
When did you begin your own writing and when were you first published?

English was one my favourite subjects at school (next to Art – my least favourite being history and the sciences – my physics teacher telling my parents the first time they met that I should give it up… which I did gladly at the first opportunity) and I’d buy every Stephen King book as it came out in my teens (I blame him for me wearing glasses – torch / duvet) so always loved reading. I’d write limericks for colleagues in my 20s (I now write them for Facebook friends’ birthdays) but life took over. I wasn’t until January 2006 when I went to SallySpedding’s creative writing workshop class (which I took over in 2008) that I was hooked. Then a couple of years ago I decided I wanted to do nothing else for the rest of my life and I’m still working on that. :)
Who most influenced your own writing?
I write more dark than light and put it down to Roald Dahl being my favourite author (Kate Atkinson’s a close second). I love his mentality and his complete short stories (inc. all the Tales of the Unexpected) would be my desert island choice. My father died before I got into writing but I think he’d have been a big influence. My mum’s supportive but I have to be selective with what I show her (the ‘nice’ stuff).
For whom do you write and in which genres?
Initially authors must write for themselves. If you don’t enjoy your writing then it will show in the reading of it. I have a lot of works in files (including four and a bit novels) which I plan to dust off and scrub up until they’re worthy so I do write to be read and grin stupidly every time I receive a review (especially the good ones :)) because it means someone’s read something I’ve written. I received an email from a young (under 13) lady the other day raving about my free eShort April’s Fool and wanted a sequel, to know where she could read more of my writing – that has to be the best a writer can hear, although “you’ve won the Booker Prize” would be pretty good.
Who are your favorite writers in the UK and US?
Ah. Roald Dahl and Kate Atkinson in the UK (Alexis Sayle’s ‘Barcelona Plates’ would a runner up for superb short story). US? Good question. Being into short stories I like Alice Munro (if Canadian is close enough) and Stephen King does a mean short.
What’s the best and worst aspects of writing for you?
Working backwards, I’m not a fan of editing or research although the internet has made life a lot easier, as has having a re-life editor who not only picks out the errors but also comes up with some great suggestions. The best bit has to be not knowing what will come out when pen hits paper or fingertips keyboard. I love it when characters and you get to know each other.
Tell us about your latest release and your WIP.
I put out four free eShorts and not quite so free ($1.49) 31-story anthology and writer’s block workbook on Smashwords last November and was planning to get the novels out on Amazon shortly thereafter but have been swamped with the blog recently. They’re in my grand scheme when the day job goes. So current WIPs are whatever Tuesday Tales and Indies Unlimited throw at me.
Advice to fledgling writers?
Don’t worry about quality. Sure, you want to put good work, the best you can do, out to the world but a first draft is going to be that; a draft. You can’t edit a blank page so sit, stand, lie – it doesn’t matter. You just need to do it.
Thanks for reachng across  the pond, Morgen. It's great to have you join us here.
You can learn more about Morgen Bailey at her web  and blog sites:


  1. I totally agree with this: ‘Initially authors must write for themselves. If you don’t enjoy your writing then it will show in the reading of it’. Similarly, if you’ve run out of steam or are bored with your story, the reader will be bored too. I like the idea of tackling short stories, which might possibly give your writing more impetus, ergo firing you up to get that ‘first draft’ of your novel down on paper. As Morgen said, the first draft is just that; a draft, written with gusto and passion. The editing comes later – and then you can get to know your character even more intimately. Great interview, guys!

  2. Thank you, Sheryl. I also agree that the first draft should be written with passion and thren polished until it shines in the fallowing drafts.

  3. Enjoyed this interview! It's always nice to learn more about your favorite writers. I've been a fan on Morgen's for some time, both for her short stories (which are wonderful) and her blog (which I read daily). I like the advice here - just write the draft, then figure out what you're saying later. 90% of writing is rewriting. I'm just not certain what the other 10% is.

    William Doonan

  4. Morgen is unable to post here and sent the following message:

    Thank you, everyone. It's lovely to hear from you and I'm delighted you enjoyed our chat. Your support of my blog (and of course, Jean) means such a lot. The 10%, William, is passion. If you've got it, it comes through. :)