Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Meet Writer Morgen Bailey

I'm pleased to welcome my friend Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Morgen is a prolific author numerous short stories, novels, articles, and a very occasional dabbler of poetry. She is also the author of The Serial Dater's Shopping List, a chick lit novel set in Northampton, England. Morgen Bailey is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition). Like her, Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog is consumed by all things literary. I'm sure Morgen will make you smile and laugh a bit as she did me, so Enjoy!

What type of books do you read?

Usually the type that I write; dark and light, so usually crime and humour, with women’s contemporary fiction thrown in. They balance each other off nicely. I’m a big fan of quirky. Kate Atkinson and Roald Dahl are masters.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Like to do is very different to what I do. I blog, or deal with blog-related emails, far too much of my day. I’m currently doing the final edits to my second novel (also second-written, I have four others in file waiting to be gone through) and don’t spend a high enough proportion doing ‘me’ things. I need to try harder but the lure of the email ‘ping’ or Facebook / Twitter number counters are always too great. If I didn't blog I’d certainly write a lot more (my favourite thing), although I’ve written six novels (albeit that two need finishing), 300+ short stories and a few poems in the last seven years so I guess that’s not bad. 

Tell us about The Serial Dater's Shopping List and how the story came to be.

That’s a very good question. Cheryl. I recall it being a couple of days before the 2009 NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org) and having written a 52,000-word lad lit for the previous year’s NaNo, I wanted to write something else, something just as much fun. I turned to my trusty (and very lengthy; 40+ pages) ideas Word document to see what would grab me and saw a list of over 40 weird and wonderful male characters so decided they should all appear. I then needed a female to meet them all, and she does literally. I’m not sure where the journalist came from but I needed a ‘vehicle’ (situation) in which to get her to meet them. She’s very like me, quite a tough nut, but I hope that readers see she had a softer side by the end of the book – she’s certainly had her share of challenges over the month.

Enjoy this brief glimpse into The Serial Dater's Shopping List
31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?

 Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Apart from the other four ‘filed’ novels (two crime and another lad lit), I’ve written 300+ short stories, some (31) of which became Story a Day in May 2011. I’m woefully behind putting the 2012 collection up, and have three collections of fifty flash fictions (all written subsequently as one piece a day) but I’ll crack on with those once novel number two has gone off to its five first readers. :)

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’ve just finished my fifth NaNoWriMo – a very dark (the darkest thing I’ve written) crime novel which I’m planning as the start of a series. I was told last summer at the great Winchester Writers’ Conference by an equally (supposedly scary but I knew an author she knew so that broke the ice) agent, who looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re a crime writer, you need to write crime”. I’m not sure how she thought that from the chick lit I’d presented her(!) but I’m glad she did as it’s what I’ve ended up turning to in recent months, although her wanting more crime (and historical) may have had an influence. I shall resume writing a story a day from February (because I still have so much almost ready to put online) and because I write one a day they’ll be a few hundred words each. My shortest online story to-date is a 44-worder (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/5pm-fiction-059-stuffed-44-word-story) so I might see if I can beat that.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write every day. Just 300 words a day will get you a 100,000-word novel at the end of a year (or a 50,000-word NaNoWriMo-length novel in six months). Also read. A lot. I don’t read as much as I’d like, although I get to read guest pieces for my Flash Fiction Friday, Short Story Saturday and Red Pen Critique blog slots so I can’t complain. Reading shows us what works (or sometimes doesn’t) and read your own work out loud. It really helps you spot the mistakes. I have other tips on my http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writing-101 page. Even if you’re a seasoned writer you’ll still keep learning.

Where can readers find you and your books?

I have a blog (which I’ve not so subtly mentioned a few times) at http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com and my books are listed on the http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine page. They’re only eBooks at the moment but I’m planning on getting the novels published in hold-in-your-hand format. Having interviewed over 580 authors it’s clear that paperbacks will never go away (or we hope so anyway). I love reading both eBooks and pBooks (as paperbacks are less affectionately known as these days) and it’s great, as an author and a reader, to have the choice. Now, for me, 400+ books weigh no more than an iPad and if I’ve finished (or give up on a story) I know I have plenty of others to choose from.

Anything else you want readers to know?

If you don’t write, give it a go. There’s nothing like creating something out of nothing and sometimes it can only take a word to get you started (I have loads of prompts on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/exercises). If you do already write, don’t ever give up. Unless it’s really not for you and you don’t enjoy writing, don’t stop. Always find a few minutes to write something, even if it’s appalling. And join a writing group so you have people who will be honest and tell you when it needs buffing, and most importantly tell you why something doesn’t work. “It’s great” may make us feel good but equally we want to know why it does work. You can’t edit a blank page so the washing up can wait (if you’re like my lodger no.1 you’ll use cold water anyway) and if you’re anything like me you’ll sit there waving your arms around as you imagine your characters doing whatever it is you’re making them do, and so what if the neighbours think you’re crazy? They probably do already, they’re just too polite to tell you, and think you’re writing about them… which you may well be. We write what we know, don’t we?

Where to find The Serial Dater's Shopping List:

Check out Morgen's website for her other writings. 

By the way, here is the real Morgen Bailey:  


  1. Replies
    1. I do indeed Yvonne, although not as much as I should... another New Year's resolution. :)

      Thank you for visiting.


  2. Enjoyed your interview Morgen and wish you all the best with all your novels....why do we try and write so many at once? You blog is awesome and anyone reading this who has not been over and checked it out yet, needs to do so and fast. Well worth the visit. Thanks for interviewing Morgen, Cheryl, and good luck with all your projects - happy new year everyone.

  3. I enjoyed reading the interview, you are so very active! Good luck with all your work. x

  4. Morgen, you are my hero. I do slack sometimes (even though I do write and publish a lot of poetry) but you put me to shame every time and I promise myself to pick up short-story and novel writing again. I enjoyed your SERIAL DATER'S SHOPPING LIST. It was a relaxed read and fun. We do need a 'holiday' from the serious stuff sometimes.

    May all the projects you have pan out and bear fruit. Oh, yes, I almost forgot: thank you for everything you've done for me.

  5. Thank you very much, inaweblogisback. :)

    Ah, thank you, Rose.

    Sorry for not replying before now. I forgot to click the 'notify me' box (done it now).