- You wrote many books about another icon Marilyn Monroe, why now do you write about Madonna ?
Because I am a huge fan of Madonna (I actually became a fan of hers before I discovered Marilyn) and felt that it was the right time to write about her. I had no interest in writing a salacious biography and instead wanted to write a celebration of her life and career. The emphasis was very much on putting together something that the fans and Madonna could enjoy together.
- Did you find common points between Madonna & Marilyn ? Because as you know, Madonna was inspired by Marilyn.
They both have different personalities (though I’m sure they would have found each other fascinating if they’d been able to meet). However, they are both very misunderstood; both hounded relentlessly; and both extremely talented and driven women. Neither of them had very good childhoods. Madonna lost her mother at a young age as we know, and so did Marilyn – though she never died, she was taken away to a mental hospital and Marilyn did not have a close relationship with her during her entire life. Both grew up feeling like an outsider and wanting to do much more than have a so-called ‘normal’ life, and yet on finding fame, both have craved a sense of normality in terms of marriage and children. Neither have been successful in marriage, though of course Madonna has been blessed with four children. Sadly Marilyn was never able to make that particular dream come true.
- Was it difficult to find information about M ?
No, it was the easiest thing in the world because I have loved Madonna for 30 years and have scrapbooks and many magazines, interviews etc. Plus YouTube is a tremendous source for clips relating to all aspects of her life. It was seriously the easiest, most enjoyable book I have ever worked on.
- How long did it take to write this book ?
It literally only took me about two months, if that! Of course it was a longer process in total because then it went to my publisher and went through editing, proof-reading, publicity etc, but the actual writing of it for me only took those two months. I became so engrossed in it that it really wasn’t like work at all. Being able to look at photos of Madonna all day, and read interviews, watch concerts etc was the best thing in the world! I would get up early, take my daughter to school, work on the book all day, then stop for a few hours and resume at 10 pm and work until midnight. I absolutely loved writing the book and it was sad to come to an end.
- Did you learn things that you didn't know before about M ?
Well I have been a fan since I was fourteen years old and have followed her career very closely during that time, so I knew a lot already. However, it was nice to delve deeper into her charity work and to look at photos of her in Malawi, talking to the children and working hard to help give them better lives.
- Did Madonna hear about your work ? Did you send her a copy of your book ?
I’m not sure if Madonna has heard about my book yet. I have tweeted her and left comments on her Instagram, so hopefully she has. I dedicated the book to her and would like to send her a copy very soon. I’m sure you will hear my screams of joy if she ever comments about it on her Instagram! :-)
- The book is illustrated with many pictures, how did you choose them ?
That was the most enjoyable part of the process. I made a big list of 220 key aspects of her life and career, then matched those periods with photos that suited the captions. I was very lucky because I was allowed to choose any photos I liked, and then the publisher ordered them from the different agencies. I was also able to track down a gentleman who went to University with Madonna, and he very kindly allowed one of his photos to go into the book. That is one of my favourites and I’m thrilled that it is in there.
- According to you, what is the best period of Madonna ? What is the most interesting ?
I love all periods of Madonna’s career to be honest. Obviously I love the very beginning when I was just a teenager and tried very hard to dress up like her. Then the Papa Don’t Preach/Who’s That Girl era has very special memories for me, of growing up and being in the Sixth Form at school. After that I am extremely interested in the Ray of Light period, where she became a student of yoga and Kabbalah and also became a mother. She inspired me to study yoga myself and I then went on to become a yoga teacher, so that was an interesting time for me. American Life reminds me of when I was pregnant with my daughter, and Drowned World reminds me of the time I had VIP tickets to see her in concert. So lots and lots of special memories covering all aspects of her career. I couldn’t pinpoint the most interesting because to me she has always been relevant and inspiring, whatever she is doing in her career.
- Are you a big fan of Madonna ? What's your favorite video clip and song ?
Yes, I absolutely adore her. My favourite video has always been Papa Don’t Preach and my favourite song is Ray of Light. Ray of Light is like an anthem to me. Before I became a full-time writer, I used to have a really boring day job. I would often dream that the day I could leave to pursue my dream, Ray of Light would be playing in the background, like in a movie! Sometimes when I feel that I need a little bit of confidence, I will always listen to Ray of Light. It is such an uplifting song.
- Is still trendy buying a book about a celebrity ? You know many people write about famous people, what's different with your book ?
I think what is different with my book is that it is not a biography, nor is it a huge coffee-table book. Instead it is 440 pages with 220 glossy photographs – one on each page – complete with a long caption for each one. It goes from the very beginning of her life to mid-2014 when she started recording Rebel Heart. The book is a huge celebration of Madonna’s career, written by someone who has loved her since 1984, so I think that is a big difference too, because it is written with respect and a lot of heart.
- Do you want to write other books about Madonna or other artist ?
I would love to write another book about Madonna, but once again I would like it to be a celebration of her life and career. Hopefully I will be able to do an updated version of the book in five or ten years, covering the next part of her career. I’d be really interested in doing that. As for other artists, well I have another book coming out about Marilyn Monroe very soon (entitled Before Marilyn and co-authored with Astrid Franse) and then in November I have a biography of 1930’s film star Thelma Todd, entitled The Ice Cream Blonde. I am really proud of both books and can’t wait to see them in print. I’m working on another book as we speak about another famous person, but I can’t say anything about it just yet.
- Where can we find your book ?
It can be bought or ordered from all good book shops, as well as Amazon and Book Depository etc. The official publication date for the US is May 26th, but good news – it is actually shipping now! Here are some links:
- Any words for our readers ?
Just thank you so much for your support. I have had so many lovely comments from people since the book was published, and have made some very special friends. I don’t take your comments and support for granted, and I wrote this book for the fans so I’m ecstatic that you like it.
If any readers would like to see me talk about the Madonna book, you can do so here, in an interview with Jim Junot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uKH89qJKJs Also my blog is here: www.Michelle-Morgan.blogspot.com.
Thanks a million for the opportunity of talking to you about my book!
A big thanks to Michelle for taking time to answer to our questions, we wish you the best !