Spotlight on guest Morton S. Gray
Welcome Morton. It was so lovely to meet you in person at the RNA Conference in Leeds. Congratulations on winning Choc Lit Publishing's Search for a Star Competition in 2016 with The Girl on the Beach.
(I don’t bear a grudge despite one of my books being shortlisted alongside yours!)
Lovely to meet you too – I had the feeling that I’d known you for ages.
Interesting to hear you were shortlisted in the same competition. There were five novels shortlisted that time and another friend, Lynn Forth was also on the list!
1. Can you tell us a little about your writing leading up to the wonderful success with Search for a Star
I have always loved writing, I can remember discovering the joy of using words when I first learned to write at school. My mum, dad, sister and I visited the local library every Saturday to choose our weekly reading. I also used to watch films with my nan every Sunday afternoon. I think the combination of these gave me my interest in stories.
Most of my working life was spent writing reports, training materials and minutes, or that’s what I thought – I’ve recently found a forgotten stash of poems and story ideas I’d written over the years.
In 2006, I entered a short story competition and unbelievably won. It ignited a spark in me and I began to attend creative writing courses. My tutor encouraged competition entries and I began to shortlist in flash fiction, short story and first chapter contests, culminating in my win with Choc Lit and the publication of my debut novel The Girl on the Beach.
2. Your novels The Girl on the Beach and The Truth Lies Buried, are both set in the same fictional seaside town of Borteen. Did you create Borteen with an actual place in mind, or is it a completely fictional town?
Borteen is completely fictional, although inevitably has elements of some of my favourite seaside towns. I had the surreal experience recently of hearing one of my readers trying to convince another that Borteen is St Ives in Cornwall – it isn’t ;-)
3. Do you begin with knowing where your story will take you, or do you let your characters solve the conundrum themselves?
I start with a scenario, usually containing a mystery of some sort and a couple of characters, but beyond that I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the story. I enjoy finding out the journey my characters travel as I write.
4. Will there be another story set in Borteen or are you staging your next novel elsewhere?
I am currently writing The Borteen Secrets Series. In my second novel, The Truth Lies Buried, I introduced quite a few characters many of whom will have their own story in future novels.
5. What did you edit out of The Truth Lies Buried?
Lol. I think it is more what did I add in! I tend to add detail and depth during the editing process. I included more about Borteen and some side plots too.
6. If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?
In some ways I wish I had begun to write novels more seriously when I was younger, but on the other hand, I gained a lot of life experience that can now be fed into my work. Also, when I did begin writing, I took the time to try lots of different types of writing – I have historical and timeslip novels in the bottom drawer, along with reams of poetry and short stories.
7. What novel has made you cry and which one made you laugh out loud?
Cry – The last book I can remember reading that made me sob was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
Laugh out loud – Hmm, I haven’t had one of those for a while, but the book that sticks in my memory is The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn. I laughed out loud so much at this one that my husband and my mother read it too!
8. How do you choose your characters’ names? (I think Carver is a great choice).
Normally, my character names just arrive in my head along with the character, but there is a story behind the name Carver. My editor didn’t like the name I’d originally given my hero in The Truth Lies Buried. He is called Damien and she said she just kept thinking of the Omen films. As you will know, when you are writing a book you get very attached to your character names and so I was left a bit at sea over the thought of changing his name. It was my best friend who suggested I keep Damien, but give him a nickname too and as he’s a wood carver, he became Carver.
9. What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are reading this interview?
It’s never too late. Perseverance is key. Stay true to what you want to write. Have fun with your writing and experiment before you get a publishing deal – that way you know what you are good at writing.
Thank you for having me over on your blog and I hope that we meet again in real life before too long.
Blurb For “The Truth Lies Buried” by Morton S. Gray
Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?
Biography for Morton S. Gray
Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was e-published in January 2017, after she won Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried was published as an e-book on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/morton_s_gray/
Purchasing links for The Girl on the Beach at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/
Purchasing link for The Truth Lies Buried at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/
Blurb For “The Girl on the Beach” by Morton S. Gray
Who is Harry Dixon?
When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.
For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …
But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.
Website - www.mortonsgray.com
Twitter - @MortonSGray
Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author - https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/
THE GIRL ON THE BEACH and THE TRUTH LIES BURIED published by Choc Lit
THE GIRL ON THE BEACH eBook and Paperback at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach
THE TRUTH LIES BURIED eBook at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/
Thank you for a fascinating interview, Morton.