Something different this week. I have a guest.
I'm very pleased to be able to welcome Morton S Gray, Choclit's newest author, to talk about her debut novel, The Girl on the Beach. It's a romantic suspense e-book, mixing a love story and a mystery, set in a fictional location on the coast. Morton has kindly offered to tell us about the book, to answer some questions about her writing and to tell us a bit about herself.
Hello Morton 👏
I’m delighted to be on Evonne’s blog and to answer her questions.
You were the latest winner of the Choc-lit Search for a Star competition. I know how exciting it is just to be placed in a contest, but to win is magic - and as a result of that win, your book was published. The starting point is an intriguing question, that really draws you in - well, it did me. Will you tell us some more about the book?
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.
Morton has had some lovely reviews for the book. (And reviews mean a lot to an author)
“What a fabulous first novel. I loved it the romance and the suspense fabulous. Brilliant characters especially every woman's dream Harry Dixon.”
“I found the plot interesting and believable and I instantly liked the characters involved. I didn't really want to stop reading until I found out what happened and it's a long time since I felt so compelled not to put a book down.”
“What a brilliant first novel ... very enjoyable. The location and characters were so well drawn - you could imagine yourself there with them.”
She's also had praise for The Girl on the Beach from fellow authors.
‘Intriguing and, ultimately, satisfying, with a wonderful romantic element.’ Bestselling Author, Sue Moorcroft
‘A gripping rollercoaster of a story that will keep you guessing until the very last page!’ Amanda James, author of Summer in Tintagel
If by now your thinking 'Where can I buy it?' (Of course you are) the links below will help with that 😊
And now the questions!
* What made you base your book in a fictional place rather than a real seaside town?
I decide that a fictional seaside town gave me more scope to have businesses, homes and shops in the places I wanted them to be, rather than being constrained by actual geography. It is quite funny though, because as I’ve written more, Borteen, my fictional
seaside town has become more and more real and I can almost walk down the streets in my mind.
* How do you tackle research?
I was once told on a writing course not to let the research get in the way of a story.
The danger is to either spend too long doing research and never finish the book, or to get so embroiled in the research that you can’t not put everything you have discovered into the manuscript and, if you do, it can end up as a boring information dump.
The advice was to write the story first and add in detail afterwards. I try to follow this as much as I can. Obviously, sometimes you need to know something vital to write the book at all, but I try not to get carried away.
With my approach to research, I end up with lots of arrows in the margin where research details need to be added.
* What are you currently working on?
I am working on three books. When my debut The Girl on the Beach was accepted for publication by Choc Lit after winning their Search for a Star competition, I was asked to write more stories set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen. For those of you who have read The Girl on the Beach, some of your favourite background characters may be making a reappearance with their own story.
* What drew you to the romantic suspense genre?
I think the genre chose me. I tend to start writing a book with a character and a question. The combination of the two usually leads on to a mystery and then, I have a great time writing the book to find out what happens.
In The Girl on the Beach, the character Ellie Golden, is an artist with a troubled past who runs an art competition at the local high school and the question was “Who is Harry Dixon?”. You will need to read the book to find out how these two combined to make the story.
I think it's always fascinating to know more about the person behind the book, so I asked Morton to share some biographical details. There are are some unusual talents there - maybe material for future books?
She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. As with many authors, life got in the way of writing for many years until she won a short story competition in 2006 and the spark was well and truly reignited.
She studied creative writing with the Open College of the Arts and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme in 2012. She is a member of the RNA and The Society of Authors.
After shortlisting in several first chapter competitions, she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition in 2016 with her novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’. This debut novel was published on 24 January 2017. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon.
Previous 'incarnations' were in committee services, staff development and training. Morton 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.
Website - www.mortonsgray.com
Twitter - @MortonSGray
Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author - https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/
Thank you Morton for taking time to talk to us.