Wednesday 22 February 2017

And breathe ...

This is the next one. In the summer series, that is.
The Christmas one is not quite so long. 
The manuscript has finally left the building. After what I hope is the last round of major edits.

How do I feel? Relieved, scared, excited - all the usual stuff about getting a book on its way.

This novella has been a very long time in the process, and even now I have no idea when it will finally see the outside world. I hope it will be soon, but I'm sure it will be back for more tweaks and corrections before anything else happens. And it needs a name, and a cover and then maybe ...

It's a summer book, so I'd love for it to be out for the summer holiday season - sunshine days and sultry nights, even if it's only on the page.

There were times when I wondered if I should give up on it, that the universe was sending me a message that it was never to be. I didn't give up, and I'm glad of that because although it was a long while ago now, there was so much joy when I was writing it, the words spilled onto the page, and I think some of that feeling is still there, in Cassie and Jake's romance.

So - now we wait.

And what's next? That will be sorting out the Christmas novella, ready to submit it. Then we will all have to cross our fingers that my publisher likes it. Snow, not sun for that one. And I really hope it won't take so long as it's immediate predecessor!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

An Interview with Morton S Gray

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 😊
Barnes and Noble
Google play

And more about the book from choc-lit

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?  

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. 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.

Contact Links
Website -                                                               
Twitter - @MortonSGray
Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author -

Thank you Morton for taking time to talk to us. 

Wednesday 8 February 2017

What's it called?

Blue sky and sunshine and holidays. That'll do nicely. 
I'm just completing what I hope will be the last set of edits for the first novella of 2017, which will then be back to the publisher and all points north.

It's quite big, for a novella - 60,000  words - and it's not romantic suspense. I'm not actually sure what genre it is. It has a bit of a mystery, and lots of running around on the French and Italian Riviera and of course, a love story. I'm hoping it might become the anchor book for a new series that will be loosely centred around a detective agency in Bath - with lots of romance and con men and running around on the Riviera and other glamorous places. But that is for the future.

I can't tell you what it's called, as it doesn't have a name - at least not an official one. It's actually had a number of names. It started out as A Hand-picked Husband - try saying that after a few glasses of wine. At one stage, when life was in chaos and I thought it would never actually see the light of day, it was called The Novella from Hell which was very unfair, as it had done nothing at all to deserve it. The working title it is going under at the moment is Watching the Detective - one of my favourite Elvis Costello tracks, but that is a bit quirky, and doesn't really tell you a lot about the book.

And that's the thing about the title, it's the first thing that anyone sees/hears so it's important. And it's useful if it lets the potential reader know what the book might be about and whether it's a good choice for them.

So the best title for the story would be one that says holidays and sunshine and romance and a mystery to be solved. We're still working on that one. I rather liked Escape to the Riviera, but Jules Wake got to it first.

 I'm waiting for a stroke of brilliance to occur to someone. I'm sure it will happen. Once it does. I'll let you know. 😃

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Full Supporting Cast

Secondary characters - interesting people? Received wisdom suggests that there should not be too many and that they should know their place - in the supporting cast. I know quite a lot of authors have tales of the supporting character who tried to take over the book and had to be restrained. Of course, this can be a good thing, as sometimes they warrant their own book - and then hey, you have a series!

I've been thinking about this, as I've just finished writing a novella - the Christmas one, if you are interested, and I found one of the supporting characters taking on a very strong personality - not enough to dominate, but it made me happy whenever she was on stage, and a happy author writes better books. I like to think so anyway. That happened in both my published novels too - I have a soft spot for Suzanne, the heroine's mother in Never Coming Home and for Jonathan, the heroine's colleague and best friend in Out of Sight Out of Mind. The so far unpublished rom/com (Working title  'I don't know but probably something with Riviera in it.') which, fingers crossed, will be out this summer, has a best friend that I rather liked too.  And that one has a bit of a story, which is kind of a reverse of taking over, as I have written a second in series for that - it's the one with the nut-case plot that might never see the light of day. When I came to consider a hero for the second in series I realised that I had one all ready in one of the supporting cast, but neither I nor he had expected that he would suddenly get centre stage and a book of his own,

Which just goes to show - you don't have to impress the author the first time around to end up with your own book. 😉