Today I’ve got the pleasure of speaking to Morton S. Gray, a fellow Choc Lit author who is looking forward to her debut novel The Girl on the Beach being published on 24th of January. Morton was also the winner of Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition in 2016, and I’ve pinned her down to ask her a couple of questions about her win and her new novel.
Hi Morton, it’s lovely to have you here. Did you ever think you’d win Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition?
I’ve been writing seriously for around eight years. In that time, I’ve entered quite a few competitions and I seemed to be very good at shortlisting, especially in first chapter competitions, but not actually winning.
When the shortlist of six for the Search for a Star competition was announced on Valentine’s Day 2015, I couldn’t believe I was on it and also included was my friend, Lynn Forth, who lives about ten minutes from me in the car. We had to wait a whole month to find out who’d won and my mind worked through lots of scenarios in that time about the outcome of the competition.
I was so excited when I found out that I’d won, especially as I have kept a ribbon with the Choc Lit logo on it above my desk for years. The ribbon was around a book I won in a prize draw from the publisher. My win was of course bitter sweet, as I wish Lynn could have won too.
Have you had fun editing the book?
The period of publisher’s edits was a real rollercoaster for me. I learned a great deal, but a lot was happening in my personal life around the same time – main highlights – my mother had a stroke, a dustbin lorry collided with my house and car causing considerable damage and my son split with his girlfriend of eight years and moved back home.
I don’t think I realised how much was involved in publisher’s edits before I was involved with them. The book grew in length as a result of the changes made. The first round of edits was fun and seemed easy. Little did I realise that the next lot would challenge me tremendously, as it is hard to keep in mind the whole story and the impact one change will have as it ripples through the manuscript. The line edits had me questioning my knowledge of grammar and hating commas. After all of this though, the book is definitely stronger.
What was your inspiration for the story?
The initial spark of inspiration was born from an art competition run at my son’s high school by a friend who owns an art gallery near Worcester. I was on holiday in Northumberland and the news headlines included an article, I won’t tell you the subject, because it would be a huge spoiler, but the two seemed to merge in my mind and I desperately searched for something to write on in my husband’s car as we zoomed down the motorway. That in itself is strange, as normally my handbag is stuffed with notebooks and pens, but on this occasion, it wasn’t. I found an envelope and began scribbling in small writing to ensure I had enough room. I was so quiet, my husband asked if I was okay, I think he thought I was ill or he’d unknowingly upset me, but on the contrary, a novel was being born.
Thank you for dropping in, and many congratulations again on winning, Morton. I’m sure those edits will have been worthwhile and you’ll sell lots of books. Have fun celebrating publication day! (I trust chocolate will be involved at some point.)
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.
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, the plot of which closely resembled an Errol Flynn film. 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’ New Writers’ Scheme in 2012.
After shortlisting in several first chapter competitions, she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition in 2016 with her contemporary romantic suspense novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’. This debut novel is published on 24 January 2017.
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/
Purchasing links for “The Girl on the Beach” at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/