Meet The Family – Morton S Gray
Today, I have caught up with Morton to talk about her new book “Sunny Days at the Beach”
Hi Christine and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Choc-Lit family and learn about your new novel.
What inspired you to write “New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun?”
Sunny Days at the Beach features a gin distiller for a hero. This character, Graham Frankley, was inspired by an article I read several years ago about a craft gin distillery. I followed up the article by taking my husband for a tour of the gin distillery for his birthday treat, thinly disguised as my novel research trip.
I needed someone to pitch up against Mandy Vanes, a character who has featured in several of my novels to date. She runs Owl Corner Crafts in my fictional seaside town of Borteen. I also avidly watch Long Lost Family on television and the link will be clear when you read the book.
What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?
I entered a competition with Choc Lit – Search for a Star – and unbelievably I won with my debut novel Who is Harry Dixon in 2016, which became The Girl on the Beach.
If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?
Believe in yourself and your writing! I think I could have been published much earlier if I had believed in my work enough
If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?
If I’m not writing, you can find me researching family trees or engaged in a new craft adventure.
I’ve traced my family history and other peoples for many years and there is nothing I like better than a family mystery to solve. When I first started tracing, I had to travel around the country to access original documents. I have to say that those were probably the most exciting times, especially if you discovered a family will or other unexpected document. For many years now I’ve researched on the internet, but the latest excitement concerns the advances in DNA research, which I’m just getting to grips with.
Craft-wise I’ve tried most things. At the moment, I’m enjoying weaving and creating my own solid shampoo and soap.
How did you deal with rejections when you started out?
I never really had any rejections as such, probably because I didn’t start submitting my novels until just before I won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star. I had begun to shortlist in first chapter novel competitions by then and was getting more confident. One of the best things I did was to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. This scheme allows for a critique of a full-length novel for each year that you are a member and the feedback I received definitely contributed to my growth in confidence with my work.
What would you say to someone who wants to write?
Just do it! A lot of people talk about writing, but unless you actually start you will get nowhere. Join a writing course, learn the craft, make all of the mistakes and learn from them. Go for it.
Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?
Lol I wish I did have routines!
I like to write longhand into notebooks when I’m feeling my way into a project. That way the first time I type things onto the computer I am performing a first edit as I go along.
I don’t have any set routines as regards when I write, it’s usually when I get chance with a busy household and an elderly mother to keep an eye on. I have ideas for stories, poems and novels all the time, particularly in the shower, so I could do with finding a way to speed up my process. At the end of the day I try to write the sort of books I like to read. I never plan, so each manuscript is an adventure for me and hopefully the reader too and that’s the way I like it.
Which authors inspired you to write?
Sue Moorcroft has to be the main one. I admired her books and wanted to write like her. I’ve been on her courses and she used to be with the publisher I’m with now too!
Other influences would be Jane Austen, Pamela Belle, Lucy Dillon and Linda Gillard.
Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?
I always find this a difficult question. The reason being that I think everyone who reads your book will imagine someone different. It’s actually the reason why authors don’t describe characters too closely, so that people can use their own imagination. But, if I had to choose – Graham would be Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame and Mandy would be Rachel McAdams (About Time, The Notebook, Eurovision).
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I published three books with Choc Lit after my competition win and have just signed a further three book deal with the publisher. Sunny Days at the Beach is the first of these three. I have a Christmas novella out later this year and I’m working on another book for 2021.
More About Morton
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 published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition in 2016. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guest House with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.
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.
From party nights at the pub to sunny days at the beach …
Craft shop owner Mandy Vanes has always enjoyed a commitment-free singleton lifestyle — in fact, she’s well-known for her wild ways in her small seaside town on the coast.
But when local teenager, Nick Crossten, turns to her for help, Mandy has the opportunity to prove she can be a responsible adult. Although things get tricky when gin distillery owner Graham Frankley comes to town with some unexpected news.
Could this mean that Mandy the party girl is finally ready to grow up?
Check out Morton S Gray on the Choc Lit website for more information on her books!