Posted in Writing

For the last Tuesday Talk of 2016 I’m joined by Choc Lit’s Search for a Star winner Morton Gray whose debut novel The Girl on the Beach is due to be published in January 2017


Good morning Morton and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

I live in Worcestershire, U.K. with my husband, two sons and Lily, the Maltese.

How did your writing journey begin?

I loved writing pieces for the junior school magazine. Adored English language and literature at school. In my teens, I used to hide away and write poems and stories. I still have my first novel penned at fourteen. My early influences were Enid Blyton books and Errol Flynn films.
Then, life got in the way. One job involved writing board minutes and another training materials, but that was the nearest I got to writing for a long time.
In 2006, I entered a short story competition and, surprisingly, won with my story entitled Human Nature Versus the Spirit Guide, the essence of which may yet become a novel!
I then decided to attend classes to see if I actually could write and entered more competitions, shortlisting in quite a few including the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Elizabeth Goudge conference competition and the Festival of Romance’s first chapter competition.

What made you apply to join the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and how influential has it been in helping you become a published author?

I attended writing classes for many years with author Sue Johnson in Pershore, Worcestershire. Sue is a member of the RNA and told me about the scheme. I joined the New Writer’s Scheme (NWS) in 2012. It is a very competitive scheme to get on to with only 250 spaces per year. The scheme allows for a critique of a novel every year you are a member. The feedback is worth far more than the membership fee.
The Girl on the Beach, which will be published by Choc Lit on 24 January 2017, was written in 2014, put through the NWS in 2015 and entered for Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition at the end of that year. It won!

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I am working on three novels at the same time. My publisher, Choc Lit asked me to link my books as a series to my debut novel which is to be published on 24 January 2017 and to base them all around my fictional seaside town of Borteen, which features in The Girl on the Beach.
One of the books is the best friend’s story from my debut and I am also working on novels featuring other characters mentioned in this book.

Describe your writing room. Do you prefer to write in silence or with background music? If the latter, have you any favourites?

My writing room is full of books and files, both for writing and family history research, my other love. As it is the first room you come to through the front door, it is often the dumping ground for boots, coats, son’s blazer, etc. Consequently, I am often fighting to maintain my writing space.
I have two huge family trees on the wall, pictures that mean something to me, or inspire me and many front cover postcards from other author’s books.
Although I edit in my study, I tend to write in many places. Costa café is a favourite writing venue, as I find if I go home after dropping my youngest son to catch the train to school, I get distracted by household chores. So I take a notebook and enjoy a coffee while I write longhand, often joined by a poetic friend. I write in waiting rooms – hospital, dentist, doctor’s and at the station waiting for my son’s return train. If my husband is driving, I’ll write in the car.
Music often inspires me, but I tend to listen to that when I am driving. I have a varied taste and am currently enjoying some modern albums that my teenage son has introduced me to, much to his delight. Whole novels can be written from one line in a song.

And lastly, you’re holding a dinner party and can invite four famous people. Who would they be and why would you choose them?

Ooo difficult one!
Davina McCall, because I’ve watched so many editions of Long Lost Family for research for the best friend’s story above.

Kirsty Allsopp, because I love her programmes about houses and crafts and also her energy.

David Walliams as I would like to ask him about his children’s stories.

Tom Hiddleston for some eye candy and because I believe he is a very amusing and intelligent man.

Goodness, looking at those choices, it might be a noisy table!


morton-grayMorton S. Gray lives with her husband, sons and Lily, the tiny dog, in Worcestershire, U.K.

Morton 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’ Association New Writers’ Scheme in 2012. Winner of Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star 2016. Debut novel The Girl on the Beach to be published by Choc Lit 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 has diplomas in Tuina Acupressure Massage and Energy Field Therapy.

She enjoys history and loves tracing family trees. She knits, crochets, sews, makes cards and recently had a go at Lino printing artwork.

Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

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Blurb for The Girl on the Beach

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.

Buying links can be found on the Choc Lit website



Directs fictional destinies. Living on the edge of a wonderful Georgian city. Addicted to Arthurian legend, good wine, and rock music. Writes...mostly about love

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