I’m delighted to welcome romantic suspense author, Morton S Gray to my blog this week.
I featured her recently in my Ideas Store column in Writers’ Forum because I had recently read and enjoyed The Truth Lies Buried with its engaging characters, lovely setting and a great storyline. I was intrigued to find out where the idea for the book came from. So I invited her on to my blog and thankfully, she said yes.
Welcome, Morton and thank you for agreeing to answer my questions, particularly the one all writers are said to dread. (Although I love it when people ask me that question!)
Where do you get your ideas from?
I have no problem finding ideas for books, it is more the time to write up all of them I struggle with.
At a writing workshop run by author Linda Gillard at a Romantic Novelists’ Association conference, Linda handed out postcards to evoke a descriptive piece of writing. My postcard was an advertising postcard for a company producing quirky garden buildings, the one in the picture was a fairy-tale castle complete with pointed turret towers and arched windows. I dutifully completed the descriptive writing and then, after the course, started to ponder who would live in a house like that and Carver Rodgers, carpenter and hero of The Truth Lies Buried was born.
For me inspiration can come from anywhere. The hero of my first published novel, The Girl on the Beach was conjured from a model’s face in a clothing catalogue. The first scenes at a high school art competition were from an art exhibition at my son’s school. I have been known to furiously scribble down bits of overhead conversation in cafés and have an overflowing file containing pictures of potential characters, rooms and locations.
Ideas and themes come to me at inopportune moments, like when I’m driving or taking a shower. I do try to keep a notebook to hand, particularly in the bathroom, but have been known to have opened out empty cardboard toilet roll tubes with closely scribbled writing on them in my ideas pile. I love writing first drafts long hand when I have the luxury of time and have been known to write at my son’s swimming lessons, sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms, on trains, planes and buses. I even tried to capture my feelings of trepidation when I was waiting to be taken down to the operating theatre one time.
My fictional seaside town of Borteen, which has been the location for six published novels so far, is very real to me. I can walk along its streets in my head and have drawn a map on several pieced together sheets of paper with the key locations marked and images stuck to the map depicting how I see the buildings, beach and caves.
It sometimes feels like I am an empty container and ideas like to find their way to me to fill this up when I least expect it. The process of piecing diverse ideas together for characters and scenes almost like a patchwork quilt is for me the most exciting part of writing a novel.
That’s brilliant. I love the sound of Borteen which you have brought so vividly to life. You’ve mentioned you have based six novels there. Are your books a series? Or can they be read as standalone?
For the past few years, I have been writing stand-alone novels, but set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen. Inevitably in a small town, some characters from previous novels have a role in a new story, but the books can be read in any order.
And how would you describe your genre?
My books are usually categorised as Romantic Suspense, but I describe them as romance with a mystery to solve.
So far I have read two of your books (and very much looking forward to reading the others) and have loved the mystery element in both. What inspires you most?
My inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be a couple of words in a song or even a phrase overheard in a café. I can see a face in a magazine of clothing catalogue and a character can develop from there. If I let my mind freewheel, a story often appears. I have absolutely no problem finding ideas for novels, it is more the time to write up all of them I struggle with.
How did your writing journey start?
I truly cannot remember a time when I haven’t written or read avidly. Those were my favourite things at school. I used to hide away and write poems as a child and wrote my first novel aged fourteen. That first one, which I still have, features galleons and pirates. I think it was inspired by the Errol Flynn films I used to watch with my nan on Sunday afternoons.
Inevitably life got in the way and I didn’t take my writing seriously until I was in my fifties when life took yet another turn. I won a short story competition and began to attend a weekly writing class. My first novel was published after I won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition in 2016 with the manuscript that became The Girl on the Beach. I guess I am the proof that it’s never too late.
Indeed it’s not. I’m looking forward to seeing those pirates and galleons make an appearance in a future Borteen novel. (Now there’s a challenge for you!)
Finally, tell us three things we might not know about you.
- My favourite period of history is The English Civil War – I have more books in my study about this period of history than anything else.
- I’m an avid family historian and have been for many years, even teaching the subject at night school at one point.
- I make my own soap. I’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of plastic in my bathroom and as a part of that I went on a course to learn to make and perfume my own soap and I now use solid shampoo bars.
Thank you so much for answering my questions so patiently – and I too have discovered the joy of using solid shampoo bars. (I don’t make my own though, but maybe one day…)
About Morton S. Gray
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’s Search for a Star competition in 2016. Her other books for Choc Lit are The Truth Lies Buried, Christmas at Borteen Bay, Sunny Days at the Beach, Christmas at the Little Beach Café and Summer at Lucerne Lodge.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a 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.
You can catch up with Morton with the following links:-
Website and blog at www.mortonsgray.com
Instagram – htwww.instagram.com/morton_s_gray/
Summer at Lucerne Lodge tells the story of Tanner and Rosie. They first meet at a charity auction held in the grounds of Lucerne Lodge on the outskirts of the seaside town of Borteen. However, that first meeting isn’t as innocent as it sounds, because Tanner has found a private investigator’s file on his father’s desk about Rosie and wants to know why …
Sunny Days at the Beach begins when commitment free singleton and craft shop owner Mandy takes in an abandoned teenager, but then gin distillery owner Graham arrives in Borteen with some unexpected news
Buying links for Summer at Lucerne Lodge
Choc Lit for other retailers https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/summer-at-lucerne-lodge/
Buying links for Sunny Days at the Beach
Choc Lit for other retailers https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/sunny-days-at-the-beach/