Delighted to be joined for Friday Night Drinks this evening by author and fellow RNA member….Morton S Gray.
Morton, welcome to the blog and thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
I’m rather partial to a Strawberries and Cream Baileys. I like a glass of rose wine, but only usually drink this at home as it turns my face bright red seconds after I’ve had a sip!
Oh, I haven’t tried that one, sounds delicious. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I’m not really a drinker, so I’d take you to my favourite Indian restaurant, Vhujon in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Friendly service and a great menu, this place has never failed to deliver. I think you’d like it.
Indian is my favourite cuisine, so that sounds perfect. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
Patrick Dempsey of Gray’s Anatomy and Bridget Jones’s Baby – I’ll admit to a little crush on him!
Then to mix things up a bit and make it an interesting evening, how about Jane Austen? I’d love to meet the person behind all of those witty lines and plots. Her work made me interested in writing novels in the first place when I was introduced to Pride and Prejudice at school.
You were very quick off the mark with Patrick Dempsey, lol! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I’ve had somewhat of a hiatus on the writing front whilst I dealt with some health problems (difficult to write with constant migraine), my mother’s health problems and my youngest’s GCSEs (he did very well by the way! Phew), but now I’m beginning to get these background things under control, I’m back working on two novels for my publisher Choc Lit, one is a summer book and the other a Christmas title for 2020, both are set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen like my other three stand-alone novels, The Girl on the Beach, The Truth Lies Buried and Christmas at Borteen Bay. The new books are in the romantic suspense genre, or as I prefer to say, “romance with a mystery to solve”.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
My proudest moment had to be when I won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition with my debut novel The Girl on the Beach. After so many years of writing and trying to get published, this was a dream come true.
My biggest challenge is always the publisher’s editing process. I have this fear that I can’t cope with the changes they ask me to make to a manuscript, but I’ve managed it three times so far, so I guess I can. It will still be scary when the next lot of edits arrive though.
That is an interesting insight for an unpublished writer. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
I’ve got a list of goals for my work, which I tick off when I achieve them. I’d love to get one of my books onto the Sunday Times Best Sellers List, into the Amazon Top 10 on Kindle and maybe even have an adaptation for screen done for one of my books. *Wistful sigh*.
What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
As always, I have lots of ideas for stories. My biggest challenge is to focus on just one plot through to completion. I have a friend, Alison May, who, when I get that excited look about a new idea, says “step away from the shiny” to get me to focus back on my current project.
My novels so far have all been stand-alone stories set in the same fictional seaside town, but featuring some of the same characters. The book I’m working on at the moment is about Mandy, who runs the craft centre on the promenade above the beach in Borteen. She has been a side-kick to some of the other characters in previous books, but this time she is getting her own story and she has a few skeletons in her closet. The story begins when Nick, a youth whose art career Mandy has been encouraging, appears on her doorstep saying that his mother has left him home alone and isn’t coming back…
That sounds great! I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
I’d like to go back to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and Sydney in Australia, but having said that I love the beaches in England and Wales, particularly my absolute favourite place – Bamburgh beach in Northumberland.
On top of my bucket list at the moment is a visit to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Rhayader in Wales. The red kites are fed by a lake and there can be as many as 150 birds coming in to feed.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
There is a fifteen-year gap between my two sons, meaning I’ve been doing the school run for a very long time!
My parents had the same thing, there is almost a 16-year gap between myself and my youngest sister! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
So difficult to recommend just one! I have two books that I’ve read countless times, I think because the messages in them change depending on what is going on in my life at the time, so I’m going to be cheeky and list both.
Wintercombe by Pamela Belle – an historical novel set in the English Civil War.
Tortured by a cold, Puritan father, Silence has learned to conceal her passionate nature inside a prison like shell of passivity. Her eventual marriage does not offer her the escape that she longs for and she craves some semblance of autonomy. It is only the sweep of history that finally offers Silence the freedom she so desires.
Civil war has raged and her sombre husband has been away for two years. Wintercombe, once a tranquil bastion of family virtue, is transformed into an unruly, drunken, and licentious garrison. From this turmoil a still more subtle threat dawns in the handsome shape of Captain Nick Hellier.
As the battle for England is matched by the struggle within her soul, it’s not long before Captain Hellier starts to slowly unlock the chains around Silence’s fragile, Puritan heart…
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – an autobiographical account of a woman escaping her life and trying to find out who she really is. (There is a film of this book, but as is often the case, the book is much better).
I love Eat, Pray, Love, but not the other one, so I’ll add it to my TBR. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
Here I have a confession. I think I’ve only ever had one hangover way back at university and I hated the feeling so much, I have never drunk that much ever since. So, I guess my failsafe plan to avoid a hangover, is to choose a drink you really like and to savour it, rather than drinking loads.
That is eminently sensible advice. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
I love nothing better than walking on a beach and visiting stately homes and castles. Favourite beaches include Bamburgh in Northumberland, Woolacombe in North Devon and Abersoch in North Wales. Favourite stately homes and castles include Witley Court in Worcestershire and Powis Castle in Wales.
Morton, it has been a huge pleasure having you on the blog, thank you for giving me your time and company and hopefully we will meet up in person at an RNA event in the near future.
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. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon. The book is available as a paperback and e-book.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past. This book is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.
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 Guesthouse 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.
You can catch up with Morton on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Please join me back here next week when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with editor and blogger, Emma Mitchell.