Sunday, 22 January 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Morton S. Gray

Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Hi, I’m Morton S. Gray and I write novels for Choc Lit Publishing. I live in Worcestershire, U.K. with my husband, two sons and my little white dog, Lily. Thank you, Rachel, for including me in this new feature on firsts.

1) Can you tell us a bit about your first book?

My first book is e-published by Choc Lit on 24 January 2017, having won the publisher’s Search for a Star competition in March 2016. The Girl on the Beach is a contemporary romantic suspense novel based in the fictional seaside town of Borteen.

2) What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut?

I won a short story competition in 2006 at a time when I was looking for a new direction in my life and the win made me explore and discover a love of writing novels. My debut was inspired by a friend running an art competition at my son’s high school and various news articles around the same time.

3) How long did it take you to write your first book? 

I began The Girl on the Beach in early 2014, with a few breaks the first draft was complete by the end of November 2014. After editing, I put the manuscript through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme critique system in 2015 and submitted it to Choc Lit in October 2015 for their competition.

4) If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

Every time I begin a manuscript, I tell myself that I will write it chronologically, but that never seems to happen. I end a first draft with a muddle of scenes that takes ages to sort out, but I guess at least I’m editing as I sort out the story.

5) Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision?

My debut is to be traditionally published as an e-book. I was so pleased to win Choc Lit’s publishing competition as they are the publisher I’ve aimed for since taking my writing seriously. It was also special as my book was chosen to win the competition by a panel of readers.

6) Do you have any tips for other first time authors?

Learn your craft. Go to classes. Join an organisation for the genre of writing you want to write and talk to other authors. Submit your work to publishers and agents, even though it feels the scariest thing in the world.

Tell us about your first…

7) Book you bought

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in my teens. It is still a favourite comfort read.

8) Memory

I think my earliest memory is aged about four. My cousins and I were sitting around my grandad’s feet. I don’t know what he was saying, maybe he was telling us a story, but I can still feel my adoration for the man who died as a result of a car accident shortly afterwards.

9) Person you fell in love with

A lad called Andrew Thompson when I was seven. We used to walk home from school hand in hand and share a kiss at each lamp post on the way. I was devastated when he moved south when I was eight.

10) Album you purchased

It rather gives away my age, but it was Headquarters by The Monkees and I still love the songs on it, even though it came out in 1967.

11) Sport you enjoyed participating in

This one is easy. I’ve never been sporty and hated always being the last one picked for teams at school.

12) Pet

Gulliver the guinea pig.

13) Toy that you recall loving

Two, my teddy and a rag doll that was as big as me aged four.

14) Dish you cooked

Lemon meringue pie in a domestic science lesson at school. I remember it particularly, because one of the girls in the class grated a plastic Jif lemon to put into hers. My pie was quite nice, but hers was like toxic scrambled egg.

15) Choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author

I’ve had several changes in my working life. I’ve worked in administration, committee services, staff development and training. I then left office work to be a therapist. I’m a clinical hypnotherapist, Reiki master, Tuina acupressure massage therapist and energy field practitioner. If I had to choose a new career now it would be as an artisan jeweller and I may yet train in this field in the future.

Congratulations on winning Choc Lit's Search for a Star, and I wish you a happy publication day for Tuesday. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Biography for 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, 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 novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’. This debut novel is published on 24 January 2017. 

Blurb For “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.

Author Links
Website -
Twitter - @MortonSGray
Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author -
Purchasing links for “The Girl on the Beach” at


  1. Congratulations, Morton, and good luck with The Girl on the Beach. x

  2. Lovely interview, Morton. Best of luck with the book! x


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