Today is the start of a new series of guest blogs on the theme of setting. I’m delighted to welcome Choc Lit author, Morton S. Gray to kick it off. Thank you for being my very first guest, Morton! Over to you.
Tell me about the setting for The Truth Lies Buried.
The Truth Lies Buried is set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen and the nearby city of Sowden. Borteen is a mix of lots of the seaside towns I have visited over the years and Sowden is a variation of the city of Worcester.
My debut novel The Girl on the Beach was set in Borteen too and the town is now so real to me that I can walk down its streets and open the doors to the shops and walk inside in my mind. With the second novel, my editor wanted a clearer idea of the layout of the town, so I drew her a map and stuck on pictures of the buildings. I hope one day to draw this up in a neater fashion so that it can be shared with my readers. I’m hoping that there will be many more novels set in this location.
Do you have any special routine, visual aids, etc to get you into the right ‘place’ when writing?
An interesting question to which my initial response was no, but having said that I find if I am struggling with a scene, I will write a few prompts in my notebook as to what I am seeking to achieve in that section of the book before I go to bed. Often when I’m in the shower the next morning the answer will come to me. You might think that I’d leave a notebook in the bathroom, but I usually forget, very often ending up scribbling frantic notes on the inside of a toilet paper tube I’ve ripped open for the purpose.
I do most of my first draft writing away from my computer. I find that the frenetic atmosphere of a coffee shop, along with strong coffee, allows the words to flow. When I’m in this first draft creative phase, I write on trains, buses, in doctor’s and dentist’s waiting rooms, in my car when I’m parked awaiting my son’s train to arrive, in fact anywhere I can. I love this creative phase of a novel watching my story unfold on the page, the part I find more difficult is the revising and editing phases – I grit my teeth and get through those.
What’s the first book you read where the setting made a vivid impression?
I think that would have to be Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore. I was captivated by the Doone Valley, the church where Lorna gets shot and the farmstead where John Ridd lives. I can even tell you where I was when I first read the book – on a Scottish holiday with my parents and sister – I hardly noticed the scenery in Scotland, as I was too busy reading in the back of the car.
Have you ever chosen a book purely based on its setting? If so, what was it and why did the setting appeal?
My husband is from the North East of England. After I began to trace his family tree, I wanted to see the villages in the areas of County Durham and Northumberland where his ancestors lived. After that first visit, we holidayed for many years in the areas, so when I saw that a new author, L J Ross had based her novels in many of the places we had visited – Lindisfarne, Hadrian’s Wall, High Force, Cragside I wanted to read them. I am hooked and have just pre-ordered her eighth novel!
Blurb for The Truth Lies Buried:
Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?
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 e-published in January 2017, after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is published as an e-book on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
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 www.mortonsgray.com
On Twitter - @MortonSGray
Her Facebook page – Morton S. Gray Author - https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/ and
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/morton_s_gray/
Purchasing links for The Girl on the Beach:
Pre-order link for The Truth Lies Buried:
I have my cover art! Isn’t this gorgeous? The artist, Debbie Taylor, worked a miracle translating my descriptions, and the heroine is very close to how I imagine her. I really want that dress now!
Here’s the blurb:
Norman heiress, Matilda Comyn is desperate to escape her grasping guardian and reclaim her inheritance. After a lifetime of being let down by men, she wants to rule her lands on her own terms. She can’t escape without help and battles her mistrust when compelled to join forces with a Welsh spy.
Huw Ap Goronwy has a rival claim to Matilda’s castle and has sworn a blood oath against the Comyns. When his king rules they must marry, he struggles to reconcile his attraction with his need for revenge. But they must form a truce if they are to seize their castle.
Risking capture and death, they will only succeed if Matilda learns to trust, and Huw allows his love for Matilda to overcome his need for revenge.
My writing, research and any other randomness that seems like a good idea at the time.