Monday, 6 February 2017

Common Ground

I’d always thought of writing as rather a solitary pursuit. It was just me and my notebook. No-one I knew would have understood. My friends went home after a long day in the office to watch TV and unwind, not spend hours at a computer typing. Sure they enjoyed a good book or film, but did they ever think about what went into writing them? Probably not. They didn’t need to.

Then I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and everything changed. That solitary pursuit that had once made me feel like somewhat of a recluse, became the key to a world of sociability. People brought together by their common quest to create a story so compelling that it just has to be read.

People like me.

Of course it didn’t happen overnight. It started slowly. I joined the RNA facebook group and met Morton S Gray. She was the first fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme member I knew. In one of those ‘isn’t it a small world’ moments, it turned out Morton was part of the Birmingham RNA chapter that I was thinking of joining. I headed off to that first meeting reassured that no matter how out of place I felt, there would at least be one friendly face there. It turned out there were many.

I went back for the next meeting, and the next. I went on courses, attended conferences and pitched my novel to agents and publishers. Being part of the RNA opened doors to events and opportunities that I would never have had otherwise. But mostly, being part of the RNA led me to create friendships that gave me the courage to not let those opportunities pass me by.

I’ve never known a group quite like this one. We’re all striving towards the same goal, yet there’s no undercurrent of rivalry or jealously. Published writers share their wisdom and advice with the newcomers. Writers dreaming of publication critic one another’s work to help each other edge just that little bit closer to making that dream a reality. And we all celebrate when one of us makes it, because we know better than most just how much work went into making it happen.

I’m delighted that Morton, my first friend in the RNA, has made that journey from hopeful dreamer to published writer. Her novel, ‘The Girl on the Beach’, won the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition last year and we have all been eagerly waiting for it to be published.

‘The Girl on the Beach’ is out now and I’m thrilled to be able to share my review.

Book Review: The Girl on the Beach by Morton S Gray


About the Author

Morton S. Gray is a writer from Worcestershire, U.K. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she recently graduated from their excellent New Writers' Scheme. Her debut novel, ‘The Girl on the Beach', was the winner of the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition and was published in January 2017. Morton writes romance stories with a mystery to solve.

Website and blog

Facebook author page : Morton S.Gray

Twitter : MortonSGray

Book Summary:

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon there’s something familiar about him. He reminds her of someone she used to know. There’s just one problem; he’s dead.

Right from the beginning The Girl on the Beach is full of mystery and intrigue. We follow Ellie and Harry from their first meeting, as Ellie tries to figure out why Harry seems so familiar, and Harry wonders why a woman he’s never met seems to know him.


Morton’s easy to read writing style kept me turning the page eager to find out more about who Harry was and how the gentle and sweet Ellie could have been part of the dark and troubled world that he was fleeing.

Morton has a knack for creating multi-layered characters, not just for the two main characters but for the friends and family that surround them. Ellie’s son, Tom, is a typical moody teenager, but at the same time he’s trying to cope with the memories of what he witnessed as a child. Nicholas is the tough misfit, yet Morton cleverly gives us a glimpse in to his harsh life and enables him to grow with Ellie’s encouragement.

I loved the contrast between the beautiful idyllic seaside town that Morton created, and the suspense and intrigue of her storyline as Ellie and Harry’s shared past catches up with them.

Congratulations on your fantastic debut novel, Morton. I can’t wait to read your next!