I’ve met lovely Morton S. Gray, author of The Girl on the Beach, and so I’m delighted to be hosting a guest post from her today about emotions in writing. In common with many, neither of us had a good 2016 and I was interested how this might affect a writer after I blogged about its effects on me as a reader here. Morton explains in a fascinating guest post below.
The Girl on the Beach was published by Choc-Lit on 24th January 2017 and is available for purchase here.
The Girl on the Beach
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.
Writing Through Emotions
A Guest Post by Morton S. Gray
How does what is happening in a writer’s life affect what they write? This was the question posed by Linda Hill when she suggested I write a guest post for her blog.
Life experiences inevitably feed your writing. I’m a writer who always carries a notebook. My car broke down and I sat waiting for the breakdown company writing about how I felt to be late for my appointment, how I felt about my car and how important driving was in my life and even about the relief when the AA man turned up. We won’t talk about the little character sketch I wrote about the man himself!
I’m the writer sitting in my surgical gown and stockings waiting to go down to the operating theatre whilst writing about how it felt when my husband walked back down the corridor after dropping me off for my operation, how my mind was reacting to impending surgery and about how I intended to help myself recover.
You may have guessed from the above that I’m a writer through and through and all emotion and experience in my life can be, and often is, used in a story. It is undoubtedly therapeutic to write about how you feel, even when faced with scary things, as it helps to rationalise those feelings and even make them seem one step removed from yourself. I also believe that exploring feelings at the time they occur allows you to write about them more convincingly for your characters when they face equivalent situations. I write books with a strong romantic element, even though they are usually not purely about the romance, manuscripts demand highs and lows of feeling and emotion. It is helpful if I can consult my many notebooks to help me to achieve this.
2016 was a difficult year for many people, myself and Linda included. I’m normally capable of writing through anything, but the stresses of 2016 built to such a level that even I struggled.
Linda has recently blogged about her awful year. Mine started a tremendous high, shortlisting for the Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition in February and finding out I’d won in March. This was the culmination of many years work and a dream come true. I’d been writing seriously for eight years, been on the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme since 2012 and always admired the books published by independent publisher Choc Lit. The winning novel, now called The Girl on the Beach, is out as an e-book on 24 January 2017.
Funny how when you achieve a dream, you imagine everything will be perfect from then on, but of course, life doesn’t work like that. My win was closely followed by my mother suffering a mini-stroke, a dustbin lorry colliding with my house and car, various health problems of my own and my eldest son splitting with his girlfriend of eight years and moving back home. I’m normally quite resilient, but I think the juxtaposition of these, and other things I haven’t mentioned here, floored me. It wasn’t the events in themselves, but the anxieties and emotions associated with them. Despite all of this, I managed to keep up with the publishers edits for my debut novel, but only just…
I’m fighting back and, thankfully, 2017 already feels more positive. I’ve already taken revenge on the dustbin lorry, by writing it into one of my novels, out of the context of my own problems, but I know why it is there and I sure know the emotions associated with it, as they are all in my notebook!
Wishing everyone a great 2017, Linda especially, and hoping that the birth of my debut novel goes smoothly.
(And I echo Morton’s wishes and hope The Girl on the Beach is a huge success.)
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, 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. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon.
Previous ‘incarnations’ were in committee services, staff development and training. Morton 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.