Morton S. Gray : The Mysteries Tied Up in Romantic Suspense

The second week of the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s 60th celebrations is upon us and today I have romantic suspense writer, Morton S. Gray with me.

Romance and romantic suspense comes in many forms, not just the hearts and flowers relationships but the toxic and damaging ones too, how would you describe the romance included within your novels?

The heroes and heroines in my books tend to take their time falling in love. I think this is because I usually have them in situations at the beginning of my novels where they would be unlikely to see each other as life partners, or even in some cases friends …

Is it as straightforward as calling it romance?

My stories tend to focus on the solving of a mystery and the hero and heroine both have a part to play in this, so, no, my books are not solely focussed on the romantic element.

What is it about romantic suspense that draws you to write it or include it in your books?

Generally, it is the mystery or suspense element of the book which starts me along the path of writing the manuscript – I often only have a vague scenario and context to place my characters in when I begin to write. I don’t plan my novels in advance, so I enjoy discovering what is happening in the situation and world I have created as I go along, hopefully as much as my readers do when they read the books.

What sort of balance between the romance element and the suspense element do you have?

I would say that my books are mainly focussed on the mystery or suspense by as much as seventy percent. In fact, the couple have to be able to solve the conundrum they have been set and weather the storms along the way to give them any chance of a successful relationship.

Do you come up against any regular misconceptions about the genre and how do you dispel these?

Readers, unless they are regular romance readers of course, tend to be turned off by the romance description I find. Unfortunately, it tends to be associated with fluffy images and lack of substance – so untrue.

All I do if I come across this reluctance to try a romantic suspense novel, is to describe the puzzle my characters are trying to solve and hope that this tempts readers in. To give you examples of what I might say – for The Girl on the Beach, the story is about a woman trying to work out if the new headmaster of her son’s school is a man she knew before in very different circumstances, for The Truth Lies Buried, it is a couple drawn together to try to discover why their fathers both disappeared around the same time when they were children and Christmas at Borteen Bay is centred around the finding of a body on the beach at the beginning of December and the identity of the deceased. I hope that these descriptions enable potential readers to realise my books have more substance than they first imagined.


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?

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