In honour of the RNA’s 60th Anniversary we’re interviewing some of the many volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to keep the organisation, website and blog running smoothly. Today, Morton Gray, the new RNA secretary, has dropped by to talk to us about her role.

I volunteered to be Secretary of the RNA just before Christmas 2019, so I’m very much in the learning phase of the job and won’t be officially appointed until the AGM. The secretary receives all of the emails to the @info RNA email address and it has taken me a while to work out the correct people to forward these to.

My main role is to draw up the committee meeting agendas, collect the reports and distribute these to committee members. Due to the strange year we are having, I have only attended one meeting in February. It was interesting seeing authors, some of whom I knew in real life already, some not, taking a completely different role to their Facebook or Twitter persona as they fulfil the various RNA committee roles. Taking the minutes for the meeting was like travelling back in time for me to the first job I had after university, when I used to minute the Board meetings of Midlands Electricity. After the meeting I draw up the minutes and an action plan for committee members and agree this with the Chairperson, Alison May. Our next meeting will be held virtually and will no doubt have its own challenges.

We’ve been wrangling with the AGM too and how to hold it now the annual conference is unfortunately cancelled. I found myself attending a webinar about virtual AGMs, again going back in time to previous office roles. The AGM papers and voting will be carried out in the members area of the RNA website, but if anyone replies by post to the AGM notice in Romance Matters, they will be sending it to me. Minuting the virtual meeting should be fun…

There are other parts to the secretary position such as insurances and being listed in our Companies House registration and I’m sure other things I haven’t even discovered yet. I think taking the role has highlighted to me how many volunteers work tirelessly in the background for the benefit of the other RNA members, mainly unnoticed. I took this voluntary role because I had become rather insular and had lost confidence as a result. I’m already feeling the benefit of taking the position.

Having come to the RNA as a NWS member and seeing first-hand the benefits of the critiques the scheme provides, I decided that I wanted to read for the scheme in an attempt to pay back the enormous help I received before I was published. I try to read three novels a year and thoroughly enjoy trying to hone the skills of our NWS members. Alongside the enjoyment is also a great sense of responsibility, because (again I know first-hand) a careless comment can dent the confidence of a new writer and maybe put them off polishing their precious manuscript and that isn’t the point of this wonderful scheme.

Having had my first novel published in 2017, after winning Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition, I’ve just sent off my fourth novel and second Christmas novella to Choc Lit and hope they will be published later in the year.

Author bio

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 published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon. The book is available as a paperback and e-book.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past. This book is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guesthouse with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.

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.

Contact links

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 at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/

Purchasing links for The Truth Lies Buried at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/

Purchasing links for Christmas in Borteen Bay at https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/christmas-at-borteen-bay/

Thanks for talking to us today, Morton.

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