Today I am so excited to welcome back the awesome J.L. Merrow to Joyfully Jay. I am a huge fan of her books and just reviewed (and LOVED) her most recent, Fall Hard.  J.L. Is here to talk to us about amnesia, a theme in Fall Hard.  She has also brought goodies to give away. So please join me in giving J.L. a big welcome!

Tabula Rasa

Image courtesy of artur84 at

Image courtesy of artur84 at

Amnesia: it’s a tried and tested trope, popular in books, films and on TV, and it’s one of those ones that gets me every time. What is it, I wonder, that tickles me about a man who can’t remember his past?

I’m clearly not alone in liking this trope—think of The Bourne Identity, Memento, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to name but a few. So why is it so popular? Intriguingly, one article I read on the subject suggested the appeal to Americans stems from the parallel between losing one’s past, and overcoming it to live the “American dream”. Being British myself, I’d venture to say that’s not the whole story! *

One effect of amnesia is to render the sufferer vulnerable. Even the strongest of men is now at the mercy of his friends—or at least, those who say they’re his friends. He has no way of knowing if they’re telling him the truth about his past. Usually the reader (or viewer, if it’s a film) is left in the same position—struggling to work out what the truth really is. This is a powerful way to get us to empathise with the main character.

But there’s also, for me as a writer, the appeal of playing with the idea of personality. How dependant is it on our memories? Our pasts have shaped us; once we can no longer remember the defining events of our lives, do they still, in fact, define us? Or can the amnesia sufferer take the clean slate—the tabula rasa of the title—that life has handed him and truly start afresh?

The trouble is, anyone in that situation is likely to be burdened with a desperate need to know what they’ve lost—even though once those memories have been recovered, they may wish they’d left well alone…


Fall Hard

fall hardSome memories are better off lost in the mist…

Eight months ago, British academic Paul Ansell lost his lover—and all the memories of their time together—in an accident at Iceland’s Gullfoss Falls. Returning to the misty island country to resume his study of the bloodthirsty Viking Egil Skallagrimsson is tough as he struggles to pull his life back together.

First, there’s his colleague, Mags, who treats him like glass, and summer student Alex, who peppers him with discomforting questions. Then there’s Icelandic jet-boat driver Viggo, a tattooed, modern-day Viking who won’t say much about how they know each other. Leaving Paul to wonder if their volcanic attraction is fuelled by a desire to make a fresh start, or desperation to forget the past.

As more fragments of his lost memories fall into place, Paul is unsure if he can trust himself, much less anyone around him. And he begins to suspect his accident was nothing of the kind.

Warning: Contains a modern-day Viking whose boat has V8 engines for oars, and a harsh land of hot springs and hotter passions that won’t forgive any false steps.

Samhain | |


JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at:


pressure headI’m offering a free signed paperback copy of Pressure Head (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

Giveaway question: What about you? Do you love reading about guys who’ve lost their memory as much as I do—or is there an alternative trope that has you clicking on the buy button every time you see it in a blurb?

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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post