Hi everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome back author J.L. Merrow to Joyfully Jay! She is here today to talk to us about her newest release, Relief Valve, which I reviewed here this week and really enjoyed seeing Tom and Phil again! She is also chatting about the parish church that figures prominently in both stories, as well as offering up a great tour-wide giveaway. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
More Tea, Vicar?
Hi, I’m JL Merrow. Thanks, Jay, for having me here as part of the Relief Valve blog tour. 😀
Ah, the Church of England. What could be more, well, English?
Leaving aside the fact that its titular head, the Queen, is actually of mostly German stock, it’s hard to think of an institution that better encapsulates Englishness. Picture the stately, if crumbling, architecture, and the perennial Church Roof Fund, supported by church fetes in the summer, the last bastion of lavender bags, crocheted toys and corn dollies. Think of old ladies on the flower arranging rota, doddering sidesmen, and cups of milky tea in the chancel after the service.
As in Pressure Head, the church and its employees are heavily involved in the action of Relief Valve. In this latest book, we meet Tom’s older sister, Cherry—and her reverend fiancé, Gregory, who is a canon of St Leonard’s Cathedral. In Pressure Head, of course, we had the troubled Reverend “Merry” Lewis, who was wrestling with his sexuality.
There’s no denying a disproportionate number of gay men and women have always felt a draw to the church. Is it because they already feel set apart from the rest of the population? (Or, all right, for some of them at least, the allure of going to work in a frock?) But by the general public, and no matter whether he is married or not, the stereotypical English vicar (and in the stereotype, it’s always a he) is seen as rather sexless. A staple of early English sitcoms was the horror of saying something mildly smutty in front of the vicar. Presumably the brood of children filling up the Rectory was assumed to be the result of immaculate conception.
It’s probably all rather frustrating to a modern, forward-thinking C of E vicar.
I’ve never actually met one, but I’m confident they exist somewhere *g*.
Question: what do you see as particularly English? Cups of tea? Bowler hats? The Queen? Or something more esoteric?
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. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom’s dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn’t helped Tom’s uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.
But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom’s head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiancé Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers’ circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?
Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead—and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom’s sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back…
Warning: Contains a strong, silent, macho PI; a cheeky, chirpy, cat-owning plumber; and a gag gift from beyond the grave that’ll put the cat firmly among the pigeons.
Now available in ebook: Samhain Publishing | Amazon.com |Amazon.co.uk
J.L. is offering a free signed paperback copy of 2013 Rainbow Award winning romantic comedy Slam! (she is happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!
She’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 7th April, GMT. Good luck! 😀
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