Today I am so pleased to welcome Meredith Russell to Joyfully Jay. Meredith has come to talk to us about her release, Alter Ego. She has also brought along a great tourwide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
An English Village
Alter Ego is set in the fictional village of Knowles Brook. The village is based on a real village in the UK where both sets of my grandparents lived at various points in their lives. I still live nearby, and often head over to enjoy a walk along the brook, a trek through the woods, or a cheeky drink in the Spread Eagle pub, whose name I just find myself sniggering at now and again, and decided to keep in the book as the local pub’s name.
I incorporated some other familiar names and places in as well. Knowles is actually from the road my mother’s parents lived on, the high school I mention is partly from my grandparents’ surname, and a little anecdote about a PE teacher is based on one of my own teachers. Landmarks like the woods, social club, hotel, church, and shops are based in similar locations to their real counterparts, which helped me imagine my way around the village. As the series progresses, I look forward to bringing more parts of the village to life.
Are you a fan of books set in England? Is there a part of England that you would love to visit?
“Christ,” James said. He blew out a breath and unfastened a second button of his dark shirt. “It’s hot in here.” The bright overhead lights radiated heat down on the stage. He dropped down on the seat next to Clare in the corner of the social club. The tables behind the speakers had been reserved for them and their equipment. Slouching, he leaned his shoulder against Clare’s. They had played the first half of the set, and now it was a break for bingo and a raffle.
“You figured it out yet?” Clare asked. She folded her arms and rested her head briefly on James’s.
“Figured what out?” he asked.
“Where you’ve seen Mister Cutie-pie the barman before.”
James slid his sunglasses down his nose and checked out the bar. Mister Cutie-pie was busy pouring drinks. He watched the man for a moment then confirmed, “Yeah, I know.” It was the same man he’d seen at the Spread during the week.
“And?” Clare pulled the sunglasses off his face.
James squinted as the main room’s lights were brought up. “And, I don’t know.”
Clare sighed, folding down the arms of his shades. She placed them on the table in front of her and picked up her pint of orange cordial. “Why not? He seems nice.”
“Yeah, but…” He glanced around the room. There were people in here who knew him and his mother. Though his mother wasn’t one to talk about her son’s extracurricular activities, his dad had been oddly proud about James being in a band and had told everyone he knew. “What is it they say? Don’t shit on your own doorstep?” Picking up men in other towns and villages, like not-Randy over at the Drum and Monkey last week, was one thing, doing the same only a five minute walk down the road from where he lived was something different and left an uncomfortably sensation fizzing at the back of his mouth.
Scratching his neck, he watched the barman. There was something about the man that piqued James’s interest. The barman smiled, laughing heartily as a lull in customers allowed him and the barmaid to talk, and James felt like his smile lit the whole room. Frowning, James looked away. This was ridiculous and totally Clare’s fault. If she hadn’t kept going on about the man, then James wouldn’t even be thinking about him or his smile. What would it feel like to have someone smile at him like that? Just him.
Jay James is the confident, outgoing, flirtatious, lead guitarist of a 70s tribute band. But appearances can be deceiving. Jay James isn’t real. ‘Jay’ was born out of necessity and a way for James Hall to deal with life at home after coming out. James is shy and awkward, and can’t escape the shadow of his strained relationship with his mother. As ‘Jay’, James feels indestructible, like nothing can touch him, and he can have any man he wants. But is that really enough?
Danny Ashton is stuck, or at least that’s how he feels sometimes. Five years ago, he dropped out of university to look after his sick mother. He was never prepared for the hand he was dealt—a house to run, bills to pay, and a teenage brother to support.
Together, Danny and James realise ignoring their problems will solve nothing, and if they are to stand any chance of happiness and living as the men they want to be, then they need to move forward. Can the two men face their demons? Or will they end up pushing one another away?
Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing.
Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.
As well as being an accomplished writer, Meredith is also the creator for most of the stunning cover art found on Love Lane Books. Further details of her writing and cover art services can be found at her blog linked below.
Meredith has a great tourwide giveaway going on. She is giving away $15 ARe/Amazon gift cards and a further two prizes of free ebooks from Love Lane Books. Just enter using the Rafflecopter link below.
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