We’re so pleased to have author JL Merrow with us today on the tour for her new novel in Riptide’s Porthkennack series, Wake Up Call. JL’s going to tell us a bit about Cornwall, and there’s also a great giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
Cornwall—a Land (and Language) Apart
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, the first of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.
Wake Up Call is set in Porthkennack, a fictional town in North Cornwall.
In 2014, the Cornish people were officially recognised as a national minority for the first time, to much local jubilation. Finally, they were on an equal footing with the other Celtic Brits – the Scots and the Welsh.
Go back a few hundred years, and travelling into Cornwall must have felt very much like visiting another country—as indeed many Cornish people have always insisted it is, despite the views of successive English governments. A far, peninsular corner of the island of Great Britain, Cornwall’s very remoteness helped it to keep its national identity despite attempts to anglicise it.
To put it into context, in 1673 a journey from London to Exeter (a distance of around 180 miles by road) would take 8 days by stagecoach—and you’d still have a further 45 miles to go before you reached Cornwall, and 80 more miles to go after that to reach Land’s End, its farthest point! No wonder news, fashions and innovations didn’t travel fast in those days. Nothing travelled fast in those days.
Like the Scots and Welsh, the Cornish have their own language: Cornish, or Kernowek in the language itself, which is related to Welsh and Breton. But successive acts of the English government, and in particular the Act of Uniformity of 1542, which banned the use of Cornish in church services and led to the (unsuccessful) Prayer Book Rebellion, made speaking the Cornish language increasingly unpopular. The last person known to have spoken no other language than Kernowek, Dolly Pentreath, died in 1777. The language limped on, but had more or less died as a community language by the nineteenth century. In 1891, the last known speaker of traditional Cornish, John Davey, died.
However, the twentieth century brought a resurgence of interest in the language and culture of Cornwall. The language has been re-codified, and a standard written form of Revised Cornish introduced. Road signs in Cornwall, as in Wales, are now bi-lingual, in both English and Cornish. Cornish is taught in many schools, and even in London’s House of Commons. Official publications issued by the Cornwall Council also include both languages.
In the 2011 census, 600 people listed Cornish as their main language. St Piran’s flag is now ubiquitous in Cornwall, and pride in Cornish heritage and culture is at a high ebb—and still rising.
Oll an gwella – all the best!
About Wake Up Call
South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
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Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
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About the Author
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
To celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!