Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today talking about her latest release at Dreamspinner Press, Camwolf. Welcome, JL.
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Camwolf, my student/teacher werewolf romance set in my alma mater, Cambridge University.
To call Camwolf a May-December romance is perhaps slightly misleading. If we take the average male lifespan in the UK to be 79* then with Julian aged 19 and Nick aged 31, it’s more of an end-of-February/middle of April romance. But then that doesn’t quite trip off the tongue so well.
Age gaps have, historically, often been a feature of male/male relationships. Under the ancient Greek erastes/eromenos model, age gaps were expected: the whole point was for an experienced older man to take a younger man under his wing and show him the ropes**. Relationships between men of equal age were positively frowned-upon.
Studies have found that gay men are around three times as likely as straight couples to have a relationship with an age gap of 10 years or more. This is not to say, however, that they don’t face negative attitudes from their peers. The older partner can face criticism and assumptions he’s paying for the company, and the younger man may be told he’s got daddy issues and could do better.
Why, then, are age gap relationships so prevalent? Perhaps it’s because, once you’ve gone against perceived societal norms by coming out as gay, having an older/younger partner isn’t such a big deal. And it’s been suggested that some younger men seek out an older partner for much the same reasons as the ancient Greeks: when you’re growing up with a different sexuality from the majority of those around you, it can be reassuring to be with someone who’s been through it all before.
Ageism certainly hasn’t stopped celebrity couples such as Tom Daly and Dustin Lance Black (20 years age gap); Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer (30 years); and Elton John and David Furnish (15 years) from getting hitched. And an age gap is no barrier to a relationship’s longevity: Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (30 years gap) were together for 33 years, until Isherwood’s death. Noel Coward and Graham Payne (19 years) were together for a similar timespan, until Coward’s death.
It all goes to show that love is love, and as long as both parties are consenting adults, shouldn’t we let them be the judge of what works in their relationship?
What I particularly enjoyed about writing Nick and Julian’s romance was the way their roles reverse from what might be expected. Yes, Julian is a student at Cambridge University, and Nick is a lecturer as well as the older partner, but on the subject of being a werewolf, it’s Julian who is the more experienced one. It’s Julian who has to teach Nick how to deal with his altered state—despite the fact that Nick is an alpha wolf, and Julian an omega.
In the circumstances, it’s perhaps not surprising that Nick struggles more than a little.
And that’s before a certain figure from Julian’s past turns up to set the wolf among the pigeons.
*Three years longer than in the US, apparently. But two years less than Switzerland. Moral: eat more chocolate; it’s good for you.
**Assuming they were into that kind of thing.
A race to save his lover—by becoming his own worst nightmare.
Dr. Nick Sewell has it all. Good friends, a career as a Cambridge academic… and recently, a tendency to turn into a wolf every full moon. When a new student arrives from Germany, Nick is horrified by his visceral attraction to the troubled youth—not to mention his violent jealousy when he sees Julian with another man. He’s floored to find out Julian is a werewolf too.
Unlike Nick, Julian has spent his life among other wolves, and in this subject, he’s the teacher and Nick the student. Nick struggles to adjust to this reversal of roles, especially since he’s an alpha and Julian a natural submissive. That dynamic just adds to the attraction smoldering between them, whether they’re in human form or wolf.
But Julian’s pack and the abuse he suffered isn’t far behind him, and it wants to reclaim him. For Nick to hold on to his lover, he’ll have to embrace the monster within.
Question: Book rec time: what’s your favourite May/December or student/teacher romance?
Giveaway: I’m offering a prize of a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate to one lucky commenter on the tour, who will be randomly chosen on Wednesday 25th July. Good luck!
Available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner Press
Camwolf was previously published by Samhain, but has been completely re-edited and given a lovely new cover for this second edition by Dreamspinner Press.
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.
She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Crime Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: https://jlmerrow.com/, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow