Cover Art: Tiferet Designs
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today talking about Berlin and her latest release, Midnight in Berlin, available now at Dreamspinner Press. 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 Midnight in Berlin, my second MM werewolf romance.
Berlin’s always been one of the coolest cities around. Okay, maybe not always, but for the last hundred or so years at least. It was cool in the 1920s, when jazz was big and the nightlife was decadent. For queer men and women, it was an all-too-brief taste of freedom to live and love how they wanted, before Nazism and the Second World War came to take it all away. Christopher Isherwood recorded the spirit of the times in a book that became the musical Cabaret.
In the late 1970s, David Bowie went there (thereby increasing the coolness factor of Berlin significantly) to recover from drug addiction, and wrote some cool music including the classic, Heroes. The song is about lovers kissing in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, which since 1961 had separated communist-controlled East Berlin from West, tearing apart families and severing streets. The partition of Berlin was, of course, a legacy of WW2, when the capital of a defeated Germany was split between the Allies.
I visited Berlin at an impressionable age, way back in the summer of 1989. Part of a group doing voluntary work, I stayed in a West Berlin high school which was as close to the Wall as we are from the end of this sentence. The first night I was there, one of the lads took me to the top of the building to look out over the wall: the searchlights, the watchtowers, and the death strip. All the things I’d read about were suddenly very real.
Even as a visitor, you just couldn’t get away from the Wall in Berlin. Using the subway often meant crossing under East Berlin. The trains would slow as they passed through dimly-lit, disused ghost stations, their street entrances long concreted over. (Londoners of a certain age: think of Mornington Crescent.) And to see the famous Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the city, meant peering over a graffiti-covered section of the Wall into the East, where it was patrolled by armed guards. The gate was closed, and seemed likely to be so forever.
East Berlin, which as a foreigner I was able to visit for a day, was a city apart from the West. Beautiful, quiet—and completely devoid of consumerism. So few shops, with so little in them. I saw only one shoe shop, and there was a queue of around 30 people outside it, waiting to get in and look at the shoes. It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard what it was like in communist countries back then—but I suppose it took seeing it for myself for it to finally sink in.
The House at Checkpoint Charlie museum was—and still is—a monument to all those who risked everything for freedom from the oppressive regime in East Germany, and a testament to human ingenuity and spirit. It was sobering, learning about all those who paid for their dreams of freedom with their lives.
Perhaps you can imagine how I felt when, only a few months later, I saw footage from Berlin of jubilant people crowding across border points, and tearing down the Wall to the accompaniment of David Bowie’s anthem Heroes.
And when, a few years later, I finally got to walk through the Brandenburg Gate. Appropriately, it was during an anti-war protest.
Question: What’s your personal favourite city? What makes it cool?
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 Sunday 2nd September. Good luck!
Midnight in Berlin
One bad decision can change your life forever
It’s midnight in Berlin, and drifter Leon is hitchhiking home in the rain, covered in feathers after a wild festival in the city park. He can’t believe his luck when he’s picked up by a hot guy in a Porsche. That is, until he realises his driver is a creature from his worst nightmares—and plans to turn him into one too. He runs, but he can’t escape the werewolf’s bite.
Christoph made one mistake, but he’s paying for it plenty. He took Leon for a rogue werewolf on his way home from a hunt, and by the time he realises the truth it’s too late to do anything but make Leon a monster to save his life. That doesn’t save Christoph from the pack leader’s harsh punishment.
As Leon struggles to cope with his horrifying new reality—and his mixed feelings for the man who bit him—he’s desperate to discover not only what’s happened to Christoph, but the secrets their pack leader is hiding from them all.
Secrets the pack will kill to protect.
Available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner Press
Midnight in Berlin 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, 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