JL Merrow talks Raising the Rent and Minding the Gap ~ Blog Tour, Guest Post, Giveaway

Mind the Gap

RaisingTheRent72webHi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the Raising the Rent blog tour!

Giveaway: I’m offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See here for a full list of the blogs I’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any)

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 27th October, GMT. Good luck! 😀

Never fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling – Raising the Rent

May-December Romance.

younger dudeIt’s a bit of a Marmite trope; some people love it, while others…. really, really don’t.

Of course, there are degrees in everything. I think most people would agree that their view of an acceptable age gap isn’t a constant: it depends on other factors, such as the age of the youngest partner, their maturity, and on whether one is in a position of power over the other.

pointy older dudeRaising the Rent involves an age gap of 17 years. Nathan is 19; Stephen is 36 and I suspect he’d prefer to see their relationship described as more of a May-late August romance! But can such relationships ever really work?

“Perhaps,” said Elinor, “thirty-five and seventeen had better not have any thing to do with matrimony together. – Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (Spoilers: thirty-five and seventeen later marry and live happily ever after.)

Most assuredly, if you look at real life cases. Christopher Isherwood (writer of Goodbye to Berlin, later adapted into the musical Cabaret) was 48 when he met Don Bachardy, then 18—an age gap of 30 years—yet the couple stayed together for 33 years, until Isherwood’s death.

19 years separated Noel Coward and Graham Payne, and they were together for over 30 years, until Coward’s death. There’s a similar age gap between champion swimmer Tom Daley (19) and his boyfriend Dustin Lance Black (39), although their relationship hasn’t had a chance to prove its longevity yet. *crosses fingers for them*

Of course, there’s plenty of precedent for age-gap gay relationships; in fact, in the ancient Greek erastes-eromenos model (mentoring plus sexytimes), age gaps were pretty much compulsory. There was a set role for each of the partners, and age was very much a part of that. A similar system existed in seventeenth-century Japan, where for example a samurai would take his young apprentice as his lover.

Such cultures actively frowned upon partnerships of equals, which were seen as odd and unnatural, undoubtedly because the “passive” role in sex was seen as unmanly—suitable only for a woman or young boy.

So there we have it. Misogyny: affecting gay relationships since the year dot.


Question: What do you think about age-gap relationships? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Wonder what on earth all the fuss is about?

***Waterhouse_a_mermaid hires

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.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow


RaisingTheRent72webNever fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling

Rent boy Nathan’s determined to get an education and get off the streets for good. But when he turns up for his first day at college he’s horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice because of his educated, honeyed tones.

Stephen’s just as shocked to see Nathan sitting in his class, not to mention terrified he’s about to be exposed as having paid for sex with a student. This could mean public humiliation and maybe the loss of his job. But when Nathan shows he’s only interested in getting his A Levels, not in blackmail, Stephen realises there’s more to the nineteen-year-old than meets the eye.

Nathan still has to earn a living, though—and when a customer turns ugly, he finds himself unable to work and homeless as well. Stephen steps in to help, and Nathan starts to think they could have a future together—but Stephen’s guilt and lack of trust could end this back-to-front romance before it even starts.

Warning: Contains unfashionable haircuts, unreasonably long words and a May-December romance between a not-so-streetwise rent boy and an erudite English teacher.

Samhain | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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33 thoughts on “JL Merrow talks Raising the Rent and Minding the Gap ~ Blog Tour, Guest Post, Giveaway

  1. Love ‘em! I am a suker for this kind of stories. And at this time, I don’t see what the problem is, people can choose what to do with their lives after all.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

      • I agree that in real life they tend to be more difficult to manage. However, I have seen 30 year gaps work well. I would think that a m/m romance would possibly easier, with the lessened chance of offspring, etc. to contend with.

        While one probably work for me, the older I get the more fun they are to read about 🙂

        • I think you’ve got a good point there re offspring, Spike – in fact, a female ex-colleague of mine was once in a relationship with a man 30 years older, and I know the worst opposition to them came from his children, who were around her age. (Her own son took it all perfectly in stride, presumably because all adults are ancient when you’re 8!)

          And yes – as we get older it’s definitely fun to fantasize about a bright young thing falling head over heels for us! ;P

  2. I have no problem with age gap stories. You love who you love, and sometimes that means there’s a gap in ages. Raising the Rent sounds great and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  3. I like reading age gap stories. I do think a large age gap in a relationship presents its own unique set of potential issues, but then many other worthwhile things in life do. 🙂

    Thanks for the interesting post and cute pix!

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

    • Yes, it’s good to see a couple work through their issues and come out stronger for it, isn’t it? I think a romance about a couple who had no differences would make very boring reading! 😉

      And you’re welcome! 😀

  4. For me, it all depends on how they’re written. It was handled well in Raising the Rent but I’ve also read books that nauseated me. As with all things about a book, the writer’s skill is the most important thing.

    • Thanks, Andrea – I’m glad to hear you liked how I wrote my age-gap characters! I think with all things, sometimes it’s handled well, and sometimes not so well.

      After all, as Sturgeon said, “Ninety percent of everything is crap” ;D

  5. I love reading stories about characters with an age gap. There is just something sexy about a younger man and an older man falling for each other.

  6. I love an age gap in stories, but in real life, not so much. I loved Raising The Rent (wish it was longer, but really, I guess it was just right). 🙂

  7. I love age gap stories. All relationships take work, an age gap can take the more sometimes, but I think it really depends on the individuals. My uncle is married happily to a woman 15 – 20 years older than him. It works for them. I have no problem with it as long as everyone is happy.

    • *I have no problem with it as long as everyone is happy.*
      You really would think that’d be the rule, wouldn’t you? *sighs* Sadly, I think a lot of the pressures on an age-gap couple come from outside the relationship – family and friends thinking they know best.
      Thanks for commenting! 😀

  8. I have mixed feelings about age gap books and relationship. I don’t particularly have anything against it and I neither hate or like them. I guess it really depends on the gap in age a 5 to 10 age gap I feel comfortable with the idea of it. Over 10 years and I do feel a bit weird about it but in the end love is love and what does it matter what I think anyway?

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    • I love your comment, HB! 😀
      My parents have an age gap of 11 years (and have been together for… ye gods, 56 years now) so I guess that’s why my idea of a potentially problematic age gap starts later than yours. Say around 15-20 years.
      What did seem a bit weird, though, was that my best friend’s mum when I was a kid was young enough to be my dad’s daughter! 😉

  9. It really depends on the situation for me. I recently read a story where the younger partner was 18 and acted more like he was 12. It got a little squicky for me. But generally I don’t mind at all.

  10. It just depends on the characters for me–sometimes it’s cool, sometimes creepy. I’m not crazy about books where it’s the *whole* foundation of the story though…

    • *I’m not crazy about books where it’s the *whole* foundation of the story though…*
      *nods* I think it’d be very hard to make a satisfying novel out of that. Luckily I gave Nathan and Stephen a few other issues to work through! ;P

  11. Thanks! I’m especially in favor of the May-December romance, since most all of you out there are “May” to my old “December”! So, yes to all those young ones who need a bit of guidance, and…

    The important point, of course, is that neither takes advantage of the other in any non-consensual way.

    I look forward to more JL Morrow!

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