Guest post by J.L. Merrow ...
It’s not that surprising that Light the Fire is set, to a large extent, in a gym.
I love the gym. I get a lot of ideas there, from plot points to inspiration for characters, and any time I’m feeling creatively blocked, it’s a sure-fire literary enema. Partly it’s because of all the people you see there, ranging from the fit to the not-so-fit to the Oh-my-God-does-your-doctor-know-you’re-here. Most of them dressed in lycra and going through their paces on the machines in a way guaranteed to make even the most reluctant muscles bulge. It’s like a pick ’n’ mix of potential characters, all of them strutting around in bright plumage that virtually screams, “Me! Me! Notice me!”
But also, I think, it’s the way physical activity frees up the mind to wander in all sorts of productive ways. I get my best ideas, I’ve found, on the rowing machine. It’s an exercise that involves your whole body, with its hypnotic, pull-push rhythm of in-out-in-out (go wash your minds out, you in the cheap seats). And probably crucially, there’s no TV screen attached. The weights machines are good for the odd inspiration too, and I’ve often had them come in the showers (oh, for heaven’s sake, this is your last warning).
Are there any downsides? Well, it’s seriously undermining my ambition to have to be removed from my writing chair with a crane at some unspecified future date. And I sometimes wonder what the other gym-goers think about the madwoman in the changing room, grinning manically to herself as she scribbles down notes with her kit half off.
I live in hope that one day, someone will ask about it, and I’ll be able to plug my latest book to them. Trouble is, we’re British. I’d better not hold my breath.
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.
JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at facebook.com/jl.merrow.
Image courtesy of stockimages.