JL Merrow is my visitor today. She's not going to share ten fun facts about herself, but about my country: Iceland ^.^ While I was "icepicking" her Fall Hard manuscript, I was blown away by her understanding of Icelandic people and the details to the land and buildings (and that first sex scene? Crazy HOT with those two Icelandic dirty words!).
Warning: some may be more factual than others! ;)
1. Not only does Iceland allow same-sex marriage, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, its Prime Minister until earlier this year, is in one! She was the world’s first openly lesbian head of state.
And the best part is that nobody cared ^.^
2. Icelanders are highly literate. Around 10% (yes, TEN PERCENT) of the population will publish a book in their lifetime.
I've become a statistic >.<
3. Iceland’s only indigenous mammal is the arctic fox. All together now: Awwwwww.
Vicious beasts... Okay, not really. They're adorable ^.^
4. In Iceland, it rains sideways. This is because the wind never stops blowing. It’s death to hairstyles. If you visit, invest in a few scrunchies so you can wear a ponytail all the time and never, ever show the holiday photos to your hairdresser.
There's a joke about the part of Iceland that I live in: If the wind ever stopped blowing, people would fall over face-first (because we always have to lean against the wind - okay, not funny when you have to explain it...).
5. Volcanic ash, which caused such a palaver a few years ago, is actually coarse, gritty black sand. It’s quite fun to scrunch your toes into when you go swimming in the Blue Lagoon. Less fun, obviously, when sucked into your aircraft engine.
Yeah, sorry, World. The Dutch and Brits wanted cash but we misunderstood and sent them ash :/
|Elven graveyard (according to JL!)
6. There are elves in Iceland. So many, in fact, that in a hugely unpopular measure of 2007, the government enforced an official cull. Today, you can see the poignant sight of elven graveyards all over the country, the final resting places of the hidden folk marked by small cairns of stone.
Not true! The graveyards, that is - the elves are very real ;)
7. One thing I knew about Iceland before I went was that there are no trees there. This is a lie. THERE ARE TREES IN ICELAND! All right, there aren’t very many, and they’re mostly not very big, but they’re there. There’s a saying: What should you do if you get lost in a forest in Iceland? Stand up.
Damn, you stole my next joke :P That seriously is a joke that every Icelander knows (and we actually think it's funny, hehe).
8. Another thing I knew about Iceland was that it’s full of sheep. This is also a lie. THERE ARE NO SHEEP IN ICELAND! Nope, not one. I didn't see a single shake of a lamb’s tail while I was there. Of course, they could all have been hiding in the middle bit where the main roads don’t go… No, sorry, I don’t believe it. There are no sheep in Iceland.
So not a lie! They're as real as the elves!
9. On the other hand, there are MILLIONS of ponies in Iceland. Seriously. Everywhere you go, fields full of gorgeous, shaggy-coated, floppy-maned ponies. Which leads us to:
10. Those lovely Icelandic sweaters you see everywhere, with the thick wool and the yoke pattern around the neck? Sort of like Sarah Lund wears, only nicer? Knitted out of ponies. They shear them in the summer, bleach or dye the wool, and knit it into sweaters. Honest. It’s the only explanation.
Haha, maybe I should suggest to the farmers to collect horse hair to knit out of :P I couldn't wear one though because I'm allergic. We do make wallets out of fish skin though, so it's an idea ;)
Eight months ago, British academic Paul Ansell lost his lover—and all the memories of their time together—in an accident at Iceland’s Gullfoss Falls. Returning to the misty island country to resume his study of the bloodthirsty Viking Egil Skallagrimsson is tough as he struggles to pull his life back together.
First, there’s his colleague, Mags, who treats him like glass, and summer student Alex, who peppers him with discomforting questions. Then there’s Icelandic jet-boat driver Viggo, a tattooed, modern-day Viking who won’t say much about how they know each other. Leaving Paul to wonder if their volcanic attraction is fuelled by a desire to make a fresh start, or desperation to forget the past.
As more fragments of his lost memories fall into place, Paul is unsure if he can trust himself, much less anyone around him. And he begins to suspect his accident was nothing of the kind.
Warning: Contains a modern-day Viking whose boat has V8 engines for oars, and a harsh land of hot springs and hotter passions that won’t forgive any false steps.
I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of Pressure Head (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!
I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 30th September, GMT. Good luck! :D
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.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com