The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge by Jackson Marsh
Jackson Marsh has a new MM YA romance out, book two in his Barranmoor Ridge series: “The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge.”
Book two in ‘The Barrenmoor Series’ of MM romance stories with a mountain rescue theme.
Liam has set himself a goal. To come out to his best friend, Casper, before his 18th birthday while hiking at Fellborough in the Yorkshire Dales.
Things don’t go according to plan, and when a violent storm hits, the camping trip takes a potentially fatal turn. Local mountaineers, John Hamilton and his husband Gary are called to help, but it soon becomes apparent that the rescue is more than physical. Liam and Casper both have secrets that when known, have the potential break or mend their hearts.
A mix of YA, romance and adventure, ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ brings back popular characters from the first Barrenmoor book in a familiar setting with love, mountaineering and the dangers of both.
‘The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge’ is the first book in the Barrenmoor Series of MM romances with a mountain rescue theme. ‘The Students’ takes place two years later, and it is better, but not vital, to read the stories in order.
From the series reviews:
“No usual tried tropes here. Great story, natural dialogue, well-developed characters, and unpredictable plot.”
“I loved reading the entire “mentor” series. Such great escapism. I Love the Pacing of the story, the twist and turns, the suspense, conflict, romance. The whole series is wonderful to read.”
Jackson is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Fir a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
Special Guest Post For Books, Tattoos and Tea:
Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Is Barrenmoor Ridge a real place?
In a way, I have taken a trip to research a story, but the journey was into my memory. Let me explain. ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ is set against the backdrop of Fellborough, a 723-meter-high fell in the Yorkshire dales. It is and it isn’t a real place. In the story, Fellborough is next to Inglestone, whereas in real life, the village I modeled Inglestone on is called Ingleton, and the fell is called Ingleborough. It is one of the ‘three peaks’ of the dales, and the area is real.
I once lived nearby, walked on Ingleborough and climbed at Ingleton and the surrounding area, so I knew it well and was able to revisit it in my memory and online. The reason I changed the names was so that I could be creative with the truth, imagining the place as I saw it for my story rather than as it actually is. I often do this is books because it offers more artistic license, but mostly, what you read is how I remember it.
When I lived there, many years ago now, I walked up Ingleborough and on the way, passed a ruined cottage, or maybe it was once a farmhouse, and thought that I would like to live there one day. Unable to achieve that, I decided to invent the cottage as it might be now, and that is the Barrenmoor Ridge Cottage in the story where John and Gary live. It is, and was, the last sign of habitation before summitting the fell, remote and atmospheric, but Barrenmoor Ridge itself doesn’t exist. It’s an imagined ridge in the folds of the fell as you ascend, and the streams and other geographical features are all from memory, though maybe not all from the same place.
It’s the same with characters. In ‘the Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’, Liam is based partly on an old school friend and partly on me, and Casper is based on an amalgamation of a few people I knew when younger, mixed with a couple I know now. John Hamilton, the mountaineer, is kind of based on who I’d like to have been back when I first saw ‘Fellborough’, and Gary is the kind of young lad I’d like to have around now. So, when asked if a place or character is real, the answer is usually yes and no, and I reckon most authors would say the same thing unless they are writing biographies.
As for my other books and research, it tends to be retrospective. For example, in ‘The Stoker Connection’, I based locations on real places, Whitby Abbey, Chippenham and one of my favourite locations, Folkestone on the south coast. I lived near Folkestone, worked in the theatre that appears in that story, and I have visited Whitby. I also lived near Chippenham, so instead of getting up from my desk here in Greece and heading back to the UK for a research trip, I tend to travel back in time via my memory. I then visit virtually online and in books to add details that bring a place to life, and add in others that I might need to meet my own ends when creating the story.
Research is a large part of what I do as a writer, but books, looking online, viewing videos and films, talking to people or simply observing, are all techniques writers use for research while looking for that spark to set off an idea. ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ was inspired by the memories of having more than a crush on one of my best friends when I was 18 mixed with my admiration for mountaineers and particularly rescue teams, and once that inspiration had hit home, all I needed to do then was take a trip down Memory Lane and delve around. That’s my favourite kind of research.
John was unable to sleep that night. The raging wind didn’t bother him even though the roof tiles rattled, and he knew the old yew tree would be creaking as it bent towards the lean-to. He was used to it and so was the cottage. It was well built.
Gary was curled up behind him, spooned in with one arm across John’s chest. The bedroom was warm, Gary’s presence warmer, and the pillows were soft. There was no reason sleep shouldn’t come, they were safe from the battering, cocooned in the perfect shelter of each other’s arms, and yet…
The scream of the wind as it charged them from the summit of Lhotse, the vibrations of the ground when an avalanche fell, the hiss of snow stinging the tent, and the mountain’s roar, all sounds he heard through the inconsequential force six doing its best to rattle the house. The bitter bite of memory gnawed at his mind for sure, but the main reason his thoughts leapt from the anesthetizing approach of sleep to the worst conditions in the world had nothing to do with the past.
There were people out there now, at Everest, yes, but also on the fells. The team were over at Northpeak and they’d picked a fine night for training, but closer to home, there were hikers and climbers huddled beneath inadequate canvas hoping their pegging was sound and wishing the night would end. Daylight might bring security, but it didn’t guarantee good weather, and it was still hours away. A lot could happen. The storm had worsened to a frightening zenith before the thunder abated slightly, but still he couldn’t sleep. The lessening conditions meant the eye of the storm was overhead, and there would be more, possibly worse, to follow.
He pictured the fell from above, seeing through the agitated clouds to the swamped ground a mile below. Lit by lightning bursts, he imagined it as waves frozen in mid-roll with Fellborough peak a crest and the lower terrain its ripples. Peppered around it were insignificant dots of inappropriate colour, the shop-bought, budget tents of the unwary trembling against the elements.
He had pictured the scene on many nights as he lay listening to the conditions and waiting for the MRT radio to spark into life, or for his pager to double-beep the call sign, but tonight he was seeing it more clearly, as if it was unfolding on a widescreen television in high definition. Unaffected by the storm, he floated above it, watching over its potential victims, safe at his altitude and apart. The unhinged tempest beneath blasted from one insane thought to another, swiping at anything in its path, but John was safe, hovering on a warm updraft that dulled him towards the soft paws of sleep.
Until he fell.
Security gone. No handholds, no rope, only the empty space between him and the life-taking certainty of rock.
Gasping, he opened his eyes as his body jerked. The clock glowed one-forty-seven, and Gary had rolled away leaving him exposed and vulnerable. The pager was silent, and John was safe in his bed, but a few miles away, people might be battling for their lives, and all he could do was wait.
The rain no longer stung when it swiped Liam’s face, his flesh was too numb to register the pain. The torch beam was nothing more than a thread through barely penetrable blackness, but it showed him the ground a few steps at a time.
That was all he needed to do, take it slowly using common sense and exercising caution. The tent had been facing west, and he found the way down from the ledge between two large boulders with no trouble. Straight on to the south, he met the path. Over to his left, the lightning was now on the horizon, and the wind was swooping down from the fell on his right. If the storm didn’t change direction, it would keep him on course, and the path, now more like a stream, was marked here and there by cairns. With the wind to one side and the dying lightning to the other, he only needed to keep going downhill until he met the riverbed. If it was flooded, he’d wade straight through to if he had to.
It was his fault that Casper was in trouble. Whatever had made him go out unprotected in the storm, and whatever had happened next didn’t matter. There was nothing that could be done to change that, all that mattered now was finding someone who could save him. Repercussions of a bad decision would come, and Liam would deserve them – unprepared, inexperienced, thinking he knew what he was doing… Why hadn’t he just taken Casper down to the beach at home to tell him? Why drag him halfway up the country and make him climb a hill to ruin their friendship? He could have done that weeks ago had he not been such a ridiculous romantic. There was nothing romantic about destroying their friendship and leaving his best friend shivering to death on…
He yelled at himself to stop. Beating himself up wouldn’t do any good. He had to concentrate on his footing, and pretend he knew what he was doing. Casper needed him to be strong, to be wise, to take only a course of action that would lead to rescue, everything else had to wait.
Not knowing how far he had descended, he stopped and took out his phone. Sheltering it as best he could against his chest, he switched it on only to find no signal and the battery bar now glowing red. The phone back in his pocket, the torch aimed at the path, his head down, he continued.
The rain was easing off, that was a blessing, but the gale roared in his ears, low and booming one moment, high-pitched the next. As uncoordinated as his frozen feet, as wild as the anger he turned in on himself, it would not leave him alone. It taunted and jabbed as it bullied, and in the cacophony, he imagined laughter, spiteful and insulting, but deserved.
Another sound grew closer on a rumbling vibration beneath his feet, and a few paces further, he came to the edge of the riverbed.
Except now there was no bed, only river as thousands of gallons of water teamed from the blackness on his right to vanish back into the night on his left. The torch lit foam spewing around rocks in untamed channels that bubbled wildly and fast across his path. There was no way to judge the depth, and no way of knowing if the rocks that stood above the surface were stable, but equally, there was no time to think about it. Squinting through dripping eyelashes and aiming his light, it was impossible to see how wide it was either, but he knew for certain that there was no way to go up and around. Downhill, it could flow east for miles and take him off his path. The only way was through, and he knew he might not survive.
Jackson Marsh is a British born author of novels and screenplays.
Jackson has a background of theatre, cabaret and music and yet holds a social policy degree. He was born on the Romney Marshes in Kent, UK, but now lives on a mountainous Greek island. During the 1980s in London he campaigned for gay rights and performed political satire cabaret, writing song and reviews, appearing at Pride events, national venues and on television.
He moved to Greece in 2002 and married his partner there in 2017. He has won awards for his gay erotic writing, and in 2007, won a European-wide award for short stories. In 2017, he won awards for his screenplay writing.
Jackson is the author of ‘The Clearwater Mysteries’, and also writes fiction under the name James Collins.
Author Website: www.jacksonmarsh.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002130420544
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jacksonmarshauthor/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollinsWords26
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17332953.Jackson_Marsh
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackson-marsh/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jackson-Marsh/e/B077LDT5ZL/