Hi Nic! Thank you so much for having me visit your blog. I appreciate it.
Your new release, Nothing Ventured, is about the Mad Mucker. Can you tell us what that’s about?
The Mad Mucker is actually a fictional race that I made up for the story. But it’s based on events like Tough Guy and the Tough Mudder—the sort of races where there are obstacles as well as running involved, and also mud. Lots of mud.
My main characters meet because they’re training for the race, and get pushed into training together by a mutual acquaintance. One of them is very fit and into running, the other one has a bit of catching up to do.
Where did the inspiration for this story come from? Have you ever competed in one of these races?
It was my husband who gave me the idea. He’s done a couple of similar races, usually with a group of other guys. He suggested it might make a good vehicle for a gay romance story. He was right 😉
And yes—I recently took part in the Monster Race. It’s a little shorter than the one that my guys in the book did. But the obstacles were hardcore. I actually had to crawl through a bog and swim through a lake as part of the course.
If anyone is interested, I’ve written a full account of the experience here, and you can sponsor me on my JustGiving page. I’m raising money for the Albert Kennedy Trust who support homeless LGBT youth.
I love that your stories are based in England (I love the word snog). How you find readers and reviewers respond to this, given the gay romance genre is typically set in America? Are these locations places you know well?
Thanks! I’m glad you like the UK settings. When I first started writing, I was a bit worried that it might alienate some readers, but by and large I’ve had a really positive response to my books from readers all over the world. I’m sure there are a few who might avoid them because of the UK setting, but there are plenty more who actively enjoy them. I often tend to use locations that I know, because it helps to make them vivid and real. But sometimes I will combine two real places to make a fictional one, or will change certain aspects to make something fit with what I need for the story.
And finally, what’s coming up next from Jay Northcote?
I have a Christmas novella that I’m hoping to put out in early December called Cold Feet. It’s a sweet, fluffy friends-to-lovers story about two guys who get snowed in together over Christmas.
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
They moved on to discuss training more specifically. Liv, of course, had already planned out her schedule and suggested the rest of them do the same.
“It helps me focus if I make a plan and stick to it,” she was saying. “I’ll be running four days a week and going to the gym for weight training twice. That gives me one day of complete rest a week.”
“One whole day!” Aiden shook his head as he picked up his now nearly empty pint. “Careful, your muscles might atrophy or something.”
He drained the last dregs and wiped the foam from his lip with the back of his hand. He caught Matt watching him as he did it, and he licked his lips deliberately. He couldn’t resist flirting with the man even though his interest was completely unreciprocated. The bloke looked as though he had a stick up his arse, and Aiden couldn’t imagine he’d like anything more interesting up there. Shame. Aiden wouldn’t have minded trying.
Liv’s voice snapped him out of daydreams about Matt’s arse and back to the here and now. “So how many times a week will you be aiming to run, Aiden?”
“Oh… um, yeah. Three or four, I guess,” he said vaguely. “That sounds about right. And I’ve got some weights at home, so I can use those if I don’t make it to the gym.” They were at the back of a cupboard, gathering dust.
“Matt lives near you. Maybe you could train together?” Liv had a wicked glint in her eye. “It’s always motivating training with someone else. It’s so easy to wimp out on a rainy day if you’re not answering to anyone, isn’t it?”
“I suppose,” Aiden replied warily. “But I don’t think it’s necessary. I wouldn’t want to slow Matt down.”
He expected Matt to agree. Why the hell would Matt want to train with him? Aiden hadn’t exactly made a great first impression. There was no way he’d want Aiden tagging along behind him and cramping his style.
But surprisingly, Matt grinned at him. The evil, slightly too knowing look in his eye was familiar, and for the first time Aiden could see the family resemblance between him and Liv. “I think that’s a great idea.”
Aiden opened his mouth, but for once he was at a loss for words. He closed it again and swallowed.
“Brilliant,” said Liv. “Make sure you swap numbers, then, so you can arrange something.”
Matt got out his phone. “We can start tomorrow after work. What’s your number?”
Aiden knew when he was beaten. It seemed he’d acquired a training partner. An annoying, bossy, sexy but tragically straight training partner. But at least the view of Matt’s arse would be nice while Aiden was trying to keep up with him.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.