9:23 AM

In the Author Spotlight

Charlie Cochrane

Charlie will be giving away goodie bags (magnets, postcards, bookmarks, any other nice doo-dads lurking chez Cochrane, which might well include sweets) for two prize drawing winners. In order for a chance to win you'll have to post so that your name can be entered. Best wishes to all!

AL: Hi Charlie! Thanks for being In the Author Spotlight this week.

CC: Thank you for making me so welcome, Ann. I feel like I’m dropping in for tea and cake.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

CC: I’m on a quest to find four extra hours in the day. We’ve just returned from a short break in Brighton, the kids have gone back to school after half term and I keep trying not to look at my ‘to do’ list and concentrate instead on seeing if there are any spring flowers coming out. The next couple of months are very busy on every front so I shall treasure every moment I get to look at the daffodils.

AL: You have been sharing some exciting news for, “Lessons in Love”. Would you care to share that news with us?

CC: Well, I had a totally ‘knock me down with a feather’ moment last weekend. When I went to check how it was doing on Amazon.com (not something I do above, oh, six times a day) not only was it number 2 in gay romance, it was in the top 100 for both romantic suspense and historical romance. It was great to see that Amazon doesn’t have any prejudices against m/m stories and was happy to include the book among its peers. I’ve managed to stop grinning about it now.

AL: What do you have currently for us to read?

CC: There’s ‘Lessons in Love’, which you’ve just mentioned, and that’s the first in the Cambridge Fellows series of romantic mysteries. Set in Edwardian Cambridge, it was the first book which was all my own work so has a very special place in my heart. The second book in the series, ‘Lessons in Desire’, has just come out in e-book form with print to follow in the spring.

Both of these books are published by Linden Bay Romance, as is ‘Speak Its Name’, a trilogy of historical romance novellas which includes stories from me, Lee Rowan and Erastes. My contribution, ‘Aftermath’, is set post WWI and looks at two young men at Oxford struggling to come to terms with the loss of a generation and their own burgeoning sexuality. You can also find ‘Blitz’, set in WWII as the name suggests, at Linden Bay. This is a free read e-book (which means you can download it without cost and see if you like my style).

Back end of last year, I was lucky enough to be asked onto the acquisitions team for the anthology ‘I Do’, which is in aid of Lambda legal. My story ‘The Roaming Heart’, a tongue in cheek tale of the post war British film industry, was included in the twenty tales we chose for publication. You can find this gem of a book (I can say that because the other 19 stories are absolutely spiffing!) at MLR press or on Amazon.

AL: What sizzling tales are you whipping together for us readers?

CC: More of the Cambridge Fellows tales. Book three is just going through edits and book four is getting a once over before it goes for editing. Jonty and Orlando seem to like getting into scrapes, both romantic and murder related. The course of true love gets a bit potholed at times, but it’s fun getting them over the humps and bumps. Of course, it’s essential that they kiss and make up when required. Frequently.

In addition, I have a story about gay werewolves (yes, that’s not a misprint) in the anthology Queerwolf, due out later this year. A bit of a departure, although my lycanthropes are very polite and well-bred, the sort you could happily introduce to your granny. As long as it’s not full moon. And I’m also tinkering with a tale set over the course of WWI, although that’s in the very early stages.

AL: What is the hardest part about writing a book?

CC: For me, the bedroom scenes. I can get a storyline, see settings, devise the characters, but when it comes to writing the intimate stuff, I sweat blood. I think the average love scene takes longer than all the rest of the book – or it feels like that. I don’t write physically explicit scenes, although the emotions run very deep. I try to describe the acts involved in a lyrical rather than practical way, if that makes sense.

AL: What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?

CC: Ooh er. The Starbucks cafĂ© on the Old Brompton Road which sort of found its way into the werewolf story, is one of them, I guess. Then there’s a very stupid thing I once did when helping on a school trip, which Jonty and Orlando do in ‘Lessons in Desire’. I shan’t elaborate; suffice to say I tried to pretend I was only eleven years old again and soon thought I was going to die.

AL: Besides writing, what other things do you like to do in your spare time?

CC: Watch rugby, either live or on TV. Actually, I love all sorts of sports (am listening to cricket as I type this) but rugby is the pinnacle of pulchritudinous competition. I also like strolling around places of interest, being an active member of our local church and going to the theatre. Will everyone forgive me if I confess I’ve seen both David Tenant and John Barrowman on stage this year?

AL: You’re an actress in the middle of filming a blockbuster movie, what is the movie about and what role do you play?

CC: It’s about the England rugby team. Someone is trying to sabotage their bid for the 2011 World Cup and I’m the mature but still attractive (I may have lied about the attractive bit) senior operative with MI5 who comes in and saves the day. I’ll wear tight jeans and a leather hjacket and they’ll put a stocking over the lens to hide my wrinkles. Actually, they might be better with the jeans over the lens.

AL: What is your favorite comfort food?

CC: Jelly babies. Especially the green and black ones.

AL: Are you a sports fan? Being in the UK what favorite teams do you root for?

CC: I think I may have given away the answer to that already. I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur (Premiership soccer team) for more years than I’ll confess and Saracens rugby team for slightly fewer years, but more than I care to number. I also like watching golf, especially if my beloved Jose Maria Olazabal is coming down the fairway.

AL: Please share a favorite quote with us.

CC: Can I share a couple? One is ‘If I could write the beauty of your eyes’, which feels like a motto for a romance writer. It’s from Shakespeare’s sonnets, of course, and seems very appropriate as it’s one of those addressed to a man.
The other is ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus’ teachings were so fantastic, so radical, it’s no wonder people have been trying to tone them down and hedge them about ever since.

AL: Thank you so much Charlie for sharing with us today.

CC: Thank you for letting me come and chat, Ann. It’s been a real pleasure to answer your questions (they certainly got me thinking) and it’s also been so nice to get to know you. Now, you pour another cup of tea and I’ll break open a fresh packet of custard creams…

AL: If you'd like to find out more about Charlie and her work please visit:

Featured Title:

With the recent series of college murders behind him, Cambridge Fellow Jonty Stewart is in desperate need of a break. A holiday on the beautiful Channel Island of Jersey seems ideal, if only he can persuade Orlando Coppersmith to leave the security of the college and come with him.

Orlando is a quiet man who prefers academic life to venturing out into the world. Within the confines of their rooms at the university, it’s easy to hide the fact that he and Jonty are far more than friends. But the desire to spend more time alone with the man he loves is an impossible lure to resist.

When a brutal murder occurs at the hotel where they’re staying, the two young men are once more drawn into the investigation. The race to catch the killer gets complicated by the victim’s son, Ainslie, a man who seems to find Orlando too attractive to resist. Can Stewart and Coppersmith keep Ainslie at bay, keep their affair clandestine, and solve the crime?

"Do love you, you know. Don't say it enough."

"You don't need to say it, not in words.” Orlando briefly caressed Stewart’s fingers. “It’ll be the last dance soon. I'll take Mrs. Sheringham if she's up for it, and you ask Mrs. Forbes, that'll wipe the smiles off the faces of their husbands. And their daughters. Then we'll be allowed to make our way up to bed."

"A handsome plan. So to bed, where actions may be given free rein to express what words can scarce dare to hint at."

"That's lovely. Is it Shakespeare?"

"No, it's Stewart, inspired by a theme of Coppersmith. I hear a waltz; duty first." Jonty made an elaborate salute.

“I hope you don’t intend to do your duty by the young ladies?”

“You know I only ever do my duty by you. If you want, I’m ready to do it tonight.”

Coppersmith was convinced that his heart would have leapt out of his chest had he not his best boiled shirt on to contain it. “Then mark your card for the last dance with me, Jonty. To be performed in our suite.”

The sound of the orchestra still rang in their ears as they opened the door to their rooms. Orlando closed it carefully behind him, then immediately took Stewart in his arms. “I promised you the last dance. We’ll have it here and now.” They began to slowly waltz across the room, Coppersmith leading them expertly between the little tables and the sofa.

“Why must I be the woman? I’m sure your mathematical noddle would be better at reversing the steps.”

“You can lead next time. If your home in Sussex is as spacious as you keep saying it is, there should be ample room for dancing.” Orlando drew his lover close, took in the aroma of his hair, newly washed that afternoon and still smelling of lavender. “If I were a woman, I wouldn’t let anyone else dance with you.”

“If you were a woman, I’d get my mama to tell you that I’d been injured in a certain part of my anatomy in a hunting accident, so couldn’t be interested.” Jonty buried his nose in the folds of his lover’s jacket.

“You are such an idiot at times.” Coppersmith kissed the top of Stewart’s head. “I sometimes wonder if I really do love you, or simply tolerate you in an attempt to keep you from causing chaos amongst the rest of the world.”


Charlie Cochrane said...


Thank you so much for letting me come over. I'd forgotten what I'd written for some of the answers, so it was fun to remind myself!


Ann Lory said...

You're most welcome, Charlie. It's a great interview. :-D


Charlie Cochrane said...

You certainly got me thinking. Although one of my LJ pals is surprised I didn't say that a nit comb was my most unusual inspiration. That was only for fanfic, though. Itchy fanfic...


Anonymous said...

*waves* Hello, Charlie. February vacation over and the museum back to something like normal, I can recommence the happy task of trailing you all over the 'net.

Here's a question for you: What are your favorite things about writing historical fiction, and what do you find challenging about conveying the time periods you pick to a modern audience?

Charlie Cochrane said...

Hi Meg!

I love you trailing me; I look forward to the day we get to meet and we can knock six shades of brickdust out of Portsmouth. :)

My favourite thing about writing historical fiction is recreating what runs like a black and white film/BBC adaptation/classic radio serial in my head and then on the page.

The challenge is to securely suggest the era without resorting to clunky things. (You know, little references dropped in to contemporary events which make you groan from their corniness.) There's one short story - Blitz - in which I think I've hit the nail on the head at the start. Wish I could re-use that paragraph a million times, just changed a bit...


J.K. Coi said...

Queerwolf sounds cool, can't wait to check it out!
Great interview Ann and Charlie!

J.K. Coi

Anonymous said...

Charlie--I shall have to go back and reread Blitz now, not like I needed an excuse. I also have been saving Lessons in Desire as a reward for surviving vacation week, so I shall have to dig into that this week as well! Gee, what a shame. *laugh*

I know just how dear Jonty and Orlando are to you--What is the first thing you'd recommend to someone when attempting a revision of a piece on which you've expended a lot of heart and toil?


Charlie Cochrane said...


Thank you. I'm looking forward to those wolves, too. Such a departure!


Charlie Cochrane said...


Blitz and Lessons? You're a glutton for punishment.

That question is all I'd expect from you. Very perceptive and a real 'gets you thinking' one. I'd say you have to bite the bullet. If someone points out that what you thought was wonderful is actually a bit stodgy, then it probably needs de-stodging. You almost have to come at it afresh, be willing to lose whole chunks even if you love them and add in new stuff. But you also have to know what's worth fighting for. If it's a dash vs a semi-colon it isn't worth the powder. If it's retaining a refernce to Ockham's razor, it is.



Sarah said...

Yes! Rubgy this time...

You know I love you to Bits, C. Brilliant post - thanks for hosting it Ann..

Also, I would love to introduce your gay werewolves to my granny ON the full moon. Unfortunately, I'm guessing they like live meat.

Also, getting ready to buy LiD... right now am severely restricting my book intake as have to write DRM and edit ROI.



Charlie Cochrane said...


The feeling's mutual!

Were you intending my werewolves to eat your granny or not? They are very well trained and would never attack a lady. In fact, they could show Jeeves a thing or two about civilised behaviour.

You have to edit the whole Republic of Ireland? I'll send jelly babies to get you through the ordeal.



Merry said...

Interesting interview! I enjoyed the excerpt you put up, so will have to go and visit Amazon (there's a voucher from Christmas still burning a hole in my pocket).
I'm also looking forward to QueerWolf - I *love* werewolves, so that will be another one to add to the (ever growing) pile of TBB and TBR!



Charlie Cochrane said...


Lessons in Desire isn't up on Amazon yet - hoping it'll be in print come May. The first book's there, though. (How restrained of you still to have an Amazon voucher after so long. Mine wouldn't have lasted a week!)

I think I could grow to love werewolves, too. I'm looking forward to reading the other stories in the anthology!



Ann Lory said...

Thanks J.K. and Sara. These interviews are fun to do, I'm really enjoying hosting them. Thanks so much for stopping by and posting. I love reading those too.


Ann Lory said...

Plus, Charlie is doing an awesome job, not just in the interview, but in responding to everyone...


Charlie Cochrane said...

Hey Ann, you know what it's like. Want something done, ask a busy person! Multi-tasking supermums, that's us. Or maybe not...

Lee Rowan said...

Ha, made it, and worth the gymnastics to get here. Great questions, Ann!

Since you mentioned Blitz... have you ever thought of take those boys and giving them an adventure in WWII England?

Charlie Cochrane said...


I agree about the questions. Some of the best I've been asked.

I feel there's nothing else these boys want to say to me. And now, having been to the D-Day beaches I'm afraid any fic would be too tinged with tears and poppies.