Today we have Charlie Cochet at BookWinked. She’s the author of several historical romances, including the recently released A Rose by Any Other Name, and of course the well known and popular THIRDS series. We’re all eagerly awaiting the release of Rack & Ruin. (I know I am!)
Without further ado, please welcome Charlie!
Welcome to the blog, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me! I’m Charlie Cochet, author of M/M Romance. I write in several genres from historical to paranormal, my latest series being a law-enforcement shifter series called the THIRDS. I’m a hopeless romantic, love comedy, live off coffee, am a great big geek, and I’m the mommy of a mischievous Doxie/Poodle pup.
What made you start your writing career?
I’ve been writing since I can remember. When I was little I would write short stories to go along with the pictures I drew. Creating characters has been something I’ve always loved doing, and as I grew older, my love and need for writing grew with me. I started writing longer works in high school but never considered I could actually do this for a living.
You write in different genres. ‘Historic romance’ with the Auspicious Trouble of Love series. ‘Urban Fantasy / Paranormal romance’ with the THIRDS series and ‘Fantasy’ with the North Pole City Tales series. Do you have a favourite genre to write in? Or does it depend more on the story?
It most definitely depends on the story. I never set out to write a specific genre. In fact, sometimes I have trouble trying to figure out which genre my story fits into, especially with a series like the THIRDS that falls into more than one category. For me, as long as I’m excited about writing it and enjoying myself, I’m happy.
Recently we saw two books in the THIRDS series: Hell & High Water and Blood & Thunder. Thirds got its own headquarters at your website and there are a lot of awesome graphics around. What made you start THIRDS? What was the inspiration behind the series?
In 2012, I wrote my first shifter book, An Intrepid Trip to Love. I had so much fun with it that it’s become a series, the second book of which I’m wrapping up at the moment. This shifter world is loosely based on magic and Russian mythology. When I decided I wanted to write another shifter series, I knew I wanted it to be one with a very different world. I wanted the THIRDS world to be as close to contemporary as possible with the shifters emerging through plausible or more realistic events. So I started asking myself all kinds of questions, the first one being: What if humans were responsible for the creation of this new species? What if these shifters—or Therians as they’re called in this world—weren’t hidden, but a part of society? Every answer led to a new question. If the shifters were part of society, how would that change the world we live in? How would the laws change? How would humans deal with crimes committed by this new stronger more resilient species? Lots and lots of questions led to the worldbuilding in the THIRDS.
I was also inspired by my love of comic book movies and TV shows. I wanted to write a series with a big cast where readers could have their favorite couples. Something filled with action, comedy, and romance. The series kept growing, far more than I could hope to fit on my author website. It was going to need its own space, especially since the color scheme and style is very specific. I decided to go all out with lots of fun extras for readers who enjoy the series. I started the website just over a year ago, working on everything in between writing the books, from the original logos, characters cards, to the web graphics.
Do you make the graphics yourself?
Aside for my publisher book covers, I pretty much create all my own graphics. I have a degree in design, so I’m lucky enough to be able to whip something up when I need it, whether it’s a slideshow banner, blog tour media kit, or swag graphics. I’ve designed a few graphics for fellow authors as well.
For the THIRDS, I wanted to use as much original graphics as possible. Having built the fictional THIRDS organization from the ground up, I needed logos. Law enforcement agencies have a lot of logos. I needed one for the organization, the team, and the district the team worked in. Then there were the character cards with visual references, badges, and all kinds of fun bits and pieces. I get a Photoshop itch that needs scratching often. It helps me relax.
Dex – one of the main characters from the THIRDS-series is quite the goofball. How did Dex come about? Does he have a basis in ‘real-life’?
I love writing Dex. He’s one of my most complex characters believe it or not. He’s a goofball, a charmer, always cheerful and ready with a cheeky one-liner. He drives his partner, teammates, and family crazy at times, but there’s so much more to him. With Dex, I have no idea what kind of crazy I was channeling. He just sort of sprang up out of nowhere, this happy go-lucky guy with a big smile and love of Cheesy Doodles. The 80s music and movie geekness he certainly gets from me.
In fact, it’s a little bit scary how much Dex gets from me. I only became aware of this by the end of the first book. Of course unlike me, Dex is pretty fearless and there’s not much of a filter between his brain and his mouth.
There are folks who think Dex doesn’t act like a 30-something year old. To those folks I have to say we obviously don’t know the same 30-something years olds. The guys I know play video games, watch comic book movies, laugh at fart jokes, draw penises on each other. Why? Not because they’re immature. Some are married with kids and great dads while others are perfectly responsible. It’s because life is too short to be taken so serious all the time. They look for the fun in things, and I’m very much the same way. To me, there’s nothing sexier than a sense of humor.
Like Dex, the guys I know and have known are serious when it’s time to be serious. Otherwise, they’re causing some kind of mischief or tormenting each other. There’s a lot of brotherly love, and that’s what I put in the THIRDS. Dex and his teammates aren’t just a team, they’re a family. And let’s face it. You love your family, but they also drive you nuts.
Music is important in your stories. We can see this in the Auspicious Trouble of Love a bit and more prominently in the THIRDS-series. Is music important to you? In your writing?
I adore music. Need it. I remember my parents playing records or the radio when I was little. There was always music around. When I need a pick me up, I pop in my in-ear headphones and play some rockin’ 80s pop or rock and I’m good to go. Music really helps me set the mood for a scene. For the THIRDS it’s especially helpful. With certain actions scenes, I needed quick pop/rock songs with a good beat. Some Fall Out Boy, 30 Second to Mars. Some love songs for the more tender moments.
Right now, the playlists for the first two books are up at THIRDS HQ, along with Dex’s 80s playlists. For historicals, it’s a little tougher. I have to find the right feel, so I can’t have any modern upbeat pop as it will just distract me. I prefer listening to soundtracks when writing historicals.
All your stories are very detailed and graphic. Do you do a lot of research for your books? And how do you go about gathering your research?
There’s always a great deal of research involved in any book I’m working on regardless of genre. Sometimes there’s a little more involved, like with historicals. It’s tough. I grew up reading all those Harlequin romances. There was a lot of description in those, but as long as it didn’t go on for pages and pages I was happy because it helped me imagine the setting perfectly. I guess that kind of old school writing stuck with me in many ways. Not everyone is a fan of description, but I do my best not to info dump and instead weave the details throughout the story.
The THIRDS has a lot of description, mostly in the first book Hell & High Water because it’s setting up this large complicated world. For my historicals everything has to be researched and double checked, from the clothing to the locations and food. Even something as simple as a street name needs to be checked because maybe that street was called something else during that period or worse didn’t exist.
With my historicals, the research is more about setting a mood and giving you a visual without making it sound like a history book. The story is first and foremost about the romance. I want to be able to whisk folks away to another place for a while. Entertain, make them laugh, pull at their heartstrings, and maybe make them fall in love with the story and characters.
The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe is a bit different from the first book. Now the main characters from the first book provide a home to troubled boys (in their era). What was the inspiration for the change in the second book? Why add the younger generation?
Chance, Johnnie, Bobby, and Alexander all have heartbreaking stories to tell. They each escaped from their own personal hell and have fought to get where they are. When I was writing Chance’s book, I knew Johnnie would be getting his own book once he was all grown up, but even then, he would still have a lot of healing to do. Johnnie is the only one of the four who’s not been able to leave his past behind him all these years later, and considering his past, it won’t ever truly go away.
I knew these fellas still had so much more to give. Jacky is a nurturer. He has this great need and desire to help. He took Johnnie, Bobby, and Alexander under his wing, gave them a family they never thought they’d have. Jacky wanted to keep giving young men like the original brats, a chance at a better life, and he had the means to do it. I knew Johnnie’s book would be about his healing and finding a way to move forward. Getting him to change his self-destructive ways was going to take more than just the love of a good man like Henry.
Johnnie’s healing comes from not only his family (Henry, Chance, Jacky, Bobby, and Alexander) but from his connection to the new generation of brats, boys who are at times too much like him. He can see his own pain reflected in their eyes and that makes him want to be better, wants to make him be a better man for them. For all his foul-mouthed, infuriating, hardboiled ways, Johnnie is a big softie.
Will there be more in the Auspicious Trouble of Love series?
Absolutely! Bobby and Alexander still have their story to tell. There may be some shorter novellas with a few of the new generation of brats, but we’ll have to see. But Bobby and Alexander are on my writing schedule for next year. There’s also a cross-over planned where Julius and Edward from A Rose by Any Other Name visit Jacky at Hawthorne Manor in England. In The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe, Julius and Edward are in Paris. So by the end of Bobby and Alexander’s book, Jacky has invited Julius and Edward over.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m wrapping up Healing Hunter’s Heart, Book 2 in the Little Bite of Love series. I’m also working on Against the Grain, Book 5 in the THIRDS series which is from Ash and Cael’s POVs. There are quite a few THIRDS books still to come, along with more historicals from current series, and some contemporary.
Can you give us a fun fact/tid bit about one of your books?
Sure! How about some THIRDS fun facts? In the very early incarnation of Hell & High Water, Cael actually had a crush on Hudson who was the one who gave Dex a hard time. He wasn’t the sweet, shy Englishman he is now. Then Ash was born, pushed Hudson over and decided to become a hero in his own right. Hudson underwent a transformation and gained a romantic history with Seb. Dex was originally nicknamed JD, the J now being Dex’s middle name. The series also started in 1st person, Dex’s POV, but after a few chapters, I realized it didn’t feel right. I needed to get Sloane’s POV as well. That’s because in the very beginning, Dex and Sloane were detectives, but that quickly changed when I finalized the type of series I wanted the THIRDS to be and all the ideas started flooding in. Destructive Delta appeared soon after.
Charlie was born in Havana, Cuba at the Hospital of the Sacred Heart to a couple of hipster parents. In 1980–feeling it was time to get out of Dodge, her parents scooped her up and embarked on a perilous journey, boarding a fishing vessel called the Admiral Backman which along with 231 other folks, carried Charlie and her parents through stormy seas to the land of opportunity. Charlie spent the next twelve years in New Jersey where she fell in love with bagels, New York pizza, and learned to pronounce coffee as ‘cawfee’. Just before her 14th birthday, her folks decided to pack up the family and head for warmer weather.
After graduating high school in South Florida, Charlie attended The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Media Arts & Animation. Not long after, at the age of 23, life whisked her away to England where she lived for 11 years, thriving in the creative culture of London while drinking tea and learning to say ‘chips’ when she meant fries.
Charlie is an avid supporter of LGBT rights and looks forward to the day when gender is not an issue. M/M author by day, artist by night, she is quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, and no star is out of reach when following her passion. From hardboiled detectives and society gentleman, to angels and elves, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie dreams of the day where the temperature might be something other than hot, hot, and boy, it’s hot! When Charlie isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers. If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.