Charlie Cochet is back at Bookwinked! You might remember her from the author column she did and the author interview and the interview in which she talks THIRDS. Today she is back to talk about her new series Four Kings. Please give her a warm welcome!
Hello Charlie and welcome back to Bookwinked. For the new readers of the blogs, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me! My name is Charlie Cochet and I write gay romance. I’m probably most known for my paranormal shifter/ law enforcement series THIRDS. I write everything from paranormal and fantasy, to contemporary and historical. I love action and humor, so you can usually find both in my books, and of course plenty of romance!
Recently you published Love in Spades, the first book in the Four Kings series. How did the series come about?
With the main THIRDS series coming to an end, it was time to think about my next series. I knew it would be a series, because that’s what I tend to write. I love writing ensemble casts, so very rarely am I ready to leave a world behind when I start writing it. I knew taht this time I wanted to write a contemporary series. I went back and forth a bit about what kind of contemporary series. Did I want to do soemthing that was straight up romance, or continue with action/suspense. I love writing the latter, so I decided to write what I love.
I really enjoy writing law enforcement, so I started brainstorming ideas for the characters, who they were, and what they did. I threw ideas back and forth with my besties and I decided on ex-military bodyguards. I knew I could have a lot of fun with that.
The series is very different from the THIRDS series. How was it to write a new series?
It’s been really exciting and fun. I was really nervous about starting a new series after the THIRDS. When you have a big series like that, you worry about anything that comes after. Will it be as sucessful? Will readers enjoy it? How will your new work be viewed in comparison. I wanted it to have the elements that I love and readers enjoy (the humor, action/suspense, and romance) about the THIRDS, yet make sure it was very different.
I didn’t want to write another Dex. Dex for me is special. One of a kind. I knew from the beginning that Ace was going to be a bit of a smarty pants. He was going to be playful, and have a sense of humor, and drive his brothers-in-arms crazy, but he was going to be different from Dex. The two would probably be total besties and wreak havoc upon the world, but Ace had to be a different guy with his own quirks and baggage. Same for the rest of the guys. I wanted the series to be different, and I think I made that happen.
What was the writing process for Love in Spades. Did you do certain aspects different?
Absolutely. With the THIRDS, there’s an overall story arc that carries through all 10 books with smaller plots happening in each book. They also follow one couple through the majority of the series. With Four Kings, we’re getting a different couple in each book, and each plot is tied up at the end. With the THIRDS, there was also a good deal of action, sometimes more than the romance, and with Four Kings it’s flipped. I’m leaning heavier toward the romance despite there still being a good amount of suspense. The reason for this is that although we continue to see couples in the other books, I only have one book to get them to the “I love yous”, as opposed to the THIRDS where we go from Dex and meeting in the first book and follow their relationship all the way through to their wedding in the tenth book.
It’s definitely more of a challenge because I haven’t known these guys as long as I’ve known Dex and crew, but I’m already falling for them.
Where did you find the inspiration for Ace and Colton and the guys?
Ace, just from his nickname alone, I knew was going to be trouble. He has a certain arrogance about him. With the Kings, I had to develop them all together. They’re a unit, a brotherhood, a family. I wanted each guy to be very different, yet they served in the military together in the same unit and formed a special bond. Their nicknames helped shape them in a lot of ways because if they were given these names, it had to match their personalities. I knew there’d be certain kinds of cases Ace would be assigned to which meant Colton would have to be a guy who could give as good as he got. Just because he was being protected, didn’t mean he wasn’t going to be an equally strong, stubborn man. Colton is the heir to a multibillion dollar company. He didn’t get there by letting himself be pushed around.
As for the rest of the Kings, if Red is the king of hearts, I figured he would have to be the sweet, shy one. He’s just such a nice guy, it’s hard for anyone not to like him. It also fit that he woudl be the medical sergeant on the team. For Lucky, the king of clubs, I knew he was going to be a bit of a player, a ladies and mens man. The guy who just loves to have a good time. King is our king of diamonds. The diamond in the rough. He’s the tough alpha dude in charge. He’s the one who gives the orders, an unmovable mountain, but we know that at some point, someone is going to get past that wall.
Did you do a lot of research with regards to the military aspects and weapons/bodyguards/fighting aspects of the story?
There’s been a good deal of research involed. For the Kings background, I’ve had to research the Army, Green Berets, and Special Forces. I’ve researched techniques and weapons that ex-military guys would use if they pursues a career in private security, which of course brings us the private security aspect. What kind of services would Four Kings privide, what kind of equipment, security measures and personnel. What kind of clients they’d have. With Colton being a wealthy shipping company heir, I had to research shipping companies in Florida and what they did, where they shipped from. I also had to research several locations across the east coast of Florida where the book takes place. Jacksonville, St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra, and South Beach.
What was the hardest part of writing Love in Spades?
Getting and done and not second guessing myself. There was a lot I wnated to achieve with this new series, and this was going to be the first book, the one that launched this new venture, not just a new series, but my first self-published series. I had to stop myself from constantly questioning everything or I’d never get it out there.
And of course, what was the most fun?
The banter, action, and romance is always so much fun for me. I really enjoyed writing the dynamic between the Kings.
Love in Spades is self-published. What made you self-publish this book/series?
There are many, many reasons why I chose to become a hybrid author and finally kick things off on the self-publishing side. I’ve been thinking about self-publishing for a while now, but didn’t feel like I was ready. When I first started, I didn’t know anything about publishing, and I wouldn’t have known the first thing about self-publishing a book. It was a whole other ballgame back then. I also didn’t have the budget at the time. There’s a lot of expense involved in producing a book. Finally, after years of being traditionally published, I felt I was in a good place to give it a go. I knew how the production process worked and who I’d need to hire to help me get it done.
I was inspired by fellow authors, and knew plenty of author friends who’d made very successful careers as self-pubbed authors. It was certainly daunting, and a little scary, but once I’d done it, I realized it wasn’t as scary as I thought.
Self-publishing also meant I could get books out to my readers quicker because the production time would be shorter. With my publisher, the production schedule is longer because it’s not just my book. They have dozens upon dozens of authors who they’re producing books for. Naturally, there’s going to be a wait time on editors, proofers, cover artists. When you’re self-published, you’re the publisher. It’s up to you do get everything done. Everything moves so much quicker.
Was the process of self-publishing Love in Spades more relaxing than publishing it with a publisher?
I don’t know that I would say it was more relaxing, but it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined. It’s certainly A lot more work because everything a publisher does for you, you now have to do for yourself. You’re the writer and producer of this book. The entire production process, followed by the marketing, and everything that goes with it is up to you. Contacting editors, proofreaders, beta readers, cover artists, formatters, narrators, getting it uploaded, and promoted. Like I said, you’re the publisher when you’re self-published, so it’s all down to you to get it done. There’s a lot of expense and perserverence required. With Love in Spades it was a little nerve-racking because it wasn’t just my first self-pubbed title, but the first in a series, a new series, after the THIRDS. It’s been an amazing experience, and one heck of a learning curve.
What is next for the Four Kings?
Next up we have Be Still My Heart which is Red and Laz’s book, followed by Lucky’s book, and then King’s. There’s going to be a for book spin-off series which will feature Jack, Joker, and Frank. I’m very excited about it!