So my guest today is the unbelievable Charlie Cochet. And what a sweetheart. You want to talk real and sincere and authentic? Then you are talking about Charlie. I just love this lady. And I think you will too (if you don’t already). And who should come walking in right now? Charlie! So wonderful to see you! Thanks for dropping in!
Charlie: Aw, thank you! You’re such a sweetie! And of course you know I’m not one to turn down a latte, or three. Thank you so much for inviting me.
BG: I am so happy you joined me today. And I am especially happy about something else. You will not believe how many authors I talk to that don’t like coffee. You on the other hand run on it, am I right?
Charlie: Inconceivable! I feel woozy. I may just dramatically swoon. I think I should sit down. My day doesn’t start until I’ve had coffee. No coffee, no words. The thinking thing doesn’t happen, and it just ain’t pretty. I needs it.
BG: Well baby, they have the best lattes here! I’ll get you one! And please! Sit down! No falling down at The Shepherd’s Bean!
Charlie: Thank you! I’m all yours. Mm, so good. Caffeine goodness. I like it here. If the apocalypse comes, you know where to find me.
BG: Isn’t it wonderful? Oh oh oh my! And their Gibraltars are stunning too. Little smaller and a little hotter than a latte. Now tell me, what’s been going on since I saw you in Florida?
Charlie: You twisted my arm. Looks like I’ll have to have a Gibraltar too. After the Dreamspinner Press workshop I was getting ready for RT in Vegas which was early April. Between conferences I’ve had deadlines, blogging, preparing for upcoming releases, and so much more. My schedule’s been pretty full on this year. Then again, it’s been pretty full on for a couple of years now. I’ve been attending more conferences, and of course real life happens too.
BG: Love your red flower. You have a flower in your hair every time I see you. Have you always done that or was that something that happened over time?
Charlie: Funny enough, it was something I’ve worn for years. When I lived in London I had several friends who were a part of the rockabilly lifestyle, and I picked up a lot of fabulous fashion tips from them. I love the whole retro look. I wore flowers in my hair a lot while I was there. When I moved back to the US, it stuck, and when I started wearing them to conferences it became part of my brand. Now I have them in all colors, and it’s like a GPS at conferences. It’s how people find me.
BG: It always just accents how lovely you are, inside and out.
Charlie: Aw, you’re too sweet!
BG: You’re the sweet one. And you’re also an artist—and I know that means drawing with you. Is it strictly drawings, or does that include any other media?
Charlie: That includes other media. I love working with my hands. I do traditional sketching, digital artwork, scrapbooking, and some crafts. Writing takes up most of my time, but occasionally I manage to get a little drawing done. I like to incorporate arts and crafts into my marketing and often end up with handmade swag, or swag with artwork I’ve done. Sometimes when I need a break from the computer, I’ll do something crafty. It’s no secret that I love washi tape. I’m also tad stationary obsessed.
BG: May we see some of your work?
Charlie: Absolutely! Like I said, these days most of my art revolves around my books, but it’s so much fun. I can’t help it. I’d love to do some more Thirds artwork and I’m hoping I can get some more done soon, even if it’s just some sketches.
BG: Gosh! Charlie! These are wonderful. I mean, wonderful!
Charlie: Thank you! I’ve been drawing since I was little, always drawing characters to go with my stories. I was a freelance artist for a while, but I found I didn’t enjoy not having control over what I drew. It stopped being fun, so I went back to drawing for me whenever inspiration struck.
BG: You know, I hear you have a Doxiepoo. Now I am crazy about dogs and as you might know, I have two—both dachshund Yorkie mixes that really look nothing alike. What is a Doxiepoo? Is that a dachshund poodle?
Charlie: Yep. Olly’s just over two years old. His dad was a dachshund and his mom a toy poodle. Olly’s face is more poodle but he has the long body and barrel chest of a dachshund, along with that deep bark! His legs are long though, like a poodle’s, which means he can take off at full speed and jump up on whatever he pleases. He’s too smart for his own good. I’ve been teaching him to roll over, so now what he does is when he sees me take out the treat bag that I use for training, he jumps on the couch and rolls onto his back before I’ve even said anything. He’s a little smart-aleck.
BG: He sounds wonderful! And Doxiepoo is so much better than what some people call my dogs—which are Dorkies. I fripping hate that! I insist on Yorkshunds!
Charlie: Oh no! Poor babies. Yorkshunds is much better.
BG: Want to share pictures? This is Sarah Jane and Oliver….
Charlie: Aw!! Look at their little faces! So sweet! You have an Oliver too! My Olly is short for Oliver. I’m a bit of nerd, so I named him after Oliver Queen from Arrow. Olly’s blond too! Well, more of a dirty blond. This is my little mischief maker, Olly.
BG: Oh my gosh! Oh oh oh! So cute! *happy sigh* Aren’t dogs wonderful?
Charlie: I love dogs. I’m a big animal lover in general, but those puppy eyes get me every time. I mean how can you say no to that face? It’s impossible I tell you. He’s had me wrapped around his little paw from day one.
BG: That is just how I felt the first time I saw Sarah Jane. I got her at Gay Pride eight years ago thsi summer. One look and I was hers.
Oh! Sudden subject jump! I was so happy to see that you got in on the ground floor of Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Desires—short contemporary titles that are all about happily ever afters—with your book Forgive and Forget. I just started it and I love it.
Charlie: Yay! I’m so happy to hear that! I had such a great time writing that. The whole line is just so much fun. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!
BG: Tell us how that happened. How you got involved. And what was the inspiration for the book?
Charlie: I grew up reading Harlequin romances, even had two or three monthly book club subscriptions. I’ve always wanted to write an amnesia story, when I found out about the Dreamspun Desires line I was so excited. Not only was I getting the chance to write a category romance, but with two heroes!
BG: You usually write about things more paranormal or science fiction. What was it like writing a sweet contemporary?
Charlie: Forgive and Forget was my first full length contemporary romance, and a category romance at that. It was a bit of a challenge. For me, writing contemporary is more of a challenge than writing paranormal. Before Forgive and Forget I had Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts which is also a contemporary, but novella length. I had so much fun writing both, and I have more contemporaries planned, but I love my paranormal stories. For Forgive and Forget the challenge was remembering that the romance had to be at the forefront. There were certain rules that needed to be followed. I had such a great time, I plan to write another one.
BG: Now going back to the idea of paranormal and science fiction…. One of my reasons for liking your books so much is that my first love was always horror and science fiction and it was only later in life I found romance. How about you? Why do most of your stories focus on subjects outside the typical contemporary?
Charlie: I’m a huge movie buff, and as a child of the 80s, I was surrounded by the most amazing fantasy and science fiction movies of the time. Star Wars, The NeverEnding Story, E.T., Blade Runner, Ghostbusters, Superman, Aliens, Back to the Future, and so many more. I loved getting lost in those worlds. For me, it was all about imagination. I enjoy contemporary, but I love escaping to another world. The magic, the danger, the adventure. Who wouldn’t want to get swept up in an adventure with a handsome hero? I love getting to create these worlds, the rules that govern it, and the characters that inhabit it. There’s so much going on in the world, in our lives, that for me, writing these stories is about the ultimate escapism.
BG: And we have The Thirds stories. Wow! How did The Thirds books come about? What was the inspiration or where did you get the idea?
Charlie: The Thirds came about from a series of “what if?” questions. I wanted to write a new shifter series, one that was a little different to what was out there. I wanted the origins of the shifters to be as plausible as possible, scientifically brought about rather than magic or fantasy. I asked myself questions like, “What of humanity was responsible for this new species?”, “What if this new shifter species was part of society rather than hidden?” How would society change? How would the world change? Law Enforcement would need to change. Human police officers wouldn’t be able to take on lethal shifter criminals. Several more questions later, I had the Therian Human Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron. From there I needed my team of agents. From there I developed the initial series which would center on Destructive Delta, mainly our MC’s Dexter J. Daley, and Sloane Brodie. July 8th, almost two years to the date, Smoke & Mirrors, Thirds Book 7 will be released. I still can’t believe it.
BG: And talk about a phenomenon! A highly successful science fiction romance series. There aren’t too many of those. The minute a story gets away from the classic contemporary setting, it knocks down a book’s chance for popularity. What do you think set your Thirds books apart? Made them appeal to so many people?
Charlie: I think building a solid foundation on our world helps. Despite there being jaguar shifters, lions, tigers, cheetahs, they live in our world. It’s an alternate universe. These guys live in our world, but because they exist, the rules have changed. Society has changed. But in truth, I think what readers connect the most with is the characters, Dex in particular. You couldn’t have the Thirds without Dex. He’s the heart of the series. This ordinary guy who ends up doing extraordinary things. He’s a smart-aleck, obsessed with coffee, gummy bears, cheesy doodles, and the 80s. I think he offers readers an escape. We follow him and his team on their cases, laugh at their shenanigans, the absurdity of the situations they get themselves into, watch them fall in love, get their hearts broken, get their butts kicked, but live to fight and love another day.
BG: It is such a popular series! Statistics show that even the most popular series sells less and less with each volume. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the The Thirds.
Charlie: The first book in a series will always do better than the rest of the series, and there is bound to be a drop in sales. My aim with the series is to try and make each book even better than the last, which is a challenge, especially since the series has a continues timeline with one book leading into the other with the same set of characters. I try to schedule the books so readers don’t have to wait too long between books, and in between releases we have Thirds Thursdays which includes flash fiction stories written to prompts submitted by readers. It’s been an incredible journey, and the fans have made this such an amazing experience. I can’t predict sales, I can only write the best story I can and hope readers love the series enough to keep coming back.
BG: I was really surprised and excited to see you have a pretty unusual Thirds book coming out in June called Thirds; Beyond the Books. And it’s volume one. Now this I want to hear about. Tell me all…!
Charlie: Back when the first book Hell & High Water came out in July of 2014, I wanted to do something fun for readers. I love giving readers extras. So I started Thirds Thursdays where between releases every Thursday I would post a flash fiction story written to prompts submitted by readers. The stories would follow the current release timeline so there’s never any danger of spoilers.
Soon I had readers asking me if they were going to be put into an eBook and I thought that was a fantastic idea. This way readers could have the stories all in one place, and read them on their e-reading devices whenever they wanted. I took the idea to Dreamspinner and they were happy to do it. At first I wanted to offer the eBooks for free since they were up on the blog for free, but then that would mean the eBooks could only be downloaded from the Dreamspinner website which could prove difficult for some non-US readers. Giving it a minimal price point would mean the books could be available on all the usual third party sites. I didn’t want to make royalties off something I had offered for free to my readers, especially since there wouldn’t be any new content. So I added a new previously unpublished story, and decided I would donate my royalties to Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue. I’d been there before, and some of the stories regarding these big cats were heartbreaking.
BG: I think this is such an wonderful idea. I think it’s wonderful that you are helping big cats. It makes me teary thinking about it. And I am crazy about how the stories involve the fans so much. There are more volumes planned?
Charlie: Volume two will be out in October, and it also includes a new previously unpublished flash fiction story. As long as there are more stories, I don’t see why there can’t be more volumes.
BG: Now tell us about your new book—Love in Retrograde. Once again, not the typical contemporary.
Charlie: No, this one is definitely science fiction. More than the Thirds world. It’s very different to the Thirds, and not just because there are no shifters in Love in Retrograde. In the Thirds we deal with a military/police organization, one put in place for the good of the world’s citizens. The Thirds—although not perfect—do good. Their organization was built to promote peace between Humans and Therians. To unite them through fairness and equality. Love in Retrograde takes place in the future, a future where the military has other ideas about keeping the peace.
BG: Tells us about it. I love even the title.
Charlie: Kelly Sutton is an American intern working on a secret project at the Photonic Royal Society in New London. The project is so top secret even he doesn’t know what it is, only that it will benefit mankind. When Kelly stumbles upon the truth, that this project isn’t at all for the benefit of man, but that it could lead to its destruction, his life is thrown upside down, not to mention he finds himself placed in a life or death situation. It’s a future that perhaps one day might not be so fictional. I’m glad you like the title! It’s connected to the second MC and a lot of what happens in the story.
BG: Sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read it. As I said, one of my first loves was science fiection. And what’s in the pipeline? Contemporary? Or more science fiction? A Thirds novel perhaps?
Charlie: There’s always a Thirds book in the pipeline. *Laughs* July 8th, Smoke & Mirrors (Thirds, Book 7) is released. I’m currently working on the extended re-edit of The Soldati Prince (Fantasy/Paranormal) which is due for release in November of this year, and then I’ll be working on the 8th Thirds book (Seb and Hudson’s book). I just submitted the fifth North Pole City Tales (Fantasy) book, Disarming Donner. For next year I have another Dreamspun Desires book planned, a three book contemporary series, and an exciting new Thirds series which I’ll be announcing in July after the release of Smoke & Mirrors.
BG: Wow! That’s a lot! And it’s is going to please the heck out of your fans!
Charlie: I sure hope so! I have a steady writing schedule with certain books I hope to release. I love what I do, and I’m very lucky to be doing it.
BG: So do you write full time? I would be able to write a lot more if I wasn’t working my Evil Day Job.
Charlie: I’ve been very fortunate and have been officially writing full-time now since 2014. It’s scary, no doubt about it, but it’s also very freeing. There’s a lot of discipline involved being your own boss, but I love it.
BG: I hope I can learn that discipline—I am on my way. But right now I am just happy that my day off and your schedule allows us today.
Charlie: I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully! Thank you so much for having me. I’ve had such a great time! And thank you for the lattes! You’re my new favorite.
BG: *Blush* Now can I get you one more?
Charlie: I’d never say no to a tasty latte. Thank you!
BG: Thank you!
Title: Love in Retrograde
Author: Charlie Cocket
Genre: Novella, Science Fiction
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook
Enthusiastic, play-it-safe Kelly Sutton is an American intern at the Photonic Royal Society in New London. He’s been working on ProjectMars for over a year, a mission kept so secret by the society even Kelly doesn’t know exactly what it is. What Kelly does know is his contribution to the task will benefit mankind, and that’s enough for him.
Kelly’s world turns upside down when concerns over his mentor’s behavior lead Kelly to investigate and stumble upon a wicked truth. What is supposed to be a project to advance human life turns out to be an endeavor capable of mass destruction. The terrifying reality forces Kelly to choose between looking the other way to keep his job, as he’s always done, or risking his career and even his life to do the right thing by saving the man who’s captured his heart.
Kelly ignored the little voice of sanity in his head telling him not to do anything stupider and slipped inside. The room was dark, with only the glow of a small lamp somewhere on the other side of the glass shelving unit housing scores of empty beakers, sterilized pans, and a host of other supplies. Despite his view being somewhat impeded by the nanoautoclave and nanocentrifuge, Kelly spotted Jordan and Lucius on the other side having an argument. The two stood toe-to-toe, with Jordan’s fair hair and light blue eyes a stark contrast to Lucius’s dark hair and dark eyes. Lucius was also bulkier than Jordan, and stood a few inches taller, his expression far more intimidating. Where most would turn tail and run at Lucius’s scowl, Jordan didn’t seem to even notice.
“How can you ask me to do this?” Lucius asked, shaking his head. “You do know what you’re asking?”
“I need you to trust me. Transfer Kelly to my team.”
What did he have to do with any of this? Maybe he should say something. Like what? “Oh, sorry, I was just eavesdropping when I heard you say my name?”
Lucius let out a weary sigh. “You’ve been asking me for months, and my answer’s always the same.”
“I know he’ll see what I do. He’s the solution I’ve been looking for. I just know it.”
Kelly didn’t like the sound of this. Why were these two sneaking around? If Jordan wanted to transfer Kelly to his team, why didn’t he just put in a transfer? Why the secret rendezvous with Lucius? Working with Jordan would be an incredible opportunity for Kelly. Why was Lucius so set against it?
Lucius let out a frustrated growl. “Think about what you’re asking. Not only are you putting your own career, your life, at risk, but you’re asking me to risk Kelly’s life as well? This can’t continue, Jordan.”
Risk his life? Oh God, it was worse than he thought. What had Jordan gotten himself caught up in?
“I won’t help you kill yourself.” Lucius’s expression softened, and he cupped Jordan’s face before kissing him.
Holy hell! Kelly turned to flee and ran right into a table stacked with boxes. They tumbled to the ground, the glass beakers inside rendered useless, much like his supposed high IQ.
“What the bloody hell?” Jordan rounded the shelving unit, his expression grim.
“Um, hi.” Kelly waved. “I was just um… I forgot my um, and then uh….” It was official. He was an idiot. Oh God. This was it. His career was over before it began.
Lucius pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. “I’m going to regret this. I just know it. Fine, Jordan. He’s all yours.”
Kelly held a hand up. “As much as I would love whatever opportunity Dr. Skye is proposing, I’m uh, a little concerned about the risking my life part.” It was a valid concern, wasn’t it? “I may have heard most, if not all, of your conversation.”
Lucius narrowed his eyes at him. Perhaps his concern was not valid.
“I don’t suppose I have a say in this?”
Both men replied simultaneously. “No.”
“Oh. Okay.” Kelly cleared his throat. “Just checking.”
“From tomorrow, you’ll be working with Dr. Skye.” Lucius stepped up to Kelly and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Whatever happens, whatever you see, remember who you are.” He prodded Kelly’s chest over his heart. “Here. You’re strong. You can do this.” With a curt nod, he started to turn when something occurred to him. “Oh, and if you utter one word about what you saw in here, I will crush you.”
“Right. Got it.” Kelly held a hand up in promise. “Not a word.” He might not be the shiniest beaker in the set, but he wasn’t a total dipstick.
“He’s really just a big softie,” Jordan offered cheerfully as soon as Lucius was out of earshot. Whatever Jordan was selling, Kelly wasn’t buying it, especially when it concerned Lucius.
“A crowbar to the face is technically softer than a space station landing on you,” Kelly muttered.
Jordan chuckled. “Come on. I’ll explain everything.”
Kelly’s gut told him he should politely decline Jordan’s offer and run for the hills, but his stubborn side was desperate to find out what had Jordan and Lucius at odds. What was so important they’d risk their lives for? There was only one way to find out. Kelly motioned to the door.
“Lead us to our doom, doctor.”
Charlie Cochet’s Bio:
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she 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.
Want to keep up with Charlie as well as her latest releases? Then just click on any of the links below!
And to check out the other books mentioned today….
THIRDS; BEYOND THE BOOKS; VOL 1 PRE-ORDER buy link
Dreamspinner Press (ebook)