We’re so pleased to welcome author Charlie Cochrane to TNA today on the tour for her latest addition to the Porthkennack universe, Broke Deep. Charlie’s here to chat about why she writes the stories she writes, and there’s also a great giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the end.
Three Cheers for Writing What We Write
People often ask me why I write the stories I write. Why do any of us? My simple (and perhaps simplistic) answer is that they’re the ones which come into my head, and I guess that’s true for most authors. We’re often people watchers, too; more than that, we’re often people imaginers, by which I mean that we construct a story around the folk we see. “Where are they going, what are they doing? Are those two blokes who’ve got out of that car looking awkward because they’re fighting over the same girl or are they the ones who’ve had a lovers’ tiff?” We start to compose a scenario and a plot bunny bounces happily into our brains.
I recently had a tremendously interesting insight into something else which helps form the stories in an author’s head, something I’d never considered before. I was on a panel at a library talk, and we were asked what we read when we were younger and how that influenced our stories. I was entirely prepared to say, “There’s no connection whatever” when I had my light on the road to Damascus moment. You see, I learned to read by borrowing my brother’s comics. They had such great stories in, about airmen and sportsmen and musketeers and all sorts of heroes who did such exciting things. Much better than the content of the average girls’ comic or book. I can still remember some of the plotlines, and some of the vivid characterisations – and it struck me, during that panel, that this was the reason I write predominantly about men, because my formative years were spent immersed in masculine stories.
There’s a perception that authors should only write what they know, but I take issue with that if it means what they know from direct experience. It’s not a logical argument. How could anything historical ever get written in those circumstances? Perhaps we should rephrase that by saying authors should write about what they’ve taken the trouble to research properly, and then write it up with sensitivity and common sense.
Because isn’t writing about authors using their imagination to inhabit other people’s lives? The old saw “write what you know”, taken to its rational end, would be the end of fiction as we know it. We only ever really know our own experiences and how boring would that be if our books were only about them? As soon as we tell a story involving people who are of a different gender, do a different job, live in a different place, etc, too us then we’re writing what we can’t intimately know and three cheers for the fact.
About the Book
Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.
The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.
Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
About the Author
As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.
Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.
To celebrate the release of Broke Deep, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag containing postcards, a notebook, a tea towel, candy and more, all from Charlie Cochrane! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!