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JAN 30: Charlie is our darling...

Today my visitor is the lovely Charlie Cochrane, historical author and creator of the Cambridge Fellows mystery series, published by Linden Bay Press.



You'll find historical romance here, but in my stories "a single man in possession of a good fortune" would usually be in want of another man. And there may well be a murderer lurking somewhere in the tale...

Charlie is another wonderful author I'm under the sheets with in the

I Do Anthology. So I'm a loose woman that way. You know you're just jealous! *lol*

Her writing is witty and romantic, reflecting all the charm and emotion of an England that remains in a reader's heart long after the years themselves have passed.

Her novel Lessons in Love remains a Best Seller at the Linden Bay Romance bookshop.
And the sequel Lessons In Desire is COMING SOON.
I've already got it bookmarked *lol*.

Find her at her website HERE.

Charlie Cochrane started writing relatively late in life but draws on all the experiences she’s hoarded up to try to give a depth and richness to her stories.
Happily married, with a house full of daughters, Charlie tries to juggle writing with the rest of a busy life. She loves reading, theatre, good food and watching sport. Her ideal day would be a morning walking along a beach, an afternoon spent watching rugby and a church service in the evening.



So... today?

Charlie shares her experience of starting out in this jungle we call the publishing world. Or, in her case, scaling the heights of many a mountain range!



"You're on a learning curve like the Himalayas"
…were Lee Rowan's words to me in the spring of 2008. I suspect she was underestimating the situation.

In a mad moment I'd agreed to try my hand at a story to put in a trilogy of novellas which she was preparing. In my innocence I thought, "You write a story, it gets edited, it gets proofed, it gets published. Then you do something to promote it." I don't think I had any idea what that promo was, nor what any of the steps really involved. Being the sort of person who learns best by doing, I grabbed onto Lee and Erastes' coattails and began the journey.

Attempting Annapurna: I got my mss back with red bits all over it. We'd got through content edit unscathed, so I'd missed out on one batch of 'this needs changing, please'. Copy edit I couldn't escape. Suddenly I was made aware that my POV danced all over the place like a flea on a hot plate. And that my work was over infested with semi-colons, dashes, 'ands' and 'buts'. I guess this is a key point in learning the craft – the moment when you appreciate that your perfect manuscript isn't so perfect, that it needs a fair amount of work and that if there are suggestions which you don't agree with then you can fight, but you have to justify yourself carefully.

So my head went down over the keyboard, brain engaged itself, the text got sorted out, to sighs of relief all round. Also made mental note to self not to repeat this mistake in future stories. Proofing happened and we had a green light copy, but it had been much harder work than I'd anticipated. At this point I felt like I was going through childbirth again and wanted to get hold of gas and air, especially when…

Scaling K2: I got a jolly e-mail from Erastes saying 'here's a list of review sites, shall we split them between us?' This hadn't even entered my brain, the prospect of sending polite letters with PDF's to strangers, saying 'Please review my book?' I have a reasonable capacity for pretending I know what I'm doing, so I set to with a will. This could have been a dispiriting process (how many ways are there to say 'No, thank you.'?) but in that glorious glow of blissful ignorance, any success I regarded with joy.

The whole summer seemed to be full of strange novelties; reviews and how to properly post about them, Amazon categories, signed bookplates, all sorts of things I was unprepared for. Just like when the midwife asks you to push.

Now for Everest: Did I just say push? That's what I had to learn next; yahoo chats, guesting on blogs, 'interviews' – suddenly I wasn't in Kansas any more (not that I've ever been in Kansas, but you get my drift). Lee and Erastes must have been sick of the inane questions I was asking every three and a half seconds. And I discovered that promo's an odd thing. I've heard authors swear they do none and it never affects their sales; others say that they can see an effect on their ranking at Amazon almost every time they do a yahoo group chat. As a scientist by training, I want to have logical explanations for things and it (to quote my middle daughter) 'did my head in' if I took part in something and there was no obvious response, or if our sales leapt up for no apparent reason. Maybe that's been the hardest ice field to negotiate – getting my head around that promotion might just be a cumulative thing, lots of little seeds sown which lie dormant and then blossom.

I hope that I haven't put any aspirant authors off. If a 50 year old woman can learn all these new tricks, then anyone can. A mixture of 'hwyl' and humour helps, seasoned with a dollop of common sense and a dash of 'none of us are that special a snowflake'.

I'm still learning; every time I think I'm approaching a Sir Edmund Hilary moment I realise that I haven't even got as far as Mallory and Irving did.


Sez Clare: wondering what 'hywl' means?!
Such a fabulous word - it's Welsh, it means a sudden ecstatic inspiration, which carries the speaker away on its wings, supplying him with burning words of eloquence, which in his calmer and normal state he could never have chosen for himself. Or herself, as the case may be.
Charlie surely captures this eloquence and flies with it!




-----------------------------

Follow this month with Clare (yes, it's all about the MEEEE...):

Week 4+:



Jan 23 : jaime protests the use and mis-use of labels...
Jan 24 : clare pimps the imminent release of FREEMAN...
Jan 25 : ginger simpson shares an interview with her latest fictional heroine...
Jan 26 : dakota flint confesses to the irresistible lure of research...
Jan 27 : the Blog is hijacked by my lippy Muse...
Jan 28 : clare muses on the ups and downs of getting older...




Jan 16 : jenre discusses what she loves best about m/m fiction...
Jan 17 : clare posts YouTube frippery and her brief skirmish with a recording career...
Jan 18 : report from the prestigious *cough* OTP Con UK 2009...
Jan 19 : emily chats about the principles of good reviewing...
Jan 20 : josh lanyon talks about the proper place for your green-eyed feelings...
Jan 21 : sharon offers great advice and support for all of us trying to live a healthy life...
Jan 22 : merith writes about the slow but steady epiphany of love...




Jan 09 : ravensilver describes the creativity of independent manga publishing - and the challenges...
Jan 10 : kitzheng talks about Kink...
Jan 11 : chrissy munder shares the struggles of writing, NC17 penguins and mantyhose...
Jan 12 : 1more_sickpuppy bares her soul about confessing her love for m/m fiction...
Jan 13 : erastes talks about taking that leap from fanfiction to the 'original' world...
Jan 14 : meet my Muse, the 'man' who has way too much power in my writing house...
Jan 15 : Sloane Taylor heats up those chill new year nights...




Jan 01 : the Cheeky Cherubs welcome us to 2009 with a pithy verse or two and the threat of piercings...
Jan 02 : sweet, sexy fiction from lilzazu, all about the perennially tricky problem of a sticky shift...
Jan 03 : excellent editing tips for all authors who ever wondered whether to be cruel to be kind to their prose, hosted by jolilightner...
Jan 04 : Clare pimps the fabulous I DO anthology, now available in ebook and all proceeds to Lambda...
Jan 05 : abstractrx ponders the changing role of Romance and its reflection of - or on?! - the society around it...
Jan 06 : FREE FICTION from me and my friends!
Jan 07 : Jordan Castillo Price discusses what tempts us to try out a new author...
Jan 08 : Clare rambles on about perceived plagiarism and posts excerpts of her Torquere titles...



No days left now to pimp, pose or pontificate! Join me next time I'm mad energetic enough to do this again!
Original call-up post HERE!!

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Hey Clare

Thanks for letting me come and chat. I had 'hwyl' in mind more in the way it gets used for rugby players, but then I always have rugby players on the brain. And talking of things on the brain, now I keep hummin 'The Young Chevalier...'

Cheers

Charlie
mzcalypso
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
I thought you were referring to Hwyl the Shakespearean dwarf Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters...
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
I confess it now. Never read Pratchett. *hides*
chrissymunder
Jan. 30th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Don't mind me...I came to comment and somehow got stuck on the rugby icon. Uhm...yes...well.

What can I say? It certainly beats the view at my work. LOL.

I had a fine chuckle over your quite entertaining post (breathe...push...breathe...push) and can only say I agree this is never-ending learning process. Gives us a bit to look forward to.

Edited at 2009-01-30 03:56 pm (UTC)
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
That rugby picture is so delightful. Have you seen these, BTW? *ends digression*

I don't mind the learning; keeps the brain agile. And I guess the process is not quite as awful as childbirth. Not quite.
jenre
Jan. 30th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Until I started reading author blogs I'd no idea how much time and effort an author puts into pimping their books. I just assumed that a book was released and the author then sat back and watched the sales roll in whilst planning the next book.

I'm a bit wrong about this, aren't I?

I'm amazed you have time to do any writing at all inbetween real life and cyberlife! Also I can't work out how these yahoo groups and such like work. Do you have to sit about all day (and possibly night) waiting for people to post questions for you?

Crazy stuff!
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
You are only as wrong about it as I was a year ago.

Time for writing? *groan* tell me about it. Some form of sod's law seems to operate that when you have an idea you have no time to write it. When you have the time, you have no ideas and end up playing Spider.

I wish yahoo groups did work like that. Sometimes they're very busy, other times it's like shouting into a tunnel, and then there's the rare one where the balance is perfect. I always have something else to do (like watch the rugby on TV) when a chat's going on.
jenre
Jan. 30th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Ah, Spider. The world-wide time waster!
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
The very same. I pretend that playing it will help stave off senility. :)
erastes
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
It was a privilege to work with you, Charlie, to be honest, and never was one of your questions silly--compared with some I've been asked! I'd do another trilogy with you anytime.

I wish that all new authors had other authors holding their hands though - there should be some kind of mentor programme. I had to learn it all myself (not that I know much, even now) and make the most stupid mistakes, so that's what drives me to help newbies.

I am sure that the Lessons series will be a huge success and will only become more so the more of them that come out. I'll have all of them on my shelf, that's for sure.
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
Mentoring would be great; taking someone you like, and whose writing you like, under your wing is a rewarding experience. (Thus spake the blind leading the blind.)

You're such a star, thank you!
lee_rowan
Jan. 30th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Inane questions? I don't remember any. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see your books up and doing well. The only thing I'm wondering is how one would go about convincing the BBC that they should do a series on the Cambridge Fellows...
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Don't you? I think I've saved some of them somewhere. :)

Another confession - it makes me happy too. Yes, I know, years of saying 'No Way' and now I'm a convert.

Big daughter has the last bit all planned. She insists we fire off copies to Russell T Davies, David Tennant, etc. I'm still saying 'No Way' to that.
lee_rowan
Jan. 30th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
Register them with the Screen Writers Guild. I'm not joking. They would make a WONDERFUL miniseries.
charliecochrane
Jan. 30th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
I dread the day you and 'her' meet up. :)

I'll think about it - give me a year or so to get used to the idea. :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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