Welcome Charlie Cochet and her much anticipated fourth THIRDS installment Rise & Fall!
Charlie was kind enough to have a sitdown with Mae Wynn Talley, co-administator of the official Darkmore Saga, Fairy Tales of the Open Road, and the newly launched Lost parody Fuck Yeah Swan Station on Tumblr.
So, sit back, relax, as Charlie dishes the details on what makes her tick.
Your well known trademark is the flower in your hair. What is the story behind it?
I love quirky retro style fashion, and the flower in my hair is something I’ve been wearing since my time in London a few years ago. I knew some fabulous folks who were part of the Rockabilly set and learned a great deal about the fashion. When I started going to conferences, I’d have a flower in my hair until soon folks started recognizing me by it. At first it was always a red rose. Soon it became part of my brand. Now I change it up with different styles and colors, but it’s always there.
Once you had said THIRDS was conceived as the book form of a blockbuster comic book movie and you yourself are a comics fan. How did you go about translating the over the top format to readers that may not be comic fans?
The THIRDS may have a sort of comic book/movie feel, but at the heart of the series are the characters. For me, the characters are what draw me to a good book or movie, and that’s what I try to capture with the THIRDS. There’s a little something for everyone, humor, drama, cheesy eighties music. It’s about having fun and getting lost in a different world. There are a lot of characters in the THIRDS and I think we can all relate to them in some way.
Where did you get the idea for THIRDS? What inspired it in the first place?
The THIRDS was inspired by my need for a mainstream style TV/ movie-like M/M romance with action, comedy, drama, and sexy guy with guns. I wanted a big cast, something as close to contemporary as possible but still paranormal with shifters. Something where readers could fall in love with the characters and have their favorite pairings. I already had a shifter series, but one based on myth and magic. I wanted a more scientific explanation for my shifters.
You recently became a new pet parent to Ollie. Care to share some of his puppy hijinks?
Ah, my little furry bundle of joy wrapped in mischief. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard or so often since he was brought home. It’s been amazing watching him grow from this tiny pup who was just learning to pounce and play, to this mischievous pup who likes to climb onto my shoulder and hide under the covers. He’s too smart for his own good. He likes to steal socks, so those can’t be anywhere he can reach. He likes to pilfer things when he thinks you can’t see him, and if he knows he’s done something naughty, he’ll duck under the bed or my chaise lounge, but usually he gives himself away because his little butt will be sticking out or his nose. LOL.
What inspired you to take up writing as a profession in the first place? Was there an event in your life that changed everything?
I’ve been writing and drawing since I can remember. I was a freelance artist for a while, but I quickly learned that I enjoyed writing fiction far more. I love drawing, but it didn’t call to me the way telling stories did. I love creating characters. A few years ago I started writing a novel with the intention of having it published, and then after certain circumstances had me moving back to the US from the UK, I had the opportunity to really pursue writing as a career. It was a big risk and some sacrifices had to be made, but now I’m so happy I took the chance.
Many people now look to you as their writing idol. What advice would you give to someone telling their first stories?
Wow, I don’t know about idol. I would say don’t give up. If you want to be a published author, you have to work at it, and then work some more. It’s tough and very demanding, but you just need to keep writing, keep working on your story, and be open to growing as a writer. There’s a lot of determination involved. Find a supportive group of fellow writers or chat with published authors. You’ll find lots of folks are happy to help. The writing process is a lengthy one which requires patience, something I had to learn about the hard way. Follow your heart and see it through.
What would you tell 16 year old you?
Don’t be afraid and be yourself. I was so incredibly shy when I was 16. I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. I was afraid to speak up. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin, to grow into the person I am today.
Every writer has rituals. What’s yours?
I don’t think I have any set rituals. Every morning, I check my email on my phone in bed to see what I need to prioritize then I have coffee. Nothing happens before coffee. I’ll have breakfast, sort out my emails, and get to my work day. Some days are more chaotic than others, but everything starts after coffee.
What did you do with your very first royalty check?
I showed it to my mom. LOL. Then I tucked it in a plastic protective sleeve in my binder for all my important paperwork like contracts, copyright forms, and so on. That was after I stopped smiling like a dope. My first check was small since I started out writing short stories, but I still hadn’t gotten over the excitement of being a published author. I’m still excited.
You’ve been writing historicals for years, what inspired branching out into sci-fi and fantasy?
I always knew I would branch out into other genres at some point because I wanted the freedom to write whatever story popped into my head regardless of genre. The first non-historical was Mending Noel, a sweet little holiday romance about Christmas elves. It was quite the leap. I’ve always loved historical romance, but I’ve always loved fantasy, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and paranormal. When the idea for the THIRDS hit, I started developing it on the side, building the THIRDS world.
What other genres would you like to branch out to someday? Any that are a definite that you can share with readers?
I’m hoping to get stories out there in all genres. I’m wrapping up my first contemporary novella which is a romantic comedy of sorts. I have another big series I’m starting to world build that’s an urban fantasy/paranormal. My work in progress folder has a sci-fi m/m romance in it, a pulp-style mystery, and even a medieval fantasy style story. The urban fantasy/paranormal series is a definite. I hope to get that going after the THIRDS or toward the final books. There’s a huge amount of world building in that one, possibly more than the THIRDS. I’m very excited about it.
Rise & Fall
(THIRDS Series, Book #4)
by Charlie Cochet
Dex sorted out all of Sloane’s pillows, fluffing them up and arranging them before bringing the tray over.
Once Sloane was settled, Dex placed the tray over his lap and kissed him, tasting a faint hint of minty freshness.
Sloane stared down at the tray.
“Is it okay?” Dex asked. Had he forgotten something? “Eggs benedict and pancakes are your favorite,
“You made heart-shaped pancakes.”
Dex held back a smile. “Are they too unmanly? Should I have made them grenade-shaped? I’m sure
Letty’s got a mold for those.”
Sloane chuckled. “No, hearts are fine. It’s real sweet. Thank you.”
Dex sat down on the edge of the bed beside him. He ran his fingers through Sloane’s hair feeling guilty
for having left him on his own last night. Sloane could take care of himself, even if he was injured, but
his partner was drugged up and obviously feeling a little out of it, considering his reaction to the heart
shaped pancakes. Maybe it was time he took care of his partner like he’d promised he would.
“Why don’t you eat your breakfast while I shower, and we’ll watch a movie or something together?”
Sloane gave him a wide smile. “I’d like that.”
Dex left Sloane to his breakfast and went off to shower as quickly as he could. Showering wasn’t as
much fun without his partner. As he lathered himself up, a naughty thought occurred to him. He’d also
promised he’d make his partner purr. Finishing up, he could barely hold back his smile or the heat
spreading through him. Easy there, Daley. Don’t get yourself worked up yet. He dressed in his comfy
cotton pajama bottoms and a loose faded Back to the Future T-shirt before heading out into the
bedroom. Sloane was smiling, his plate devoid of any evidence food had ever been on there. Wow, his
partner had been hungry. Really hungry. Starving. Sort of like after….
“Please tell me you didn’t.” Dex removed the tray and put it on the floor against the wall. He pulled the
blanket back and tried to lift Sloane’s T-shirt, but his partner slapped his hand away. “Sloane, let me see,
damn it.” He grabbed Sloane’s wrist with one hand and managed to pull up the cotton shirt, cursing
under his breath at the tiny beads of blood seeping through the bandage. “For fuck’s sake, did you try to
shift?” When Sloane looked away, Dex had his answer. No wonder his partner was out of it. It wasn’t
just the meds. Sloane hadn’t recuperated from postshift. Dex opened the minifridge and found it empty.
“When?” He slammed the fridge door shut.
“Last night. After you called,” Sloane mumbled.
“Last night?” Dex put a hand to his head. Veggies and hummus were all well and good for Sloane’s
Human side, but not for the Felid inside him. He needed meat, protein, and more than the packet of
sliced chicken Dex had left him in the fridge. “Fuck. Sloane, you know you’re not supposed to attempt
shifting. The doctor said so, and it’s in the packet. To make matters worse, you do it when there’s no
one here to perform postshift trauma care? With no access to the right foods? What were you
“I’m thinking I need to fucking heal, and if that’s the quickest way to do it, then it’s a risk I’m willing to
Sloane’s ferocity surprised Dex, and he took a step back. His partner’s pupils were dilated and his fangs
slightly elongated. Fuck, what the hell was going on? It was like Sloane was having trouble controlling his
feral side. Dex could see it. He could see the Felid inside Sloane staring back at him from behind glowing
amber eyes. Could the meds be doing this? The recovery packet the doctor had given them specifically
instructed Sloane not shift while he was healing, especially while on his meds.
“Okay, take it easy. It’s me.” Dex held his hands up in front of him and swallowed hard, aware of the
telltale signs. “There’s no hurry for you to heal, Sloane. It’s okay.”
“It’s not okay,” Sloane snarled, his fingers flexing against the sheets and his nails starting to grow. Fuck.
“Sloane, you need to breathe. Calm down.” Dex slowly edged away from the bed. Why was this
happening? Sloane had never lost his grip on his Felid side. Not to mention he’d yet to fully recover from
his first attempt. “Please, Sloane. Your body’s not healed from the first try. Who knows what asecond
attempt will do?”
There was no reply from Sloane. He was gritting his teeth, his face red, and his muscles straining.
“Sloane, you need to stop.”
“I can’t.” Sloane lowered his head, his fierce gaze on Dex.
“To protect you!”
Dex gasped as Sloane let out a roar, his body starting to shift. What the hell was Dex supposed to do?
He’d never faced a Therian who’d lost control of his Human side, much less an Apex predator. Quickly,
he backed up against the far wall, cringing as Sloane’s cries of agony filled the room. Sloane tore at his
clothes, pulling his T-shirt and pajama bottoms off before his mass shifted, bones popped, and fur
pierced his skin. Dex reached into his pocket and with shaky hands placed a call.
A gruff voice answered. “What do you want?”
“Ash, you have to help me.” The panic in his voice must have been clear, because Ash’s tone instantly
transformed from its usual gruffness to concern.
“What’s going on, Dex? Talk to me.”
“It’s Sloane. He’s shifting, but it’s not… not normal. He tried last night but couldn’t complete the transformation. Then we got into an argument, and it’s like he’s lost it. I don’t think he’s in control. How
is that possible?”
“Hide somewhere he can’t get to you. I’m on my way. I’ve still got my key to your place.”
Ash hung up, and Dex shoved his phone in his pocket. Where the fuck was he supposed to hide? When
he moved his gaze to the bed, he stilled. There was no time for hiding. The huge black jaguar lay in the
center of the bed, his tail thumping against the headboard. He sniffed the sheets, then the air before his
gaze landed on Dex.