The Novel Approach welcomes Charlie Cochet today on the tour for the latest addition to the THIRDS series, Rise & Fall. Charlie took the time to answer a few questions for us, and she’s also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win some great prizes, which includes a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a THIRDS Swag Pack to one winner, and the contest is open internationally. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, and good luck!
TNA: Hi, Charlie, Happy Valentine’s Day to you! And welcome back to The Novel Approach. It’s always great to have you here with us. Let’s start with the usual and have you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Charlie: Hi, Lisa! Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a pleasure being here. And Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! For those who may not know me, my name is Charlie Cochet, and I’m an author of M/M Romance. I write a little bit of everything, from Paranormal to Historical. I’m currently working on several series, but my biggest one at the moment is called the THIRDS. When I’m not writing, I’m usually drawing or creating something in Photoshop. I love graphics, and tend to do stuff to tie in with my books or website.
TNA: So, in light of the fact it’s Valentine’s Day, what’s the THIRDS gang getting up to today? Do you think Dex and Sloane are doing anything special or romantic to mark the day?
Charlie: I’m sure Dex and Sloane started celebrating Valentine’s Day weeks ago. Any excuse for some sexy times. Dex in particular is a pretty expressive and romantic guy, though I get the feeling this time around, Sloane might be the one surprising Dex with something special. In light of recent events in the THIRDS world, I think Sloane’s had some time to think about his relationship with Dex, and he’s finally coming to appreciate what he has. I think we’ll be seeing more loving gestures from him as his relationship with Dex continues to grow.
TNA: You really let loose your comedic side with Mr. Dexter J. Daley. Was that liberating in a way, considering there’s more than a fair share of danger and drama, too, in this world you’ve created? How would you describe his (and your) sense of humor?
Charlie: I don’t know if I could write something that was straight-up drama without some humor. I love comedies, and growing up, some of my favorite movies were the ones with snappy dialogue and sharp witted characters. I adore the old Cary Grant movies and his humor. How he always had a snappy comeback. Movies like Bringing up Baby, His Girl Friday, and Arsenic and Old Lace, to name a few. Then there are characters like Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and John McClane. These tough guys who quipped as hard as they fought. My favorite type of adventure or action flick has a witty hero or heroine.
I’d describe our humor as kind of dorky. Dex is only sarcastic when someone rubs him the wrong way. Hishumor isn’t nasty or crude, and he’s not trying to be funny, that’s just the way he naturally reacts to things. It’s also his defense mechanism, his way of defusing tension. There’s nothing worse than awkward silence, and with Dex around there’s rarely ever any silence. His humor stems back to those old classic comedies. These one liners that pop into his head when someone confronts him, or throws something at him that he needs time to digest or avoid.
TNA: Speaking of the THIRDS-verse, did you have this series pretty well mapped out, start to finish, before you began writing it? How has it evolved from your original vision, or has it remained on course?
Charlie: For the most part. I built this world up as detailed as I could, from the virus and vaccine that created Therians, to the THIRDS organization, and how everything functioned in society. I created this huge world. Then I gave life to its characters and I let them loose. The only couple I had planned out was Dex and Sloane, though I knew other couples would emerge because whenever I write a story with more than two people, relationships spring up like daisies. So I began writing the books with an outline in place. But I’m plotser. I plot and leave room for writing by the seat of my pants. I find it both easier to write that way, and more exciting. I know what’s going to happen, but I leave room for the unexpected, and a few characters became that unexpected. Like Ash, who has become a hero in his own right.
My vision for this series was to create something fun where readers could lose themselves for a while. A sort of M/M Romance TV show with hot guys in uniforms, comedy, romance, geek culture, drama, explosions, puppets, and cheesy 80s references. It’s evolved beyond my vision. Characters I wasn’t sure readers would take too *cough* Ash *cough*, have become favorites. It’s just been an amazing experience.
TNA: What makes your shifters unique? Did you borrow from genre archetypes at all? If so, which ones?
Charlie: I’m going to be very honest here and say that I’ve read very few shifter books. I hope to read more and have plenty on my Kindle, but going into this series, I didn’t read up on any other shifter books or watch any shifter movies, because I wanted to start this series from scratch, come up with my own shifters rather than borrow from any legend or tradition. There was the worry that it wouldn’t work because readers who normally read shifters might go into it with certain expectations. I had to establish from early on that I would be approaching these shifters from a different angle. I have another shifter series where the explanation is more magical, includes mates, and so on, but for this series, I wanted it to be near contemporary.
I wanted the shifters in the THIRDS world to have a scientific explanation, one as close to reality as possible. There would be certain rules and everything had to fall within those rules. My shifters come about through mutation, as a result of chemical warfare used during the Vietnam War. A virus broke out, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and a vaccine using strains of animals immune to this virus was quickly developed, tested, and released into the public. The vaccine wakes up a mutation within the virus, and Therians are created. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Therians didn’t just spring up and easily shift. The Human body wasn’t prepared for this, and as a result many Humans died, some developed cancer, immune deficiencies, and a host of other health issues.It wasn’t until 1976 when the first generation of Therians was born that the mutation had stabilized. These First Gens were the first true Therians (shifters).
That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much more to it, but this is the start. And my shifters don’t hide from society but a part of it. It started with Humans, far too many for the world to hide. The shifters in my world coexist with Humanity, though not always peacefully.
TNA: Book Four, Rise & Fall, sees you at the mid-point of the eight book arc, but the next two books won’t focus on Dex and Sloane, but Ash and Cael, and Calvin and Hobbs. Has it been, or will it be, difficult to transition from Dex’s voice? What do you do to keep Dex quiet while you focus on the other couples?
Charlie: I thought it would be more of a challenge to be honest, but with the way Rise & Fall ended, I was ready to go straight into Ash’s voice. Ash was raring to go. He was ready to kick Dex off the stage (no surprise there) and do the talking. Obviously the whole crew is involved. They’re a family after all. Dex is Cael’s brother and Sloane Ash’s best friend, so we get plenty them as well. But Dex is a respectful fella and he stepped gracefully out of the spotlight. He was there to support his brother but not take over the show. I think it’s that one book leading smoothly into the next that helped make the transition easy. Well, of course it wasn’t that easy, because we’re talking about Ash after all, but the change of voice went smoother than I anticipated. And from the first paragraph, you know it’s Ash’s voice.
Also, it’s impossible to have all the characters in every scene. When they’re out on duty, you have the team, but a portion of Against the Grain takes place during the holidays while the team is on leave after the events of Rack & Ruin and Rise & Fall, so we have different characters popping in and out. I’m working on Calvin and Hobbs’s book now which is a bit of a challenge because each set of characters interacts more with a specific group, so like in Ash and Cael’s group you get more Dex and Sloane because of their relationships to each other. With Hobbs, we get to see more of his brothers.
Books one through eight are part of a continuous timeline with different relationships developing and growing at the same time as Dex and Sloane’s. Because of this and the overall story arc, I couldn’t wait to write all of Dex and Sloane’s books to move onto the other two couples. Also the storyline involves storylines that pertain to these specific characters. We really need to see things from their point of view. Some scenes are very emotional and the impact wouldn’t be the same if it was Dex observing rather than Ash or Cael experiencing it.
TNA: Has it been liberating, creatively speaking, to do something so different from your Troubles of Love and Fallen Rose series? When it comes right down to it, where does your true passion lie, with Historical or Paranormal/Fantasy?
Charlie: I never planned to stick to just one genre. I don’t think I could do that. I love writing historical and don’t plan to stop writing them, but I love having the flexibility to write whatever type of story pops into my head no matter the genre, be it historical, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, etc. My passion lies with endearing characters and a good story filled with love, humor, and adventure. The THIRDS series has been liberating and I’ve had so much fun with it because the only restrictions I have are the ones I place myself, as opposed to the restrictions set by a historical time period.
TNA: It’s been a long time since I’ve posed this question, so I’m going to ask you, of all the couples you’ve created, which is your favorite, and why?
Charlie: Now they’re all clamoring for attention. You see what you’ve done? Chance and Jacky will always have a place in my heart. They’re very near and dear to me.
TNA: If you could choose any one of your books to be made into a movie, which would you choose, why, and whom would you cast in the leading roles?
Charlie: Now that’s an easy one! Hell & High Water. Just because it would be so much fun to see it up on the big screen in all its wise-cracking glory. For my cast, I’d go for my face cast of the team, though obviously casting directors know more about the chemistry between actors than I do. Here’s who I have as my face cast: Chris Pine for Dex, Joe Manganiello for Sloane, Marco Dapper for Ash, Brant Daugherty for Cael, Idris Elba for Maddock, Taylor Kinney for Hobbs, David Paetkau for Calvin, Michelle Rodriguez for Letty, Zoe Saldana for Rosa, Matt Bomer for Hudson, Gerard Butler for Seb, Christina Hendricks for Sparks, Sebastian Stan for Austen, and Kellan Lutz for Zach.
TNA: Now that is a stellar cast! I’d be front row, center, for sure. Would you like to share with us what you have coming up next, WIPs, new releases, etc.?
Charlie: This is looking to be a really busy year. Coming up after Rise & Fall is the second book in my Little Bite of Love series called Healing Hunter’s Heart, the first of which is my free novella An Intrepid Trip to Love. After that is my first contemporary novella, a sort of romantic comedy with a little action called Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts. Then there’s Catch a Tiger by the Tail, the sixth THIRDS book. I have the third book in the Auspicious Troubles of Love series with Bobby and Alexander that I hope to release, and Loving Blitzen, the fourth North Pole City Tales story.
Charlie: It’s been an absolute pleasure! Of course! Here are the billion and one social media spots where you can find me.
Blurb: After an attack by the Coalition leaves THIRDS Team Leader Sloane Brodie critically injured, agent Dexter J. Daley swears to make Beck Hogan pay for what he’s done. But Dex’s plans for retribution are short-lived. With Ash still on leave with his own injuries, Sloane in the hospital, and Destructive Delta in the Coalition’s crosshairs, Lieutenant Sparks isn’t taking any chances. Dex’s team is pulled from the case, with the investigation handed to Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs. Dex refuses to stand by while another team goes after Hogan, and decides to put his old HPF detective skills to work to find Hogan before Theta Destructive, no matter the cost.
With a lengthy and painful recovery ahead of him, the last thing Sloane needs is his partner out scouring the city, especially when the lies—however well intentioned—begin to spiral out of control. Sloane is all too familiar with the desire to retaliate, but some things are more important, like the man who’s pledged to stand beside him. As Dex starts down a dark path, it’s up to Sloane to show him what’s at stake, and finally put a name to what’s in his heart.