“What piece of research that made you really happy didn’t make it into the story?”
I recently had a bit of a brain freeze about blogging, so put an appeal out to pals along the lines of, “What should I blog about?” I got several really good suggestions which I’ve squirreled away, but this one – from my old pal Elin Gregory – seemed perfect for the Count the Shells tour. She asked, “What piece of research that made you really happy didn’t make it into the story?”
Where do I start? I do a load of research about the early twentieth century. Okay, in the interests of absolute honesty, I don’t actually do much research (I tend to restrict that to checking specific facts), but I do enjoy an awful lot of things that might count as research. I read no end of stories written in that era, pore over biographies of people who lived then, visit sites of significance from the time, etc. I also really enjoy reading non-fiction that takes a particular slant on that bit of the historical timeline; almost anything that combines rugby and WWI is a must-buy for me, as are quirky books like “Weird World War One”. There was plenty in that book that would never get into one of my novels because it would beggar the readers’ belief. Truth is indeed so often odder than fiction.
So, in no particular order, here are some favourite things I’ve turned up and not used:
- The first floodlit rugby match was in 1878. Doesn’t seem possible to have been that long ago.
- JM Barrie had his own cricket team, which was full of well known authors. Incidentally, EW Horning’s famous character Raffles, whose relationship with his fictional pal Bunny is slashy in the extreme, was probably based on a fellow player in that team, one who was himself – what a surprise – gay.
- Arthur Conan Doyle took one first class wicket, that of the great WG Grace. (That won’t mean a lot unless you love both Sherlock Holmes and cricket, and then you’ll go ‘Wow!’.) Grace’s death was possibly brought on by fright at Zeppelin raids over London.
But perhaps the most poignant thing I’ve come across is in “The Greater Game” by Clive Harris and Julian Whippy, and it’s a quote from an army chaplain, Dick Dugdale, about the rugby player Ronnie Poulton Palmer, who died in action in 1915. “You know I loved him more than anyone else…each year passing merely means one year less to wait for Ronald.” Those quotes make me really happy and I shall never use them, even if they inspire me to write more novels like Count the Shells.
Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.
Title: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane
Porthkennack Universe Book Six
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Historical, Gay, Romance
Length: 246 pages/Word Count: 66,000
Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.
Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.
When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
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.
Check out Porthkennack! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack
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 Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!