OS: Welcome to Charlie Cochrane, who is here today to talk about their new book Count The Shells!
How some old timbers inspired a story…
Not half an hour’s drive from where I live is a wonderful building called Chesapeake Mill. It no longer uses its waterwheel to generate power for grinding corn or the like – it’s full of antiques and collectables, and a smashing café – but, for me, the most impressive part is the construction. Those of you from across the Atlantic will possibly be thinking, “Chesapeake isn’t an English name. What’s going on?” Some good old-fashioned English re-use is going on, that’s what.
Two hundred odd years ago, when Britain and America were at each other’s throats, His Majesty’s ship Shannon captured the frigate Chesapeake as she left Boston, after which the captured ship served in the British fleet. After being broken up, her timbers were used to construct the mill at Wickham, hence the name. I’ve seen some doubts expressed regarding this story, but if it’s an urban myth, it goes back a long way and someone deep in the depths of history had gone to a lot of trouble to demonstrate authenticity.
It was these little details which blew me away when first I visited the place. You can see a whole wealth of marks on the timbers – evidence of nails and bolts, slots cut where other timbers fitted in, including the masts, even carpenters’ markings to show how the pieces were to fit together. How cool would it be, I thought, to have those beams around you and feel that connection to the past? What would it be like to have them in your house?
At this point there was a distinct “boing” in my brain as a plot bunny arrived. Those historic beams in a house could provide a really interesting way of allowing two protagonists to get together, one pursuing research about the ship the timbers came from, the other being the house owner and reluctantly agreeing. Maybe I could work in something about the original shipwreck. Maybe I could play around with some elements of opposites finding themselves attracted to each other. Maybe…
Maybe I just had to knuckle down and write the story, so I did. It was the first of my Porthkennack stories, Broke Deep, but the sense of the past deeply influencing events in the present carried on into the construction of my second Porthkennack novel, Count the Shells. Another building – Broch, the Carter-Clemence family home – sits at the heart of this tale, affecting generation after generation as they visit there and interact with the family members.
About Count the Shells
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.
Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/count-the-shells
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://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack
About Charlie Cochrane
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.
Connect with Charlie:
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!