Hiya guys, we have Charlie Cochrane popping in with her new release Jury of One, we have a fantastic interview with Charlie, a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so enjoy the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Jury of One
Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotston, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.
Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.
Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?
Are you excited about the launch of Jury of One? Aren’t new books old hat by now?
Excited is an understatement, I think. Every new book feels like the first one for me. There are the same worries about what people will think of it, the same agony of waiting for reviews and other feedback. And the awful temptation to keep checking the Amazon rankings!
How does Charlie Cochrane start the day?
Slowly. I can’t do anything without a) a big bowl of cereal, b) a huge cup of tea and c) a bleary eyed trawl through the day’s news on the BBC interactive service. Then I can take on anything.
Do you find character development difficult?
Not usually, unless I try to force a story to happen. I have had works in progress not getting anywhere because it felt like the characters were having to fit the plot rather than vice versa. If I can give my characters free rein, then it works well; they develop and their story develops around them.
Is there any special writing routine you have?
It varies. I like to log on and check all my e-mails first or else I can feel them nagging me. Then I just need to start to write. If I get blocked, I find writing anything – notes in a notepad, fanfic, drabbles, gobbledegook – gets the words flowing again, as though I need to connect brain and fingers again.
If you could change one thing about the way you write, what would it be?
I’d write more prolifically. I do about 500 words on a good day, when other writers do thousands. 🙁 Still. I console myself with the thought that’s they’re usually 500 pretty useable words. Usually…
What is your favourite part of being an author? What do you hate about it?
My favourite part is starting a new story. I’m character driven, so I start with a person and as I write I discover what he or she is like. The plot flows from that process, so it’s like reading a story as well as writing it. (I wonder if that makes any sense outside of my head?) My least favourite part is writing sex scenes, which I do sentence by sentence over several days. Unless I can find an amusing hook to put build them round, in which case they flow as well as the other stuff does. But that’s the exception rather than the norm.
Would you describe yourself as an organized person?
Oh yes. It’s the only way I can keep all the balls I juggle in the air. Lists, calendars, diaries, labelling e-mails – everything to make life easier and not let anything slip through the cracks!
What would you say is your best quality as a writer?
Sense of humour – even if sometimes that’s gallows humour. I hope my books are always enjoyable to read, despite some of them dealing with difficult subjects.
Eating and drinking seems to feature heavily in your stories. Is there a special food that you love?
I adore jelly babies. Especially the green and black ones. If I’m cooking for myself, I’m very partial to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with a bit of salad on the side. If with family, a nicely roasted corner cut joint of corner beef with some Yorkshire puddings. (Now I’m hungry – see what you’ve done?)
They drew up outside an elegant town house; the column of names and bell pushes showed it had been divided into flats, though the facade was well maintained and there wasn’t the air of seediness there usually was about such conversions. They rang, gave their names and purpose over the intercom, were let in, and went up to the top floor. Worsley—a muscular bloke with two days of stubble and a gorgeous smile—was waiting for them at the turn of the stairs.
“It’s about last night.” Anderson dutifully flashed his warrant card. “One or two things we need to clarify.”
“Come in, I was just making myself some coffee. Bit of a late night. Want some?”
“I wouldn’t say no.” Anderson looked at Robin hopefully.
“Count me in as well.”
Worsley ushered them into a little dining area, set in a corner of the lounge, with a view of the local rooftops. A vase of flowers on the table and another on the bookshelves helped fill the place with colour. Worsley soon appeared, bearing coffee-filled china mugs, leaving the policemen to juggle with drinks, notebooks, and pens.
“Did you see either of the men who were in the scuffle at any other part of the evening?”
“Not really. I was too busy drinking and chatting with friends.”
Drinking with friends? Robin was trying to find a subtle way to phrase the natural follow-up question when Anderson cut in with, “Do you go to the Desdemona a lot?”
“As often as I can. Even my straight pals hang out at the place. I assume the question actually meant ‘am I gay?’” Worsley grinned.
“Not at all.” Anderson, if he’d been wrong-footed, made a swift recovery. “I was trying to establish if you were a regular there, in case you could tell us whether Hatton or the man he fought with had been at the club before.”
“My apologies. And no, I’ve never seen them there before. Not that I remember, anyway.”
Robin took a swig of coffee, earning some thinking time. What had May picked up that made her think Worsley had more to say? They couldn’t ignore the fact that he lived relatively close to the scene of the crime, and it was possible that he could have left the club, done the deed, run home to clean himself up, and returned to the Desdemona later, bold as brass.
“Have there ever been similar incidents near the Desdemona? Or the Florentine?” Anderson—eyes darting about—was clearly taking in the flat, maybe searching for clues. “Not necessarily stabbings, but trouble of any sort.”
“Not that I remember. The Desdemona’s a pretty staid place. Matches the area. Very quiet part of Abbotston. Safe.” Worsley shrugged and drank his coffee.
“And is there anything else, however small or insignificant it might seem, that you can add to what you told WPC May last night?” Robin was on the verge of closing his notebook and leaving.
Worsley’s face became guarded, as if he was weighing his options. “What do you know about Hatton? Come to think of it, what do you know about me?”
Well spotted, WPC May. Looks like you were right about him knowing more than he’d let on. Adam would be giving you a house point if you were in his class.
Robin shared a wary glance with his sergeant before replying. “Very little. Hatton’s business card says he was a tax consultant . . .”
“Tax consultant? I suppose he might have been by now, assuming he’d left GCHQ.”
“GCHQ?” Alarm bells started to go off in Robin’s head. “Do you mean Hatton was involved with the secret services? How on earth do you know that?”
“The answers to those are, in order, ‘yes,’ ‘he used to be,’ and ‘I did some computer work for them and saw him there.’” Worsley grinned again, the sort of grin that made Robin uncomfortable around the collar. If he didn’t know better, he’d say he was being flirted with.
You’re not my type, dear. And anyway, I’m already spoken for.
“Let me get this right,” Anderson said. “You saw him there? How long ago was that?”
“Oh . . .” Worsley wrinkled his brow. “Three years?”
“Three years and you remembered him?”
“Yes. I have a photographic memory for faces, especially handsome ones, and he was a real silver fox. How I hadn’t clocked him in the bar before the fight, I don’t know. Maybe because it was crazy busy.”
Maybe. If he was telling the truth.
“I’m bloody useless with names, unfortunately.” Worsley carried on, oblivious. “I must have seen him around and about GCHQ perhaps half a dozen times over the course of a month, even though I wasn’t working in his department.”
“I suppose you can’t tell us what you were doing there?” Anderson asked.
“Afraid not. Official Secrets Act and all that, although I’m sure you can verify my security clearance and the like, if you need to make sure I’m a good, reliable boy.”
“We will, believe me.” Anderson had clearly taken a dislike to this particular witness. “Did you notice anybody else you recognised from GCHQ while you were at the club?”
“No. Should I have?” Worsley appeared to be equally disenchanted with the sergeant.
“Please. We’re only trying to find out who killed Hatton,” Robin reminded them both. “You work in computing?”
“Yeah, part of a consultancy. Helping to put in new systems or troubleshooting old ones.” Worsley ran his finger round the rim of his mug. “And in answer to an earlier question, I have no idea if he was gay. He certainly didn’t give the impression of being on the pull last night.”
Robin nodded, but he’d keep an open mind on that point for the moment. “You said you saw Hatton half a dozen times. Ever speak to him?”
“Not back at GCHQ.”
Worsley shrugged. “No.”
“What about the other guy in the fight?” Anderson asked. “Did you interact with him? You said you’d ‘not really’ seen either of them. Is that a yes or a no?”
“It’s a qualified no. Unless you count me saying ‘thank you’ when he held the door to the men’s toilets open. And for the record,” he added, with a sharp glance at Anderson, “nothing goes on in those toilets.”
“I never said anything.” Anderson raised his hands in a gesture of innocence that clearly fooled nobody. “I don’t suppose there’s any point in us trying the old ‘do you know of anyone who had a grudge against Hatton’ question? Or whether you’ve got any further bombshells to drop?”
“No, I’m sorry.” Worsley’s regret sounded genuine enough. “Although if that changes, I’ll get back to you. Have you a contact number?”
Robin produced a card with the relevant details on it. “This is the Stanebridge police station number, but someone there can make sure I get any message; I’ll ring you back.”
“Okie dokie.” Worsley took the card, studied it, then put it in his wallet. “Just as well I’ve got this, because I’ll never remember your names.”
“Don’t put yourself out remembering mine.” Anderson pushed back his chair, signalling that the interview was finished.
Robin made an apologetic face, smoothing over the awkwardness with some platitudes, before getting Anderson through the door. They were halfway down the stairs and out of earshot before he asked, “What rattled your cage?”
“Him. He put my back up.” Anderson made a face, as though even referring to Worsley left a bad taste in his mouth. “We should keep an eye on him.”
“And is that based on anything other than the fact he narked you?”
Anderson grinned. “Call it instinct. Anyway, if Hatton was still involved with GCHQ when he died, this is likely to get messy.”
Robin nodded. Murder wasn’t something he had a broad experience of, with the exception—the wonderful exception—of the case that had brought Adam across his path. Terrorism was outside his experience entirely. Of course, Hatton might have been acting as nothing more than a tax consultant at the time of his death, or that could be a cover story; they’d have to wait for further information.
“We’ll get back to the station and plough through the rest of the statements first.” They’d reached the car, although Robin stopped and took a deep breath before getting in. “And we’ll get Davis to work her usual magic on the background stuff.”
“Sounds good. She’ll love you for spoiling her weekend.” Anderson grimaced.
“She can join the club. Your Helen won’t have been happy at you getting called in.”
Anderson shrugged. “She’s got a hen do tonight, so she’s glad to have me out from under her feet.”
“I’ll volunteer you for more Saturday jobs, then.” Adam wouldn’t be so glad. He accepted the long hours as part of a policeman’s lot, in the same way he worked every hour God sent at times, but they’d got used to having their weekends together. Robin was ready to go, but Anderson seemed to be lost in thought. “Are you thinking about the earache you’ll get if I keep screwing up your weekends?”
“No. I’m trying to work out why he bugs me.” Anderson jerked his thumb towards the house. “He’ll be trouble. Mark my words.”
“I will.” Robin started up the engine. Trouble? Robin couldn’t work out how. But the nagging voice in his head reminded him that Anderson had been right about this kind of thing before.
– Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/jury-of-one (Just link the excerpt tab)
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:
- Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
- Twitter: @charliecochrane
- Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane