Welcome to the third interview in a series celebrating the publication of the Great War anthology A Pride of Poppies from Manifld Press.
Today my guest is Charlie Cochrane.
What inspired you to write your story for the anthology?
A visit to the Army Chaplaincy museum, just outside Amport. I have no idea why I hadn’t come across the place before, because it’s relatively local, but as soon as I found out about it I made an appointment to visit. I had a lovely hour there, having a private tour from the curator. Not long afterwards I saw the submissions call for Pride of Poppies and the words just started to flow!
Could you tell me a little about it?
It’s about a chaplain, a doctor and a packet of cigarettes, and how they spent an unexpected night in a foxhole, where the possibility of imminent death brings about some surprising confessions and shows that – as the cliche would have it – where there’s life there’s hope.
Could you please tell me about your other work?
I write romances and romantic mysteries, often historical and sometimes hysterical. I guess my keynote books are the Cambridge Fellows series of mysteries, which are set either side of WWI, although I’ve just had my first contemporary cosy mystery (Best Corpse for the Job) published. As for the hysterical, I admit I’ve written about weresloths. Handsome, muscular, gay weresloths.
What are you working on at the moment?
A follow up to Best Corpse. Not even finished it or subbed it yet. I think I know who did the murder, though. Maybe.
Please could we have an excerpt?
You can, but you’ll have to accept it’s unpolished condition!
Robin Bright looked in the mirror, wiped the residual shaving cream from his face and counted his blessings. Work was going well, with a promotion to Detective Chief Inspector on the cards. Sergeant Anderson remained on his team, his own promotion likely but not imminent; still making snarky remarks and useful leaps of deduction.
But the most significant of his blessings was at present down in the kitchen, clattering about making a pot of tea, with Robin’s second best blessing probably sitting in his basket chewing on dog biscuits and hoping somebody might throw the end of a sausage in his direction.
Was it only a year ago that he’d have woken on a Saturday morning with nothing more to look forward to than the delights of washing and ironing, accompanied by radio commentary of Spurs getting thrashed by the Arsenal? He used to hope the phone would go, calling him into work because some little scrote had misbehaved on Friday night. How things had changed; he didn’t want that now.
“Are you going to be in there forever?” Adam Matthews’s voice sounded from downstairs. “Your tea’s going to get cold.”
“I’ll be down soon. Just got to get my shirt on.”
“Yeah. You don’t want to scare the post woman again.” Adam’s voice faded as he returned to the kitchen.
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, Riptide and Lethe.
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.
Social media links:
A Pride of Poppies – an anthology from Manifold Press
Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from
those of other people?
A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment
camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief
of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.
An anthology featuring authors: