Charlie Cochrane, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Tumble Turn.
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance
Cover artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Length: 84 pages, 28,000 words
Heat rating: Mild
Tagline: Winning isn't everything...except when everything rides on being first.
Blurb: Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at London 2012 firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way -- until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Ben Edwards is 21, has just graduated with a degree in Psychology from Cardiff University, and is a professional paralympic swimmer, on the elite funding programme.
Nick Prior is 22, in his last year studying languages at Warwick university.
Fate's a cruel mistress. Or master. Or something. I got to my seat-eventually, after battling through crowds and then signing autographs for some real swimming fanatics-and I was settling in when something slapped the back of my head.
"Ben!" It was Matty, of course, looking pleased as punch and plonking his backside in the seat behind mine and two to the left. "That's a stroke of luck. I'd forgotten I hadn't got your number on my new phone."
That made me even more angry. Matty pulling the "long lost friend" thing on me when he hadn't bothered to keep my number. I scowled at him, and at the weasely looking bloke sitting to the left of him, who was evidently the ghastly Nick and every bit as horrible as I'd imagined him. There was another bump to my head and I spun round one hundred and eighty degrees, about to give some clumsy sod a mouthful. There was gorgeous-guy-withthe- coffees smiling at me and being terribly apologetic.
"Sorry, did I thump you?" He smiled, revealing the sort of set of lovely teeth that would have been all the better to eat me with, if I'd been lucky. "My fault. I've always been clumsy. I think it's dyspraxia but Jenny just says I'm a prat. With dys-prat-sia." He grinned.
This horrible hot flush-remember my habit of blushing?- started to clamber up the back of my neck, which is hardly my best look given that there's more than a trace of ginger in my hair.
I managed to stammer something like, "No worries," although I could have been spouting gibberish, for all that I was aware. All I could think of was that I'd nearly gone and cocked everything up with my, "Ring me but I won't answer the phone" ruse. At least fate had saved me, and redeemed itself at the same time.
Unless I was buggering things up again by making an assumption too many, this must have been Jenny's brother, and he wasn't the spotty nerd I'd expected.
"I'm Nick." This gorgeous vision of tall, dark handsomeness stuck out his hand. "You must be Ben."
"Yeah, that's right." I managed to shake his hand without shaking too much myself. Sometimes I get a bit clumsy if I'm overexcited.
"We saw you on the telly-Paralympic World Cup, earlier this year. You won."
"You don't half state the bleeding obvious," Matty chipped in, grinning. "I suspect Ben remembers that for himself."
"Just a little." I was hoping the red flush was starting to subside.
"Matty was so proud of you. Kept pointing at the screen and saying that was his best mate from school days. He started to cry when you won." Nick rolled his eyes. "Great Jessy."
I was starting to well up, too. Maybe Matty had redeemed himself a bit. "We said we'd be here, being a part of it. Even back when we were horrible, spotty schoolboys, we knew we'd have to
make London 2012 happen."
"And you did." Matty ruffled my hair, just like we were fourteen again. "I've got tickets to see you, next month, so you damn well better make the final. And get a medal. No pressure."
"Not much. Only from you, Mum and Dad and the whole bloody street."
"Me as well." Nick had got himself settled into his seat, and given that I was in the row below I got a distinct eyeful of his crotch every time I turned to speak to him. I wasn't sure it was helping my coherence.
"Will you be there to cheer me on as well?" I tried a) not to sound too hopeful and b) not to keep staring at his trousers.
"Try and stop me. If you win I'll be basking in the reflected glory for months. We're sport mad in our house and even the friend of a future brother-in-law would count as one of the family if he had an Paralympic medal."
|Lessons in Love|
Future brother-in-law? No wonder Matty had been full of the lovey-dovey talk. "Wear your lucky y-fronts, then. I'll need all the help I can get."
"Gah. False modesty." Matty whacked my shoulder with his programme. I was about to launch into a great spiel about how I was up against a really tough field when Nick got there before me.
"No, Ben's just being realistic. There are some really fast Aussies in his event, and this guy from the US is starting to make a splash. No pun intended."
"Which guy from the US?" Matty pulled the face I remember from school, the one which usually appeared when we did algebra.
"The one who placed fourth in that race we watched. When Ben won." Nick gave me a wink. "Was he this thick at school?"
"Worse." I listened in as Nick gave Matty a comprehensive rundown on the top runners and riders in Paralympic swimming. Gorgeous, knowledgeable, funny; he seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch and I had an awful feeling the catch was insurmountable. He was going to turn out to be straight and only here for the swimming. All my conspiracy theories about Matty finding out I was gay and engineering a meeting would turn out to be hot air and leave me with just daydreams.
"Rebecca Adlington going to do the double again?" Nick's voice woke me out of my reverie. I'd gone off on a mental tangent-mainly involving him, me, a swimming pool and a double bed.
Interview with Ben Edwards
Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
Ben: A bit shy (no, honestly) and a bit lacking in self confidence at times. You might think that’s a load of rubbish, if you’ve seen me tearing up the pool and punching the air like mad when I win. But if you’ve watched my post race interviews and seen how tongue tied I get maybe you’d believe it.
People tell me I’m good looking, but if I look at myself in the mirror first thing of a morning or when I’ve just finished a hard training session, I’m not so sure. My physique’s good though, even my dodgy left hand side.
What do you think is your strongest point?
Ben: Determination. I’ve always believed in having dreams and trying to make them come true. Right from when I heard that London was getting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, I wanted to take part.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
Ben: I suppose most people would say my cerebral palsy was a weakness, but I wasn’t brought up to think of it as that. Nick would agree—it just makes me different, in the way he’s different because he can’t spell to save his life. I’d say my Achilles’ heel is being too easily distracted, like Nick distracted me in the run up to the Paralympics. My coach would have the same opinion. (Don’t you make out I’m implying my coach is my enemy!)
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the “good guy?”
Ben: Because what’s the alternative? I guess my mum and dad brought me up to think about other people and to always try to do the next right thing. Maybe I’m naive but I can’t imagine doing anything different.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Ben: Biscuits, especially custard creams or chocolate Hob Nobs.
If you didn’t know how old you were how old would you be?
Ben: I don’t think I understand the question. Does it mean what age would I ideally be? Forever 21 I suppose.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Ben: Touching First. (Because I always want to be first to touch the wall in my races.)
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Ben: Maybe one of the great big houses at Sandbanks, near Bournemouth, where we used to go on holidays when I was a little boy. Or a really posh flat at Cardiff Bay, so I could get my swimming training in. Either would do, so long as Nick could get over easily enough to visit me.
|Home Fires Burning|
What song would best describe your life?
Ben: It would be too much of a cliché to go with “I am What I am”, although you can’t imagine what a buzz I got when they used that in the Paralympic opening ceremony. “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough”, maybe, because I like overcoming challenges. Had plenty of practice!
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Ben: Um, clean their cars because I’m great in the water?
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Ben: I’d be one of those stores that sell all sorts of fun things. Like Hawkin’s Bazaar used to. Sports stuff, games, puzzles, jokey things. That’s me to a t.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Ben: Playtime, of course. I was clever enough that lessons weren’t that hard work, but once the bell went and we could let off some steam – playing football or just haring around the playground – I was happy as a pig in dirt.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
Ben: This is really embarrassing. When I was little I tried to shave our dog, because I thought his hair was too long. Luckily dad caught me and put a stop to things. The dog was such a daft thing he just let me!
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Ben: “Dangerous when wet”?
Please Fill in the Blanks as Ben Edwards
I love pizza with ham and pineapple.
I'm always ready for watching sport. Live or TV, bring it on!
When I'm alone, I play games on my laptop. I’ve always been a bit of a games nerd.
You'd never be able to tell, but I got straight A grades at A level.
If I had a halo it would be stuck on, so I didn’t lose it.
If I could fly, I'd give up swimming. Maybe.
I can never be a boxer because my left side has a habit of going weak on me.
About the Author
As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries. She lives near Romsey but has yet to use that as a setting for her stories, choosing to write about Cambridge, Bath, London and the Channel Islands, all of which are places she knows and loves well.
Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, MLR, Noble Romance and Cheyenne. Charlie's Cambridge Fellows Series, set in Edwardian England, was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name.
Dreams of a Hero, e-book from Carina.
Paired novellas, This Ground which was Secured at Great Expense and The Case of the Overprotective Ass, in Home Fires Burning from Cheyenne. E-book and print.
All That Jazz standalone e-book.
The Shade on a Fine Day standalone e-book.
Short read, Wolves of the West
Short read, Music in the Midst of Desolation
Cambridge Fellows Series, books 1-8 from Samhain
Lessons for Survivors, book 9 from Cheyenne.
Books Coming Soon
Promises Made Under Fire (Feb 2013, Carina)
Print book or a goodie bag for one commenter.
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Other sites: Goodreads