Charlie Cochet is a relatively new author, and if her stories are as charming as her interviews, I’m sure she’ll become a fan favorite in no time.
Enjoy as she takes a few moments to talk with two of her latest characters, Chance and Jacky.
Hello all! Thank you so much for dropping by. Up for grabs is an eBook copy of The Auspicious Troubles of Chance, but before we speak to Chance, here’s a little bit about his story:
Chance Irving is a young man with a gift for getting into trouble—not surprising, as trouble is all he’s ever known. After losing everything he held dear one fateful night, he decides to leave New York and his past behind, and joins the French Foreign Legion. But even in Algiers, Chance can’t seem to shake his old ways, and he ends up being transferred to a unit made up of misfits and rabble-rousers like him—a unit he finds just in time to be captured and thrown into a cell with his new commandant, Jacky Valentine.
A highly respected commandant with a soft spot for hard luck cases, Jacky is the kind of guy who would go to war for you, and the three equally troubled youths from his unit he’s more or less adopted feel the same way about him. Suddenly Chance starts to think that his life doesn’t have to be as desolate and barren as the wastelands around him.
But even after their escape, with the promise of a future with Jacky to buoy his spirits, or maybe because of it, Chance can’t stop making mistakes. He disobeys orders, lashes out at the boys in Jacky’s care, and blazes a trail of self-destruction across the desert—until someone makes him realize he’s hurting more than just himself.
I’m standing patiently by the door trying my best not to appear nervous. I know they’ll show because quite frankly, Jacky’s the sort of fella who will always come through for you. I just wonder what mood Chance will be in when he gets here. Suddenly, the man himself walks in with his felt hat in his hand, and I breathe a little sigh of relief. He looks tall, but I guess at six foot two, he is. He’s also looking incredibly sexy–despite the deep frown on his face, in a charcoal gray three-piece suit, with his black hair neatly parted and slick. I’m surprised when he stops in front of the two-seater sofa but doesn’t sit. Then Jacky walks in, all six and a half feet of impressive man. He’s dressed in a brown three-piece suit, his brown hair a little more unruly than Chance’s. He’s got a playful twinkle in his pale green eyes and then he gives me a wink. I admit my heart does a little flutter. I notice he’s relying pretty heavily on his cane. I also notice that Chance is giving me the skunk eye. Jacky seems to find that amusing.
Jacky: “He worries about it more than I do.” With a groan, Jacky starts to sit down and Chance doesn’t hesitate in taking his arm and helping him. I realize that’s the reason he was waiting to sit. Well, well, my boy has come a long way. With coffee on the side table on Chance’s end, and some Earl Grey on Jacky’s end, I start the interview. I turn my attention to Chance first, and smile brightly.
“Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat, and for bringing your handsome companion with you.”
Chance: “Companion? What is he? My poodle?”
So he’s in that kind of mood. Okay. Deep breath. “I’m sorry. Let me rephrase that. How about… your lover? Love of your life? Snuggle-bunny? Sugar-daddy? Husband? Stop me when I get to one you like.”
Chance: “Well, ain’t you charming.”
“Are you always this grumpy?” I look over at Jacky, who chuckles. “Is he always this grumpy?”
Jacky: “You’ve caught him on a good day.”
Chance: “Keep it up, pal. That’s a one way ticket to sleeping on the couch.”
I look down at the steel cane resting against Jacky’s leg and ask worriedly, “He doesn’t really make you sleep on the couch, does he?”
Jacky: “Nah, don’t let that sour puss of his fool you. He’s never sent me to the couch, and never would. It’d do a number on my back and leg. He’s really very attentive when it comes to my comfort. So much so, he’s inundated the house with pillows and cushions just so there’s always one handy for him to prop behind me or under my leg. And let me tell ya, that’s a lot of cushions.”
A little color has entered Chance’s cheeks but his frown just deepens. Boy, he’s a stubborn one.
Chance: “For crying out loud. I thought this was supposed to be an interview? What’s next? We gonna talk about curtains?”
“You’re not very good at taking compliments, are you?”
Chance: “If by ‘taking compliments’ you mean ‘getting sappy’, then no, I’m not.”
Jacky: “He doesn’t like it when people get the impression that he might be a nice fella. Bad for his image, you see.”
Chance looks from me to Jacky and back, his eyes narrowing at me.
Chance: “Next time, I’m sending Johnnie. Then we’ll see how cute you two find all this.”
I clear my throat and move on. “Now that you’ve mentioned Johnnie. When the two of you first met, you got off to a pretty rough start, didn’t you?”
Chance: “That’s an understatement. If looks could kill, I’d be six feet under right about now.”
“You weren’t exactly nice to him.”
Chance: “I wasn’t nice to anyone, if you will recall. I wasn’t exactly looking to make friends, either. I’d made a lot of bad decisions, got myself in a pretty rough place. For Pete’s sake, I was smack dab in the middle of a stinking sandpit in the fiery center of nowhere. The last thing I wanted was a constant reminder of what had gotten me there in the first place. Just looking at him made me feel like more of a heel than I already was.”
“In the end, though, he was the one who gave you the final push you needed, so to speak.”
Chance: “Push? Try, hit me like a freight train. Yeah, and then some. I had a habit of learning things the hard way, and although I wasn’t exactly up for sainthood after that, Johnnie really put things into perspective. I realized that what I’d been through was nothing compared to the kind of demons that kid was fighting. Still is.”
“What’s your relationship like now?”
Chance: “We understand each other.”
Jacky: “They’re like two peas in a pod, actually. Two peas that cuss at each other a lot. They fuss, and fight, but then next thing you know, they’re in the drawing room with the radio playing, asleep on each other. Then they wake up and it’s like nothing ever happened. It’s sweet.”
Somehow I get the feeling Chance doesn’t agree–judging by the evil glare he’s throwing Jacky’s way. He turns those icy blue peepers at me, but I know him pretty well by now. I don’t mention the fact that Jacky’s description of the two is spot on.
Chance: “Like I said, we understand each other. And he’s the one who falls asleep on me. It’s not sweet at all. The reason I don’t wake him up is because he’ll take a swing at me.”
Chance’s pout make me chuckle. “You two are adorable together. I receive a scowl in return, but choose to ignore it. I turn to Jacky. What is it that attracted to you to Chance in the first place? Was it those baby blues, his radiant smile, or his pleasant personality?”
I know, I’m pushing it, but I can’t help it. If Chance had been a cat, his fur would be bristling right now. He opens his mouth–no doubt to put in his two cents, when Jacky cuts in. Smart fella that Jacky.
Jacky: “His ass.”
Chance gapes at him.
Chance: “I knew it! You were staring at my ass that first day. Oh, you sneaky, dirty man.” He settles back and crosses his arms over his chest. “For the record, I wasn’t as shallow.”
Chance: “Nope. For me, it was the moment I saw your d–”
“Okay! Let’s keep this interview PG, shall we?”
“Clean. Let’s keep it clean.”
Chance: “Then why the hell are you interviewing me?”
Jacky: “He has a point.”
Chance: “You don’t have to agree, you pill.”
Jacky chuckles, and his hand moves discreetly to cover Chance’s, who to my surprise goes a little red in the face but leaves it there.
Jacky: “That [motions to all of Chance with his free hand] is what I love about him. Everyone thinks he’s this grumpy bastard, and well, I suppose he is.”
Chance: “Thank you, darling. What would I ever do without you?”
Jacky: “But underneath it all, he’s really… something else. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was something special.”
I nod my agreement and Chance lets out a groan.
Chance: “Oh, for the love of– You two done swooning like a couple of dames?”
“Hey, I am a dame.”
Chance: “Yeah? Then why are you wearing pants.”
“Katherine Hepburn wears them.”
Chance: “Well, let me tell you, sister, you ain’t no Katherine Hepburn.”
“Gee, thanks.” I turn to Jacky. “So how many layers did you say there were before you get to the gooey center?”
Jacky laughs, and leans over to give Chance’s cheek a kiss. Chance all but melts in his seat and suddenly all those layers are about as opaque as plastic wrap. I look down at my notepad and the questions scribbled on it. I should have known better than to think I’d get through them that easily.
Chance: “Knock it off.” His warning growl to Jacky is halfhearted at best. I hold back my smile.
“So, Chance, tell us. Were you glad your service with the French Foreign Legion came to an end when it did?”
Chance: Are you kidding? Of course I am. You have no idea what it’s like out there. It stinks. Literally. Some of those fellas–” Chance gives a visible shudder. “Anyway, yeah, I’m glad to be out of that sand-trap. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have ended up there. After all, I could have ended up in a worse hell.” He glances over at Jacky and for the briefest moment, there’s a tender smile on his face. It quickly disappears and he clears his throat before frowning again. “I’ll never forget it because it changed my life, and gave me the family I have now.” A sad expression comes onto his face and both our gazes go to Jacky’s cane. When Chance looks back at me, it’s clear that the way in which his end of service came about isn’t up for discussion, and I respect that.
“So, Jacky, you were a highly respected commandant who’d been awarded several medals for your bravery, among other feats. Do you miss it?” Jacky shrugs, the smile not having left his face even once since walking in.
Jacky: “I wasn’t in it for the medals. I wanted to help people, and knowing I could make a difference in those fellas lives was reward enough, especially when I met the boys. Like Chance, I’m grateful to have been there, but my place is at home with my family, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”
“So, what’s next for you two? Chance, you made it out of the desert, and you feel you’re a better man for it. Jacky, you finally managed to get through to Chance. What comes next?”
Chance: “What, you don’t think what we went through was enough?” He peers at me warily. “What’s next is we have our hands full, that’s what. Hawthorne Manor don’t run itself, you know, and Johnnie’s been driving me off my nut lately. He’s so damned moody all the time.”
I open my mouth and the look he gives me makes me re-think my quip.
Chance: “Anyway, like I was saying, he’s being a pain in my ass more than usual.”
“Why do you think that is?”
Jacky: “Well, we think maybe it’s to do with Henry. Henry’s crazy about Johnnie, but Johnnie’s a little…”
Jacky: “Uh, sort of. Except… more intense. If that’s possible.” He ignores Chance’s arched eyebrow.
Chance: “Johnnie has a much bigger mouth. One he tends to stick his foot into more often than not. He’s sweet on Henry, but with everything that’s happened, he ain’t one to trust that easy. Hell, Henry’s been around about eight years now, so it’s not as though he doesn’t know the fella. Johnnie’s just…” He sighs and shakes his head. “lost. But he won’t let anyone get close enough to help him, not even me. We’ll just have to hope Henry can find a way.”
“Well, I wish him, and you boys luck. Thanks again so much for stopping by. Do you mind sticking around in case anyone has any questions for you?”
Chance: “Yeah, all right. Fine. But I want more coffee. And bring more leaf-water for his highness over here. And some biscuits, or cookies. I don’t even know what to call’ em anymore. Just bring sweet things.”
“So there you have it folks. If you have any questions you’d like to ask the fellas, just feel free! Thanks for stopping by!”
x Charlie x
Charlie, Chance and Jacky are all in a chatting mood, ask them anything you like. Comments posted below will enter you to win a digital copy of The Auspicious Troubles of Chance.
Open until Wednesday, July 25th at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Thursday.