GUEST AUTHOR: Charlie Cochrane
Charlie’s laws of writing:
1. When you have an idea, you don’t have time to write. And vice versa. If you get a brilliant inspiration – at last you know how to sort out that wretched scene that’s been bugging you – you have to take the kids to the orthodontist, prepare for that key meeting and the dinner won’t cook itself. When you do have a whole afternoon for the computer, you just stare at the screen, unable to string a sentence together.
2. The muse flits by at the worst times. You’re driving down the motorway or struggling round the supermarket and suddenly you can hear in your head an absolutely brilliant scene. There is nothing at hand to record it, so you rely on memory. By the time you find pen and paper, the deathless prose and sparkling dialogue you created have dissipated into slushy twaddle.
3. Logic? It’s left the building. You slog away with a round of author chats, promos, competitions, etc. This has zero effect on your sales. Disheartened, you do no promo for a fortnight – your Amazon ratings soar.
4. Your muse suffers from ‘My Sweet Lord’ syndrome. If you have a brilliant plot idea/character name/book title, someone got there first.
5. The whole publishing business drives you nutty, but you still come back for more. ‘Nuff said.
Charlie Cochrane was dragged kicking and screaming into publishing, after years of saying ‘No!’ Now she thrives on editing, promoing and all the other things she never realised went on. She can be found eyeing up calls for submissions (something she wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago) and has even stepped so far out of her comfort zone as to produce a story about gay werewolves. I have to add my werewolves are terribly well bred and behaved, as are most of my leading men.
The chairman rapped the table with his gavel. “I bring this meeting of the South Kensington Lycanthropes to order.” Anyone observing the handsome, studious faces around the table would have felt there was no apparent disorder to deal with. The only indications that this wasn’t some dry, Oxbridge departmental meeting came from the occasional, anxious glances which the participants cast over to the windows, where a bank of cloud obscured the night sky. And the fact that their clothes were neatly piled behind their chairs, ready to be claimed the next day, should it prove necessary to go home without them.
“Gentlemen, we begin with a paper on the Red wolf, Canis lupus rufus. ”
Rory’s mind began to wander. He’d heard many a paper—scientific, historical, literary—over the years, as they’d waited for the leaden English skies to clear, and this one didn’t enthuse him. Not like the occasion when someone had presented a cogent (in their eyes) case that Esau had indeed been one of their brethren, which would explain the hairiness, a thesis countered by another member who’d sworn blind that Esau had been a Neanderthal. Harsh words and blows had ensued, turning to snarls and bites as the moon had broached the clouds, illuminating the room. Things rarely got that exciting.
Well, Carter reflected, casting a surreptitious glance around the room, we’re hardly an exciting bunch. Most of his associates worked in museums or universities, although one particularly enterprising lad had secured a job behind the meat counter at Harrod’s. That was one way of mixing business and pleasure. None of them were employed in the field where men who shared their other inclination—the non-lupine one—were often to be found. What was the point when, by accident of the lunar calendar, you might be taking the stage as Romeo and find yourself appearing more like Chewbacca?
Wolves of the West, from the Anthology Queer Wolf