Guest Post and Giveaway: In The Spotlight by Charlie Cochrane

Today I am so pleased to welcome Charlie Cochrane to Joyfully Jay. Charlie has come as part of Opposites Attract Week to talk to us about her latest release, In The Spotlight. She has also brought along a copy to contribute to our big giveaway, along with a backlist book! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

 

Opposites attract?

Positive and negative ions. North and south poles of magnets. Opposites attract in science but do they in life? For me, the answer to that is a resounding yes, no and maybe.

You might say that male and female is a natural example of opposites attracting, but that argument quickly flounders. Some men are attracted to men, some women to women, and some people are attracted to both. And isn’t it a bit old fashioned (not to say blinkered) to say that men and women are opposites? I get really cross when people make huge sweeping statements about one gender or the other, like “women prefer buying shoes to watching sport”. Certain women – and certain men – maybe, but not all.

Some couples (of whatever gender combination) certainly physically contrast with each other. There’s a wonderful British tradition of saucy seaside postcards which usually depicted a short, thin man being hitched to an opulently plump lady. How often have we seen pairs like that, or couples who have a great age difference, or come from different races? Is that a case of opposites attracting or are we being too sweeping again? Are people fascinated by something in their partner which is different from them, the lure of the unknown, ( and in the case of Romeo and Juliet the forbidden) or is it simply a case of two individuals who fall in love with each other, irrespective of similarities or differences? I can certainly think of some same sex couples who are almost identical to each other in both appearance and character, so the rule doesn’t hold for everyone.

It seems like I’m shooting all the arguments down in flames, but I know from my own family that there are very different people happily paired. Loud, outgoing folk with quiet, introspective ones; supporters of Welsh rugby with supporters of the England team (and my goodness you can’t get further apart in outlook than that!) Mr C and I are a case of an incorrigible optimist quite at home with a pessimist – but we have enough in common to overcome any differences in outlook. And to overcome the fact that he shouts for Scotland while I shout for England.

In fiction, the “opposites attract” theme is very popular among readers. Just about the first review I ever received was for the Cambridge Fellows books, which features in Jonty and Orlando a classic case of a pair of lovers who are like chalk and cheese in both appearance and character. The reviewer said how much they enjoyed this particular combination. “It’s fun to follow their struggle to understand each other and to make sense of the building attraction between them.” With my reading hat on, that first part certainly strikes a chord. It’s rewarding to read about the journey two people go on together and how they reach a mutually perceptive relationship. And it’s fun for an author, too, because one can use the differences to spark off all sorts of bits of drama. (One of the most memorable fanfiction challenges I ever saw featured pairings drawn out of a hat, the most ludicrous sets of romantic couples emerging. But it worked, as writers used all their wits to make these ridiculous pairings work beautifully.)

I guess that last bit’s the key, at least in writing stories. If an author presents a contrasting pair falling deeply in love then the storyline has to be convincing. In “All That Jazz” I have a star of musical theatre with a penchant for cross dressing falling for a butch amateur rugby player, and I’ve tried to avoid any clichés in the way I’ve tackled (excuse rugby pun) the relationship. Ultimately, Francis and Tommy have to be true to themselves and their personalities, rather than being shoehorned into situations just to satisfy a trope.

So, by all means let’s have opposites attracting in books as in life. But not in every instance and not as a cliché.


Blurb

In The SpotlightIn the Spotlighttwo stories by Charlie Cochrane

All That Jazz
Francis Yardley may be the high kicking star of an all-male version of Chicago, but bitter, and on the booze after the breakdown of a relationship, he thinks that the chance for true love has passed him by. A handsome, shy rugby player called Tommy seems to be the answer to his problems, but Tommy doesn’t like the lipstick and lace. Can they find a way forward and is there still a chance for happiness “nowadays”?

If Music Be
Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have revelled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he?


Bio

CharlieAs Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Romances, mysteries, sometimes historical and occasionally hysterical. Rumours that she has written about weresloths are true.

Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, and regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.


Giveaway

Charlie has brought an ebook from her backlist to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, April 11 at 11:59 pm EST.

She has also brought a copy of In the Spotlight as part of our big Opposites Attract giveaway, so stop by for that and lots of other great prizes! 

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting me!

  2. Alexa Milne says:

    I love opposite attract stories, both writing and reading them.

  3. Hey Charlie, 
     You write some of the best books. 
     Thank you for letting us know there’s another waiting for me!  
    Lin

  4. I loved Jonty and Orlando and their stories!
    I have In the Spotlight as my second prize choice in the Opposites Week giveaway but it is already on my buy list!!

  5. Hi! I’ve already read a lot of your books, but there are still some on my to-be-read list. I enjoy your protagonists and your imagination. Have a good weekend!

  6. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    My favourite historical books are The Cambridge Fellows Mysteries and I love how very different Jonty and Orlando are.

  7. Jonty and Orlando are really a great example of a typical Opposites attract plot, and how to make is work in a satisfactory way. I loved their evolución through the series, how they move from hesitant attraction to love and understanding.. There is conflict and there is growth, the key to a successful relationship!

    • Charlie Cochrane says:

      If you get three replies it’s because the site seems to be playing up.

      Thanks for this – it was just what I wanted to achieve.

  8. I kind of like seeing many subtle differences in a couple, rather than one or two broad ones…

  9. Welcome, Charlie! Thanks for an enjoyable post.

  10. Opposites attracting are sometimes quite fun! I love them when done well. Thanks for the post!

  11. I love the idea of opposites attracting…  I’m just glad that politically my husband and I are on the same page.  Watching the news is difficult enough…  I can’t imagine arguing about our new President!

  12. Opposite attract stories are a lot of fun. I love seeing characters who don’t seem like they’ll fit actually fit.

  13. Stevie Carroll says:

    I like friends who challenge my view point, but who aren’t wildly different from me in all respects; there needs to be common ground somewhere.

    I think that’s the key to writing “opposites attract” stories too: having the characters and the readers work out where the common ground lies and where acceptances or compromises have to be made.

    • Charlie Cochrane says:

      Yes yes and thrice yes. And actually, we don’t want to be with people who agree with us on everything – how boring would that be?

  14. God knows me and my sister are two sides of different pole *lol*. But she is my best friend. And I also have good friend who has different opinions with I am most of the times with our reading preference. SoI totally believe in opposite attracts 🙂

  15. Purple Reader says:

    Congrats and thanks for your thoughts about opposites. I can imagine that can be fun to write as much as it is to read. As long as, as you mentioned (and as you’ve done well in your writing that I’ve read so far), you can write past the stereotypes or caricatures.

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