Broke Deep is the story that refused to sit down and take no for an answer, a tale that waited patiently in my works-in-progress folder for a setting and a context to do it justice. When the Porthkennack universe opportunity came along, Broke Deep bounced into my mind like the most insistent plot bunny, saying, “That’s my home! Write me there!”
Reader, I did.
About Broke Deep
Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.
The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.
Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.
The joys of collaborative working
When Riptide first approached me to be part of the Porthkennack project I didn’t quite pull my shirt over my head and run round the room, but I have to say I was tickled pink. Not only did it sound really exciting (and I’d been down to Cornwall not long before so the vivid memories of the county were fresh in my mind) but when I saw the list of other contributors, all of whom I’ve met and all of whom I like, that was the deal clincher. Alex Beecroft provided us with some background information for this fictional community and we all set to work.
I have to admit to some few concerns – for example, I’m the queen of pantsers, so would I drive any planners and plotters mad? I needn’t have worried. One of us (JL Merrow?) organised a google spreadsheet that we could communally refer to and add information to as we went along. We also bunged e-mails about, discussing such things as the correct spellings of surnames and inventing a local variety of beer. Porthkennack started to feel real.
And, as we progressed with our novels, what amazed me was how often somebody had unknowingly solved a problem for another author by inventing a location or a piece of local history. Lots of comments along the lines of, “Ooh, I’m stealing that!” I even had some strange coincidences crop up. I’ve made no secret that Broke Deep was a story I started way back when, but never quite found the right setting for until Porthkennack came along. Things I’d written into the story years ago – a quirky museum, treacherous cliffs, shipwrecks and many more – were already there in this Cornish universe, as though they’d been waiting for me and my characters to come and play!
I hope our readers enjoy the stories as much as we authors did in the writing of them.
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
About Charlie Cochrane
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 and Cheyenne.
Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.
Connect with Charlie:
To celebrate the release of Broke Deep, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag containing postcards, a notebook, a tea towel, candy and more, all from Charlie Cochrane! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!