Meet the delegates: Charlie Cochrane

I’m kicking off the series of (hopefully) daily posts introducing the delegates with the lovely Charlie Cochrane, one of the UK Meet organisers.

The idea is for us all to get a chance to know each other before the Meet. It’s going to be bigger this year (over 90 already booked!), and I know I’ll be feeling more at ease there if I know a bit about everyone who’s coming along. I’m hoping the rest of you will benefit too 😉

All attendees are invited to send in answers to these five icebreaker questions to me (josephine_myles@yahoo.co.uk), along with a picture/avatar and any links to your social networks/websites/blogs, etc (these are all entirely optional!)

But for now, here’s Charlie, official Bearer of the Whistle at the UK Meet 🙂

charlie1) Tell us about yourself in 100 words or fewer.

I’m a wannabee biochemist who found they understood the theory but couldn’t do the practical for all the test tubes in China.

I wanted to read classic age mysteries featuring gay detectives, but I couldn’t find any, so I started to write my own. I guess the Cambridge Fellows series are my keynote books, although I write about everything from cross dressing musical theatre stars to weresloths. There are an infinite number of stories to be told…

2) Tell us something about you that might come as a surprise!

I don’t think anything about me would really surprise people any more. Most folk know I’m loopy.
I definitely met the legendary Red Rum and fed him a Polo mint. I might just keep a policeman’s truncheon in my wardrobe. (Don’t ask.)

3) What do you like most about the LGBTQ genre?

Hoping that this answer doesn’t sound too self-centred. I love the really nice e-mails I get from fans, especially from blokes.

4) What are you most looking forward to about UK Meet?

Getting hugs from Bruin Fisher, Elin Gregory and from all the UK Meet team, too!

5) If you had one wish which would come true at UK Meet, what would that be?

Nigel Owens would attend and lend me his whistle.

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Charlie’s website: www.charliecochrane.co.uk
Email: cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com
Blog: http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000878813798

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The UK Meet enters its fourth year

Charlie Cochrane, the organising team’s official keeper of the timetables and mistress of the whistle, is here today to share her thoughts on how the UK Meet has grown over the last three years, and what’s going to make this year even better than what’s gone before!

2013 banner

Look at us…all grown up!

2011 logo
Our 2011 Meet logo, complete with stormy skies

The first UK Meet consisted of twelve authors in a room above a library, scoffing tea and cakes and chatting. Unfortunately I missed that as our boiler went flop-bot, but I’ve been to the two Meets since and I have to say the beautiful baby of an event is now a gorgeous child. There are still seemingly endless supplies of tea – and provisions of all sorts for scoffing – and there’s still plenty of capacity for chin-wagging with people who understand our love for our genre. UK Meet means never having to say you’re sorry for what you read or write or publish or review.

The biggest change is in size and attitude. The twelve authors grew to best part of seventy established authors/readers/aspirant authors/publishers/reviewers in 2012. Now, those sorts of numbers can be a bit scary, but we managed to retain intimacy, by making sure we had plenty of time for socialising, by organising events-within-the-event which were on a smaller scale (of which more anon), and by avoiding the painful sort of “ice breaking” sessions that many of us have endured at corporate events. “Novel openings” eased us all into the convention part of the day without too much pain.

2012 logo
We went all teapotty in 2012…

We’ll be trying to produce the same “professional but friendly” mix this year, having a similar starter session on a subject – the development of covers – which everybody can pitch in their two penn’orth on if they wish.

In 2012 we had two sets of panels running, in different syndicate rooms. We’ll be doing that again, pitching at different audiences. We’ve been told that aspiring authors have found the event really useful – as have readers – so we want to make sure they’re catered for. We also had an experimental session, the Buffet of Banter, which consisted of smaller tables where people could sit and discuss slightly more eclectic topics (such as shifters or BDSM). It was a huge hit so we’ll be repeating – and extending! – it in 2013. We’ll also be picking up panels/tables on some of the subjects our delegates asked to see on the programme.

...and back to brollies for 2013, but with optimistic blue skies
…and back to brollies for 2013, but with optimistic blue skies

But wait, there’s more! What else was new in 2012? More (optional) social events. Branded event shoulder bags crammed with goodies of all sorts. (Ah, the great sheep wars they sparked…) Those goodies included a USB stick chock-full with free fiction and useful things like publisher submission details. And a printed programme and badges on lanyards and…well, everything you’d expect from a proper convention, because this is what UK Meet now is.

Except there’s one big difference. Every delegate still matters, the “industry” side of things runs alongside rather than over-running the social, and we’re all there because we love our genre.

CHARLIE COCHRANE

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.

Charlie has stories with Samhain, Carina, Cheyenne, Noble Romance and MLR. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and International Thriller Writers Inc, 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.
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Charlie’s website: www.charliecochrane.co.uk
Email: cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com
Blog: http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000878813798