I’m having a love affair. Me and about 6-8 men. Scandalous!
I’ve fallen in love with the members of the THIRDS, but mostly the men (and ladies) of Destructive Delta.
A big thank you to Charlie Cochet for including us in our Smoke & Mirrors blog tour, and joining us here today.
Genre: Paranormal Gay Romance
Published: July 8th, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634773871
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781634773874
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
BBR – Hi Charlie! Welcome to Badass Book Reviews! First, I want to tell you how much I’ve fallen in love with this story. I read Hell & High Water in mid-April and I’m currently caught up through Smoke & Mirrors. So much for pacing myself. Upon finishing Catch a Tiger by the Tail I immediately joined both the FB and Goodreads groups, and scored this interview. I’m pretty sure that constitutes a book addiction. 🙂 So, thank you for feeding my addiction by stopping by to answer a few questions.
Charlie – Aw, thank you so much! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the series. The THIRDS Nerds are an amazing group, so welcome! I think you’ll enjoy it there.
BBR – The world of Therian’s is so intricate, and the best part is that their world history feels like ours, just tweaked. Where did the inspiration for this full-bodied world come from? In addition, there’s always new information coming, so how do you maintain and continue to grow the world?
Charlie – When I decided I wanted to write a shifter series, I decided I wanted to build the THIRDS world on a foundation of reality. At least as real as shifters could be. I wanted the dawn of Therians to come from science rather than fantasy. A new race that was stronger, faster, and healed quicker, with the ability to shift. Therians were also inadvertently created by the same humans who distrust—and at times hate—them. Humanity has a way of repeating past mistakes, of always finding someone new to fear and judge. Therians became that group.
Like the characters, the world continues to grow depending on what’s happening in the story. New information or rules may appear as certain situations come up for the first time. We’re introduced to a lot of world-building in Hell & High Water, but there’s still so much more. The THIRDS world is huge, despite the lack of fantasy. There are still rules. For example, information about bonding and mating comes later because it wasn’t relevant information in the beginning books. There may have been mentions or hints, but the rules or explanation didn’t come until it was time. I need to be sure that I keep track of all the rules.
BBR – Each one of the members of Destructive Delta, and a lot of the side characters, are so incredibly vivid. It honestly feels like no matter if it’s a flash fiction or a full length novel, you never lose sight of their distinctive personalities. Obviously you have a clear picture of them in your mind. Did their voices help you determine what each of their Therian forms would be, or did you decide that first and the rest fell into place?
Charlie – Their characters came first then I found Therian forms to fit them, and as soon as I knew which animal they shifted into, I added additional traits. So for example, I knew Cael was sweet, shy, a little awkward, and affectionate. Of the big cats, cheetah immediately came to mind when I thought of Cael. It was a perfect fit. So then from there I infused more cheetah traits into Cael’s human personality, like his being skittish, his vulnerability, his agility and speed. So it was a matter of character first, then animal, then fusing the two together to complete them.
BBR – Do you have a favorite character to write, and why?
Charlie – Dex is actually one of my favorite characters to write. Writing him comes naturally, and he’s just so much fun. He’s the easiest character to write, yet at the same time difficult. Dex is a happy-go-lucky guy who’s always ready with a joke or a one-liner. He’s enthusiastic, a magnet for trouble, and deep down possesses a darker side. Because of Dex’s personality, I always have to make sure he stays in character and doesn’t go too over the top. I love writing him because he has so many different sides to him. There’s the agent we see out in the field, the goofball that drives his teammates crazy, the loving man who adores his boyfriend, the big brother who will do anything to protect his little brother, the son who looks up to his dad, the white knight ready to charge into battle to do the right thing. I also never know how he’s going to react to something or what’s about to come out of his mouth, so he keeps me on my toes.
BBR – Not to get all heavy, but I actually have social anxiety. It’s not severe, like Hobbs, but it’s moderate enough that I’m impacted daily. The description of Hobbs’ anxiety felt very familiar. I could identify with him, even though I’m not a ginormous tabby tiger Therian. I was just wondering if there was a reason you chose selective mutism and social anxiety as Hobbs’ affliction?
Charlie – The THIRDS is all inclusive and promotes equality for all. I wanted my team to represent that, to be made up of characters who weren’t perfect, and came from different backgrounds. Characters who readers could relate to. Hobbs is a tiger Therian, the largest of the big cats. He’s supposed to be confident, brash, fearless like his tiger Therian counterparts. Yet despite his size and strength, he’s extremely shy and vulnerable. He’s impacted by his selective mutism and social anxiety every day. It’s something he’s lived with since he was a child, and although he has good days, he also has terrible days. Yet Hobbs tries his hardest not to let his afflictions define him. When he was little, he wanted to be a THIRDS agent like his big brother, and with Seb and Calvin’s help, Hobbs not only became a THIRDS agent, but a specialist.
I chose selective mutism because I wanted to draw a bit more awareness to it. Although it’s more common in children, it can also continue into adulthood. Many children go undiagnosed, or are diagnosed late—as was the case with Hobbs—and it’s mistaken for shyness. I was also very close to someone with severe social anxiety, and have firsthand experience of what it’s like living with someone who has severe social anxiety. There’s no magical cure for Hobbs. No matter how much Calvin loves him, or supports him, Hobbs continues to work through each day with his mutism and anxiety.
BBR – Dex gave Brave Heart Lion to Cael, and then in 6/9’s THIRDS Thursday it’s mentioned that Cael had a lion mobile above his crib. Grown up Cael previously dated a Lion Therian, only to eventually fall for Ash, who is also a Lion Therian. Would you say all of that is significant? I’m not questioning Cael’s love for Ash, just wondering if the concept of a Lion is one that makes Cael feel a certain way, perhaps because of Brave Heart Lion as a child?
Charlie – I think you just might be onto something. It could be that Cael’s always associated the lion with comfort and protection. He’s had Brave Heart since he was a baby. He had a lion mobile. As a cheetah Therian, and the most vulnerable of the Felid Therians, Cael has always been drawn to Felids far bigger and fiercer than him. He also tends to draw out the protective streak in the bigger Felid Therians. Fuller should have protected Cael, and maybe in the beginning he did, but in the end he took advantage of Cael and the power he held over him. I’m sure Cael had some second thoughts when it came to Ash in the beginning, but Cael is such a sweet, kind soul, that he wouldn’t have allowed Fuller to represent all lion Therians. Also, when Cael first met Ash, he was instantly attracted to the man before realizing he was a lion Therian.
BBR – I don’t want to spoil anything about what happens in Smoke & Mirrors, however the tagline of the book seems to be ‘Change is Coming’, and you mentioned once that you always saw this potential change if the story was able to progress that far. With that in mind, how much more THIRDS do you anticipate we have? As the author, do you already see The End, or is it potentially ongoing?
Charlie – I don’t see the end happening just yet. The original series was always meant to go in a specific direction, and the question of whether I continued to the next stage depended on where I was by the time I neared book 9, whether I was still enjoying writing the series and if readers were still enjoying reading it. I’m not quite ready to give these guys up, and am still having a great time writing them, which means that I can continue with my plans for the THIRDS world.
The original THIRDS series was always going to have a set number of books, but once we reached that end, I wanted to kick things up a notch. In my THIRDS Two Year Anniversary post I announced the new TIN series which is part of the THIRDS world with Dex and Sloane as its main heroes. Don’t worry, the DD crew will still be around as they become invaluable to Dex and Sloane in their new adventures together, but we’ll also get to meet some new faces. I’m very excited. It’s going to be action packed with plenty of romance and Therian shenanigans.
BBR – Are there any hints you can give us with what we have to look forward to in future books?
Charlie – More Dex and Sloane for sure. In the new series these two have to deal with their growing relationship, their new roles, family, and everything that gets thrown their way. We’ll also see side stories like Austen and Zach, Dom and Felipe, and whoever else ends up demanding their own story.
BBR – This question is for Sloane and Dex; what do you secretly love about the other that we would be surprised about?
Dex – I love how Sloane’s always trying to get me to eat healthy. I won’t lie, it drives me nuts sometimes, but it also makes me stupidly happy because I know he does it because he loves me, and wants me to be at his side for a long, long time. Can’t really argue with that. The sacrifices I make for love.
Sloane – I love that he drives Ash crazy. The two say they hate each other, but I think that’s all a bunch of bull. Yeah, there might be times when I have to keep them from punching each other, but I think Dex is good for Ash. We’ve known each other since we were kids, and next to me, there’s no one who’s ever challenged him. Cael’s one of the few people I know not afraid of Ash for obvious reasons, and although Cael isn’t afraid to challenge Ash on something, no one else gets up in his face like Dex does. He makes Ash really think about things, and because of it, I think he’s kind of mellowed out. He used to be such a hot head, and now he thinks about consequences. I think Dex has also taught him the real meaning of family, which is something neither Ash nor I ever thought we’d have.
Before I get to my review I need to say that THIRDS, on a whole, is so special. It’s one of those series that you start, not realizing that you’re about to be sucked into this whole massive universe that includes not only the world inside the pages, it also includes the fandom and the fan groups, and the Therian Thursday’s. It’s a series that you can’t help but completely immerse yourself in, because it just keeps growing and growing. (I also want to mention that, so far at least, the fandom is one of the nicest that I’ve ever joined.) I’m not sure how Charlie Cochet does it, but really delving into every aspect gives you almost a sense of family, more than any other book fandom I’ve ever been part of… I love it.
Now, on to Smoke & Mirrors!
Even though it’s only been a few months I’ve even been reading THIRDS, I can still say that my small wait for Smoke & Mirrors was torture. It was torture to a lesser degree than other fans, but I was still sitting on pins and needles until it was in my hands. First of all, as much as I did love reading about Cael and Ash, or Calvin and Hobbs, there is nothing I like more than reading Dex. That could literally be Dex and anyone. Yes, I prefer Dex and Sloane, but I also love any moments I get with Dex and Hobbs, or Dex and Calvin. I love reading about Dex’s antics with Ash, or the family moments with Tony, Dex and Cael. I adore Dex. That alone made me hunger for Smoke & Mirrors. In addition, Catch a Tiger by the Tail ended on a huge cliffhanger, and that precipice was steep.
Luckily, Smoke & Mirrors was everything I expected. Times they are a changing, but what hasn’t changed despite how hard the bad guys have tried, is that resilience inside Dex to overcome almost anything, or his ability to maintain his heart and loyalty. All this new change, I hope, won’t mean that we’re going to lose that connection between the crew of Destructive Delta. I fully anticipate that this new change will broaden the world, and bring us the opportunity to sink inside deeper. And it will make Dexter J Daley more badass, and who would say no to that.
As far as the plot goes, I’m going to keep my lips zipped. There’s too much important stuff that happens, and I’d hate to ruin the story for any other fans. Just know that it’s a game changer.
Thank you to Charlie Cochet and Dreamspinner Press for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = A+
SERIES READING ORDER
Hell & High Water (THIRDS, Book 1)
Blood & Thunder (THIRDS Book 2)
Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, Book 3)
Rise & Fall (THIRDS, Book 4)
Against the Grain (THIRDS, Book 5)
Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS, Book 6)
Smoke & Mirrors (THIRDS, Book 7)
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