Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with Carol K. Carr

The second India Black novel, India Black and the Widow of Windsor, was one of maybe three books I've been waiting for with desperate, unceasing eagerness. (The first book, India Black, made my top ten of 2010.) It was a pleasure to revisit India's world again (see my review of India Black and the Widow of Windsor for more gushing!) and I'm very excited to share my interview with the author, Carol K. Carr.  Read on to learn more about her, her writing, and what she does when she's not writing, plus enter to win a copy of India Black and the Widow of Windsor.

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

Yikes! I haven't dredged up that memory for quite a while, and with good reason. The novel was an historical police procedural set in Dallas during the Prohibition, and featured a wise Marine veteran turned cop named Pappy and his new partner Joe. Pappy? What was I thinking? I do recall that I was really enamored with that name for my character at the time. The plot was so memorable that I've nearly forgotten it, but I do remember that it involved a rum-runner, his cheating wife, and a wicked father-in-law who had sex with the maid. I've no idea how I got from Pappy to India.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I try to do 2,000 words per day, and I usually write in the afternoon, from about 1:00 to 5:00. I'd prefer to write in the morning, but I start each day at the gym, and then 3 days out of the week I'm either busy running errands and having lunch with Mom or taking the dog for a run in the woods. I sit in a recliner I bought for my study and work on my laptop. I always have a bottle of water nearby, and at 3:30, without fail, I have a protein bar. Gosh, you're thinking. Could her life be any more exciting?

Was India Black and the Widow of Windsor the original title of your book?

Yes. When I started writing this series, I was very taken with the idea of naming each book "India Black and the _______." In retrospect, I should probably have just gone with shorter titles.

As you were writing India Black and the Widow of Windsor, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

I work from a detailed outline and so I have formed a mental image of each scene in the book before I start writing. There weren't any surprises in the "Widow of Windsor," but that's due in part to several of the characters (Queen Victoria, John Brown, Benjamin Disraeli) being historical figures with well-documented eccentricities that required very little creative input from me. I'm at work on the third India at the moment, however, and there's a character in this ms who just will not behave as I expect him to. I've finally capitulated and allowed him to be the character he wants to be, which required some changes elsewhere in the novel.

Is there anything that you do/read/listen to/etc. that particularly reminds you of India and puts you in her head?

I can conjure up India very easily. Her voice comes to me quite naturally. I actually have a harder time keeping a lid on her. I often find myself editing some of her remarks for fear they'd make her sound downright mean. A little snarkiness goes a long way, and I do want her to expose a vulnerability occasionally.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Read, read, and read some more. That's always first on the list. I'm working on my family history. I've become a dedicated gym rat in the last year. I like to golf. I watch a lot of sports. I love music (classical, and classic jazz from the 30's to the 60's). In fact, I have too many hobbies.

Read any good books recently?

I've discoverd Nicolas Kilmer's art mysteries. His protagonist, Fred Taylor, is terrific. I read a lot of vintage mysteries, and usually have one of those on the go. Right now it's The Plague Court Murders by John Dickson Carr, master of the locked room mystery.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Audra, and sharing something of India with your readers.

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My thanks to Carol for her time and thoughtful answers. To learn more about her and her books, check out her website and Facebook.

I'm thrilled to be able to offer a copy of India Black and the Widow of Windsor to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this simple form. Open to US/CA readers, closes 10/21.


  1. Loved the interview! Thanks for the giveaway

  2. This was a great interview, and I love that her first book included a character named Pappy. I am so eager to try these books after reading about how much you loved them. The first book is right at the top of my wish list, and I am hoping to read it soon!

  3. Hi Audra--I've just finished India Black and the Widow of Windsor--and loved it! (Queen Vicky is a hoot!) Thanks for Carol's interview--and thanks for introducing me to India way back when!

  4. @Maria: Thank you!

    @Heather: I think I said this already, but if I could bear to part with my copies, I'd force them on you -- they really are such fun, diverting books. Perfect for the autumn!

    @Dee: Isn't she?! Thanks for stopping by and commenting -- I always love these interviews and I'm glad others enjoy them too. I feel pretty fancy getting an 'insider' view into the writing process, etc!

  5. Great interview. I haven't read India Black, but it looks like I should! Thanks, Audra.

  6. Great interview! I totally have cover love!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  7. I loved the first book in this series and I am very eager to get my hands on the second one!

  8. Nice interview :) I have heard good things about this series and yes I am very curious

  9. Sounds like a very practical writer with her strict word count and her outlines. I wish I were more disciplined. I love a good locked room mystery...so The Plague Court Murders by John Dickson Carr sounds like a great recommendation for me.

  10. I loved the interview. Thanks for the giveaway,
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  11. Oh, shoot, I think I entered this one twice! I'm so sorry, that was not intentional. Please delete my second entry (from 10/18), thanks!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com