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Author Interview – Carol K Carr

Today’s Author Interview is with Carol K Carr. Carol  is the author of the India Black Espionage Mystery Series.

A very special Thank You to Jerelyn (I-F-Letty) for this Author Interview!


Jerelyn:  I would like to thank Carol K Carr author of India Black for agreeing to talk to us today.

The friend who recommended your book said “What a great opening line,”:

“My name is India Black and I am a whore,”  It sets the tone for the whole book.

A Madam, Spies, Mystery, and Victorian England all of those things drew me in.

First have you always wanted to write mysteries?

Carol:  Yes.  I’ve been addicted to mysteries since the day I found my grandmother’s collection of Agatha Christie books, at the age of nine.  It’s my favorite genre to read, although I also enjoy history and biographies.  I’m not sure I’d categorize India as a straightforward mystery, although it is marketed that way.  It does have some elements of mystery in it, along with history, romance and espionage.   That said, I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at the kind of mystery I enjoy – fairly clued, lots of twists and turns, and a shocking reveal at the end.  I don’t know if I have the plotting chops, though.

Jerelyn:  Why Victorian England, what about this time period attracted you?

Carol:  I feel at home there.  The Victorians were a lot like modern-day Americans:  enamored with progress and rationality, but at the same time harboring a deep religious current in society.  England was the pre-eminent military power in the world during Victoria’s reign, and America occupies that role today.  Both countries find themselves involved in military actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  Both societies share a strong belief in the superiority of their forms of government and their economic and legal systems, and think everyone else would be better off if they shared our values.  It’s quite surprising how similar we are to the Victorians.

Jerelyn:  I loved India, can you tell me where she came from?

Carol:  She’s the kind of heroine I like to read about – cheeky and bold with an adventurous spirit.  She doesn’t take guff from anyone.  But she does have her flaws.  India has the usual range of human emotions, but she’s very reluctant to display them.  She’s also a wee bit cocky and quite conceited about her physical attributes.  That has helped her survive the streets of London.  As to where she came from, she just appeared to me one day, just as she is.  I’ve hardly changed her character at all from the way I first imagined her.

Jerelyn:  Spies, please tell us about French, I am a sucker for tall, dark, handsome and dangerous.

Carol:  Me too!  He’s sort of my ideal man.  Mysterious, rugged, sexy, but prone to the occasional pratfall.  He’s very honorable, almost annoyingly so, and quite the gentleman, except when he isn’t.  He can be pragmatic and calculating when he needs to be.  We learn a bit more about him in the second book, and if the series progresses, so will his life story.  India is dying to know about him, although she’d never admit it.

Jerelyn:  Now my favorite is definitely Vincent, can you introduce us to him and tell us where he came from.  Will he ever bathe?

Carol:  I am very fond of Vincent, though I wouldn’t want to spend any time around him.  He was actually an easy character to create.  You need only look at photos from the slums of Victorian England to see dozens of kids like him wandering in the streets, ragged and barefoot.  I figured India needed a sidekick, someone who knew his way around the streets.  But I didn’t want to romanticize Vincent.  He’s definitely a product of his era, and that means it is unlikely he will ever willingly take a bath, unless it’s to his advantage.  Being clean just doesn’t appeal to him for its own sake.

Jerelyn:  In making India a madam, was that so she could move easily in what was a Man’s World?

Carol:  Exactly.  I wanted a heroine who could hold her own with men, and who did not consider herself a member of the “weaker sex.”  She’d entertain no illusions about the superiority of men, having seen them at their worst.  India is used to protecting her business against the police and the do-gooders, and she knows how to fight her corner.  She’s confident that she can handle any man she meets (until she meets French, of course).  The idea of “managing” a brothel appealed to me as well.  Just think of the human resource issues India has to deal with on a daily basis!

Jerelyn:  Your use actual historical figures in your book, what problem or advantages do they bring?

Carol:  It’s not really a problem, but when writing about historical figures you are confined, generally speaking, to the truth.  In other words, you can’t alter their appearance, and their behavior should be consistent with their actual character.  If you are writing about them in the context of an actual event, then their activities with regard to that event need to be accurately represented.  For example, Gladstone really did write a pamphlet about the Bulgarian atrocities, as described in the book, and Disraeli did call the uproar about the massacres “mere coffee house babble” (seriously underestimating public opinion in the process).  That said, both the prime ministers I feature in the book, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, are wonderfully quirky characters.  Their words and actions do not need any embellishment.  You couldn’t invent two more fascinating men, in my opinion.

Jerelyn:  Your second book India Black and The Widow Of Windsor will be out in October, would you like to tell us about it?

Carol:  Here’s the publisher’s description:  Black is back—Her Majesty’s favorite spy is off to Scotland in this new adventure to ensure the Queen doesn’t end up getting killed.  When Queen Victoria attends a séance, the spirit of her departed husband, Prince Albert, insists she spend Christmas at their Scottish home in Balmoral.  Prime Minister Disraeli suspects the Scottish nationalists plan to assassinate the Queen—and sends the ever resourceful India and the handsome British spy, French, to the Scottish highlands. French will take the high road, looking for a traitor among the guests—and India will take the low road, disguised as a servant in case an assassin is hiding among the household staff. India is certain that someone at Balmoral is determined to make this Her Majesty’s last Christmas…

Jerelyn:  As we speak you’re working on India Black three, any title yet?

Carol:  I’m calling it (tentatively) India Black and the Dark Legion, but that will have to be approved by the editor.  And that assumes that I actually get a contract for a third book.  I signed a two-book deal with Berkley and the second book is India Black and the Widow of Windsor.  If the third book sees the light of day, India will find herself infiltrating a group of anarchists.

Jerelyn:  When is the expect release date?

Carol:  If I do sign a contract, it will stipulate the release date.  I’d anticipate a third book would come out 9-12 months after The Widow of Windsor.

Jerelyn:  Personally I love to find a book that is a good romp, which this is.  When you sit down to read what do you reach for?

Carol:  It’s so hard to list just a few!  I love history, especially the Victorian era (bet you couldn’t have figured that out), the British Empire, east Africa and the Middle East.  I’m also a huge fan of vintage mysteries:  Christianna Brand, Josephine Tey, H.C. Bailey, Dorothy Sayers and J.S. Fletcher are a few of my favorites.

Among modern mystery writers, I’ll read anything by Jim Kelly, Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Laurie R. King, Charles Todd, Phil Rickman and Susan Hill.  And then there’s the world of spies:  John Le Carre, Eric Ambler and Alan Furst are favorites.  I could go on, but I’m afraid I’d take up too much space.

Jerelyn:  Who are your influences?

Carol:  The greatest is George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote some of the best “romps” I’ve ever read, featuring a cowardly, womanizing drunkard as the hero.  Sounds perverse, but they’re very funny.  I also like Ruth Dudley Edwards, who writes the Baroness Jack Troutman series, which are hilariously politically incorrect.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters.  Amelia has all the tact and subtlety of a runaway bulldozer, but you can’t help liking her.

Thanks for allowing me to visit the blog and share some thoughts about India.  You can learn more about India Black by visiting my website at www.carolkcarr.com.

Jerelyn:  I would like to thank Carol as well for talking to us.  It has been a great deal of fun to ask questions of a début author, one that I feel has created wonderful characters, and a cracking good time.



Leave  a comment and  you will automatically be entered to win an autographed copy of Carol K.  Carr’s book India Black ! Good luck!


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22 Responses to “Author Interview – Carol K Carr”

  1. Vicky T. (VickyJo) says:

    What a wonderful interview! Thank you Letty for introducing me to a brand-new (to me) author, and thank you Ms. Carr for taking the time to talk about your work. India sounds like a great character..not to mention French! This is definitely on my wish list.

  2. Dee DeTarsio says:

    Carol Carr is awesome! I already read India Black and it is so well written and a joy to read–you will fall in love with India, and hope for more between her and French!! I can’t wait for India II!

  3. Deb B. (bookzealot) says:

    Great interview — thank you both. Am excited to read the India books — so please pick me for the giveaway 😉

  4. Sherry Barbour says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview, and after learning a bit more about India Black, have put it on my short TBR list. I had heard of the book, but in the interview Carol made her come alive for me. I am looking forward very much to getting to know her better.

  5. Christa H. (flchris) Denham Spgs, LA says:

    Delightful! Can’t wait to get to know India, French and the gang better!

  6. ANNA S. (SanJoseCa) says:

    I am so looking forward to reading India Black….she has the adventurous spirit I love reading about. Great interview. Thanks!

  7. Issa S. (Issa-345) says:

    Great interview. I’ve never heard of this book before, but it sounds wonderful. I love the willigness to make women not part of the weaker sex, seems like you get too much of that in typical historicals. I will have to check it out.

  8. Kelly P. (KellyP) , says:

    Everything I’ve heard about India has made me anxious to read the book, and now I’m also looking forward to meeting French. Great interview!

  9. Diane G. (icesk8tr) , says:

    Interesting. This blog is dangerous.. it is adding books to my wish list!! Great interview!

  10. Bonnie (LoveNE) , says:

    Jerelyn thanks again for another great interview. Also thanks to Ms Carr for her wonderful insight. Any book that starts with “My name is India Black and I am a whore” I will definitely be buying!

  11. Pam P. (PamBook) says:

    Thanks for the interview, Carol. I recently came across your book on some other book blog and as I like historical mysteries and the book info, went right on my wishlist.

  12. Annette P. (Mama-of-Seven) says:

    The beginning of the book definitely is an attention grabber, I don’t know very many women who would call themselves a hoochie…(see I can’t even say that word…). Jerilynn asked the perfect questions and Carol really did a fantastic job convincing me to read her book. I hadn’t been on PBS for awhile, but I have been missing it.

  13. Sianeka N Hollywood, CA says:

    I like historical fiction, and an element of mystery just adds to the attraction. I’d like to check out Ms. India for myself, and see if she’s really one of the independent heroines I can admire…

  14. Mary S. (mscottcgp) says:

    I love historical fiction and a good mystery is the icing on the cake! Looking forward to reading this series. Great interview!

  15. Courtney (coco1019) says:

    Great interview. I hadn’t heard of the author, but it sounds like a great series. Something I would like to try out. Thanks, Jerelyn!

  16. Katy (srfbluemama) says:

    This book sounds like fun! Thanks for this great interview!

  17. Interesting interview! I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Anne Fescharek says:

    There is something murky and mysterious about 19th century London. Underneath the smooth and polished exterior dwells a rotten egg. Please senter me in the giveaway.


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