Today I am pleased to have Carol Carr, author of the new release India Black, here on Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog. India Black can be found in bookstores around the country today! Now without further delay, here is my interview with Carol:
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE INDIA BLACK? IS IT A ROMANCE, A MYSTERY, OR AN HISTORICAL THRILLER?
It has elements of all those genres. I’d describe it as a caper novel, involving action, adventure, humor, and some episodes of derring-do involving a hero and heroine who shouldn’t be attracted to each other, but are.
YOUR HEROINE, INDIA BLACK, IS SOMEWHAT UNCONVENTIONAL. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE ABOUT A PROSTITUTE?
Years ago I read the Flashman series by George Macdonald Fraser, which featured a cowardly, drunken, womanizer as the protagonist. He lived through some of the most interesting events of the Victorian era and through a series of hilarious situations, from which he emerged as a hero, eventually knighted by the Queen. I enjoyed the books so much that the idea formed of creating a female counterpart to Harry Flashman. India Black, however, is not half the scoundrel Flashman was. But she is strong-willed and opinionated, and she is not ashamed to own a brothel, as long as it’s a money-making proposition. She’s also got a thirst for adventure.
Actually, India demanded that I tell her story. Once she appeared in my head, I knew there was no way to get rid of her except to write her out of there.
IS THE PLOT INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS OR IS IT ENTIRELY FICTIONAL?
The background of the novel is factually correct. The Turks did massacre Christian peasants who refused to pay taxes, and the Christians in turn massacred their Muslim neighbors. This would probably have not aroused much indignation, as those sorts of things had been going on for centuries in the Ottoman Empire, except the British politician William Gladstone began agitating for an invasion to stop the massacres. This alarmed the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who was aware that British investors had invested heavily in Turkish bonds and an invasion would mean the loss of millions of pounds. The Russians didn’t help matters any; they were chomping at the bit to invade to secure a warm water port on the Black Sea. It’s also true that Disraeli publicly committed the British army to fight the Russians, without realizing that the military was hopelessly undermanned. I don’t believe that information was ever stolen from a dead body in a brothel, but India is convinced it was.
WHILE DOING RESEARCH FOR THE NOVEL, DID YOU COME ACROSS ANYTHING UNUSUAL OR EXCITING THAT MADE YOUR DAY?
I was amused to learn that Gladstone, while being an ardent Christian, spent many nights walking the streets of London trying to “convert” prostitutes. He apparently enjoyed tormenting himself with temptation, and would return to his home (his wife being apparently occupied elsewhere) to write up his accounts of the women he’d met that night, and how many times he’d been “tempted” during their conversation.
INDIA BLACK IS THE FIRST OF A SERIES. WHAT’S NEXT FOR HER?
The second book in the series is tentatively entitled India Black and the Widow of Windsor. I’ve delivered it to my editor, and I’d anticipate that it will be published sometime in 2012. On her next outing, India must protect the life of a Very Important Person at the castle at Balmoral (subtle hint as to the identity of said VIP), with assistance from Vincent and French.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO GIVE TO ASPIRING WRITERS?
First I wrote a book that was so horrible I didn’t send it to any agents. Then my second book (a conventional mystery featuring a female deputy sheriff with a pot-growing mother) found an agent, but no publisher. India Black is my third book. I think the inference is clear: persist. You may not be successful on your first attempt, but you should not let that deter you. The more you write, the more you learn about writing. It may take several attempts to find the story you’re meant to tell, but the only way you will find it is to keep putting the words on paper.
Don’t let rejection bother you. You’ll get a lot of it.
Read the classics and read the classics in the genre in which you write. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve learned about writing.
And finally (and perhaps the most important thing of all), buy the best ergonomically-designed chair you can afford. Your back will thank you.
Thanks, Svea, for giving me this opportunity to talk to your readers. They can visit me at http://www.carolkcarr.com if they would like to learn more about me and India.
Many thanks Carol, for stopping by! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for your next novel!
Want to learn more about India Black? Be sure to check back soon for my review!