I love an unusual heroine, and Carol K. Carr's India Black fits the bill. What could be better than a Victorian madam solving crime?
Welcome to Carol K. Carr whose debut novel, India Black, has just been released!
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried. Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents—and the attraction she starts to feel for her handsome conspirator.
Simone: Your book features a very unique heroine. Tell us a little about her, and what inspired her?
Carol: I was a big fan of the Harry Flashman series, written by George Macdonald Fraser, which featured a cowardly, hard-drinking womanizer as the protagonist. I wanted to do a female counterpart to Flashman (though not as exaggerated a character -he's hilarious but despicable), and the character of India came to mind. I wanted a heroine who was tough, adventurous, and street smart. India has a heart of brass. If she does have kind and nurturing feelings, she does her best to stifle them. She's not afraid to take on the conventions and authorities of her day. But, I wanted her to be likeable enough that readers would root for her when she lands in the soup, as she frequently does, so she's also acerbic, funny and occasionally gives way to her feelings (much to her surprise and chagrin).
Simone: Who are some of your favorite heroines?
Carol: Trixie Belden, Miss Marple, Amelia Peabody, Mary Russell and Baroness Troutbeck.
Simone: You write mysteries. Do you know "who done it" before you started, or is it a surprise?
Carol: I am completely without spontenaity when it comes to plotting. I write out a very well-defined outline and stick to it. I know there are authors who can blithely start writing without any idea who the murderer will be, but that would make me crazy. I'd spend more time rocking back and forth in my chair muttering, "what next, what next?" than actually writing.
Simone: What is the most interesting or unusual thing you learned while researching this book?
Carol: It's probably that ridiculous feud between Gladstone and Disraeli over furniture and a robe. When Gladstone took over the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer from Disraeli, he was supposed to pay Disraeli for the furniture in the office. Because the two men hated each other, Gladstone refused to pay, and in turn Disraeli refused to give Gladstone the Chancellor's official robe. Who knew these two were so petty?
Simone: If you could go back into India's time - the Victorian era - who would you most like to invite to your dinner party?
Carol: I love this question! I'll limit myself to four, or we could be here all day. Benjamin Disraeli (brilliant and snarky), Sir Richard Francis Burton (great tales of exploration, and some bizarre sexual interests that should make for lively conversation), Oscar Wilde (need I explain why?), and Herbert Kitchener (because he's so mysterious).
Simone: Which book to you return to most frequently to "get lost" in?
Carol: I don't have just one favorite. I may start with the first book in a series that I love (like the Amelia Peabody series, or Martha Grimes's Richard Jury series) and read several of those in order. That's my idea of reading "comfort food."
Simone: Where is your favorite place to read?
Carol: In the study in my big wingback chair, or in bed, or waiting to get my oil changed. I can read anywhere, and do.
Simone: Tell us what's next for you?
Carol: I've written a second India Black novel, tentatively entitled India Black and the Widow of Windsor. My editor has approved it, and so we'll be moving on to the copyediting stage next. I don't have a publication date for the book yet, although I think it will be sometime in 2012. At the moment, I'm working on an outline for the third in the series.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and India to you and your readers. If you want to know more about either of us, you can visit our website at http://www.carolkcarr.com/.
Thanks Carol! Now, since I had to look up a few of Carol's favorite heroines - and I added a few reading ideas to my pile - I'll ask one of my favorite questions. Books, TV, movies, even real life - who is your favorite heroine?