Monday, January 3, 2011

Interview with Carol Carr, the author of India Black -- and giveaway!

As you may recall, I had posted my review of India Black, the new book by Carol Carr.   She had very nicely agreed to let me interview her, and also let me know that she would provide a copy of her book for a giveaway, as well --- how cool is that?   So without further adieu...  I present Carol Carr!!    

 What was your favorite part of writing this book?  I love the character of India.  I had such fun writing her.  She has felt like a real person to me from the moment I conceived the idea of her.  Someone asked if she is my alter ego, and to a certain extent she is.  We're both opinonated and oppositional, prone to be a little cynical and a bit mouthy.  She is more amusing than I am, though, and a lot more adventurous.
How did you first come up with the idea for the story?  India appeared in my head before the story.  I was toying with several ideas for a plot that would feature her, and I found the genesis of the story in a joint biography of Gladstone and Disraeli that I was reading.  Disraeli had committed publicly to fighting the Russians if they made good on their threat to attack the Ottoman Empire, and he'd done so without realizing that the British army was severely undermanned.  I starting thinking about how valuable that information would have been to the Russians, and then what might have happened if a man carrying a memo with that information had died while visiting India's brothel.

What did you find most helpful in researching the Victorian Era?  I relied on old fashioned books for a lot of the background-military and political histories and biographies and such that I've read over the years.  By far the most useful tool was the Internet.  There are so many questions that pop up while you're writing - what would India's Webley Bulldog revolver look like?  What kind of derringer would someone carry in 1876?  Do Russian aristocratic names differ from ordinary Russian names?  What's the difference between a landau and a brougham?  And you can find the answers on the internet without ordering a dozen reference books.  I shudder to think what it would be like writing historical fiction without the Internet. 

What's the best part about being an author?  It's going to be awhile before I feel that I've earned that title.  But I can say that by far the most satisfying feeling is connecting with people who enjoy the book.  It really exceeds the euphoria of finding an agent and a publisher.  I thought that was as good as it gets, but hearing from people who like India is fantastic!

What are you working on now?  Can we expect another India book?  Yes, you can.  I've delivered the second in the series to my editor, and I'd expect it will be published sometime in 2012.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?  That's a hard one!  I might like to be asked if there was anyone in particular who had sparked my interest in reading.  Then I could answer that my mother and grandmother were both avid readers, and they passed on their love of books to me.  It would be nice to give them some recognition for introducing me to one of the joys of life-reading.

And here's a random one --- what's your favorite dessert?  Warm blueberry pie and vanilla bean ice cream.  Mmmm.

Thank you, Carol!!!   If you'd like to learn even more about Carol, and her book, please visit her website.  The official publication date for India Black is tomorrow, January 4th  ---- and one lucky commenter will receive a copy of the book!    All you need to do is leave a comment, please, along with your email address (so I can contact you and get your full mailing address).    The giveaway is limited to the U.S. and Canada (sorry!) -- and ends on Wednesday, January 5th at Midnight.   


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

What a great interview! I love how insightful her answers are, and the book sounds phenomenal.

Please enter me!


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Thinks for the giveaway-after seeing your positive review of India Black, I immediately added it to my to-read list. It's awesome to see how Carr comes from family of readers-they are so important to encouraging reading in future generations!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Email: bookworm1858 AT hotmail DOT com

sorry for forgetting!

Mish said...

I am pretty excited to read this book. I think India is going to be a great lead character.

Jenni Elyse said...

This books sounds really interesting and I love the cover. I've put it on my TBR list. :) Thanks for the recommendation.


Aisle B said...

I'm actually reading this one now and loving it.

What a wonderful way to start 2011 with this fantastic book written by Carol K Carr. You have to read it to believe it.

Thank you for posting this author and I'll be looking out for more of her books. BIG TIME :)

Anonymous said...

I like her dessert favorites - Please enter me!


Anonymous said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the interview with Carol Carr & thanks to Carol for sharing here. I have India Black on my ToBeRead list. I was intrigued by the synopsis & the cover is absolutely gorgeous.
I'm glad to learn that there is a Bk 2 in the future!
All the best,

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Carol Carr was trying to copycat Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. But she doesn't even come close.

Jen said...

In response to the person who just commented, #9 -- I'm curious and will have to pick up The Crimson Petal and the White. However, I just looked up review information for Michel Faber's book and found this: (from Booklist, August, 2002): "An unseen narrator bids the reader into a London that at first seems simply Dickensian. But Faber's breathtaking novel is more intimate with its characters and less hopeful in its resolutions. This is part saga, part morality play, and utterly engrossing. The book's premise is that men may rule the world, but women's emotions move it by their gravitational force. The man who runs this particular world is William Rackham; once a dilettante and would-be writer, he finally agrees to take over his father's well-established perfumery business in order to finance his entrancement with a red-haired prostitute, Sugar, renowned for her willingness to service her customers in any way they prefer. The clever, literate Sugar insinuates herself into Rackham's life, first as his mistress, then as his business muse, and finally as governess to his daughter, Sophie, who is persona non grata to her seemingly mad mother, Agnes. Sugar, Agnes, and the crusading Miss Emmeline Fox propel the story, unraveling the lives of William and his brother, Henry, like loosely wound bolts of thread. The large themes that intertwine the characters with one another--religion, health, sexuality, death, and, reluctantly, love--are juxtaposed against the most minute and intimate details of Victorian life, everything from how a prostitute douches to the ways God whispers inside the heads of His flock. This massive work is startling and absorbing. Readers will not soon forget the richly drawn world into which they have been enticed. "

Sounds like a good book, but the plot doesn't quite sound the same.

Library Journal's review from September of 2002 contains this passage: "Intelligent and ambitious, Sugar yearns to escape from the livelihood forced on her at age 13. Enter William Rackham, a besotted philanderer and idle heir to a family perfume business,who installs Sugar as his secret mistress in a fashionable hideaway. When the incompetent William is forced into managing the family firm, he initially seeks advice from Sugar, who, fearful of losing his affection, schemes to gain closer proximity to the Rackham family. She succeeds by becoming governess to William's only child, young Sophie, who is cruelly ignored by her father and his insane and sickly wife, Agnes. As William's interest in Sugar wanes, she seeks to maintain her position both by earning Sophie's respect and by gaining possession of the intimate diaries that Agnes has foolishly discarded."

Again, it doesn't sound like quite the same plot.

However, my curiousity has been piqued -- so thank you, Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

You're right, #10. The plot is NOT the same. But Victorian London, protitutes, and point of view are extremely similar. To be fair, I haven't read Idia Black, but I did read the first few pages in Barnes & Noble today and just had to put it back on the shelf. Crimson Petal and the White is a TERRIFIC read right from the very first words on the very first page. Once you open the Crimson Petal and the White you just can't put it down!!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I adore books written in this era. The Gardella Vampire series was one of my favorites so this one is already on my wishlist.

I follow on GFC.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

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