Welcome author Carol Kilgore.
Carol Kilgore is a Texas native who has lived in locations across the U.S. as the wife of a Coast Guard officer. Back under the hot Texas sun in San Antonio, Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. She and her husband share their home and patio with two active herding dogs, and every so often the dogs let them sit on the sofa.
Learn more about Carol and follow her here:
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/author/ckilgore
Tell us about your latest book, In Name Only. How did the characters and plot line come to you?
First I’d like to thank you for having me here on your blog. I’m looking forward to blogging with all of you.
In Name Only is about Summer Newcombe, a woman caught up in the Federal Witness Security Program, and how she fights back. She’s just been relocated to Padre Island and has no real home, no family or friends, and no place to hide from those seeking to do her harm.
Summer was a character from a previous short story titled “Never Say My Name.” I wanted to pick up her life five years later inside WitSec and plop her down near where I was living at the time, which was on the South Texas Coast. Padre Island seemed the perfect place for her to land.
Plot was a different story. When I started writing I was a total pantser. I’ve progressed to having a full timeline, turning points and plot points on the plotting side. And knowing more about my main and secondary characters than I know about myself, including goals, motivation, and some of the conflicts for the main characters before I ever begin to write.
In Name Only was written somewhere between those extremes. I knew Summer fairly well. I knew basics about most of the other characters. A few didn’t show up until I was writing. I knew I wanted Summer to meet a firefighter. I knew a few of the plot points. And I knew how the story would end. The rest grew organically as I wrote and rewrote.
Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
My next novel, Solomon’s Compass, will release in March or April. In it, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell returns to the Texas Coast to handle her uncle’s estate and becomes his killer’s next target. When she learns the mysterious Jake Solomon is not the man he’s portrayed himself to be, Taylor takes matters into her own hands to find her uncle’s killer. Jake Solomon has other plans.
Secrets of Honor will release after Solomon’s Compass, hopefully in fall or winter of 2013. It’s written but not yet edited. Following Secrets of Honor will be my current WIP, Amazing Gracie.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
Maniacal laughter followed my reading this question. The only thing I can count as typical in my life is that I never know what each day will bring. Ever. I continually adjust and readjust plans in order to fit things in. So this year I’ve begun writing first thing in the morning. Since I’m not a morning person, I set the alarm to get up somewhere around seven. I use a timer and write for one hour. Then I walk for about a half hour. When I return, I write for another hour. To be fair, it sometimes takes me two hours to get that second hour of writing in because by that time, the interruptions have begun. The walking break lets me process where I am and where I need to go when I return to the manuscript. My daily goal is 2000 words. I usually hit between 1500-2000 words in this two-hour span, but I’m striving to bump my goal to 2500 words. I have different goals if I’m editing, and they vary depending on where I am in the process. The rest of the day, I work on other writing-related tasks.
When you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?
When I start writing, I’m firmly in control. That lasts maybe through the first sentence. Once the characters begin to interact, the power shifts. But when the editing begins, I wrest it back.
Who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?
Lisa Scottoline. I love her humor and how she weaves the whole family into the story.
Books by my blog friends. Many of these are in genres I wouldn’t normally read, and none are cookie-cutter books. I love them all!
Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
I promote a little through groups either I or my husband belong to. Face-to-face interaction is always good. I’ve been blogging at Under the Tiki Hut for three and a half years, so I promote there. I ran contests for three weeks before my book came out and did book giveaways. And I’m winding up a six-week blog tour that averaged two guest posts each week. I’ve had fun meeting a lot of great new people. Other social networking—Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads—has been and still is a huge learning curve for me. I’m not consistent in knowing what will connect with readers. Something that works one day may tank the next. I post things that have some connection to me as a writer or to some aspect of my current novel or the ones I know will come after. I also promote other writers, which is much easier!
How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 1999. I had a little success with short fiction. I freelanced. Then I tried my hand at a novel. Due to some family issues, I had little time for writing anything at all from about 2004-2007. When I again had the time to write, it was almost like starting over. I dove straight into writing novels.
Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
The biggest influence in my writing career is my husband. He encouraged me to write, and has been my rock and my cheerleader since Day One. He’s adept at helping me with plotting problems, and he always provides support and reassurance when I need them. He usually sees when I need recharging before I realize I do and drags my butt out of my chair and gets me into real world activities.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. I see you’ve lived in a variety of places, and San Antonio looks like a fascinating place.
I love San Antonio! It’s a dynamic city with a unique history and friendly people. The Riverwalk is fun, especially at Christmas. The missions are a don’t-miss for anyone, especially history buffs. Two theme parks. Excellent shopping. Lots of music and nearby festivals. The coast and the Hill Country are day trips. And much more. Winters are mild, and summers are HOT! But we have the longest and best springs and falls ever. There’s an email thingie that goes around periodically that says, in part, Texas has Spring, Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Fall. We have about six to eight weeks of mild winter weather and maybe a few cold, nasty days in between fall and spring.
We’re a Coast Guard family and have spent much of our time stationed at the ocean. I love the coast and thought I would miss it. But we’re only two to three hours away, depending on traffic, and we visit often enough that I only miss it a little. I think that’s because I love San Antonio so much.
What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?
I’m a firm believer in “write what you know” up to a point. This includes the emotional side of a novel. We have to take the emotions we know and translate those into what our characters would feel in their situations. I know Texas well, and I love it, warts and all. One of the reasons I set most of my stories at least partially here is because I want to share that love with readers. But I write crime fiction. In novels that means writing about things like murder and other crimes. I’ve never killed a person or burglarized a house or run a con or committed any other felony. But I’m a great researcher. So I write what I know, learn what I can by researching, and use my imagination for the rest.
Are you in a critique group? If so, how does it work and specifically how do the members help your writing?
Currently I have two critique partners, and the only rule is to be honest. I have been in several critique groups. All but one of these groups was very good. In the groups I was part of, and still with my critique partners, I learn as much or more from critiquing their work as I do from the critiques I receive in return. In my experience, if you find yourself in a critique group that doesn’t work for you, exit gracefully as soon as possible. Sticking around will only make you miserable.
Can you tell us a little about your pets? We love animals.
Well, I could go on and on here, but I’ve probably gone on and on too much already. I’ve had an animal in my life for most of my life. Unfortunately I developed an allergy to cats during the time we had a Siamese, so since she crossed the Rainbow Bridge several years ago, I’ve had to enjoy cats on videos and LOLCats. Right now we have two dogs. The oldest is a rescue Border Collie. The youngest is a Blue Heeler, also called an Australian Cattle Dog. Both are amazingly smart dogs. Both are extremely vocal and have large, but different, repertoires. It’s like having two chatty toddlers in the house and underfoot 24/7.
Buy on Amazon
Back Cover Text: No home. No family. No place to hide. For Summer Newcombe, that’s only the beginning.
The night Summer escapes from a burning Padre Island eatery and discovers the arsonist is stalking her, is the same night she meets Fire Captain Gabriel Duran. As much as she’s attracted to Gabe, five years in the Federal Witness Security Program because of her father’s testimony against a mob boss have taught her the importance of being alone and invisible.
No matter how much she yearns for a real home, Summer relinquished that option the night she killed the man who murdered her father. But Gabe breaks down her guard and places both of them in danger. Summer has vowed never to kill again, but she’s frantic she’ll cost Gabe his life unless she stops running and fights for the future she wants with the man she loves.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Carol.