Special Guest – Author Carol K. Carr (Giveaway too!)

special guest blue

Carol has just added 3 signed copies to the giveaway and her publicist is providing another copy too!


Just scroll down and click the link for the entry form!!!

Carol writes the Madam of Espionage Mysteries featuring India Black.
This series has me hooked. The previous book in this series India Black and the Widow of Windsor made by Best Reads of 2011 list.

I am thrilled to Welcome Carol back to Escape With Dollycas!

CKCarr-2x2Thanks for the opportunity to do this guest post, Lori. India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy is the third book in the “India Black, Madam of Espionage” series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve just submitted the manuscript of the fourth novel to my editor. Publication is planned for February, 2014.

Personally, I love a good series. There’s the delight of discovering the first book and the pleasurable anticipation in waiting for the next one, and (dare I mention this?) the crushing disappointment when the author fails to meet your expectations. So how does a writer keep things fresh for readers? How does she keep things fresh for herself? Because (and do I really dare mention this?) sometimes the author can become bored, too.

The most famous example of a writer growing tired of his creation is no doubt Arthur Conan Doyle, who grew so weary of Sherlock Holmes that he sent him over the Reichenbach Falls. Even dense Dr. Watson could have detected that Doyle needed a change when that happened. However, Doyle had to resurrect his hero when the public demanded more Holmes.

india black shadows of anarchyYou can definitely carry on a series for too long. Somewhere, on a site that shall remain nameless, I stumbled across a page called “Authors Who Should Have Quit By Now.” Yep, it’s about series which have continued past their sell-by dates. (By the way, when I was trying to find that page, I typed in “writers who” and up popped “smoke weed.” People are weird.) Anyway, back to the question at hand – how to avoid becoming an AWSHQBN. Four books into my series and I’m giving that issue some serious thought. As always, I turn to the experts: writers I enjoy who have written successful series over a period of years. Here are some of the methods they use, some of which I’m considering for use in my series.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: I know, that seems obvious. Who wants to read about a character that remains static over twenty years, no change in marital status, drinking habits, or hairstyles? But hang on a minute. The familiarity of a character is quite frequently what attracts a reader to a series. They don’t want their hero to change. They’d be disappointed if Stephanie Plum became a nun or Kay Scarpetta picked up a golf club, unless she’s going to wield it against a serial killer. The trick is to introduce just enough change in the character’s life to keep things interesting for the reader. And it goes without saying that that change has to be consistent with the character’s, er, character. I don’t think any readers expect India Black to settle down and become a housewife, obsessing over flower arrangements and doing needlepoint. But she does need a few changes in her life from time to time, just to keep her on her toes. Some big changes will be coming her way in the fourth book next year.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Some authors keep boredom away by dropping their heroines into new locales. It doesn’t have to be exotic, although that’s fun. Just depositing your character into a place that is unfamiliar provides an opportunity for your character to stretch a bit, in terms of how she deals with a new environment. Think of Mary Russell in Palestine, or Jack Reacher wandering the backroads of America. I’m going to use this tactic myself, if the publisher wants a fifth India Black. It is time for her to get out of London and head for the Dark Continent, which offers me the chance to write about one of my favorite historical subjects (British colonial history), countries (South Africa) and incidents (the Battle of Rorke’s Drift).

SEX (OR NOT): This one is problematic. Writers use sex for lots of reasons. It moves the relationship along between characters. It can be a mistake the character has to confront. It can be an affirmative, life-changing experience for the character. It may also increase book sales. (Ten points for you if Shades of Grey just popped into your head). But beware if you have included a romantic aspect to your series. You have entered a minefield. Tread carefully. Especially if you’ve made your heroine a prickly, proud and independent woman. My character India Black has a thing for the prim and proper French. They spar and flirt and strike sparks off each other. Will they ever do it? Yes. No. Maybe. I like the tease and the sexual tension. Lots of readers do. But at some point the tease goes on too long, and then you become exasperated with those two dolts who should just get it over with and clear the air. And then what? Where’s the sexual tension? Can you keep it alive? Do you want to? I doff my hat to Elizabeth Peters, who handled this subject perfectly. Even after her heroine Amelia Peabody married Radcliffe Emerson, the two continued to generate heat. It’s a rare accomplishment. Not being Ms. Peters, I shudder every time I think about how to handle this issue in my series.

These are just a few of the things I’ve been mulling over as I try to deliver a series that retains its essential characters and characteristics, yet remains lively and creative. If any of you have any ideas about how to do this, I’d appreciate your comments. Thanks again, Lori, for the opportunity to speak to your readers.

india black shadows of anarchy

India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy
(A Madam of Espionage Mystery)

3rd in Series
Historical Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255957
E-Book File Size: 679 KB

India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy

In Victorian London, India Black has all the attributes a high-class madam needs to run a successful brothel–wit, beauty, and an ability to lie with a smile. Luckily for Her Majesty’s Government, all these talents also make her a first-rate spy…

Revolt has spread across Europe and has now reached England. Anarchists have begun assassinating lords and earls. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (Dizzy) has sent for India Black. He believes she is ready to handle an assignment on her own. He wants her to infiltrate the underground group he believes is responsible for the attacks. To stop their deadly plot she will travel from the poorest regions of London to the highest levels of society. All in attempt to uncover the secrets that threaten her very existence.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Carol K. Carr is an amazing storyteller, just Amazing! She takes us back to the Victorian Era and immerses us in the political and social cultures and wraps it with mystery, intrigue, and humor in her own unique writing style.

India Black is a strong, savvy, cheeky protagonist. French appears later in this story and some of the secrets of his life are starting to be revealed as are the secrets to India’s past. Their romantic tension is slowly building with hopes of a real romance. Vincent is a very colorful character. The anarchists are quite an unconventional group. One is just downright strange.

The main mystery is carefully plotted and full of surprises. India places herself in some very dangerous situations and more than once I thought she might be meeting her maker.

Carr keeps us on the edge of seats one minute to laughing out loud the next. I feel like I am watching a movie rather than reading a book. In my review of India Black and the Widow of Windsor  I said “her words are like a thousand pictures” and that is even more true with these story. You can hear the door creaks, the rats running through the alleys, the thump as India hits the ground and the splash of the water. Pictures are painted in your mind vividly. You see the squalor of Seven Dials, the bints favorite yellow dress and all of India’s finery. You can smell the stench being emitted from Vincent and almost taste what Mrs. Drinkwater tries to pass off as edible food.  

The author also leaves us a bit of a cliffhanger to tempt us as we wait for the next India Black adventure. I can’t wait foe the next Madam of Espionage Mystery.

a perfect escape


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out all about Carol K. Carr and her books here.

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Carol for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d0a-z challenge 2013largemystery challenge

40 thoughts on “Special Guest – Author Carol K. Carr (Giveaway too!)

  1. I’m not familiar with this series, but I love historical mysteries, so I must find the first and get reading! I read so many series-and some should have ended, some had clunkers along the way, but got back on track, and some ended way too soon.

  2. This is the first I’ve heard about this series and it looks fantastic. I’ll have to check my library for the first two books. I’d love to win this one for my home library though.


  3. I don’t normally read historical stories, but this one sounds like an enchanting read. Have to try the series. Thanks. kuzlin(at)aol(dot)com

  4. Character’s are based on real people, and real people get bored. Just like real people characters need to take a vacation and reinvigorate themselves.

  5. I read the first two books last year and loved them! While looking for the newest book I noticed a short story for this series and can’t wait to read both.

  6. Hi Lori and Hi Carol! Congrats on the release of this 3rd book in the series. I have not had a chance to read the other book but they are on my TBR list. Where did you get the idea to write a series about espionage? How many books will be in the series? How long did it take you to do research in order to write a series set in the Victorian Era? Thank you so much and I hope you both have a great day.

  7. Haven’t read any of this series but I am certainly adding it to my TBR list- I love mysteries as well as historical stories so this sounds wonderful!!

  8. I’m new to the India Black series but she sounds like a wonderful character and the situations sound intriguing as well. Thanks for offering a copy of your new book. I’d love to win it.

  9. Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in the series, and to those of you who have already read the books.

    Christine, I’m a certified history nut and have read a great deal about the Victorian era so I’m already familiar with the general historical and social background. I just have to do specific research on certain issues, such as what kind of bombs anarchists used, how anarchist cells were organized, and how security agents dealt with the anarchist threat. I end up using about 10-20% of what I find when I’m doing research.

    I suppose the answer to your question is that the series will continue as long as the book sells. I know that’s how the publisher views things. I have four or five more plots in mind, so if the publisher renews the contract, I’ll get cracking.

  10. I love series too. When I get hooked on a character like India Black, I want to read more and more. It is almost like developing a friendship.

  11. This sounds like a fascinating book–an interesting era and a strong female character.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Carol, I really appreciate your thoughts on how to keep a series going (and how to know when to quit.) And I totally agree that some writers drag the sexual tension out too long; eventually that becomes either frustrating or boring for the reader. But I sometimes get annoyed when authors create or prolong the tension by breaking a couple up toward the end of the book, so I have to wait until the next book comes out to find out if they’re going to get back together.

    Your India Black series sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll be on the lookout for it!

  13. This sounds like a good book and series. Ms. Carr’s comments about the fine line for romantic tension and “dolts” makes me think I would like her writing! Thanks for a chance to win.

  14. Wonderful interview. I love historical romantic fiction and I would love to read about the Victorian period. There don’t seem to be that many books dealing with this period. Apparently, the more recent the period, the fewer books. This sounds like a marvelous series. I’ll have to start at the beginning. Thank you for the giveaway. I do hope I’m lucky.

  15. I just learned about this series this month and already have it on my TBR list… thanks for the interview… the books just bumped their way higher on the list!

  16. I’m so excited at the number of people who’ve expressed an interest in winning a copy of “Shadows” that the publicist and I would like to give away a few more copies. I’m providing three signed copies and there will be two copies from the publisher. Thank you to each of you for your enthusiastic comments, and thank you to Lori for letting me jump into the middle of her giveaway. Good luck to everyone!

  17. Thanks for calling my attention to this series and author, Lori! (And thanks to Carol and her publicist for their generousity.)

  18. ready for a new book … thanks
    snows outside … can i climb into that wall paper

Comments are closed.