Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview with Indie Author Carol Kilgore

Anyone who has kicked off their flip flops at the Tiki Hut knows first hand how creative Carol Kilgore is. She's funny, friendly and you can't miss her Friday's Top Ten. A self-proclaimed coastal creature, Carol writes 'crime fiction with a kiss' from her home in San Antonio. Her short stories have earned several Derringer Award recognitions, including the June 2000 award for best short story mystery for Just A Man on the Sidewalk. Carol is giving away a copy of In Name Only, so read on and check out the details at the end of the interview. Want even more books? Get the scoop below on her March Monday Mania

1. Hi Carol! The opening of your debut novel, In Name Only, sparks into action with an arson scene. The details surrounding the fire and your hero Captain Gabe Duran and heroine Summer Newcombe's physical reaction to the smoke, smoke inhalation and fire aftermath were extremely vivid. In this particular case, I'm hoping you weren't writing from experience! What kind of research helped you bring the opening scene to life?

Hi, Rula! I’m very happy to be here on your blog today. I’m also very happy that I didn’t write the opening scene from personal experience. I knew that fire spread very fast on old, dry wood and that it would be even hotter with the use of an accelerant. I read multiple descriptions of restaurant fires on the internet, and I talked to an EMT about on-scene treatment for smoke inhalation. I also imagined how I might feel emotionally if I were caught in a burning building.

2. In Name Only involves a cast of secondary characters and intriguing details that add to the mystery/suspense story-line. As a mystery/suspense writer, what plotting technique do you use to keep it all straight and to make sure you mete out information only as needed?

The technique I used for In Name Only is called 'by the seat of my pants'. I draft and redraft. And repeat several times. I totally pantsed this novel. At first I didn’t have too many clues because I didn’t know what was going to happen. So then I put the clues in and didn’t keep any notes. During subsequent rewrites and edits, I found I often repeated the same clues in more than one place – sometimes word for word. I had to decide which spot worked best and delete the duplications. I’m trying to let go of my pantser ways, but it’s taking me a while to turn loose entirely. Right now on my current WIP, I have a timeline with plot points, events, and character changes/realizations – and for me that’s huge.

3. Your heroine, Summer Newcombe, is in protective custody. I could tell that a lot of research went into your book as a whole. I really feel for folks who are forced to throw away life as they knew it and live with their guard constantly up. What's the most interesting fact that you learned about getting placed in protective custody and surviving it?

Back in February, I read a CNN article about the Federal Witness Security Program here: It talks about why no information is released about the program. The most interesting fact I learned in my research is that no witness has ever been killed while in the program and under the protection of the U.S Marshals. Some have chosen to leave the program, and some of those have been killed. The program works.

4. Your blog, Under The Tiki Hut, is a fun and relaxing place to hang. It has been a great place to shoot the breeze with your characters too :). You have a strong social media presence, something highly recommended for all authors, but no doubt critical for Indie authors. Between blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc...which social media venue has given you the most bang for your books?

Thanks for such kind words about Under the Tiki Hut. I work hard to keep it fun and relaxing :). Blogging, without a doubt, gave me the most bang for my book. In Name Only had a very strong opening week, and that was due almost entirely to bloggers. I think the next in line would be Twitter, but I’m not sure. People don’t always purchase the day they read about a book. I know because I’m guilty as charged.

5. As an self-published author, what unforgettable moment would you say is the self-pubbed emotional equivalent of getting the 'traditional' Call? 

I can’t speak for all indie authors, but for me that moment was when I finally decided to self-publish. I’d knocked the idea around for months weighing the pros and cons, and I couldn’t figure out what was best for me. One afternoon, I just knew I had to self-publish. And as soon as I acknowledged that decision, I felt an instant rush that I had done the right thing. That evening I told my husband, who had tried for a few years to push me in that direction. He was thrilled. He said he didn’t know why it had taken me so long to figure it out.

6. What's the best piece of advice that you can give fellow writers looking to self-publish?

Gosh, there’s so much. I have lots of advice, and a few things I think are so crucial that a writer will benefit greatly by knowing them in advance. These will apply to writers in different stages of the process, but I believe all are good to know overall:

*Know why you want to self publish and have a plan.
*Before you self publish, learn as much as you can about the publishing business.
*Research professional editors, cover designers, and formatters/book designers, don’t just take someone’s word or believe you don’t need an editor.
*Respect your work and your time.
*Be prepared to work very, very hard.

7. Great advice! Your readers have also enjoyed Never Say My Name, the prequel to In Name Only, and now they can look forward to your next release, Solomon's Compass, on April 2nd. Can you give us a clue about Solomon's Compass?

Jake Solomon is a sexy scoundrel with a code of honor. Taylor Campbell is a dedicated Coast Guard officer. When Taylor discovers her uncle’s drowning death was murder, she must determine the killer’s identity in order to prevent another murder. Jake Solomon’s job is to make sure Taylor isn’t the next victim. Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake.

8. Sounds intriguing! Time to confess any quirky writing habits or deadline munchies you have...

I don’t think I have any quirky writing habits. If I do, I’ve done them so long they no longer seem quirky. Deadline munchies … anything salty and crunchy. With plenty of water.

9. Denim or Leather? Steak or Enchiladas? Dr. Pepper or Coke? 

Denim. Enchiladas, preferably enchiladas verde. But I’d find it terribly difficult to turn down a really good medium rare steak :). I only drink soda if I’m sick or we’re traveling. I like Dr Pepper, but it’s my second choice after Classic Coke. I’d rather have water or iced tea with lime and no sugar. Can you tell I don’t have much of a sweet tooth?

I had a great time blogging with you. Thanks so much for inviting me to share your space.

I’m giving away one (1) copy of In Name Only to one lucky reader who leaves a comment here on Rula’s blog. If the winner lives in the U.S., she/he has a choice of a signed paperback or a Kindle book. If she/he lives elsewhere, she/he will receive a Kindle book.

Rula will announce the winner on Thursday.

I would also like to invite each of you to the Tiki Hut for a free virtual margarita to celebrate March Monday Mania. Each Monday in March, guest bloggers on my blog are giving away a copy of one of their books. While they’re doing that, I’m giving away one copy of In Name Only on a different blog (like here at Rula’s). Today’s guest at Under the Tiki Hut is J.L. Campbell. To be eligible to win J.L.’s book, all you have to do is leave a comment at Under the Tiki Hut.

That sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks so much for being here Carol. You've triggered a craving for enchiladas verde LOL. 

BLURB: In Name Only 

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 him, 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, she 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. She's 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.


Amazon (in paperback and Kindle)



  1. I love Diet Coke but Diet Dr Pepper is my all time favorite. :D

    That's interesting about the witness protection program. It really does work, but it must be hard being in that program. You give up everything being in it, which is why some people end up dropping out.

    I emailed an author this weekend, asking her to hire a copy editor for her next book. She had her character winking, smacking, frowning, and laughing dialogue. PLUS she had tons of dialogue like this: "I'm hungry." I said.

    It drove me nuts, and kept throwing me out of the story.

    1. I can barely imagine how difficult it would be to leave everyone you know and love. They ask where you would like to go, and send you someplace else because if you told them your favorite places, it means you've told someone else, too.

      Not sure I would have finished that book you read. Editors are vital.

  2. Unsweetened tea and water with lime - woman after my own heart. LOL Great interview!

  3. Rula - Thanks so much for having me here today!

  4. Stina - I'm with you on Dr. Pepper! And yes, hiring a good editor is so important.

    Melissa - Hi and thanks for stopping by! I love unsweetened tea with lime too :)

    Carol - My pleasure! The link you gave to the witness protection article is great. Very interesting stuff. Kind of a scary notion too.

  5. That's a very interesting fact about the Witness Protection Program!

    Hi, Carol! Nice to see u here!

    (Don't enter me in the giveaway. I've read and enjoyed In Name Only!)

    1. Facts were few and far between, so I felt free to imagine how I would protect someone knowing the little I knew and the resources available to the Marshals Service.

      Glad you liked In Name Only :)

  6. I LOVE enchiladas verdes! And I know I keep saying this, but I adore reading about your process. It's so inspiring. :))

    1. Enchiladas verdes are one of my favorite things. I'm happy to be an inspiration :)

  7. Great interview with Carol! I'm a big fan of the "seat of my pants" technique LOL. And also a huge fan of enchiladas verdes, yum!

    Nice to meet you, Rula! Please don't sign me up for the giveaway, I already have In Name Only and loved the book.

  8. I knew we were a lot you like dogs :)

  9. Hi, Carol & Rula,
    Nice knowing more about how you work, Carol. Ya know, cleaning out details that might have gone in twice is part of the reason that I work with a rough outline.To each his own though.

    1. I'm trying to get to the outline stage. It's slow progress. Sigh :)

  10. Replies
    1. Great to meet you Sarah! Thanks for commenting.

  11. I'm a denim girl! Especially when winter comes around.
    And I have more of a savoury tooth. I can never understand the craving for chocolates and other sweet stuff.

    Don't sign me up as I have a copy of In Name Only. It's a great story!

  12. That had to have a wild ride to write a mystery novel by the seat of your pants. :) I imagine you learned 'who dun it' the same time your characters did.

    Congrats, Carol!

    1. Something along those lines :)
      A wild ride for sure!

  13. Jennifer - WPP stuff is really intriguing, isn't it?

    Raquel and Julie - I'm with you both on the enchiladas! Thanks for stopping by!

    J.L. and Sarah - Thanks for popping in! I love hearing about all the different ways writers work through their books.

    Michelle - I wish I didn't have a sweet tooth!

    Maria - LOL. The fun of it!

  14. Thanks for inviting me to blog with you, Rula. I had a great time!

  15. Loved having you here, Carol! Best always!