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Home » Authors, Carol K Carr, Doll Noa, Giveaways, Interviews, Paperback Proust, Reviewers

India Black author Carol K Carr visits the Dollhouse… And Giveaway!

Submitted by on October 5, 2011 – 9:00 am26 Comments

After a career as a lawyer and corporate executive, Carol K. Carr turned to writing. India Black was her first book in the Madam of Espionage series, the second installment in the series India Black and The Widow of Windsor is out now. Carol lives in the Missouri Ozarks with her husband and two German Shepherds.

You can visit her website at

Today it is our pleasure to welcome author Carol K Carr who is responsible for the wonderful heroine – India Black, a brothel owner in Victorian London with a sarcastic sense of humor and a mysterious past. She was kind enough to answer Noa’s questions.

Noa: I fell in love with India Black the second I read the first sentence of the book – so how did you come up with that concept? A heroine who is a Madam and former prostitute?

CKC: I’m drawn to female characters that do not swoon. I like my heroines to be brave, resourceful, adventurous, and a little tarnished by life. I wanted to write about Victorian England, but did not want my character to be a typical Victorian woman, who would have lived a considerably more constrained life than India does. My protagonist needed to be financially independent, street smart, capable of holding her own with men, and able to dart off for a lark when she felt inclined to do so. I don’t think she could have been anything else but a madam.

Isn't the cover beautiful?

Noa: Was it a challenge to make her character the kind that readers could empathize with?

CKC: Oh, yes. First, we have to get over the whole prostitute thing. I try to keep things light by focusing on the human resource management issues that India encounters. The comic possibilities are endless.
Then there’s India’s cynicism. I like snarky humor myself, but many people don’t. And of course, a little bit of that kind of thing can go a long way. I hope that readers can see that India’s sarcasm is a shield she uses to disguise or deflect emotions and relationships.

Noa: India Black is set at the height of Victorian England, is there a reason you chose that historical period? Is it your favorite?

CKC: It is a favorite time period of mine. I’m also drawn to the similarities between Victorian England and America today. In both eras, you have a dominant political power which thought its values, culture, and forms of government were superior to the rest of the world’s. There were deep divisions in society, with a very wealthy upper class and an astonishingly poor underclass. Both societies believed in progress through technology and science, but many people were also deeply religious. The similarities provide a great opportunity for satire.

Noa: India Black introduces us to India, Mr. French and several other characters and yet, when the book ends there is very little we know about India, other than the occasional comment throughout the book – will we get to know her history in The Widow of Windsor or will we just continue to get glimpses into her past?

CKC: I plan to slowly divulge more of India’s background, rather than do one big reveal. Something occurs in the Widow of Windsor that spurs India to look into her past. The third book in the series will follow India’s attempts to learn more about her history. I suppose this is a reflection of my own view on reading a series – I don’t want to know everything at once. I prefer being teased, just so long as the tease doesn’t last forever. Then I get tired of the tease.

Noa: *Nods* Teases are fun…for a while ;)
What about the other characters’ back story?

CKC: We will definitely learn more about French. I’ve created quite a detailed history for him that gradually will be disclosed. I hadn’t really thought much about Vincent’s background until recently. I’ve got some ideas percolating in my head about that boy, and I plan to work through them after I finish Book #3.

Noa: Some authors find that writing their second book is even more difficult than the first – would you agree?

CKC: Actually, I’m finding the third book harder to write. In the glow of getting an agent and signing a contract for two books, I raced through the Widow of Windsor in just a few months. In the third book, I’m dealing more with some of the background of the characters, and frankly, I find that it’s a challenge to maintain a light touch in revealing India’s past. Why did I ever decide to write about a madam and think that would be funny? It’s one thing if she’s a retired prostitute and we don’t deal with any of the gory details, but how do you discuss her early years without skating too close to the edge?

Noa: *Tries to wait patiently for third book. Tries.* I think I’ll be failing…
India Black is full of espionage and intrigue – do you have any favorite spies in literature?

CKC: I have two: James Wormold and George Smiley. Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba who is recruited (mistakenly) into the British Secret Service (with hilarious results) in “Our Man in Havana” by Graham Greene. Smiley, on the other hand, is the tenacious and cold-blooded fellow on the track of a traitor in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

And another beautiful cover!

Noa: Widow of Windsor is hot off the presses – any tidbits about what India will get mixed up in next?

I’m at work on the third India adventure. It’s tentatively entitled “India Black and the Dark Legion.” India, French and Vincent infiltrate a cell of anarchists, with explosive results.

Noa: *Thinks about Vincent and anarchists* Yeah, I think I’ll have to steal the third manuscript…
And what about you – can you share anything about your next project?

CKC: I have a contract for the third India. If sales go well, I hope to be writing the 4th book next year. But I’ve also been doing some research for another series featuring a female agent in the OSS during WWII. This would be a darker, more realistic tale of espionage.

Noa: That sounds very intriguing! I for one, can’t wait!

And now a few Paperback Proust questions!

PBD: What are you reading at the moment?
CKC: “The Plague Court Murders” by John Dickson Carr. I love vintage mysteries.

PBD: Most recent splurge?
CKC: Hmm. I seldom splurge. I guess it would have to be paying for a year’s worth of workouts with my personal trainer.

PBD: What you appreciate the most in your friends?
CKC: Honesty

PBD: Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?
CKC: Amelia Peabody Emerson, Miss Marple, Kathy Mallory, Mary Russell.

PBD: What is your motto?
CKC: Accumulate experiences, not things.

PBD: What is your greatest extravagance?
CKC: Travel

PBD: What is your favorite journey?
CKC: Africa, or London.

PBD: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
CKC: Being satisfied with what I have.

PBD: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
CKC: Being appointed head of human resources at a large company with no experience, and learning how to get the best out of people.

Thank you so much to Ms. Carr for visiting the Dollhouse today!
India Black and The Widow of Windsor is now available!
And Now…

In honor of the release of India Black and The Widow of Windsor we are offering one lucky follower a copy of the book!

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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  • Victoria Zumbrum says:

    Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Yto says:

    i love the cover of india black. the red dress is just eye-catching. the heroine sounds just like i want my book heroes to be – i also hate it, when the girls in the books are all swooning over a guy. it’s stupid – okay a tiny little bit is alright, but i like the tough girls definitely better.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Diane Sallans says:

    I hadn’t heard about India Black before – she looks like a very interesting character. I love it when the heroine enters an area usually limited to men.

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    thanks for the interview I didn’t know this series, it sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway too !

    Reply to this comment »
  • Stephanie K. says:

    This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vivien says:

    The covers are gorgeous. They sound like a great read!

    Reply to this comment »
  • thegirlonfire27 says:

    Thank for the interview and giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mary Preston says:

    The book looks wonderful. Yes please!


    Reply to this comment »
  • Dovile says:

    Thanks for the chance!

    Reply to this comment »
  • I have to confess I was in a hurry and was scrolling down but these stunning covers stopped me! They are beautiful! Congratulations Carol, you are lucky! Haven’t heard of your series before, but now I want to read them, they sound wonderfully exciting! :-)

    stella.exlibris AT gmail DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    Excellent interview! I love India and I can’t wait to read this book! *fingers crossed*

    Reply to this comment »
  • Cindi says:

    I like strong, heroines in the books that I read…
    Her books sound very intriguing!
    Many thanks, Cindi

    Reply to this comment »
  • Julie Witt says:

    The covers of these books are SO beautiful!! And the descriptions definitely make them books I would love to read :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Kelly W says:

    I love Victorian Era mysteries. Great Interview.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Joani S says:

    Boy do they sound good, and I love those covers!! I like that you have more books planned, I always love getting involved with a good series. Artesia at comcast dot net

    Reply to this comment »
  • Linda says:

    Sounds like a great read, and def. going up on my TBR list =)

    best wishes, Linda

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    India Black and Widow of Windsor by Carol K Carr sounds mighty interesting! I’d love a chance to read this book!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jeanne says:

    Thank you so much for the chance to win♥

    Reply to this comment »
  • Emily L says:

    Thank you! Sounds like great books to read.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Denise Z says:

    Thank you for sharing with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity. I have not read your work and would love to. I love strong women characters regardless of the era, but it is especially fun when they are in a time when meekness was a rule :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lori Strongin says:

    DEFINITELY want to read about this heroine, just from this interview alone! Ditto that I love my heroines snarky, independent, and more rescuer than damsel. Thanks for the giveaway op! Can’t wait to read this series!


    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    Great interview and the book sounds great! I love kick-butt heroines.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Claudia S. says:

    I would love love love to win this book! it looks really good. :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Nimue says:

    I haven’t heard of these books, though they are my kind of books. Thanks for the interview and hosting the giveaway.

    Reply to this comment »
  • nan says:

    I’ve read a lot about the first book…would love to read them both.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Carol M says:

    The covers on these books are gorgeous! This sounds like a series I would really enjoy! Thank you for the interview and the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »