Tuesday, July 24, 2012



My guest is romantic suspense author, Carol Kilgore. Carol hails originally from Texas, seems overly fond of Tiki Huts, has a great sense of humor, and a heart the size of Texas. I first met her as a fellow blogger and I've enjoyed reading her blog and getting to know her. This is not her first visit to Over Coffee. You may remember reading a story she wrote, SECRETS OF CHRISTMASas part of my Holiday Shorts I do each  December. 
It's my pleasure to have Carol back with us and this time with her debut, In Name Only.  

Thank you, Sia, for hosting me today. I'm very happy to be here and to share some things about me and about my debut novel, IN NAME ONLY.

My personal style is eclectic. I like to mix it up. If I wore a uniform, I would most likely pair it with frilly and/or colorful undies. I would know.

Bear with me. You'll see where this is going.

If our home came close to having a design style, it would be something like eclectic coastal contemporary, even though we no longer live at the coast. We have art and accessories from other places we've lived—like the New Mexico mountains and New York City—and a few family pieces mingled with an overall contemporary look.

It's the same with my blog, Under the Tiki Hut. It's all about the beach, which I love. I'm a Native Texan and write stories set in Texas, so the beach I most often see in my mind is a Texas beach, where tiki huts are also called palapas. But that doesn't mean you see my beach. I try to maintain a Tiki Hut feel for any beach anywhere. From Fiji to Oregon to Maine to the Irish Coast and back again.

So it follows that this eclectic mix extends into my writing as well. I mix a cup of this, a dash of that, a spoonful of the other into a blend I call Crime Fiction with a Kiss. Always at least one crime; always a love story.

Besides being eclectic, I'm also a little OCD about research. Not only do I love the process, I want to make sure all the facts in my fiction are correct. I don't claim to be perfect—no doubt readers will find things I got wrong. And there may be other things that slip past.

Here are a few of the many things I researched for IN NAME ONLY:

Local Trees. In Chapter One of IN NAME ONLY, Summer leans against a palm tree. The palm started out as a mesquite tree (pronounced mess-KEET) and would have remained a mesquite except for one tiny problem—I learned mesquites have long thorns. Ouch!

  • Shark Fishing.  A lot of guys in South Texas fish for shark from the Padre Island National Seashore beach. You can watch a short video at Texas Shark Fishing to see the last part of the process of bringing the shark to shore. It's a catch and release video of a 12-foot tiger shark. It may take the fisherman hours to reach this point. Look at the size of the man and look at all his gear. I spent the better part of a couple of days researching equipment for this sport, which ended up having only a few mentions in the story. But it was fun to learn!

  • Firefighters. Lots of information on firefighters is available on the web. I spent many days reading. I also talked one-to-one with some real firefighters with the Corpus Christi Fire Department who told me how they do things there.

  • The Federal Witness Security Program. Not much out there, and nobody was talking. Which would make me pretty darn happy if I were in the program. So I felt free to draw upon my imagination.

  • Padre Island. And of course, I spent time on Padre figuring out where everything in the story would physically be located. You'll need to make your own visit to the Island to find out which locations are real and which are specially created for IN NAME ONLY.

If you happen to see Summer Newcombe while you're there, say hi for me!


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.

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:


~Sia McKye~ said...

Carol, welcome back to Over Coffee. I'm so excited to see your new book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I love the cover. It's beautiful and the story sounds wonderful!

Kat Sheridan said...

I LOVE tiki huts! And beaches! And I'm betting your decor would go very nicely with MY decor!

The book sounds like so much fun! And isn't research wonderful? I was joking the other day that if anybody ever went through the search history on my computer I'd be in big trouble. In just the last week it's included finding out what it costs to buy a Navy SEAL knife on ebay, why the Secret Service calls the Situation Room in the White House the Cement Mixer, various poisons, and 19th century ladies undergarments. LOL!

Mark Koopmans said...

I should have started blogging a few years ago... my wife and I lived in SA for three years and we could have had a coffee with Carol :)

Shelley Munro said...

It's the little things that can trip you up when it comes to research or in this case, a thorn. I think research is the fun part :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Sia for hosting Carol.
Carol, great job on the research. I know exactly what you mean. I was writing yesterday and got stuck in Hyde Park. You would thing there would be a map with what I was looking for...two hours, just to find one simple name of a road, and in the end I didn't even use it.

Research is KEY!!

Carol Kilgore said...

Wow! Y'all are early :) Except for Shelley in NZ. Maybe not so early there.

Can you tell I'm not much of a morning person? I just poured my first cup of coffee.

Sia, thanks so much for having me here today. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with everyone.

Carol Kilgore said...

Kat - Your research sounds much like mine. And isn't the Secret Service the most secretive bunch! I have a funny story, but it's too long for here. Nice to meet you.

Mark - Nice to meet you, too. You left about the time we arrived. I agree it's too bad you no longer live here. Just know it's a typical SA summer day today, so you may be happy you're elsewhere :)

Shelley - Exactly so. Look at my comments so far. Long for everyone and two words for you LOL. What's up with that :)

Anne - I do the same thing. Hours, and then it doesn't get used. Sometimes things I find during the research show up elsewhere, though. At some point. So I think the more we know overall, the more potential for our stories and characters to benefit and be richer.

Linda G. said...

Hi, Carol! It's so much fun seeing you and IN NAME ONLY all over the blogosphere these days. Spread that Texas sensibility around! :)

Liza said...

Fun interview! My only visit to Texas was to the Dallas airport, but having read In Name Only, I can attest that the places and situations read real and true. Great job on your research Carol, and thanks for an enjoyable read.

Carol Kilgore said...

Linda G - Yay Texas!

Liza - I'm glad you enjoyed Summer and Gabe's story. And learning a little more about Texas than what you see at either of the Dallas area airports :)

Ciara said...

Great interview! Carol, I had a similar thing happen to my work. Good thing you caught the thorn issue before publication. :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck Carol with your new book! And I think that iced coffee needs some Kahlua.

Carol Kilgore said...

Ciara - Yes! I may get called out for something, but it won't be that :)

Stephen - Thank you! I love the umbrella :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Steve, it's my secret ingredient in the summer when I'm entertaining. I also do one with brandy, Kahlua, sometimes dark creme de cocoa or raspberry liquere. Depends upon how creative I'm feeling at the time.

Carol, I don't always use all the research either, but it gives you a comfort zone to write without worries because you know your material.

I've been in San Antonio in the summer. But I'd prefer SA than Houston any day. I used to live outside of Austin. Love that area!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, and I thought you'd appreciate the umbrella, lolol!

Johanna Garth said...

Sia, I'm dying for that drink featured at the top.

Carol, which beach is your favorite in Texas? I need to know from the Texas beach authority!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a mix of elements in your book! Variety is the spice of life.
I've lived so many places, my house is a mish-mash of all sorts of styles.

Carol Kilgore said...

Sia - That's exactly true about the research. It provides a little freedom, too.

I've lived in Houston, too. I hope I never have to do that again, although there are things about the city I like. I love the Texas coast and the San Antonio, Austin, Hill Country area.

Johanna - Funny! I'm an authority on nothing, LOL. My favorite Texas beach is Port Aransas. Port A, as Texans call it, is at the northern tip of Mustang Island, which is the barrier island right north of Padre. But if I feel like really beaching it, then Padre because the National Seashore is a natural wild beach. Galveston is good, but the water isn't as pretty as it is on the South Texas beaches.

Alex - We've lived all over, too. Lots to like about a lot of places.

David P. King said...

Thanks for having Carol over, Sia! Amazing what a little research can do, or enlighten our writing. :)

Anonymous said...

I love researching for my books, even if it takes awhile to find something.

It was great seeing Carol here. I'm all for eclecticism.

Jan Morrison said...

Sia - how brilliant to host Carol - she is a treasure. Carol, I love this post on research. Here's what I'm doing - writing about the Grand Canyon when I haven't been there since I was twelve. So crazy but they (my protags) would go there wouldn't they! So I'm researching like mad but I also know when to let it go and tell the story. It is fiction....

Carol Kilgore said...

David - Research can not only enlighten our writing but our outlook on life as well.

Medeia - I love research, too. Yea, another eclectic :)

Jan - Characters are like that! Knowing when to let something go is important. Good for you!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Thanks for hosting Carol! I also like her unique take on research! Julie

michelle said...

This is such a fun interview!
Good luck to Carol with the new book - it sounds really interesting & different, with a mixture of elements. Little bit of this... little bit of that... how delightful!

Jo said...

That's why I never wrote a novel, research is too much like hard work.

Carol Kilgore said...

Julie - I like unraveling all the threads :)

Michelle - It's exactly like that. A genre stew.

Jo - I have cat-like curiosity. I want to know everything. So I use research to indulge that flaw. Research isn't work at all if you love it!

Jo said...

Oddly enough, once I had posted that comment, I remembered I have always been the one who used the encyclopedias and who, these days, checks things on Google, but it still isn't quite the same thing I guess. People always used to ask me "haven't you got a book for that" 'cos I could always look it up.

Carol Kilgore said...

Jo - I don't know...sounds like you may have been nipped by the research bug, too :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo, that most definitely research, lol!

Jo said...

Elizabeth Moon is good with research, she takes up sword fighting so she can know exactly what her protagonist is dealing with.

Carol Kilgore said...

Jo - I've learned some hand-to-hand combat and some self-defensive moves for the same reasons. Plus it's good exercise!

Jan Christensen said...

What a fun post by Carol. I love research except I'm reluctant to stop working on my WIP to do any. I have to make myself do it, then I tend to get lost in the whole process. I never know whether to stop what I'm writing right there and do it, or wait until later and go back to put in the details. After writing several novels, I still don't know what to do about the whole process. LOL

Carol Kilgore said...

Jan - I research as much as possible before I begin writing, but a lot of other things come up as I'm writing. Contrary to what fast-draft writers tell us, I usually do stop for research. My stories are usually built on what what happens before, so if I get a point wrong, that error multiplies as the story goes on.

Carol Kilgore said...

Sia - Thanks so much for having me over for coffee. You brew a mean cup!
And I had a fantastic time :)

Julie said...

Oh my, I'm dying for a cup of iced coffee now. Love that pic!

Thanks for sharing this great post from Carol, Sia. In Name Only is a fantastic book and I always enjoy Carol's posts.

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks for such kind words, Julie :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm a big fan of Carol and her blog Under the Tiki Hut. I especially look forward to her Friday lists.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Great job, Carol!

Carol Kilgore said...

Theresa and Heather - Thanks for stopping by!