I'm very excited to have the marvelous Carol Kilgore on my blog today. I love her books, and I'm doing a happy dance that she's going to talk about how she writes such brilliant mysteries. Take it away, Carol!
Thanks so much for hosting me!
When I asked Christine what she’d like for me to write, she gave me a short list of possibilities but indicated she would most like to see a post about how I write the mystery aspect of my novels, especially whether I plot every detail or if I go back and add clues and red herrings.
What I do is the process that works best with the way my brain functions. I’ve tried to be a total pantser, and I’ve tried to plot all the details. What happens is I get stuck, or something different happens from what I’ve planned.
So what I do is a mishmash. Before I ever begin to write, I learn as much as possible about the beginning, the major plot points, and the ending. I also find out as much as possible about my characters without actually putting them together and writing their story.
When I write, I use what I know and let their story develop around the framework. The deeper I get into the story, the more I learn about the characters, and the more they learn about each other.
The more I know about the characters and the story, the better I can mislead the reader.
So on each successive pass, I add more details. As an example, in SOLOMON’S COMPASS, one of the characters wears a bracelet. Never takes it off. It’s just about the only positive means to identify him. The bracelet was an extremely late addition.
When I leave an obvious clue, I try to bury it so it doesn’t stand out. Many of my clues are subtle--too subtle sometimes, according to my editor. But together we fix that. I hope! One of my favorite movies is “The Sixth Sense.” All the clues are there, but most viewers don’t put them together until near the end of the movie.
That’s my goal when I write--have the clues come together and make sense near the end of the book.
By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.
As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.
Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.
The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.
Although Carol has deep Texas roots, she’s lived up and down the eastern seaboard and in other locations across the U.S. as a Coast Guard wife. She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially one with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.
You can connect with Carol here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog: http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com
Website with Monthly Contest: http://www.carolkilgore.net