Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing after an illness left me homebound for a couple of years. It was very therapeutic, but I never dreamed they'd be published.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing is very much like reading a really good book. It takes you away to another place. Often times I'm unaware of how my characters manifest themselves into the opposite of what I'd envisioned them becoming. They seem to take on a life of their own so I simply follow their lead.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 1999, but like I said, it was simply a hobby at that point. It wasn't until years later that I shared my work with family and friends and they encouraged me to pursue publication.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Oh wow! I quickly learned that writing a book is just the beginning of the process. The cover, the edits, and the 'dreaded synopsis' are to follow, along with other details. But there is no other feeling in the world than actually holding your own book in your hands - the culmination of so much work, literally blood, sweat, and tears... but hardest of all, saying good-bye to characters that have become friends.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Honestly I have no idea how my characters form, but as I said, they often end up changing into villains or good guys without my intent, but I follow their lead. They know themselves better than I do. LOL...
The characters of Iris and Clara are, however, based off real life characters - and allow me to stress 'characters'! My mother and her friend of fifty years were an absolute hoot, just as Clara and Iris are, and I so enjoy writing about them because it brings back such fond memories of being blessed with spending time with them. They were first introduced in my novel, Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle, and everyone loved them. They were meant to be bit parts, but they clearly stole the show, making a series a no-brainer.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Oh, I have no right to complain about anything, but since you are giving me the opportunity - haaaa, It would be rude to turn you down. Being a writer that works from home, no one thinks you have a job, making you available at all times. Everyone is under the hysterical illusion that published authors are rich and famous. Still trying to figure that one out.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I believe writing is, by far, the easiest part. Most of my time is spent rolling ideas around in my head and putting them on paper, which inevitably ends up with me painting myself in a corner, and trying to find a feasible, and believable way out. (Can you say - run-on sentence? Geez.) The easiest way for me to get back on track is usually to take a short trip to research something I'm writing about. It rejuvenates my mind and I keep going.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
My friends and family are always great encouragers which is a huge help. But I have to say that hearing from my fans and how much they've enjoyed a particular book, or that they're anxiously awaiting a new release, is my biggest inspiration. What advice would I give other authors? This business takes tough skin. Unfortunately, I don't have it. There will inevitably be people that don't like your work and that's okay. Some people will not like your particular genre or may simply just not like your writing. Write for those who do, but most of all, write for the love of writing. If you don't love what you do, it'll be very difficult to be successful.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't allow one bad review to keep you from seeing the positive ones. Don't compromise your ideas or style because someone else thinks another way is better. Do you. Find the best and most honest editor you can and do what it takes to keep them! They are the heart of your book being a success! Don't compromise on cover design. The 'never judge a book by its cover' is B.S.! Unless you're James Patterson - the first thing to catch a reader's eye is your cover. Did I say I have the BESTEST cover designer ever? If I'm allowed to put in a plug for him - Keith Saunders can be found at www.mariondesigns.com. (No money changed hands for this endorsement... ) :)
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I do read my reviews and like I said earlier, I'm very thin-skinned. I do however, appreciate constructive criticism. I realize not everyone is going to be a Kim Carter fan, or even a mystery fan, so I try to take it in stride. I once got a one star which really hit me hard. I felt like - "Hey, don't I get something for the effort? I mean when you write an entire book, how much are you sacrificing your scruples to give a writer two stars? Good Grief." It took a while to get over that one, but I soon realized I couldn't just throw in the towel every time someone didn't like my work.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Of course anyone would appreciate and delight in a good review, but I LOVE it when a reader really 'gets' my characters! That's when I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Not necessarily anything that's happened to me, but I often throw in sayings that friends and family say to see if they catch them when reading. They haven't missed one yet. When we were in high school one of my friends would ask her Mom to go somewhere and if she didn't want her to go, she'd say, "No! And I don't mean maybe!" Wasn't funny to us at the time but we find it hysterical now, so I plugged it in one of my novels. I'll also throw in first or last names of friends and wait on them to find it. It's kind of cool.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I think I can relate to certain aspects of many of my characters but if I had to choose one, it'd probably be Candace Ramsey from Dark Secrets of the Bayou. She was so funny to me, and even though my kids say - Mom, you think you're funny but you're not - I still find myself quite comical! Candace was down to earth and what ran through her mind came out of her mouth. She called everything like she saw it and never failed to express it. She was nosey and skeptical and I loved her.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
No doubt! Especially to virtually unknown authors like myself. There has to be something to entice readers to pick it up. A good cover, especially for a spooky mystery, will draw the reader in long before the story does.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking to my readers and attend any book clubs that I'm invited to. What an honor to meet with someone that has taken the time to read your work! I enjoy hearing about the parts they enjoyed, the parts they didn't necessarily feel connected to and why, and which of the characters were their favorites. It'd be quite boring to pump out a book and never see the fruits of your labor!
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's the greatest feeling. I'll never forget one day I was meeting my sister in an office supply store. She came up to me and, very loudly said, "You're Kim Carter! And you look so normal!" We got quite a kick out of that! But I have to admit it's quite the high to have someone recognize me and talk about the books I've written. Although if I must confess, I have a very limited social life - I'm either at the grocery store, an antique store, or goodwill finding something to DIY. Since all of those places are in close proximity to my home, I rarely put on make-up as I rush out the door for a quick trip. I look nothing like the beautiful photo shoot pics, more like someone that just rolled out of bed.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Oh, I have several, all of which are within the mystery genre. Sue Grafton was a tremendous author and I loved her sense of humor. Karin Slaughter is amazing, along with Iris Johansen and Tami Hoag. But right now, if I had to pick one, it'd be John Grisham. I love the areas in the south where his novels are set and his writing style is so spot on that I feel I'm actually living in the story.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Wouldn't we all love to be a legend like Stephen King? What a brilliant mind! I am under no illusions that my writing can stand up to any of my favorites so I am satisfied doing what I love and having the people that read my novels enjoy them. A little money would be nice, too. Maybe a Netflix series or two or three..... I told you I was comical!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No. I'm sure all writers progress in their skills the more they write, but once the fat lady has sung, it's over for me. Many readers say my books end too quickly, but it's a mystery people! Once you discover the killer what else is there to read about?
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Wow, these questions are getting more and more difficult. It would be nice to be able to write children, teen, and adult books like John Grisham and James Patterson. I would really like to reach all of those audiences, but where do they find the time??? I mean I have to go to the grocery store for heaven's sakes, that takes at least an hour to peruse the fruits and veggies. But seriously, I have tremendous respect for their dedication and talent. I struggle to keep myself on task - I need to work on that!
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Go to the grocery store, do something productive with yourself.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you for allowing me to share the written word. Thank you for choosing my novel to read when you have thousands of others out there to choose from. And for those that have taken the time to post an honest review, good or bad, I thank you.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I lost the love of my life last year so I'm now a widow. I live outside of Atlanta, Georgia and am the mother of four grown, successful, beautiful children - 3 sons and one daughter. The past year has been filled with grief, but I'm beginning to tap on my computer once again. I have two dogs that keep me busy - Leonard is a lab, Great Pyrenees mix who is the closest thing to human a dog can get. The other is a ten month old puppy whose middle name is Lily, first name damn it. I spend the majority of my day trying to pry my belongings from her clamped mouth and sharp teeth. She's a blue tick coon hound and I'm sure all of you can hear her howling no matter what state you live in. My apologies for the inconvenience.
What is your day job if you have one?
Prying my belongings from Damn it Lily's mouth.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to work in my yard, read, binge great shows, and take field trips to research my books.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Absolutely! I was 'the accident late in life' so my siblings were older, giving me the advantage of almost being an only child. My fondest memories are of my mother reading to me. My brother started Georgetown University the year I started first grade. Every time he'd come home for the holidays, I knew he'd have a new book tucked neatly away in his suitcase for me. It was a treat I looked so forward to.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I became ill in 1999 and was housebound for a couple of years. Writing was a therapeutic way of dealing with things, but I never dreamed of being published. It was like the prize at the bottom of a cracker jack box!
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I may have a few tucked away, but I don't think they're ready to make the cut yet.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
We lack the written word. On my website I talk about that. When I was young, my mother bought me a beautiful set of stationery which inspired me to write letters. I still do to this day, at least a dozen a month. I write my children every Sunday, just short notes here and there - a few words of wisdom or a fond memory that I happened to recall that week. I'm big on thank-you notes and wonder why those went by the wayside! My mother was a refined southern woman and would be mortified if she heard of invites to showers or weddings being sent via email or social media, but more so over the lack of a written thank you. That would be simply unacceptable in her day and she'd have talked about you for years! I sort of, well I did inherit that trait as well.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I think all parents wish for their kids to have a long, healthy, and happy life. That would certainly be at the top of my list. I can't lie - just once I'd love to see my name on the New York Times Best-Seller list. I'd love to open my front door to Cuba Gooding, Jr., one of my favorite actors! My sister has been bragging for years now that she saw him on a movie set and he winked at her! Enough already! I'd love to call her and ask - Did he come by your house and bring flowers? Hmmmm.....???
What is your favorite music?
A couple of years ago I realized that I never turn on the radio in my car. It was a troubling moment as I realized the time had finally arrived... I was officially as old as dirt! A few months ago, I was riding somewhere with my cousin and all of the songs on his radio were from the 80's. I asked him what station it was because 80's music is my favorite - being from my high school years and all. He said it was Sirius radio and you could listen to any type of music you wanted without interruption. I was FLOORED! "No pun intended," I said, "but are you serious? That's insane. Why it's the greatest thing since the air fryer!"
Share a secret with us 🙂
Well, technically if I share a secret, it will no longer be one. Want to know what I treated myself to with my first royalty check? Something I had been wanting for quite a while - the Ove Glove - as seen on TV. Thank goodness I'm a simple person.