The Next Big Thing - Solomon's Compass

I started answering these questions last Monday as part of the Solomon's Compass cover reveal, and I'm pasting those answers here. This week I'm answering a couple of more questions, and I'll finish next Monday.

What is the title of your book?
Solomon's Compass

What genre does your book fall under?
Crime Fiction with a Kiss - Mystery/Suspense/Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
This was harder for me than it should have been because I don't know of any actor who fills the bill 100% for either character the way I envision them. The answer will probably be different for each reader. So I picked two options for each.
Taylor Campbell - Renee Zellweger or Hilary Swank
Jake Solomon - Hugh Jackman or Michael Fassbender

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell discovers her uncle’s drowning death was murder, she must determine the killer’s identity in order to prevent another murder; it's Jake Solomon's job to ensure Taylor Campbell isn't the next victim.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Available at Amazon on April 2, 2013

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your book?
Waaaayy too long! In my defense there were reasons.

I started writing the first draft of Solomon's Compass in Summer 2008, a few months before I started this blog. None of my critique partners liked it. It was too busy and didn't have enough substance. There was no focus on what the protagonist was doing, who she was, or what was on her agenda. About a third of the way through, I scrapped it and went back to the drawing board.

When I went back, I wrote an entirely different opening. I did my best to condense the busyness. And discovered Jake Solomon walking into a bar long before he was supposed to. And staying. He was supposed to go.

I started over again. This time I had most but not all of the busyness taken care of, the third new opening, and I let Jake stay. I wrote this one all the way through. My critique partners accepted it, but problems abounded. One was that it was still too busy with not enough focus. But they liked Jake!

By this time, it was nearing the end of 2010. During this time frame of 2-1/2 years, besides starting the manuscript over three separate times:
we sold our house at the Texas Coast, purchased a new home in San Antonio, and moved here;
we had some drama with extended-family issues;
I had In Name Only professionally edited;
and we were gifted with a new puppy - our lovable but high-maintenance Shiner :)

And that's why it took me 2-1/2 years for the first draft of Solomon's Compass. I finished the final draft - Draft #7 - in July, 2011. See, I can perform at regular speed. The manuscript went to the editor and was all spiffy and ready to go before I started getting In Name Only ready to publish last year.

Solomon's Compass has been different from the get-go, and I hope my future manuscripts come together much more quickly.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?


The men and women of the United States Coast Guard. I didn't want the plot to be so much a story about the daily doings of the Coast Guard. Instead I wanted it to focus on the Coasties themselves.

The Coast Guard is the smallest of the five uniformed branches of our military - fewer than 50,000 members active and reserve - yet it operates worldwide. It's the only service where a primary goal is to save lives.

It's duties range from search and rescue to maintaining buoys. From fisheries patrol to drug and migrant interdiction. From inspection of tugs and barges to supertankers, cruise liners, and ocean drilling platforms. From port security to being one of sixteen members of the United States Intelligence Community.

Coasties are team players. They have diverse duties and responsibilities. Each Coastie is an individual, but all Coasties are a team. Semper Paratus...Always Ready.


So I wanted to write about a Coastie. And one night I had a dream. When I woke, I thought that's a plot for a novel. When I thought it out, the plot wasn't as great as in my dream - LOL. But when I added my Coasties, the story began to coalesce. And that was the beginning of Solomon's Compass.

I'll finish this meme next week - the rest of the answers won't be as long :)

On Wednesday
I will be visiting
See you there!


Karen Baldwin said…
Crime fiction with a kiss...LOve that. Your journey is interesting. And how do you like San An? I moved my daughter there a few months ago. I fell in love with the city...not so much the traffic.
Didn't realize there were so few in the Coast Guard. They are always saving somebody off our coast during a hurricane.
Sometimes starting over again works! Been there done that.
Manzanita said…
Carol, I look forward to your new book. Last night I read "Never Say My Name." I do sooo appreciate your writing. It is readable and to me that's the most important part of writing. Of course, mysteries are my favorite fiction, too. I like that abrupt shock ending you have in your stories. Twist, I guess it's called. You're my author.
Stina said…
I understand the starting again, several times, on a project. I've got two that I'm going to be doing complete rewrites too soon. One was originally written before I knew anything about story structure. Eek!

Love that you had both a professional quality cover created for the book, and that you cared enough to have the book professionally edited. :D
LR said…
It's reassuring that other people have to scrap and start again too. Sigh.

These things can't be rushed can they...
Anonymous said…
Loved the read, we live near a coast guard service here on the south coast, they do a fantastic job.

Anne Gallagher said…
I thought about being a Coastie for a while when I was in high school. My brother went into the Air Force. But I didn't. I went to cooking school instead. I can't wait to read your book.
Slamdunk said…
Fun stuff Carol. I always enjoy the inside info.

A few years ago, the Mrs. was mistaken for Renee Zellweger on a plane ride. I think she secretly enjoyed the attention.
Rula Sinara said…
I absolutely LOVE that cover! The book sounds awesome.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
That's neat how the dream fit the theme of what you wanted to write. Where I grew up, in Oregon, the Coast Guard was held in very high esteem.
Southpaw said…
Taking all that time can be a benefit to the finished product! This is going to be a great release!
Unknown said…
I can not wait to read it!
Linda Kage said…
This is one big thing I'm looking forward to! I'm most excited for some sneak peek excerpts!

Anything with a Huch Jackman-looking hero definitely has my attention!!!!
Julie Flanders said…
It was fun to read about your journey to see this book to completion. And I'm so curious now to meet Jake since he was supposed to go and then got to stay!

See you at Spacedock on Wednesday. :)
Unknown said…
I love reading about your process, and I just adore that your idea came from a dream. That's happened to me more times than I can count. This is all so exciting! The book, as I said before, sounds great, as well. :)
Emily R. King said…
Very cool that the Coast Guard inspired you to write this, Carol. They inspire me too.
we do love both Ugh Ugh Jackman and Michael Fass My Benders....
Carol Kilgore said…
Em-Musing - Next time you're here, let me know. We can meet for lunch or coffee. LOVE SA! The traffic is bad, but not nearly as bad as Austin or Houston.

Alex - It's amazing what so few do for so many. Coasties are my heroes. Been left on the dock to fend for myself during a hurricane because the large cutters head to sea to ride it out.

Manzanita - You're so sweet. I might be blushing if I weren't a Scorpio :) I'm so happy you like "Never Say My Name." It was a fun story for me to write. I love twists!

Stina - Good luck on your rewrites. I'm reworking a manuscript now, stripping one plot line, jiggling with a couple of POV characters. I love doing that :)

Lee - I usually scrap a lot during revision, but nothing has ever approached the level of the Solomon's Compass scrap heap before.

nutschell said…
sounds like a great book. Crime fiction with a kiss? What a wonderful new genre, you've created :)

J.L. Campbell said…
We writers are a persistent bunch. The idea of starting over gives me a headache and yet I almost never stop editing. :)
Mason Canyon said…
I love the fact that you never game up on the story. You can't bet mystery/suspense/romance.

Thoughts in Progress
Carol Kilgore said…
Yvonne - I'm sure they do. I hope I can get to your blog this week.

Anne - We live near an Air Force base and have many Air Force neighbors. Cooking is good :)

Slamdunk - I always enjoy a behind-the-curtain peek, too. Mrs. Slamdunk must be gorgeous :)

Rula - Thank you!

Diane - That's good to know. Those who make their lives on the sea share a special bond.

Shelley Munro said…
It's great learning more about Solomon's Compass. Your coastguard setting is original and they're such heroes.
Carol Kilgore said…
Southpaw - I hope you're right!

Clarissa - I hope you love it!

Linda K - Anticipation is a wonderful thing :)

Julie - Jake can be quite persuasive.

Raquel - This story has been unique to me in every way. I'm glad you're excited!
Solomon's Compass sounds like a wonderful book - just the information here makes it sound so interesting! And the cover is beautiful, I must say. :) And I like the idea of crime fiction with a kiss - very well put. :)
Luanne G. Smith said…
Hmmm, Hugh Jackman or Michael Fassbender. Not bad. :) And I don't think 2 years to write a novel is any big deal. It takes as long as it takes to get it right. And I may be dealing with a little of that "busy-ness" in my novel right now too. :/
Carol Kilgore said…
Emily - Coasties are awesome :)

Dezmond - Funny :)

Nutschell - The only way I knew to describe what I write.

Joy - I'm a tweaker, too.

Mason - I'm too stubborn :)
Helena said…
I've only heard good things about the Coast Guard, so more power to them. And hey, it's normal to take a while to rewrite a book (I should know). Putting it aside for a while means your perspective is all the sharper and fresher when you get back to the rewrites.
Some of my favourite comfort reads, to be read and reread are crime fiction with a kiss. This sounds fascinating and I may have to break my no more books rule and buy yours. ( Mind you it is a perfectly reasonable rule given the size of my to-read pile.)
Carol Kilgore said…
Shelley - I want everyone to know how awesome they are. They do so much that most people have no idea about.

Bethany - Thank you. And thanks. And again :)

Luanne - That busy stuff often hides everywhere. Be merciless. I hope I succeeded.

Helena - I had lots of perspective, LOL!

Elephant's Child - My TBR stack is huge, too. I'm going to Amazon this week. Sigh :)
LD Masterson said…
I think our Coast Guard is seriously undervalued. Looking forward to you release.
Morgan said…
Eeee! Hugh Jackman all the way. And loved reading this, Carol. All so exciting! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
LD - Coasties tackle the impossible with gusto!

Morgan - Cool! And I totally agree about Hugh Jackman :)
Arlee Bird said…
The time is drawing near and I'll bet you are excited. Hey, you can promote your book from A to Z!

Tossing It Out
Laura Eno said…
And discovered Jake Solomon walking into a bar long before he was supposed to. And staying.

I love that! Characters can do some surprising things to get your attention. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Arlee - It's under consideration.

Laura - That's for sure!
Anonymous said…
I want to read more about Jake.

I'm always interested in reading people's publishing timelines and journeys. Thanks for sharing yours.
Missed Periods said…
Your book sounds so interesting and Michael Fassbender is so dreamy!
I've never really thought about the Coast Guard much, never knew what all of their duties included. Very interesting, and a worthy group. I think they don't get enough credit.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse
I love the story behind the story...
it's always fascinating and can often reveal some unexpected insights...
M Pax said…
I hope to see you hit it big, Carol. I'm happy to have you visiting today. Come back any time. :)
Sounds like a plan and a good book at that.
Carol Kilgore said…
Missed Periods - Thank you. And yes he is :)

Shannon - The Coast Guard is pretty low profile in most situations.

Michelle - And I hope those insights were all good :)

Mary - Thanks for hosting me today. I'm having fun. And the same to you! We'll celebrate :)

Teresa - I hope people enjoy the read.
Ciara said…
What a great inspiration, The United States Coast Guard. I'm so looking forward to reading this book.
Carol Kilgore said…
Ciara - Cool! Coasties really are great.
Cherie Reich said…
Love who inspired you to write this story! :)
Christine Rains said…
Very cool! I've already visited the Spacedock. Fabulous interview.
Melissa said…
Sounds like all your hard work is about to pay off. :)
I'm very much looking forward to this book.
Carol Kilgore said…
Cherie - Me, too :)

Christine - Thanks! Glad you liked it.

Melissa - Let's hope!

Lynda - I'm glad :)
So...have to come back for the rest of this hardship at all!

Kittie Howard said…
Ah ha! Finally figured out how to get to your blog via Google+. Yep, a real computer dinosaur here. I'm really looking forward to your book, Carol. While traversing here, I saw where you've lived so know you've got the backstory down pat. We did two tours in Va. Beach when hub was in the USMC. Hub almost went to the Coast Guard Academy (but decided upon Providence College instead). And thanks for stopping by!
Carol Kilgore said…
Maria - That makes me happy :)

Kittie - I wish my comment linkie thing went to the Blogger profile instead of Google+. I figured out how to make that happen in my sidebar under about me, but I haven't figured out how to get my comment link to go there. You may be a computer dinosaur, but I'm a total techie idiot. What a pair!

Did you know USCG and USMC actually train together now for some things?