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Monday, June 09, 2008

Interview with Cara Putman

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. For years she asked God if this dream was from Him. Her life was full. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), moved to the Washington, DC area, married the man of her dreams, worked in the non-profit world, went to George Mason Law School at night while working, and then started having children. While her life was far from empty, the dream wouldn’t die. Then she followed her husband to Indiana. Talk about starting over!
In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing books.
Heartsong Presents is publishing a three book series of World War Two romances: Canteen Dreams (October 2007), Sandhill Dreams (May 2008), and Captive Dreams (September 2008). Love Inspired Suspense published her first romantic suspense in May 2008. Now she’s working on the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Law (don’t ask!) and the first book in an Ohio World War Two series. Cara is also an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is.

Beth: Tell us about your writing journey.

Cara: I’ve always loved reading and tried writing novels as a young teen. I’d always hit a point where the history or the plot would stymie me, and I’d stop. Then I started college, career, got married, went to law school, and started a family. Didn’t have much time for writing, but the dream wouldn’t die. A few years ago I went to a book-signing and after talking to an author for awhile, my husband leaned into the conversation and asked if I’d told Colleen I wanted to be a writer. That jump-started the process, and I’ve been writing every since.

Beth: When do you feel like it all began to come together for you as a writer—was there a particular moment?

Cara: I sold my first book at the ACFW conference in September 2006 – it was a quick process, and I’m so grateful for the way God has guided me and chided me when I need to spend more time with my fingers firmly attached to the keyboard. But I went to the conference needing to know that God was pleased with my efforts. And getting that first contract in front of so many friends and colleagues was an amazing confirmation.

Beth: Who has influenced you most as a writer and why?

Cara: Colleen Coble. While there have been many other writers who have become friends, for some reason Colleen took an interest in me at that book-signing in 2005. She has mentored me, introduced me to people, and been an advocate and friend. We joke that she mid-wifed my first book, by being interested and encouraging.

Beth: Tell us about the writing process for you? Does it begin with a character, setting, or plot?

Cara: It depends. Seriously. For one series I’ve proposed I started with the setting. With my Nebraska World War Two series, it started with setting and characters – the plot grew organically out of those two items. With Deadly Exposure, the plot grew out of character and brainstorming. And there was never any doubt I’d set the book in Lincoln. With a new World War Two series, I knew the setting had to be Ohio, but wouldn’t have submitted the proposal without the plot points. And those came from a couple days of intense research.

Beth: Tell us about your latest book.

Cara: In May I had two books release. Sandhill Dreams is a historical romance set at Fort Robinson, Nebraska during World War Two. With her dreams shattered, will Lainie Gardner allow God and a soldier at Fort Robinson to breathe life into new dreams that will bring her more joy than she imagined? Deadly Exposure is my first romantic suspense with Love Inspired Suspense. With a stalker closing in, will television journalist Dani Richards trust her former love and police investigator Caleb Jamison to help her and God to rescue her?

Beth: What inspired you to write this particulate story?

Cara: Deadly Exposure grew out of a desire to write a suspense story. I wanted the ticking bomb feeling to propel readers through the story. Once I knew the suspense thread, everything else had to bow to it. And with a tight timeframe of one week, it took some real thinking and praying to figure out the other threads and keep them realistic.

Beth: What is the message you hope to get across in this story?

Cara: That God is always there – even when we feel alone and isolated. That He is a sure tower of strength when we need Him, and even when we aren’t necessarily looking for Him.

Beth: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a mystery or suspense?

Cara: Getting all the threads to come together in a way that keeps the reader racing through the pages and believing the story could really happen. With Deadly Exposure, I had the challenge of creating a realistic love story in one week. Yet the romance had to be 50% of the story. God and I really wrestled on that one. I’m very pleased with the end result, but at the time I kept asking Him if I was hearing correctly!

Beth: What are your future writing plans?

Cara: This summer I’m writing the first book in a World War Two series set in Ohio. I’m also writing the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Law – I still smile every time I write that. Yet another way those years in law school are paying off I guess. And I’ve got ideas for more suspense books simmering on the back burner.

Beth: What is the best advise you ever received?

Cara: Join ACFW (www.acfw.com). I have grown immeasurably as a writer through what I’ve learned from fellow members. And the ACFW conference has been instrumental in my career to date. So if you’re serious about becoming a writer, join. It’s well worth the money.

Thanks Cara! If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Cara's book, please post a comment below.



Blogger tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview, I've been wanting to read this one. Count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

8:18 AM  
Blogger Carolynn W. said...

I have read so many positive reviews for Cara's book, I can't wait to read it too. Thanks for the chance to win!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Ausjenny said...

please enter me, great interview and i too have been wanting to read this book.
ausjenny at gmail dot com

6:03 AM  
Blogger ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed reading this interview with Cara. Deadly Exposure sounds like a great suspense read.

6:53 PM  

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