Thursday, May 15, 2008

Busy Month for Cara Putman

WINNER OF autographed SANDHILL DREAMS: Becky C.
WINNER of autographed DEADLY EXPOSURE: Jo

Both have been notified and will be receiving their book after the booksigning in Lafayette, IN at The Carpenter's Son Bookstore, May 31, 2008.

A Chat with Cara C. Putman


CLM: Cara has a teaching job at a university, works as an attorney,is on the board of the American Christian Fiction Writers, teaches Bible study at church, scrapbooks, is married with now three children (the newest Putman baby arrived just five days ago!) and she runs--and I'm not just talking from one job to another!She runs for fun and relaxation.
(She missed the Indianapolis 500 13K Mini-Marathon this May because of her new baby.)

New Baby Putnam: See Cara's blogspot for more news


Then on top of that, she has books coming out left and right--two from two different publishers this month! This woman has a lot of energy and intelligence. I was curious as to how she balances her writing career along with everything else she does--all important jobs, so here she is to tell us how she does it.

CLM: What are three key elements for you in getting into your writing mode? (after juggling many other jobs?)

CARA:
1) Turn on the right music. If I’m working on a historical, plug in Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy or related music. If it’s a current time period, I usually start with praise and worship. Either way, this signals to my brain which time to step into.
2) Clear some clutter from my desk, so I can focus on writing.
3) Get out any research materials I’ll need. I have some great books for the 40s that help me get right back into that time period and frame of mind.




CLM:Can you tell us how you decide on a character for (the particular series)? Are there certain types of characters whom you gravitate toward for heroine/hero more than others?

CARA: What a great question. I tend to find characters in two ways. One: in my historicals, the historical thread and setting are two strong threads, so the characters tend to grow out of those areas. For example, Fort Robinson had war dog training. I knew I wanted to highlight that aspect of the camp, so built my hero out of that…why if you came to work with the horses, and the army in its wisdom assigned you to the dogs – but you’re deathly afraid of dogs? The heroine had appearances in Canteen Dreams, but I wanted to deepen her. So in the interim, what if she’s been training to go overseas as a nurse, and then gets ill and can no longer ship overseas? What would she do?

With my suspense, I tend to start with the career (journalist, attorney, etc.) and build a character from there. As I get to know the details of the character, their goals and motivations become clearer. I have found with the modern characters that they tend to have some spark of me in them to get started. But as I write more, I have to look for inspiration from other places.

CLM: How do you decide on your setting?


CARA: This was easy for my historicals. Heartsong Presents was looking for stories set in Nebraska. Since that’s my homestate, I dove into the opportunity to share some of the cool World War Two stories from that great state. I’m working on a second series set in Ohio, and picked the locations based on the cool World War Two stories I uncovered through my research.


My first suspense series is set in Lincoln, Nebraska. Again, a location that I know well. A series I’d love to write is set in the mountains of western North Carolina.

CLM: What is your favorite period of history?(for the historicals)

CARA: World War Two. I have always been fascinated by the history of the war, but also the culture of the time.

CLM: What process do you go through to brainstorm a new book? How do you come up the idea? (Do you keep an idea file? Or use photos? News items?)

CARA: Often I realize it’s time to start a new proposal, and start looking for ideas. I do have an idea file that I throw stories in as I’m going. I’ll often start with location, and what I know about that aspect can then direct the plot. I often start with online research, reading chamber of commerce websites, looking for historical museums, and reading newspapers from that location. Out of that research, I’ll get the idea that makes me hungry to write a book, or I’ll look at another setting. Usually at some point, I get that fire in my belly which tells me I have to write this book!

CLM:When your well runs dry, how do you recharge your creativity?

CARA: I read books. I spend time with my kids. And I pray – with a certain amount of desperation. I seriously do not want to spend my time writing if God has something else for me to do.

CLM: Answer this...The only thing I know for sure about my creative process is....

CARA: That it is a gift from God, and I want to flow in it in lockstep with Him.


CLM: What's your favorite way to celebrate after a project is complete?

CARA: Take a deep breath, pray in celebration, and do something special for the kids, since they’ve had to put up with a schizophrenic mommy.

CLM: Where is your favorite place to work on your writing?

CARA: My desk, though with my laptop I am mobile. If I get stuck, I leave the house for a couple hours to change environment and get away from email LOL

CLM: What are your favorite things to eat while in the creative process? Or do you forget about eating and drinking? (This is a cafe', afterall!)

CARA: Depends on the day, since I’m writing at night, but I love to have Wheat Thins and cheese. Drink Dr. Pepper and lots of water. Sometimes I’ll treat myself to something sweet like Smarties. But I try not to fall into the trap of having to eat to be able to write.

CARA: Thanks for having me, Crystal! It’s always fun to come visit.

CLM: I always love any time I spend with you. Check out Cara's new additions to her two series with Heartsong Presents and with Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense:

Order Deadly Exposure here.



Deadly Exposure (Steeple Hill, 2008)

A MURDER AT INTERMISSION

How could a killer have struck in a crowded theater? That was the question plaguing TV news reporter Dani Richards. She'd been in the box next to the victim -- and hadn't heard or seen a thing. Now the very man who broke Dani's heart years ago is investigating the murder. And when her coverage of the story led the killer to stalk her, police officer and former flame Caleb Jamison insisted on protecting her. Dani was afraid to let Caleb close again. Yet she had no choice. The killer's sinister phone calls left no doubt that he'd come for Dani next.

Sandhill Dreams (Heartsong Presents)


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?

Lainie has no dreams left

Lainie Gardner dreamed of becoming a nurse. Of serving her country. Of doing something important in the war. But rheumatic fever changed all that, and instead of running home, Lainie is determined to find a job at Fort Robinson in Nebraska’s sandhills.

Tom Hamilton had dreams, too. Dreams of preparing the horses at Fort Robinson for duty on the warfront. Instead, he is assigned to train war dogs and their handlers, meaning that each day he must face the fear he’s had of dogs since he was bitten as a child.

Lainie and Tom wonder why God seems to have denied them their dreams. But is it possible new dreams will bring them more joy than they ever imagined?


Want to win an autographed copy of either of these books? May 31st I will be getting autographed copies of both books, and will draw two names from the comments on this blog entry for them to win!

Leave a comment or question for Cara and you are entered. (Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you.)

23 comments:

Becky C. said...

Love your blog, and would love to be entered in your contest. These books look great.

Becky C.

rec at hiwaay dot com

ForstRose said...

Crystal,
What a great interview and tons of info.

Cara,
You are one busy lady with a brand new baby on top of two other kids, your day jobs and two new releases to promote. I'd feel like I was running in circles all the time in your place. Women are supposed to be the multi-taskers or so I've heard yet I tend to prefer focusing in on one thing at a time until its finished. Of course thats a moot point with one kid much less three. With the munchkins around you've always got to be on your toes. At least any of them I've ever been around.

Melissa

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Man, I hope you have a break from writing for a while, Cara!

My mind is spinning just thinking of how I'd find time to write within months of any of my three daughters being born.

Do you write in fits, and then take long breaks, or it a dedicated hour a day, every day, kind of routine?

eileenastels [at] rogers [dot] com Eile

Nora St. Laurent said...

I love the baby picture. Thanks for letting us know about this new book. It really looks good. Please put me in for the drawing.
Thanks
www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Nora St. Laurent said...

I love the baby picture. Thanks for letting us know about this new book. It really looks good. Please put me in for the drawing.
Thanks
www.psalm516.blogspot.com

stampedwithgrace said...

Congrats to Cara on your beautiful new girl! what a blessing!
I'd love to read your new books :)

luv2read said...

On top of all her many talents you forgot to mention she looks like she could be a model also. I would like to know what type of job she does at the University. And how does she manage to work at a University, be an attorney all at the same time. Enter me in the drawing. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Ausjenny said...

once again congrats on your new baby daughter Shes precious.
Loved the interview, (love the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy idea for writing)
I love the look of both books Please enter me.
and thanks for the great interview ladies.

Patty said...

What a beautiful baby Cara! Wow, you are one busy lady. You books sound wonderful. I look forward to reading them. I would love to win them.

pleblanc_1 at charter dot net

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful baby you have there. Congratulations on the new addition and the two new books that just came out. I would love to get entered in the drawing. You are one very busy woman there!

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Grateful Gramma said...

What a sweet baby...and what a busy momma! I love mysteries so I would enjoy reading that book. Thanks for the opportunity!

Susan Stitch said...

Wow -- two books and a baby is like having triplets! Congratulations. I really appreciated the question about how Cara gets her ideas for a story. Knowing the setting first and then linking characters with key events or locations is a great way to begin. Thanks for the insights. Please include my name in the drawing.

likes_to_stamp@sbcglobal.net

Susan

Cara Putman said...

Thanks for stopping by, y'all. And I feel I should clarify one thing. While I am an attorney, right now I only take on special projects for the firm I work at. That has helped alot. And I teach Business Law at Krannert. I love teaching, so though it's work, I also really get energy from doing that. I have two deadlines at the end of the summer, so I'll be working hard, but I do my writing in the evening after the kids are in bed (or supposed to be LOL).

Thanks again for hosting my, Crystal, and stopping by everyone. Good luck winning a copy of the books! Deadly Exposure is in stores now, so check out your Wal-mart and grocery stores.

Susan said...

Wow, and I thought I was busy. Congratulations on the new baby.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Thanks,
Susan J. Reinhardt
susanjreinhardt at gmail dot com

Charlotte Schofield said...

wow you do a lot! COngrats on the baby! Sooo cute!!!

Please enter me in the drawing

aidenadara (at) yahoo (dot) com

Cherie J said...

Congrata to Cara on the adorable new baby! What a blessing! I am in awe at all she finds time to do. I have a 19 month old girl and a 4 year old boy and I could not imagine doing all that she does as well. Enjoyed the interview Crystal!

Janna said...

Great interview - I love it when someone interviews Cara and I learn something new about her - she is my sister after all. And if you think she is amazing after this interview, you should meet her in real life... this doesn't hardly scrape the surface of all she does. Our dad always says that she is addicted to adrenaline rush of stress - I have previewed both of these books and just got my autographed copy of Sandhill Dreams and I can honestly say that they are both wonderful but in totally different ways. I'm still waiting for my copy of Deadly Exposure though :-)

Janna
ryanx6 at msn dot com

traveler said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. I enjoyed this lovely interview and the book is amazing and unique.

diane said...

This interview gave me a glimpse into this fascinating novel. Thanks for this chance and the giveway. Congratulations and all the best.

anne said...

It would be a great honor and pleasure to read the book and this interview was wonderful since I learned about Cara and her great writing skills and talents.
Thanks for this exceptional giveaway.

petite said...

What a great interview. Your are amazing and congratulations of your dear baby. Best wishes.

Doreen said...

These sound like great books Cara!! Congrats!

smilinkyn said...

Pleae enter me in the drawings! Thanks and God Bless!
Kyndra
smile_y9 [at] yahoo [dot] com