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?)
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.)