Glowing Author #20
Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara Putman has wanted to write mysteries. And who better to do it? She is an attorney and an all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. Want to hear more? Well…
Was writing something you always wanted to do?
I was probably 14 when I really thought I might want to write books. I even tried writing a couple of novels that my dad thinks he can uncover from an old computer but that I hope are buried to history. But I didn’t really start writing again until 2005 when I met Colleen Coble at a book signing and my husband told her I wanted to write. Since then I’ve seen ten novels in print, with a total of twelve books out and three more coming. It’s been a whirlwind to say the least.
To say the least! Tell us about Stars in the Night, released July 2010.
It’s a historical romantic suspense set in 1942. When Audra Schaeffer’s sister disappears in Hollywood, Audra flies there to find her, but has to identify her body instead. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States as the stars sell war bonds. When Robert’s ex-wife and another woman are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to her sister’s. Is the killer the man she’s falling in love with? And can she identify the killer before he targets her?
Ooooh! How did you come up with the idea for this?
I was working on the last book for my second World War II series for Heartsong Presents and beginning to think about where I might want to set a future series. My husband, who is as big a World War II fan as I am if not more, and I were brainstorming one night. Since I’d done two series set in the Midwest, I kind of wanted to branch out, and I’ve long had a love of classic movies. We hit on the idea of Hollywood during World War II.
There were so many different roles that the stars played during the war. Canteens. USO tours. Active service. 4-Fed. The plot options and historical details seemed endless. Then as I researched, I stumbled on the original Hollywood Victory Caravan. My imagination kicked into overdrive. What if I created a second Victory Caravan? What if a killer followed someone on to the train? What if people died and you were trapped on the train with a killer? And what if romance blossomed in the midst of the suspense? I got pretty pumped very quickly.
Then I got a call from the woman who became my editor at Summerside. She wondered if I might be interested in writing historical romantic suspense for them. And as God works, one of the settings they were interested in was Hollywood. It was perfect timing and a great fit.
Those “what if?” questions really do it! What part of the writing process comes easiest to you?
Imagining scenes. Once I know the characters and the bones of the plot, I can write very quickly because I see the scenes as they happen. I remember reading about authors who said they saw their books play out like movies in their minds as they wrote, and couldn’t imagine that happening. But now I realize, that is what happens as I write.
What is the most difficult?
The harder part for me is often forcing myself to sit down and get to know all the pieces before I start writing. I often get so excited I can’t wait to start. Invariably when I do that, I hit a point in the book where I don’t know how to continue and have to sit down and do some of that work then.
I so agree! I am a real plot outliner. Is there anything, in your opinion, to which writers pay too much or too little attention?
I think sometimes we become wed to the rules over the story. The writing rules are very important. The standard is so high right now, that a writer has to understand and follow them. But at the same time, sometimes new writers lose the story in the hunt for perfection. My advice is to write the story, then worry about the rules. Otherwise you might find yourself like I did with my first book – stuck on the first 40 pages, because I kept trying to incorporate everything I knew into those.
Which writer and/or book made the biggest impact on your life?
Bodie Thoene. She ignited a love for World War II based fiction that has been formative in many of my books.
Do you blog? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
I do blog at least three times a week. I do it for several reasons. Writers are told to J, I love sharing new books and authors with readers. I like to give a glimpse into what’s going on in my life and what God’s showing me. And since the release of Stars in the Night, I’ve posted one classic movie review a week on Friday – just in time for the weekend.
What’s one thing that would surprise us about you?
That I was homeschooled. And now I home school my kids.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
I just finished No Safe Haven by Kim and Kaylee Woodhouse last night. Then started Jamie Carie’s Christmas novella. I’m also reading Kim Cash Tate’s Faithful. And the nonfiction I’m working on is Venus Fixers, a book about World War II.
Thank you so much for being with us, Cara!
Contact Cara at:
“Since I turned in edits on a book last month, I’ve been in proposal writing mode. Lots of ideas, but have to do the hard work of articulating them into pages that will interest and editor and publishing board.”