Cara Putman graduated from high school when she was sixteen years old, college at age 20, and law school when she was 27. As a wife and mother, her writing journey started in 2005 when she decided to write her first novel. To date, she has eleven books published with more on the way.
When did you first fall in love with storytelling and writing?
I have loved books since I started reading at a young age. I can remember being in first grade and told I couldn’t read a book since it was a sixth grade level. Guess what became my favorite book at that school 🙂
As I got older, I read so fast that my favorite authors simply couldn’t keep up. Now I understand why! But then I decided that if they couldn’t keep up, I’d start writing. So I did. Started two novels while I was in high school and before college, starting a career and marriage filled my time. I restarted writing in 2005, but I never stopped yearning to tell stories.
You have a historical suspense novel, Stars in the Night, which just came out. What is the book about?
Stars in the Night is set in Hollywood in 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer’s sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her but instead must identify her body. Determined to bring the killer 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 in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister. Could the killer be the man with whom she’s falling in love?
Does the excitement over landing a new publishing contract ever go away? Tell us about your very first book deal.
No. Believe me with each contract I am so grateful to get to continue writing! Canteen Dreams is my first novel. When I attended my first ACFW conference in 2005, I wasn’t thinking World War II novels. I had a romantic suspense I was working on (that later became Deadly Exposure with Love Inspired Suspense). But I met an editor and we started talking about our mutual love for World War II. Turned out he had never heard of a canteen that serviced more than six million servicemen and women during the war. That became the historical hook. And then as I prayed about it wondering who the hero and heroine would be, I realized this was the perfect forum to share pieces of my grandparents’ story. I wrote the proposal and sent it in (breaking the rule about having a completed manuscript). Learned the editor was interested and wrote the book in three weeks. Then waited and waited and waited. At the 2006 ACFW conference, I learned why when JoAnne Simmons gave me the contract for Canteen Dreams in front of everyone. I will NEVER forget that feeling!
Which would you rather do: write an outline before writing a book, or write the book and let the story reveal itself as you go?
I tend to be an outliner. Three of my publishers have required that either by chapter-by-chapter synopsis or very detailed synopsizes. But for Stars in the Night, I only had a three-page summary. That made the story kind of exciting for me, too, as I learned exactly how it would come together as I wrote.
What books are currently on your to-read list?
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall
Almost Forever by Deborah Raney
The Confirmation by Ralph Reed
Can you share one of your most touching reader comments?
Great question! I love the comments I get from women who were alive during World War Two who say they can’t believe how young I am because I got the details and time period right. But there’s one letter I’ll never forget. A Promise Kept contains a subplot dealing with miscarriage. I’d experience one when I wrote it, and knew it was a story I was supposed to share. Many women have told me in tears how it affected them. But one woman wrote me such a long letter ministering to me and sharing how God had led her on a journey of healing after her miscarriage. That letter came the week of the due date for the second baby we lost to miscarriage. God is so good and His timing is perfect. I cherish that sweet letter.