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Interview with Cara Putman

Despite what she says, Cara is no ordinary wife, mother, and writer. No one who’s been to law school is. Yet once she starts talking writing and books and the things that matter to writers, readers, and those who love the Lord and family, one forgets that difference of a JD degree. So let us read what she has to say about her writing career and how it integrates into her life and see how someone can wear many hats and look well in all of them.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

For me, meeting Colleen Coble and joining ACFW were huge. Colleen has been a good friend and mentor, literally serving as the midwife to my first books as she encouraged me at each small milestone. And through ACFW I learned the hows of writing fiction, moving beyond what I instinctively knew to publishable work. I also met so many people who have helped me through critting, mentoring, etc. I’ve met most of my editors through ACFW, too.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Finding the time to be creative before it’s after nine p.m. Because I have young children (10 ½ to 5 months) and homeschool, the bulk of my daytime hours are dedicated to the kids and their activities. But as I kept getting contracts, my husband and I agreed that I needed help. As a result, when I’m under tight deadline, I often have someone come in – even a few hours a week – to watch the kids in the afternoon, so I can write during daylight hours.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith is integral to all I do, so it spills over into everything I write. Sometimes that means there is a character who is trying to come to faith. Most of the time it means there are characters who are Christians who are learning something about what it means to live the walk. Aren’t we all!

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
I received my first contract at the 2006 ACFW conference. It was such a kiss from heaven to land the contract in such a manner – it felt like God affirming I was right where He wanted me. The second greatest was when that book won short historical book of the year from ACFW in 2008. What made it so special was that my mom and sister were there, and I could publicly thank Mom for all the ways she’s poured into me.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I’ve long desired to write. I love the creative process, even when I’m under deadline and nothing seems to work! For my World War II books, the ideas usually spring from the setting. Once I know where I will write about, I research until I find the historical hook. The characters usually flow from that. For my contemporaries, I usually find an idea in a newspaper or magazine and build from that.

One thing that unites all my heroines is that they are on a journey that will require them to learn how strong they are.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
My commitment to recreating the era. The best praise I receive is when people who lived the events write to tell me I got it write. Most people can’t believe I’m in my 30s because I write the 1940s so well. But I’ve loved the music and movies of the 1930s and 1940s since I was a teenager, so it’s a natural extension of who I am. Even in my contemporaries, there are little references to that time. Let’s face it, it was very romantic and the country pulled in the same direction.

Any parting words?
Thanks so much for having me. Readers can read the first chapter of most of my books on my website: It’s a great way to see if you’ll like my books.

Thanks for sharing with us, Cara.

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