This week Cara Putnam is my guest. She is a familiar face to all of us in ACFW and has fans all over the country. Cara is just as delightful in person as she is in her interviews and in her picture. Welcome, Cara. Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life.
An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy. Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey.
Learning More About Cara
What was your inspiration for this story?
The idea came from a combination of watching a true crime show on TV that talked about a murder between neighbors. That became the teeny backdrop of the case that Alanna just finished. Then the Island itself was a huge inspiration. I’d been one time prior to going back to research and I knew it was magical. Then it was imagining how to wrap that into a story that would be compelling.
I love it when little nuggets we find in life become the springboard for a story.
I felt like I was really on the island and could picture how it looked. How much of the “real” Mackinac Island did you use in this story?
Martha! I’m so glad you felt transported there. I made the setting as real as I could. As far as I know, there are no actual cabins just like Alanna’s and Jonathan’s, but theirs are based on what you’d actually find on the island. But the downtown, the businesses to a large extent, and the feel of the island are as real as I could make them. I want readers to feel like they’ve taken a short vacation to Mackinac within the pages of my book.
You certainly accomplished that for me. One thing I’m curious about, why did you choose to be a writer rather than practice law?
I’ve always loved writing. As a teen, I first tried my hand at writing. Then life, college, marriage, law school, and kids intervened. But that deep desire never disappeared. In God’s timing, he opened the doors for me to pursue writing. Right now I do a tiny bit of legal work, but homeschooling my kids and writing are my primary focus. I feel blessed to have this time to work from home while my kids are so young.
With four children, you day is bound to be full. How do you find time for your writing?
I do most of my writing after the kids are in bed. If I’m on deadline, I’ll also hire a babysitter at least one afternoon a week if possible to get some work time before the midnight oil is a burning.
You’ve written a number of novels set during WW II and I loved them, but you’ve also written contemporary. Which is your favorite to write? A great question. There’s something absolutely magical and special to me about the World War II time period. It’s a generation and a time that I love to recreate. So I adore getting to tell those stories. At the same time I enjoy the contemporaries, especially when the story has a good mystery or overlay of suspense. But if I had to choose, I’d focus on World War II.
World War II is special because I grew up with the war. So many memories from that time are triggered by your books set then. When you find time to read, what type of books do you most enjoy reading?
I love a good historical that will introduce me to a new setting or time period. Otherwise, I want a romantic suspense or thriller that’s going to keep me guessing as I try to figure out who the bad guy is before the author reveals that key tidbit.
Oh, I love a good mystery or suspense thriller, too. With your large family, what type of activities do you most enjoy with them? Tell us a little about your family.I have four children ages 11 to 17 months. Since my oldest is on a competitive gymnastics team, we spend a lot of time at the gym. We also enjoy traveling to new places and exploring them together. We also love reading, playing games, riding bikes. We just enjoy being together.
Nothing like family being together to have fun and it sounds as if your family really has fun together.
If you were to cast this novel as a movie, who would play the major roles? Hmmm, I think I’d chose Reese Witherspoon for Alanna and Josh Lucas would place Jonathan Covington.
Good choices for both. What are two things that would surprise people to know about you?
Good question. I’m a cat person but have a dog because my husband is allergic to cats. And as a young person I wanted Jane Pauley’s job on Good Morning America. I thought that looked like such fun!
That’s the same reason I don’t have a cat, Cara. Have to take care of our husbands.
When readers pick up one of your books, what can they expect to find?
They can expect to read a story that is laced with hope. That no matter how crazy or dangerous life gets, God is always with us —even when we can’t see Him. The book will take readers to a place they can escape their lives for a bit—but filled with truth and hope that impacts their lives.
You’ve certainly accomplished that in your books that I have read.
What is in the works for you? I have several proposals out for consideration and am dreaming up that next idea in between talking about the books that release this year.
That’s good news. Keep those books coming. Thanks so much for having me, Martha! I really appreciate the chance to stop by. I’d love for your readers to come interact with me all over the web:
Attorney Alanna Stone vowed long ago to avoid Mackinac Island. Although it may seem the perfect place to heal, for Alanna it holds too many memories of a painful past.
But an exhausting high profile case and an urgent plea from her parents have brought Alanna home. Moving into the house next to Jonathan Covington doesn’t help her. Jonathan may have been her first love, but he was also her first lesson in betrayal. Now Alanna must protect her privacy and her heart. Then Secrets and a murder intersect, and she’s thrust into controversy again as tragedy turns public opinion against her and potentially her family.
For years, Jonathan has stubbornly resisted the urging of his family and friends to date, believing he’s already found the perfect woman. With Alanna’s return, he begins to wonder if he’s waited too long for someone who isn’t the right one after all.
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Mackinac Island is a wonderful vacation spot, what is your favorite spot or one you’d like to visit but haven’t had the opportunity as yet? Good luck.