Monday, April 09, 2012

A visit with Cara Putman and Mackinac Island

A visit with Cara Putman and Mackinac Island

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:
Now for the book:
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.
Now, for a chance to win a copy of this book, answer the following question and enter your name and email address. Don’t forget to tell others about the drawing too. We need at least 15 comments in order to send a free book.
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.


Lane Hill House said...

Aaaaahhhh.... Pick me, please!
Cana Island in Door County, WI, where the lighthouse is! Walk over at low tide.

scwatkins said...

Hi! I haven't been west past the Mississippi River very often. I think I would like to visit the Pacific Northwest. I hear Oregon and Washington are beautiful along the coast.

-Carrie Watkins

Book Like and Sinker said...

my favorite spot to vacation would probaly be the beach any where. I told my husband last year for our anniversary I would love to save money up and go to Mackinac island because what I read in book it seems amazing and slow pace and just my kind of place.

Wendy said...

I would love to go to Australia or New Zealand.

Janice said...

I enjoyed reading the interview and seeing that Cara followed her heart in deciding what her work priorities would be. Now many people can benefit from reading her books, and her children will benefit from the love of learning that seems to come about through homeschooling.

Please enter me in the contest to receive the book. I would enjoy the "armchair traveling" with a "free ticket to ride."

Blessings, Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I am from Northern Michigan. Grew up just 15 min south of Mackinac Island. I love the U.P. in the fall. But would love to go to Italy or Austrailia.
Thank you for the chance.

Cara Putman said...

Thanks for all the comments. I'd love to visit Australia or Italy and Door County sounds like a great getaway, too. Mackinac is magical. If you can get there, it's a great escape.

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Mackinac island is one of my favorite places. Can't wait to return this summer. Lived there for a summer n m from U.P. originally.

Unknown said...

I've visited Mackinac Island, years ago, and loved it. Favorite vacation spot in the US, right now, is Stowe Mountain Lodge at Stowe, Vermont. But favorite place in the world (other than our own little farm) is Paris. Been there once of a magical nine days and would move there tomorrow if I could figure out how to make a living there.

Loved the interview and hearing a little of the behind-the-scenes store of the book.

Jo said...

Great interview, Cara. Do I have to choose just one place that I want to go? I have been to Michigan one time but didn't have the opportunity to explore the lighthouses which we would have loved to do. Would also love to go to Alaska, Australia, Hawaii, and Spain.


Codependency Caring or Controlling said...

Saw and enjoyed reading about Mackinac Island. So that would be one place on my list, as well as a repeat visit to Israel. Blessing with your book and career.
Diane at

Michele Catlett said...

I have always wanted to go to Italty and Greece. It's so beautiful, but since I have two kid we'll probably end up in Florida at Disney long before that.

Unknown said...

Mackinac Island sounds like a delightful place! I'd love to visit New Zealand. Never heard a negative thing, but only about the amazing culture and physical beauty. My daughter moved there 2 years ago---yet another reason I "need" to go!

Unknown said...

oops...forgot email

Anonymous said...

I grew up going to Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls (Canada side) almost every summer. A dream trip of mine would be to take my husband and 3 kids to the places I loved as we now live in Georgia and Michigan is a looong drive from here :-). But, I also had a very short trip to New Zealand 20+ years ago, and would love to return and explore... then there's Paris...always wanted to go there...and Vancouver Island... there's just so many places to explore!!

Mary Jo Anderson said...

I'd like to visit the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area. I flew into Vegas once, just to change planes, & the landscape was breathtaking!

Mary Jo Anderson

Martha W. Rogers said...

I'm so happy to see so many visitors. I love all the places you've suggested for vacation sites. Mary Jo, I too want to visit the Grand Canyon and I'd love to go back to Switzerland and Austria.

Cara Putman said...

You guys have some great destinations in mind! Take me with you!

Ann Lee Miller said...

I've always wanted to visit Mackinac Island. Reading a book set there would be the next best thing!



Anonymous said...

Law student, eh? Started thinking about that future job yet? May I make a suggestion? Check out JD Match in between the papers and exams. I work with JD Match and it’s a great step for any law student looking for an AmLaw firm job and a little weight off their shoulders.

Brooke @ i blog 4 books said...

I think this sounds like a wonderful book and I loved the interview too!

I'm a fan of big cities and love visiting New York City, Boston, and Washington DC. There's always something to do and regardless of who I'm with it seems we can always find things that we both enjoy! I'm itching to find a new favorite spot and my husband and I are planning a trip up the west cost of the United States for some time in the future. (Hopefully sooner rather than later!)

Thanks again for the giveaway opportunity!

iblog4books at gmail dot com

Lane Hill House said...

Thank you so much!!!