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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Spotlight on Cara Putman and Canteen Dreams - FIRST NOVEL!

Ok, so I never got around to announcing winners. That means FOUR of you will be announced today. So, check the past 4 Wednesday spotlights to see if you won!

Today's spotlight author is not only the ACFW Publicity Officer, and the original writer for character, Jake Tremaine, on Brandilyn Collins' Scenes and Beans Blog, but she's also a friend and fellow Barbour/Heartsong author. She received her first contract at the Dallas ACFW Conference in 2006, and we all rejoiced with her, sharing in her surprise and glee. Now, you can learn a little more about this bubbling dynamo.


Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. For years she asked God if this dream was from Him. Her life was full. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), moved to the Washington, DC area, married the man of her dreams, worked in the non-profit world, went to George Mason Law School at night while working, and then started having children. While her life was far from empty, the dream wouldn't die. Then she followed her husband to Indiana. Talk about starting over!

In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara's been writing books. Heartsong Presents is publishing a three book series of World War Two romances: Canteen Dreams (October 2007), Sandhill Dreams (May 2008), and Captive Dreams (September 2008). And she is thrilled that Love Inspired Suspense chose to publish her first romantic suspense, releasing in June 2008. Cara is also an attorney, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is.

By Cara Putman


1. This is your very first book! Congratulations! You've got a 3-book series set in Nebraska during World War II, the first taking place in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. What gave you the inspiration for this book?

The first idea came because of the way my hometown, North Platte, responded to the countless troop trains traveling through. North Platte is a Union Pacific hub to this day, and during the war 8 and more trains a day would run through town. Each train between December 25, 1941 and April 1946 was met by volunteers armed with coffee, food, and appreciation. Over time the offerings grew, and North Platte became a place the soldiers anticipated. I read Bob Greene's short book on the topic and wondered if Americans would ever band together again like they did back then. The story gets me so excited and passionate. Out of that sprang an interest for other World War Two stories set in Nebraska. Sandhill Dreams highlights the K-9 training that occurred at Fort Robinson during the war, and Captive Dreams will have one of the many POW camps that dotted Nebraska as the backdrop.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Audrey and Willard? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Audrey and Willard are loosely based on my mother's parents. I have been blessed to have a wonderful relationship with them and am absolutely thrilled that when this book releases they are both still alive. My grandfather was the only son of a farmer and so could not serve becuase of his essential occupation. He also played baseball. My grandmother taught -- but in a one-room schoolhouse. The opening scene is loosely based on how they met. My grandmother is not shy like Audrey, but the appearance is similar. I would love to highlight my other grandparents' story in another book, but haven't found the right one yet. He served for awhile at the Pentagon while my grandmother remained in Nebraska with their oldest son.

It was interesting as I wrote to watch the characters take on lives of their own -- even though they were based on people I love dearly. Characters have a way of doing that though!

3. What themes exist in Canteen Dreams that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Canteen Dreams is about the reality that we can lay down our lives for others in a multitude of ways. For example, Willard thought the only way he could serve was by joining the military. Audrey was desperate to find a way to participate in the effort. And the residents of the 125 towns in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado that supported the Canteen during the 5+ years it was open demonstrated laying down their lives by saving the best for the soldiers. So many food items were rationed, yet they saved the sugar, butter, etc, for the food and cakes for the soldiers. I would love to get to a place where I live my life like that.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Hmmm. This book was really easy to write. It sprang from my passion and was written in about three weeks. My favorite parts included the scenes at the Canteen and bringing details to life. The hardest was probably the scene where Willard fights with a soldier.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Sandhill Dreams releases in May 2008 followed by Deadly Expectations in June 2008 and Captive Dreams in September 2008. It's going to be a busy year! Sandhill Dreams is set in the beautiful, but remote, sandhills of northwestern Nebraska. Fort Robinson became one of a handful of locations that trained the dogs used during World War II. I also got to highlight some of the war games that were played there in preparation for D-Day. I was blessed to spend an entire day with the museum curator at Fort Robinson who literally opened his files to me and gave me tours of the K-9 facility and POW camp there.

* * * * *

Thank you, Cara, for being in the spotlight. Readers, leave a comment for your chance to be entered in the drawing for a FREE, autographed book. If you don't wish to be entered, say so when you post. This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting! Count me in please.

ChristyJan said...

Great interview. Congratulations to Cara on her first book! I'd love to be entered to win a copy of CANTEEN DREAMS.

Unknown said...

Please enter me for the drawing.

Cherie J said...

Sounds really good. Please enter me.

tetewa said...

Congrats on your first book!

Deborah said...

enter me please!

Pattie said...

Please enter me! Thanks! What a super interview.

Sarah/Robert said...

Great interview with one of my favorite bloggers! Please enter me in the drawing!

Colleen Coble said...

This is not the first you'll be hearing from Cara. She is going to be a force to reckon with in the publishing world!

Maude Lynn said...

Wow! I'd like to check this out!

Bebemiqui said...

I'd love to win.

HilLesha O'Nan said...

Great interview!

Alexia said...

I'm always on the lookout for new authors - please count me in!

Sue H. said...

This sounds like a wonderful book...please enter me into the drawing. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Please enter me.

Janna said...

Well, count me in for a book about North Platte, Ne!


Cara Putman said...

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone. I really hope you enjoy this book. It was an absolute joy to write. May they all be so easy!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

I'm a little late posting this one, but the winner of Cara's autographed book is:


Congratulations! Email me with your mailing address and how you would like the book signed, so Cara can get your book right out to you.

Everyone else, come back again this coming Wednesday, the 24th for a brand new spotlight and another chance to win.