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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CFBA Blog Tour - Cara Putman and Stars in the Night

Don't forget the rules of the spotlights here. A random question will be inserted in each spotlight for you to answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Stars in the Night
Summerside Press
by Cara Putman


CARA PUTMAN graduated from high school at sixteen, college at 20, and completed her law degree when she was 27. Her writing journey started in 2005 when she decided to write her first novel. Now she has eleven books published with more on the way.

From Cara: People say I've accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a home schooled kid when home schoolers were misunderstood and oddities.

I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife.

I often fear people won't like my books.

I've walked through the deep pain of miscarriage.

Really, I'm just like you – I don't have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I've discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover too.

In the end I'm just an ordinary mom who has seen God do some wonderful things as I've been obedient to step into the calling He's led me into.

Stars in the Night Background

Stars in the Night was an idea that had begun to percolate in my mind. I’d written two World War II series and was actively looking for my next setting. My husband, a huge World War II history buff, and I were kicking ideas around, and I’d decided Hollywood was probably the next place for me. I’d gone to the library and gotten a stack of research books when I got the call. An editor I knew but had never worked with wanted to know if I might be interested in a new line they were starting. As we talked, I got so excited. And then she emailed me their guidelines, which listed that Hollywood was a location they were interested in setting books.

Only God could have known ahead of time. But because I followed His prompting I was ready to run with an idea. Stars in the Night is the result.

by Cara Putman
Published by Summerside Press


Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her.

Any day Audra might have been flattered by the friendly overtures of Robert Garfield, a real-life movie star. But on the flight from Indianapolis to Hollywood, Audra can think of little else than finding her missing sister. When Audra arrives in the city of glitz and glamour, and stars, and learns her rising starlet sister has been murdered, all thoughts of romance fly away.

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?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Stars in the Night, go HERE.

CONTEST: Cara is having a great contest to celebrate the release of Stars in the Night. Entries accepted
through August 1st. Click over to her blog to see the prize packages (there are 11 and one includes a bunch of my favorite classic movies as well as all of her World War II novels): Launch Contest!

* * * * *


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I was working on the last book for my second World War II series for Heartsong Presents and beginning to think about where I might want to set a future series. My husband, who is as big a World War II fan as I am if not more, and I were brainstorming one night. Since I’d done two series set in the Midwest, I kind of wanted to branch out, and I’ve long had a love of classic movies. As Eric and I were talking, we hit on the idea of Hollywood during World War II.

There were so many different roles that the stars played during the war. Canteens. USO tours. Active service. 4-Fed. The plot options and historical details seemed endless. Then as I researched I stumbled on the original Hollywood Victory Caravan. My imagination kicked into overdrive. What if I created a second Victory Caravan? What if a killer followed someone on to the train? What if people died and you were trapped on the train with a killer? And what if romance blossomed in the midst of the suspense? I got pretty pumped very quickly.

Then I got a call from the woman who became my editor at Summerside. She wondered if I might be interested in writing historical romantic suspense for them. And as God works, one of the settings they were interested in was Hollywood. It was perfect timing and a great fit.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Audra, the heroine, is an attorney trying to actually be able to practice law in 1942 Indiana. So there were definite aspects of my experience with law school and as an attorney that played into it. But I’ve never lost a sibling and I’ve never had to outsmart a killer.

Robert, the hero, is a Hollywood actor who’s star is on the rise. But he’s had his heart broken by following the studio system of Hollywood. Now, in 1942 that divorce has made him questionable husband material. And Audra wonders if he could really be interested in her when he’s surrounded by starlets. But he is a genuinely good guy trying to move past his mistakes. I’d like to think that’s me, too, though I’ve never been divorced.

3. If your hero and/or heroine was an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Tiff, what a fun question! Audra would be something like an orange or raspberry sorbet. Refreshing, a bit offbeat, but still not terribly flashy. Robert would be a rich deep chocolate that matches his eyes. :)

4. What themes exist in Stars in the Night that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as your story unfolded?

When I started Stars in the Night I knew that grief would have some role. But I thought it would be minor. But as I wrote I discovered that Audra had to deal with the grief and find she was stronger than she thought. She should have known it since she tackled a very non-traditional career choice, but I think that’s often how we live. We often live in fear of a certain thing or event. “God, I can endure anything, but don’t make me experience XX.” Beth Moore talks about this in one of her videos with the Esther series. And it really struck me. If we’ll let Him, God wants to walk us through that most-horrible what-if scenario, walk us all the way to the end of the road and let us discover if whatever that is really will kill us or be the end of us. Often, I think if we’ll allow ourselves to be led through all the what-ifs to the end, we’ll find it may not be fun, it may not be our first choice, but if we truly trust God we will fall on Him and He will put us back together. It’s certainly held true for me. And that’s a bit of what Audra experiences.

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

The hardest scene to write was one that I didn’t originally plan. But as first readers read the book, they pointed out a scene I’d skipped. I didn’t want to travel with Audra to the full depth of her grief over her sister. But there’s one scene on the train where the hero helps her admit her grief and holds her. I’m not a crier, but boy did that scene get me. And don’t worry – grief really doesn’t dominate the story!

My favorite scenes to write involved the Hollywood Victory Caravan shows themselves. Creating the stars who took part on the tour and then watching their personalities and styles develop as they whirled on and off the stage was such fun. Let me tell you, there are some real characters on that tour!

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

My next book is book four in Guideposts next mystery series. I’m one of six authors writing the series and it’s a contemporary set in the Berkshire area of Massachusetts. It releases in September, and I’m currently writing book ten in that series which will release in spring 2011.

Drawing Entry Bonus Question from Cara: I absolutely love classic Hollywood, so what's your favorite classic movie? I'll play along and answer this too.

My favorite classic series is the six movie Thin Man series. We’ve even got our kids hooked on them now. They’ve got a fun slapstick element as Nick and Nora set out to solve various murders. I love the chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy. And I marvel that the first movie was filmed in about two weeks’ time.

My favorite romance is either It Happened One Night or You Can’t Take It with You. It Happened One Night is a romantic comedy with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert that lands on a lot of best movies of all times lists. And there’s nothing like when the wall of Jericho comes down at the end. You Can’t Take It with You is a delightful Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur romance that is overflowing with a rich supporting cast of eccentric characters and such strong Christian themes. I love that movie.

I’d love to know your favorite classic movies since I’m starting to review the great classics on my blog.

* * * * *

Thanks so much, Cara, for being in the spotlight.

NEW!! Readers, answer the bonus question related to the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE copy of Stars in the Night. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Merry said...

I loved hearing about Cara brainstorming with her husband and coming up with a great story. One of my favorite classic movies is The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katerine Hepburn.

Carole said...

I was already eager to read Stars in the Night, and this interview makes it really come alive.

My family enjoys Hollywood classics and three of my favorites are A Man Called Peter (from the book by Catherine Marshall), Shenandoah (Jimmy Stewart) and To Kill a Mockingbird.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

misskallie2000 said...

I don't know if this is considered a classic or not but I loved "Pillow Talk" with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. The banter back and forth and the clean romance beweeen them made for a great love story. Great supporting cast. I love comedy in movies and books I am reading.

For musicals I loved "Singing In the Rain". Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly were awesome and the supporting cast were great. I love music and use to dance so I am partial to musicals. There were so many great movies back then.

Cara, I think it is great when an author can brain storm with her spouse and get ideas for story lines or even new books.

Thanks for this opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous favourite classic movie is 'gone w/ the wind'

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cara Putman said...

Thanks for stopping by guys. I haven't seen Pillow talk, but have seen all the others. Think I need to check out that one with Doris Day and Rock Hudson!

Michelle said...

I love classic movies! I love anything with Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra! But if I had to pick just one classic, it would be Gone With the Wind.

I enjoyed the interview, Tiff and Cara! Thank you for entering me. I'm really looking forward to reading this book!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so Cara can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.