Monday, November 19, 2007

Interview with Cara Putman

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.19.2007

Today, I have an interview with my friend Cara Putman about her debut historical romance novel, Canteen Dreams!

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Audrey Stone wants to help in the war effort. But what’s a young schoolteacher from Nebraska to do? When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey finds her place. She spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. Despite her busyness, Audrey does allow some time to get to know a handsome rancher.

Willard Johnson worries about his brother who joined the navy to get off the ranch and see the world. When Willard’s worst fear is confirmed, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. But will his budding relationship with Audrey survive the war? Or will one of the many soldiers at the canteen steal her away from him? Can two such determined people find their place in the war and with each other?

And now, here’s me and Cara!

Tell us an interesting story about how you came up with the characters or story for Canteen Dreams.

Canteen Dreams grew out of hosting a workshop for Jim and Tracie Peterson at the ACFW conference in 2005. I’d said I would never write for Heartsong. Famous last words! Then Jim and I started talking while we waited for the workshop to start. He’s from Kansas. I’m from Nebraska. He was a history major. I minored in history. And we both loved World War Two. I asked Jim if he’d ever heard of the North Platte Canteen. He hadn’t.

Over the next 24 hours, God dropped ideas in my mind about how to turn that into a great story. The love story is loosely based on my grandparents story, and I am so honored to be able to honor them while they are still alive.

What's your favorite scene from Canteen Dreams?

My favorite scene is actually at the end where Willard and Audrey get engaged. Their story has come full circle, and I hope that the reader can see how God redeems even the circumstances in our lives that we think are hopeless or wasted.

If your heroine were a dinner appetizer, what would she be and why?

Now, this is a fun question! Hmmm. They go to a local café several times and the Tom-Tom Tearoom. But I think Audrey would say she’s more of a dessert. Apple pie: warm, sweet, and a touch of home. Rationing hadn’t started quite yet, but people were definitely aware of the needs of others and quickly developing an attitude of saving their best for the servicemen. And Audrey worked hard to bring the best to the Canteen for the soldiers who went through North Platte.

Some readers might already know, you're a brilliant attorney as well as fabulous novelist. Are you going to combine the two at some point?

Shhh. I’m actually working on some exciting proposals right now. One series is set in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. If this proposal goes like I expect, it will be a phenomenally exciting prospect. The main character is a spirited attorney who practices primarily in family law with a passion for helping battered women.

The other series is set in a fictional Cherry Hill, Indiana. This one will start with a touch of political suspense before becoming solidly legal suspense. Cherry Hill is an incredibly quirky town, and I can’t wait to start writing about it. The heroine runs to Cherry Hill after spending several years lobbying in Washington, DC. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a shock to find herself in Cherry Hill and in a courtroom. Publisher interest is high, so we will see what God has in store. It’s been an amazing journey so far.

Finish this sentence: Writing a novel is ...

a wonderful mix of creative joy, beating your head against a wall in frustration, and carefully crafting a world with characters that readers care about, a setting that is fun and interesting, and a plot that turns those pages until way too early in the morning.

If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Orange sherbert. Lite, refreshing, with just a little bite!

What was your favorite birthday/Christmas present?

Wow. This is another great question. I love presents. Any kind. But my favorite present? Camy, do you know how many birthdays I’ve had? :) Several years ago, my husband gave me a beautiful ring for Christmas. I loved it and still do! But I love any gift that has thought behind it. Hmm, maybe getting gifts is one of my love languages.

You're off the hotseat! Any parting words?

Thanks so much for having me, Camy. You are a delight! Even with the quirky questions. :) And I truly hope that readers are entertained by my books, whether being swept back in time to wartime Nebraska or into a romantic suspense. Happy reading!

And please stop by my website and blog for more on my books and what I’m reading.

Camy here: Thanks for being here, Cara!