Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Jill Savage is Kristie D! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week is Cara Putman is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Cara’s latest book, Ohio Brides or Stars in the Night, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Thanks for having me, Suzanne. I’m married and a mom to four kids ranging from 10 years old to six weeks. Life is full and very interesting since I homeschool the kids and our oldest is on a competitive gymnastics team. We spend a lot of time at the gym most weeks. We’re also very involved in our church where I currently lead a Bible study for the tween girls – such a fun age group. Then there’s the homeschool co-op, writing, ACFW, supporting my husband in his job, you get the idea.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

Most of my books have been set during World War II on the homefront, though I’ve also written romantic suspense and contemporary mysteries. My favorite book has to be the Stars in the Night, which allowed me to marry World War II with romantic suspense. It was also set in Hollywood, so had lots of glamour and glitz. A blast to write. I’ve currently submitted a proposal for a World War II series that is set in Europe with a twist and am working on more homefront stories.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author? 

I’ve always wanted to write. I even started a couple novels as a homeschooled teen, but I’d always hit a point –usually with the research – where I didn’t know how to proceed. Then I started college, got married, started a career, went to law school, had our first child, you get the idea! But the dream never died. Periodically, it would come back to life, I’d talk and pray about it, and then set it back to the side.

In April 2005 I attended a book signing and met Colleen Coble. My husband told her I’d always wanted to write and the rest is history. I joined ACFW and attended my first writers’ conference in September 2005. Canteen Dreams, my first novel, grew out of hosting a workshop for Jim and Tracie Peterson at that conference. 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 grandparent’s story, and I am so honored to be able to honor them while they are still alive.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

After meeting Colleen, I started writing seriously in the summer of 2005. A year later I received the contract for Canteen Dreams, my first contract, at the 2006 ACFW conference. Since then I’ve written eleven books with one repackage with another, Ohio Brides, releasing in February. This journey is fully in God’s hands, a wonderful place.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I don’t focus on days as much as I do on words. When I have a deadline, I look at the calendar and decide how much time I have until the deadline, then I decide how many days I can realistically write. For Stars in the Night, I signed the contract in November and the book was due February 1. So I had to realistically look at the time, account for two major holidays, and decide what I could really write. Then with the help of a babysitter or two, Panera, and my husband, I buckled down and wrote 2500-3000 words most days for that two months. The result was a book I love.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
My biggest help has been a great mentor in Colleen Coble, some amazing writing friends who read for me, brainstorm with me and encourage me including Tricia Goyer, Sabrina Butcher, Crystal Miller, and Gina Conroy, and ACFW. I have learned so much through attending the ACFW conferences and have met my editors there. It’s a great way to learn and make the connections that build a career.

What are your biggest distractions?

My biggest distraction is being a mom. It’s a wonderful distraction and I love that writing allows me to homeschool them. But four little ones can demand a lot of time and energy. I love it though!

What is the role and importance of an agent?
I’m an attorney, so I don’t need my agent so much for the contract negotiations. But I rely on Karen Solem

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Your readers can find me at my website: http://www.caraputman.com and my blog which is on my website. I’m also on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraputman and twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_putman.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thanks so much for having me!

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