Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Cara Putman

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Cara Putman. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks so much for having me. I see you have my favorite kind right there. Mind if I help myself to a truffle?

Absolutely! We aim to please.

I understand you have a new release out called Trial by Fire. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The blurb say it best. Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path? Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined.

Trial by Fire is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The working title was Deadly Judgment, but as my editor and I talked about it, we knew it needed something that reflected the book a bit better. She came up with Trial by Fire, which is perfect because the heroine is an attorney, trials play a role, and an arsonist is hunting her.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

This book is definitely romantic suspense. So readers who love a romance will enjoy it, but it also has a strong ticking clock, woman in jeopardy feel. It’s the kind of book I love to read.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Primarily the fact that I love reading in this genre. If I have a stack of books, all from authors I like, but one is suspense – that’s the book I’ll pick up first. I love the twists, turns, and pacing of well-written suspense.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The heroine is a strong supporting character in the first book, Deadly Exposure, and I knew she wanted her own story. Then I played with ways that her career as an attorney could place her in harm’s way – but in a manner she’d never anticipate.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

I generally know the outlines of a plot, generally know the hero, heroine, and the bad guy. Then as I write, new thoughts and twists develop. That’s what makes it such a fun process.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Each book requires research. For this one, I had to research the setting since I hadn’t been to some of the buildings in Lincoln, NE. I also had to investigate how arson is investigated. I found a NOVA video on a serial arsonist which was hugely helpful. Then I also found websites for the organizations that train fire investigators. I also interviewed a friend who is a fire investigator, and he was wonderfully helpful to make sure my research was accurate.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I like Noah, the hero. I already knew Tricia pretty well, but her story took a turn I hadn’t anticipated, and writing Noah’s response was such fun. It allowed him to reflect Christ’s love in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I develop my characters through a combination of what you mentioned above. I’ll start with a sheet, then move to interviews, then use a tool Jeff Gerke has developed. And as I research, what I learn will impact how the characters may respond. It’s a very organic and fluid process. Fortunately, there are great resources available to help push writers when their characters quit talking or get predictable.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Colleen Coble has been a fabulous mentor. Brandilyn Collins mentored me from a distance through her fabulous blog Forensics and Faith. These women work hard to improve with each book and keep me guessing. Exactly what I want to do with my writing.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Great question. I think appearing on blogs like yours helps because people who read your blog might not otherwise learn about my books. So thanks for your help spreading the word!

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m beginning a book that will release in July 2010 – I’m very excited because this series will marry my love for World War Two with my love of suspense! Hollywood, stars, and murder oh my!

Thanks, Cara!

To celebrate her book release, Cara is offering a free book of Trial by Fire to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at:



Anonymous said...

Oh I will have to go look for your newest book. I love the Love Inspired Suspense books. I have a shelf full of them and always on the lookout for them when I got to the book section at Wal-Marts. I'm in a little town so thats the only store I have ;-(

Anonymous said...

Good morning Cara. Thanks for joining us today. I love your cover. Harlequin does such a great job with them. So, I'm always curious, were there any scenes or characters you or your editor took out in the revision process? Enjoy your day and your chocolate. :)

Cara Putman said...

Thanks, read to review. It's supposed to hit store shelves October 9. Hope you enjoy it! And Kim, I have LOVED my Harlequin covers -- really all of my covers. We didn't take any characters out - a scene or two got cut -- all to tighten the suspense.

Michelle said...

Thank you for entering me! The book sounds great!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

CrystalGB said...

Hi Cara. Great interview. Trial By Fire sounds wonderful. Love the cover.

Robin Caroll said...

The book is AWESOME. And like Cara, I really loved Noah. However, Cara knows which character I REALLY want her to delve into. LOL

No need to enter me...I have the book, but wanted to come by and express how great the story is.

Cara Putman said...

Thanks, Robin -- and if i ever find time to finish that proposal Logan will get his book too. :-)

Estella said...

You are a new to me author.
Trial By Fire sounds like an excellent read.

kimmyl said...

Trial by Fire sounds great and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the contest and please enter me.

Anonymous said...

Oh this sounds great the more I have read on the interview. I am originally from Nebraska and lived in Lincoln for awhile.
I also am with the volunteer fire dept here in Tennessee where I live now. Now I know I need to find it to read.

Hugs and Blessings