Welcome Author Cara Putman

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Last week, Belle Monday Lisa Wingate introduced us to a writer’s blog tour and invited me to join in the fun this week. So, I thought it would be fun to showcase someone many of you may not know, a writer friend I met at one of my very first writers’ conferences in 2006. Cara Putman and I both sat at a table, wide-eyed and filled with enthusiasm for learning the craft of writing fiction and for making contacts in the publishing industry. We quickly learned how much we had in common, most notably that we both worked in the legal field (Cara is an attorney and at the time I was still working full-time as a trial paralegal and legal investigator).

Over the next couple of years, I watched as Cara’s career as a novelist took off, with her first book Canteen Dreams debuting in 2008. Cara delighted readers with several more books in the following years. Her most recent, Shadowed by Grace has garnered rave reader reviews that include words like breathless, beautiful, captivating, fascinating, unforgettable, and passionate. This week Shadowed by Grace hit the coveted #1 on Amazon Kindle Sales, showing even more how much her readers are loving this story!

So, here’s how the blog roll works. Both Cara and I will take turns answering the blog questions and then we thought it would be fun to do a book give-away. Here we go . . .

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

KELLIE:   I’m currently contracted to write the Texas Gold collection, four contemporary women’s fiction stories all set in metropolitan cities of Texas. The first, A Woman of Fortune, just released and tells the story of a Dallas socialite who loses her lavish lifestyle when her husband is arrested for commodities fraud. This one has sparked some lively discussions in books clubs as readers ponder what they would do if faced with this kind of betrayal by a man they loved. In my upcoming February release, Where Rivers Part, Dr. Juliet Ryan devotes her scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions–and affording her plenty of perks along the way. Then, without warning, a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal. Later in October, the one I’m working on now will release. The still untitled story is a tale of a broken marriage that gets rekindled (with a strong romantic line that is really challenging me!) The fourth will come out in 2016 and will be set in Austin.

CARA:  I’m currently working on page proofs for my novella in Where Treetops Glisten. It’s a WWII Christmas novella collection that Tricia Goyer, Sarah Sundin and I wrote together. I’m so excited about this book that releases in September. I’m also dreaming up a legal suspense idea. It’s been fun and quite a change from the WWII books.

 

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

KELLIE:  If you are a huge fan of the popular television shows, Parenthood and The Good Wife, then you’ll love the Texas Gold collection! I spent nearly twenty-five years working in courtrooms and behind the scenes of some of the largest and most well-known cases in America. I was one of the lead paralegals in the Jack-in-the-Box litigation, where uncooked hamburger resulted in the deaths of several toddlers and made many more critically ill. In the late nineties, I investigated the nation’s largest cattle fraud, which is now the subplot of my recently released A WOMAN OF FORTUNE.  My books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into my former legal world.

ShadowedbyGrace_CVR1-197x300CARA:  For my WWII Historicals, my work differs because I love to find the unexplored stories. That means I stay away from known events and battles and instead focus on either what happened on the home front or a story of a group of people like the Monuments Men. Usually I stumble on some event or activity and the rest of the story builds around it. That’s what happened with Shadowed by Grace, a story of Monuments Men. I discovered their role in WWII, and then backed it up to Italy where they were first involved. Add in a heroine who was a photojournalist right behind the frontlines and a mystery to solve, and it was a fun book to write.

 

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

KELLIE:  I am meant to write stories for women that focus on relationships, and the deep places in life. People have many layers, and never more than in family dynamics and hard times. I’m intrigued with the coping mechanisms we employ to fill our empty places—that space inside of us designed to be inhabited by God. These are the stories of my heart.

CARA:  I write what I do because I love to tell stories. I love to delve deeper into the question of where is God in life. How can I find Him when life looks bleak or uncertain. I write WWII novels because I want to honor the men and women of the Greatest Generation and their all encompassing roles in WWII. They are often unsung heroes and think they did nothing out of the ordinary. Attending a reunion in 2010 with a group of them was awe-inspiring because they were so humble and down to earth. Yet they freed concentration camps, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, lived heroism. I want to capture that and transmit it to a new generation through the lens of story.

 

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

KELLIE:  My ideas are often sparked by a story on the news, or from a former legal case. Each have an electronic file on my computer, kept in a popular writer’s software program called Scrivener. As time progresses, I throw thoughts and notes into those files and when a particular file has grown in size, I know that idea is likely one to carry a novel. When it’s time to work on a new story, I choose from the candidates in my files. From there, I build character worksheets, I gather maps, photos and travel information on the city where the novel will be set. I also travel to that city and gather more information and get a “feel” for where my characters live, work and encounter the issues of life. Next, I prepare a very basic outline of the plot that includes what their general world is, what interrupts the general world, and several plot points that will force a change in my main character so that she’s different at the end of the story than where she started. Usually, going through that process helps me identify the novel’s theme and what I want to say with the story.  As I work through the writing process, and chapters start stacking up, the story often deviates from the original plan along the way. I discover new things about my characters, and encounter the unfolding story through their eyes. Sometimes I’m surprised to find the theme actually changes from what I anticipated, but that’s what makes the writing so fun for me.  Because I am now a career novelist with a contract and looming deadlines, I write nearly every day. Most days, I start by nine and finish up around three o’clock in the afternoon, with a short break for lunch. That doesn’t include research trips and the weeks I spend in marketing activities around the launch of a book. And I spend about an hour in the morning and evening connecting with readers on social media sites, which is one of the best parts of this job!

CARA:  My writing process is ever-changing. I write around life. Most often that’s in the wee hours of the evening and morning. Other times, it’s camped at my local Panera for several hours. But I write and create because I love the process. I love creating characters, dreaming up their story, understanding why they are the way they are and more. There are days it is hard work, but I love the end result.

Thank you for joining us, Cara!  Even though we’ve been acquainted for years, I learned many new things about you and your books. And, I was so tickled to introduce you to the Southern Belle View followers.

You can learn more about Cara and check out all her books at her website:  www.caraputman.com

To follow the blog tour and learn the gritty details of more behind-the-scenes writer-lives, visit Lisa Wingate’s post last week or time travel writer Lynne Gentry’s blog post next Monday. Cara Putman will be hosting an author as well….so watch her blog site!

Writer Girls Blog Tour Giveaway!

In celebration of the blog tour, we’re giving away signed copies of A Woman of Fortune and Shadow of Grace, two stories that will capture your heart. To enter, leave a comment answering the question of the day. We’ll announce a winner back here in the comments on Tuesday morning at eight o’clock am!

Question of the day: Cara likes to write about unsung heroes. Tell us – who is your unsung hero?

 

DON’T FORGET TO BUY YOUR COPY OF THESE RECENT BELLE RELEASES:

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A former legal investigator and trial paralegal, Kellie Coates Gilbert writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Her books tell emotionally poignant stories about woman in life-changing circumstances. Her next release, A WOMAN OF FORTUNE, will be available this June.

Latest posts by Kellie Coates Gilbert (see all)

Comments

  1. Becky Terry says

    My father just recently passed away….and at the memorial service we revisited his WWII contribution. He participated in D-Day (-17) and the Battle of the Bulge. Was awarded the Bronze Star and France’s Medal of Honor. As an ambulance driver/medic, perhaps he helped to save lives. He was my Dad ~ but also a hero!

  2. says

    My unsung hero is my best friend, Misty Adams, who is a cancer survivor with six years of remission under her belt! She is the bravest, kindest person I know, and my role model in addition to my friend. I’m blessed to have her in my life. Nice to meet you, Cara! Best wishes on all your work!

  3. Lisa Wingate says

    Hi Cara! Welcome to the porch! This blog tour has been great fun.

    My unsung hero is my first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, who made a writer out of me. Teachers speak destiny into their students, whether they realize it or not. They create the dreams that create the dreamers. She made a dreamer out of me when she could have just let me coast along under the radar, a quiet well-behaved kid who wasn’t a “problem.” Instead, she took time to notice what I loved and what was special in me, as she did with all of her students.

    I am forever thankful for that ;)

  4. says

    It’s been nice having you at our place today, Cara! And Kellie, thx for inviting your friend to sit a spell and chat with us. I enjoyed the conversation. :)

  5. Lisa says

    I am so excited to “get to know” Cara!! Her books look wonderful and I can hardly wait to get them.
    My unsung hero is my Sweet Daddy. He passed away in March 2013 of lung cancer. Bless his heart, he never complained, he never gave up hope and he gave God all the glory for every good thing.
    Sweet Daddy served as a volunteer in the local rescue squad for over 45 years (in addition to raising a family and holding down a full-time job). He was just an amazing man with a heart of gold for serving his fellow man. He is/was/always will be my hero.

  6. Mary Hart says

    I think my unsung hero would be my Aunt Florence. She has always been there when we -or anyone else-needed help -or prayful advice. Even after an early stroke, and then a heart attack, she just kept on, always helping other people. She was also a much loved Sunday school teacher & and affected many young lives!

  7. Susan Roberts says

    Its great ti meet Cara, I enjoyed reading about her writing process and her upcoming book.
    My unsung hero is my Mom. She went to nurses training in the 1940s and still has her nursing license at 89 even though she no longer works. She was one of the few working moms in our neighborhood when we were growing up and raised three strong women who followed her example.. Her body is growing weak as she gets older but her mind is still very strong and she continues to read and be very involved in the life of her family.

    • says

      Susan, I would love to hear your mother’s stories about her training. How fun that she is still fully licensed. Sounds like she found the perfect career!

  8. Melanie Backus says

    My daddy will be 86 years old in October. He was a great athlete in high school, he served his country in the army, he always worked very hard in the job he retired from. He faced cancer surgery without a blink, and above all he has always put the good Lord first in his life. He and my mother celebrated their 61st anniversary this past March. My daddy still plays golf Monday through Friday. He is a remarkable man and definitely my unsung hero.

    Thank you, Cara for what you do…..great authors write great books!

  9. Miriam Lozano says

    I love historical novels, specially those around the time of WWII. They help remind me that our freedoms were gained with a very heavy price and many have given their lives for us to be able to live in this marvelous country.

    My father is my unsung hero! Born and raised in Cuba. He was the first born of 8 children. His mother died when they were all young and then his father died tragically in a train accident when his siblings were teenagers. At that point he became the patriarch, responsible for the care of his brothers and sisters. He married my mom at the age of 26 and by the time he was 30 years old, had the responsibility of caring for 2 biological children as well. It was a tumultuous time in Cuba with Castro’s revolution in full force and he knew that communism was coming to his beloved country. He would not stand by and allow his children to fall into the hands of tyrants, so he set about to find a way to get us out of the country before it was too late. Sacrificing everything, he left his brothers and sisters with the promise that he would get them out as soon as he could, he found visas for us and brought us to America. He changed his entire way of life, his culture and the only language he knew to make sure we would be raised in freedom and then he set about to make enough money to get his family out as well.

    We left Cuba in 1962 and by 1966 he had scrimped and saved every penny he made so he could bring his brothers and sisters to the US as well; everyone was back in the nest safe and secure, all except one brother that was turned in to the communist authorities by his wife and became a political prisoner for 20 years.

    My Dad is my unsung hero because he loved us enough to make sure we were free; free to speak our mind, practice whatever religion we wanted, work hard and have a career that was not forced upon us. That is how he taught us to honor and respect the men and women of the US armed services and to love the country that took us in, when ours fell apart.

  10. Lori Weller says

    I would have to say my mom is my hero. I had an abusive husband who I finally was able to get away from. I tried to make it alone with three small children. I just couldn’t manage the bills and work and daycare. My mom fought my dad to allow my children and I to move back home. My dad was old school in that he believed I had made my bed and should lie in it!. It was still a struggle between my dad and me and the children but we managed. Mom was the peacekeeper. i just seen my youngest graduate from college. It was well worth the struggle!

  11. Jackie Smith says

    My hero would be my Mom….now deceased. She had great health and worked in her hair salon until she was 87! She loved her work, and many of her clients were elderly and she picked them for their appointments. Also, if they were unable to pay…she just styled their hair at no charge.
    Would love to win the books!
    Thanks!

  12. says

    Cara welcome can’t wait to read your books!
    My dad is my unsung hero. He has been taking care of my mom for 7 years. She suffered a major stroke which left her paralyzed on her right side. He has been with her through rehab and has never left her side. He cooked, cleaned, bathed her, cleaned her up, fed her and took her to all her doc appointments. Trust me that wheelchair is heavy. He needed a stent put in and open heart surgery at first refused because he worried who was going to take care of mom. But we talked him into it and he had stent surgery followed by quadruple by pass. It’s been a long road this year for him. Today I took him to his first cardio rehab he did great. He and mom are now living in a retirement home where she gets full care. He turned 83 in June. Mom turned 82 in May. My dad is a blessing. He us my hero. A true gentleman.

  13. Tina says

    My unsung hero is my daughter Katie. (my firstborn) She inspires me everyday with her holiness. Many moms are role models for their children, but she is actually mine. She has been a shining light for me from the moment I conceived her in my womb. So blessed to call her my child.

    Blessings,

    Tina

  14. Sharon says

    I have to say my mom… She pretty much was a single mom (altho married) of 6 kids in the 50′s and 60′s… she did an awesome job!! She is 83 and my best friend!

  15. Kelly says

    I love reading about your legal backgrounds! I worked in the legal field as well. My unsung hero is my grandfather who always encouraged me in my education. He worked so hard as a young man to put himself through school and that always encouraged me to work that hard as well!

  16. Maxie Anderson says

    Hello Ladies. I really enjoyed the reviews with each of you. Very interesting background. I would name my daddy as Hero 31. Te married my mom when she was only 15 and they raised 8 children to first know GOD as their Savior and all that we needed to become good parents and good honest responsible citizens. They married in 1921 and he had to work and struggle to make a living but did it with a good spirit. They made it through the Depression and I was born in OK. in the Dust bowl days. Quilts over the windows and mom said they still thought they might lose me from that dust. We were taught to work and help out at home. He was a wonderfu Christian and example to follow. Of course my mother was also a hero to me for struggling thru those years of barely having enough and raising us 8 kids. She was a gentle woman and also taught us much by her example. I was very blessed in their lives by my heavenly Father. I would love to win these books. I have been trying for awhile to win Shadows of Grace. Maybe this will be my time. GOD bless you both. Keep writing these good books. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com

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