What a pleasure to welcome back Cara Putman! Her latest novel, Sandhill Dreams is the second of her World War II series for Heartsong Presents. Let’s hear from Cara!
Cara describes herself as “an attorney, wife, mom, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband, and my kids, that is.” In her "spare" time she serves as publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers (www.acfw.com) and adviser to the Indiana chapter.
JA: Your latest book is Sandhill Dreams from Heartsong Presents. Please tell us about it.
CP: Here’s the blurb:
With her dreams shattered, will Lainie Gardner allow God and a soldier at Fort Robinson to breathe life into new dreams that will bring her more joy than she imagined?
Lainie Gardner dreamed of becoming a nurse. Of serving her country. Of doing something important in the war. But rheumatic fever changed all that, and instead of running home, Lainie is determined to find a job at Fort Robinson in Nebraska’s sandhills.
Tom Hamilton had dreams, too. Dreams of preparing the horses at Fort Robinson for duty on the warfront. Instead, he is assigned to train war dogs and their handlers, meaning that each day he must face the fear he’s had of dogs since he was bitten as a child.
Lainie and Tom wonder why God seems to have denied them their dreams. But is it possible new dreams will bring them more joy than they ever imagined?
JA: Lainie and Tom both have to deal with disappointment and questioning God after their dreams don’t come to fruition. What would you tell someone facing that kind of discouragement?
CP: It sounds trite, but I’ve learned it’s true. God doesn’t close a door without opening another. His plan is so much better than ours, and if we can hang on, we’ll soon see that’s true in our lives.
JA: You were able to visit the real Fort Robinson. How was that experience?
CP: It was awesome. I’d been once as a young teen, but when I went back last spring, I got to spend the day with the museum’s curator. I’d hoped to take an hour of his time. Instead, he spent the day with me, opened his files of records and veteran interviews to me, and walked me around the site of the war dog training camp and the prisoner of war camp. It really made the days during the war come alive. And thanks to his book on that time in the history of the Fort, I was able to incorporate all kinds of details to make the novel accurate. In fact, I got some plot ideas from his book and our conversation.
JA: What do you hope people take away after reading Sandhill Dreams?
CP: That God never loses sight of us. Even when we feel like He has abandoned us and our dreams lie in ashes at our feet, He still sees us and calls us by name. And we can take comfort in that!
JA: Your first book in the series, Canteen Dreams was set in North Platte, Nebraska, where you lived. Can you tell us about the genesis of the story?
CP: Canteen Dreams started because of three things. After meeting Jim Peterson, then acquisitions editor for Heartsong Presents, I knew they still needed Nebraska stories and he was open to World War Two. If I was going to propose some ideas, I wanted it to be different from the more traditional prairie story. As I thought about it, I knew I wanted to honor my grandparents and their generation, while my grandparents are still alive. I also love the story of the North Platte Canteen and the role the town of North Platte played during the war. Put the three together, and Canteen Dreams was born.
JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
CP: This summer I’m writing the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law and the first book in an Ohio World War Two series. I’m also working on ideas for legal thrillers and waiting to hear if the follow-up to my first romantic suspense, Deadly Exposure, is going to be contracted.
JA: On top of everything else you do, you’re also the publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers. What would you like people to know about that group?
CP: If you are interested in writing or actively engaged in writing Christian fiction, then this group is for you. We exist to encourage, train, and develop writers. Our national conference is the only one that focuses exclusively on Christian fiction and is a great way to learn about the craft of writing and meet editors and agents. I wouldn’t have the contracts or have learned the craft I have without joining ACFW and attending the conference.
JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
CP: There are two ways. Visit my website: www.caraputman.com. I’m constantly adding information about events, reviews of books, etc., to the site. And I update my blog Monday through Friday: http://carasmusings.blogspot.com. You can come there to learn more about me, what I’m writing, books I’m reading, etc.
Thanks for stopping by again, Cara. May God continue to bless you in your writing journey!
After meeting Cara at the ACFW conference last September, I was quite anxious to read on of her books. Sandhill Dreams definitely lived up to my expectations!
Lainie Gardner is a young women with big dreams. Tom Hamilton had a purpose, a plan for his life. Neither Lainie or Tom expected their lives to go in a different direction, leaving them both wondering why God would do such a thing. This is such a universal theme and Putman handles it well. In Lainie and Tom she’s created interesting, sympathetic characters that grab the reader and carry them on to the end.
Although this is the second book in a series, it stands alone just fine. You’ll enjoy it, even if you haven’t read Canteen Dreams, but you’ll probably want to go get the first book when you’re done!
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Sandhill Dreams just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on June 9th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!