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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trial By Fire review and giveaway...

I'm excited to have Cara Putman with me today. Cara is a dear friend who has been such a blessing to me with my own writing journey. It has been so fun to watch her grow as a writer and to see her shine.

Cara has had a whirlwind writing journey. She's written 9 books since 2005. Yes, I said 9. :) This month her second Love Inspired Suspense Trial by Fire releases.

Here's my review of the book and then a short interview with Cara follows. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book. :) I'll draw a name October 30.

Indiana writer Cara Putman has another new book out this month. Trial by Fire releases October 13 from the Love Inspired Suspense line. If you've read Cara's first book, Deadly Exposure, you might remember Caleb Jamison's sister, Tricia. Trial by Fire is Tricia's story.

However, one of my favorite things about this book is the continuation of Dani and Caleb's story. We don't just get a small little cameo from them like in most short series, they're a part of this storyline--in a smaller way, but still very much a part of the plot. I loved that.

The story starts with Tricia's mother's house targeted by an arsonist. Or rather her garage. Even though Tricia works as a county prosecutor, her brother, a police investigator, is sure someone is targeting him from a case he's worked.

Fireman Noah Brust thought he'd never have to see Tricia Jamison again. At least he hoped. After working with her on a trial the previous year, and subsequently having his father's reputation as a fireman ruined, he has no use for Tricia or any attorney for that matter.

Like most great characters, Tricia is hiding some serious hurts from her past. That and a few issues she runs into on her current case prosecuting a wife beating scumbag, makes the issue with the arsonist the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. She's unable to process everything and finds herself vulnerable.

Even though he'd like nothing more than to avoid Tricia, Noah finds himself a target of the arsonist. He realizes the two of them would do better working together on this case than against each other. While Noah still harbors some bitterness for the beautiful attorney, her vulnerability moves him more than he'd have thought.

I can honestly say this is Putman's best work. I loved the twisty turny plot that kept us guessing and the romance...well, he's a fireman. Need I say more? LOL. Seriously, this is a great quick, romantic suspense you can take with you anywhere.

Now a little about Cara's writing journey:

CARA: After God gave me permission to chase this dream in April 2005, I started writing seriously in June. I attended my first ACFW conference in September and had a wonderful time learning and meeting with agents and editors. Out of that conference, I had invitations to submit to a couple houses. That has resulted in my first four books. But that first contract came at the 2006 ACFW conference. That book, Canteen Dreams, released in October 2007. Last week I received author copies of my eighth book and the edits on my ninth book. I’m also waiting on contracts for books ten and eleven — from different publishers!

SABRINA: Wow, things happened pretty fast for you. However, we know it couldn't have been easy. You worked hard and had to be very disciplined to get as many books published as you've had. Still, from the outside looking in it seems to come very easy to you--what has been the most difficult part of your journey? Or maybe what might surprise those of us who stand in awe at your ability to produce books so fast. :)

CARA: What would surprise you the most right now is that I am struggling to get started on this next book. I came home from conference and spent 3+ weeks pretty sick. Now I’m under the gun, and it’s time to apply my tried and true techniques: 1) Get my rear-end on the chair and write; 2) Ask for help now before I am overwhelmed, and 3) start narrowing extra stuff out of my schedule. Sigh. I hate doing that last one.

SABRINA: How do you juggle all your obligations? Family, homeschooling, being an attorney, teaching, church, etc...

CARA: I’m not sure I’ve got this figured out yet. Right now, it means that I don’t get a lot of sleep — especially as I look at trade length deadlines on January 15 and March 1. I’m home primarily with the kids. I love that flexibility and ability to pour into my children. I teach an occasional class at Purdue, still work with some of my legal clients, and write. Most of the time I have the ability to squeeze these around my commitments with the children. And Eric and I squeeze in the occasional date night, too, though not nearly as often as we’d like.

SABRINA: I'm exhausted just thinking about it. LOL. Since this is your second Love Inspired Suspense is there anything in particular you've learned from the editors in regards to writing for this particular line? Or advice for writers targeting the LI line.

CARA: Here are the two things I have definitely learned about the line and romantic suspense from my editors: 1) make sure the romance is balanced 50-50 with the suspense. That’s been a tough one for me :-) and 2) get the suspense action started in the first chapter. The line is very focused on that right now. And they know what their readers like. Read a few of the great titles coming out from LIS and you’ll have a great idea of what they like.

SABRINA: Thanks for the advice, Cara. Can you share what's in store for you in the coming months and years as far as future projects?

CARA: I’m working on a series that ties my two loves together: World War Two and suspense. I also have a legal romantic suspense series under consideration at a house. I don’t know if that door will open, but I would love to write this series for them. I am also seeking God right now and asking Him what He has next for me. We were challenged at ACFW by Debbie Macomber to dream impossible dreams. And for someone who’s always dreamed big, it struck me how far I had moved from that. So I’m back to asking God what His dreams for me are, so I can line mine up with His.

SABRINA: Dreaming big is something I need to work on myself. Thanks so much for the advice and for sharing your story with us. I look forward to your new books.

Remember to leave a comment for a chance at a free copy of Trial by Fire. Drawing is the 28th.


Leslie said...

Hey Sabrina...thanks for stopping by my blog....I've been reading yours too....great info! I too am working on a book....christian suspense. I have to remind myself to find time to write! I love writing its just hard with being a single mom and working full-time. It might help if I stayed off facebook too ;) do you mind telling me more about your friend and her food allergies? Like, how did she know she was allergic? Was her weight gain due to the allergy? Or anything else you dont mind sharing! If so, please email me at Thanks a bunch!

Lisa Faye Harman said...

I just wanted to stop in and say that this was a great interview! I missed the drawing for the book but that's ok since I already bought it! LOL. A great read.