Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m an honors graduate of University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School and an attorney licensed in Virginia and Indiana. After law school I clerked for the Honorable Loren Smith at the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. before following my husband to Indiana.
In 2005 I attended a book signing at a local Christian bookstore. At the book signing my husband told Colleen Coble that I wanted to be writer. I’ve been running ever since to keep up. Barbour’s Heartsong Presents has released five of my books, including Canteen Dreams, a WWII historical set in Nebraska that won the 2008 ACFW Book of the Year for Short Historical. I also write romantic suspense for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law.
I am an attorney, wife, mom to three, homeschool teacher, occasional professor at Purdue, women’s ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband and my kids that is.
What is your writing day like?
My writing day is very kid focused during the day. Then as we wind into the afternoon, I may work on a small project or two, but the bulk of my writing is done in the evening after the kids are in bed or one or two afternoons a week when I have a babysitter come play with the kids.
How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its)
I create a pretty detailed 5-8 page synopsis. I’ll also create detailed character charts for the hero and heroine. I may do the same for the antagonist as well. Then I research the details I know I’ll need and pull it together. It’s not quite Susan Meissner’s pre-plotting approach, but similar.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you”?
That she’d had a baby out of wedlock. I remember sitting there when Dani told me that, and looking at the computer screen saying “Seriously?” But it so totally worked. And it fit with the journey she was on as a character.
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
I don’t, though that’s a great idea. I have some secondary characters who’d love their own books, but not ideas of characters who are waiting in the wings for a book.
What does your work space/office look like?
Chaos when I’m in the middle of a book. I have a desk with a hutch, and a bookshelf. It overflows with books and notes. And the further I get into the writing the deeper the piles get. Then I’ll reach a point where I can’t handle the chaos and clean only to have it explode again. And I’m generally a pretty clean person! Really!
What is your go-to snack when writing?
Almonds, wheat thins, and sweet tea or water.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
What a tough question! If someone could only read one. Really? Only one. I don’t know if I can choose one. There are too many great books out there. One I finished last night that I didn’t expect to like was Thirsty by Tracey Bateman. It’s a vampire book and I don’t do vampires – it’s the first I’ve read – but I really liked it! I also really enjoyed Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh – but that’s a light romance with some spiritual meat. See, I just can’t narrow down to one. I read too much for that.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Definitely Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I think it’s the most approachable craft book for beginning novelists yet filled with meat for writers with several books under their belt.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for hosting me, Karin!
And thank you, Cara, for stopping by!
Please post your questions/comments/recipes for Cara here and get entered to win a FREE copy of her latest novel – winner will be picked on November 1st!!