What a thrill to have Cara Putman here! Last time I interviewed Cara, I misspelled her last name, like, a thousand times. I'm determined to make up for it today!
Especially because not only is Cara Putman (2 for 2 so far) sharing wisdom about writing, she's also giving away a copy of her latest release, A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island to one lucky commenter!
Yay for Cara Putman! (3 for 3. Okay, I'll stop now and let Cara talk.)
As writers, one of our tasks is finding the right career for your characters. Not only do your characters populate your story, they fill roles and hold jobs. Finding the right career can be a key piece to getting the character to fit.
Sometimes when I pick up a novel, it feels like the character’s job was almost an after thought. The author spent time creating an image of the character…whether they had red hair or blue eyes…but waited until pushed to find an occupation. So how can you make this part of writing a bit more intuitive?
1) Interview the character. If she hates coffee, she probably won’t be a happy barista. That might lend itself to some great humor, but might not fit your story. So ask your character what they would love to do. What would they hate? Does their dream job require advanced education they might not have yet? Does a hobby lend itself to a great job? Dig and see what they’ll say.
2) Look for common denominators in your books. For example, a loose element of my brand is that one character is always affiliated with the law in some way. So Audra from Stars in the Night is an attorney in 1942 who gives up her dream (actually practicing law) to make sure her sister is okay. In A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island, Alanna is an attorney who just finished a major case and has to go home to help her family. And in my novella in Rainbow’s End, Colton is on his way to law school as a returning student. Each of these is a natural outgrowth of my career as an attorney and a way to prepare my readers in case I ever write legal suspense. Plus, I enjoy legal settings, so it fits.
3) Read non-fiction and watch shows like NOVA with an eye to careers you find fascinating. Then ask some friends who are avid readers if they find them interesting. I have an idea for a World War II series that focuses on an elite group of soldiers with a very unique role. I find the topic enthralling, but that’s not enough. Then I have to see if readers and non-World War II enthusiasts are captivated. When everyone I mentioned this group to asked questions to know more, I knew I was on to a unique hook.
If you can tie your passion to your characters’ careers, you will have created interesting characters your readers will root for.
Stephanie speaking again. Cara, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing those insights about character career choices. To get entered to win Cara's book, leave a comment below either:
Sharing your character's career path (or, if they don't yet have a job, what they might grow up to be)
asking Cara a writing-related question.
Conversation is open and encouraged for everyone, but due to the realities of international shipping contests, the giveaway is limited to US residents.
More about Cara: Cara lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life. Learn more about her books at www.caraputman.com.
A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island: Attorney Alanna Stone vowed long ago to avoid Mackinac Island. Although it may seem the perfect place to heal, for Alanna it holds too many memories of a painful past.
But an exhausting high profile case and an urgent plea from her parents have brought Alanna home. Moving into the house next to Jonathan Covington doesn’t help her. Jonathan may have been her first love, but he was also her first lesson in betrayal. Now Alanna must protect her privacy and her heart. Then Secrets and a murder intersect, and she’s thrust into controversy again as tragedy turns public opinion against her and potentially her family.
For years, Jonathan has stubbornly resisted the urging of his family and friends to date, believing he’s already found the perfect woman. With Alanna’s return, he begins to wonder if he’s waited too long for someone who isn’t the right one after all.