Cara, thank you so much for being with us today! Your new book is beautiful and I love the title. How did you come up with the story concept?
How long did you hone your craft before getting “the call?”
I wrote for six and a half years before I got ‘the call.’ I had two major surgeries during one of those years, so I didn’t write very much then. I wrote on and off all my life, but I doubt I finished more than thirty pages all together. I’d get stuck finding the perfect words so I never made any progress. ‘Wordsmiths’ have to learn to be ‘storytellers.’
Is there one thing you can look back on in your writing career and point to as the turning point?
I’ve had several turning points or moments of real encouragement that inspired me to keep on writing. Once I started finalling in writing contests I started to believe in myself. I’ve never been overly confident and I couldn’t really imagine ever getting a book published—although I always wanted to. Anyway, winning the 2005 Noble Theme award in the historical category gave me a huge boost of confidence and motivation. I finally believed that if I worked hard enough and studied the craft enough just maybe I might get published someday. And I believe in God’s timing. When the time was right and I was ready, I got ‘the call.’
Since your novel is historical, what research did you do to ensure it was accurate?
I practically grew up in Newport, Rhode Island and have been there many times as an adult, so I have a good picture of what it looks like now and what it looked like fifty years ago. (I’m really dating myself!) Since I was a kid I’ve collected books about the town, the Gilded Age and the rich summer people. I’ve always found that elitist and over privileged society really interesting. I also do a lot of research on the internet. I also remembered stories my mother told me about her mother’s childhood in Newport at the turn of the century.
Who is your inspiration in your writing life?
I think Edith Wharton. My favorite living author is Maeve Binchy.
What, in your personal opinion, takes a book beyond good and catapults it into great?
I think memorable, larger than life characters, a strong story well plotted and excellent writing.
Why do you write? What pushes you to sit down at the computer every day and create to such a degree?
I write because I love to write. I feel compelled to write—and I want to get my characters and story out of my mind and onto a computer screen and then paper. Also, I think the Lord gives everyone a talent (or several) and a plan to use those gifts. I think (at least I hope) mine is writing.
There are so many newbie writers, waiting for that moment to break into the market. What advice do you have for them?
Don’t give up! Write something every day, attend writers’ conferences, join organizations such as American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and their local groups, find critique partners, take classes on and off line about writing, enter contests, learn to accept constructive criticism graciously. Read books and articles on craft. Network with other writers. Writers are a very helpful bunch! Also, be sure to read the Seekerville blog faithfully!
What do you think is the biggest struggle of the beginning writer and how do you suggest they overcome it?
Obviously I can only speak for myself. I found it hard to stay disciplined and continue to write every day without a deadline looming. Writing is so solitary you have to provide your own motivation and discipline. Procrastination was a problem sometimes. (I still fight it.) I think discouragement could also be a huge problem unless you develop a thick skin. Having writer friends to boost your morale and give you a good swift kick figuratively speaking, of course, can really help. If you have writer friends you can’t quit easily or take too much time off.
Do you have any writer’s links that have been especially helpful? Aside from Seekerville. *winks*
I like to visit authors’ websites. They often have lots of interesting links.
Thanks so much for being here today! It has been a pleasure to have you visit. Do you have any final thoughts for our readers today?
Thanks for having me!
Well, thank you Cara! It is always a treat to have a Seeker visit. : )
Cara would love to giveaway a copy of her book, Love on a Dime, be sure and leave a comment to be entered. Winner will be announced in the next weekend edition.
Cara Lynn James is the author of Love on a Dime a 2010 release from Thomas Nelson. To find out more about Cara, clink on this link to visit her website.