Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trial by Fire Review and Interview

Trial by Fire is the latest Love Inspired Suspense by Cara Putman.

About the Novel:

Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path?

Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he's drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him. Torn between Tricia's safety and his own bitterness, Noah belatedly remembers the first rule of firefighting: don't get burned.

Pattie's Review:

Trial by Fire captured me from the first page--and it didn't let go of my imagination until the very end.

Cara does a super job of fleshing out her characters and making the situations seem real without being too graphic or gritty. There is real, difficult subject matter explored in this novel; yet, she doesn't sugar-coat the situations, either. She is able to walk that tightrope, figuratively speaking, in a balanced way.

(And I gotta say, I love mysteries where I can't figure out the villain.)

Tricia is an amazing character, and Noah is a complicated man. Their romance unfolds gradually, and feels right in the end, not forced.

Interview with the Author:

Thanks for joining me today, Cara!

How difficult was this book to write in terms of Tricia's past? It seems to me that it might be painful to get into her head and heart.

You know, I didn’t expect for Tricia’s story to take the turn it did. I was writing the courtroom scene and knew there was a past between Tricia and Adam, but thought it was “limited” to domestic violence. As I wrote the scene, the words came out of her mouth that left me sitting there staring at the screen and asking God if that was right. It was. It is tough to dig deep to write scenes with that kind of emotion to them.

Why a firefighter as a profession for Noah? Why not have him be a fire examiner already?

The hero needed to have weaknesses and fears. Originally, I thought about making him part of an elite FEMA team in Lincoln, then realized the knee injury nixed that. But the knee injury highlighted the need for him to do something else. And being a fire investigator gave him the opportunity to continue to fight fires…if he could outlast his trainer.

I was thinking that many boys dream of being firefighters when they are boys. When I was a girl, I dreamed of being a teacher (which I did for almost ten years). What did you dream of being when you were a girl?

For about a day in third grade I dreamed about being a nurse. But even at that relatively young age, I knew I was too prone to fainting to be much good. Then I decided I wanted to be a journalist – and worked at a TV station for two years in college. Then that morphed into politics – and I worked on a campaign fulltime out of college and then in the non-profit conservative world of DC. But as I was diving into politics, I realized I loved law – so took the detour of going to law school. I also wanted to be a professor and have had the opportunity to teach classes at George Mason University School of Law and Purdue University. It’s been fun to see how God has stitched all of these experiences together.

It was nice to revisit Dani and Caleb. Was it fun for you to show a bit of their future after the end of "Deadly Exposure"?

I so enjoyed that! It was also fun to end the book on the up note of their relationship. And with the next book that I see in my mind, the familiar characters would play supporting roles much like Dani and Caleb did here. I don’t know about you, but I love revisiting characters I came to love in one book – even when they aren’t the stars of the next show.

What's up next for you in terms of writing?

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.

Thanks for stopping by, Cara! I'm so glad you did!

Thanks so much for having me, Pattie! I really enjoyed coming by.

To read the first chapter of Trial by Fire, go here.

Special thanks to Cara for the review copy of her novel, as well as for taking time to answer my interview questions.

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