What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cara Lynn James and Free Books!

PhotobucketA young society girl during the Gilded Age struggles to keep her writing career secret while her former beau pushes her to reveal her identity and accept him back into her life.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Nightshade, by Ronie Kendig, is:

peachykath79@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's meet novelist Cara Lynn James, author of Love on a Dime (Thomas Nelson).

Tell us a little about yourself, Cara. 

PhotobucketI'm a wife, mother, grandmother and debut author. We all live in northwest Florida where the beaches were once beautiful and hopefully will be again. I've lived all over the country--Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Texas, California and Virginia.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I was a Naval officer for almost eight years.

-- My husband and I adopted two babies from Latin America (they're now grown up).

-- I'm a 13th generation New Englander

-- I have more books than I can read in a lifetime, but I keep buying them anyway.

-- I love caramel frappachinos with whip cream.

What more can you share about the plot of Love on a Dime?

PhotobucketTurn of the century novelist Lilly Westbrook learns that being faithful to her calling means more than just putting pen to paper. It's the summer of 1899 in Newport, Rhode Island, and Lilly Westbrook is struggling to conceal her career from family and friends because of the stigma attached to dime novels. Lilly feels good about her secret--after all, she's enlightening working class girls with her books and honoring God by using her talents to His glory.

But her secret is threatened when Jackson Grail, a former suitor, becomes Lilly's new publisher. He's determined to revive his floundering publishing house by maximizing their most promising--and most secretive--author. His plan? Find "Fannie Cole" and convince her to go public. When a gossip columnist discovers Lilly's true identity, she finds that being faithful to her calling involves more than just putting pen to paper. It requires that she stand up for her faith and for herself, no matter the consequences. 

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

My heroine, Lilly Westbrook, writes romance dime novels in secret because her family and society wouldn't approve. But since she believes this is what the Lord has called her to do, she takes a chance she won't get caught. I think readers will care about Lilly because she's so much like we are sometimes--she has good intentions, but she falters against strong opposition. She takes the easy way out until she can't any longer. In the end Lilly finds the courage to confront her situation head on.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's light, it's fun and it's set in a time and place that most people aren't too familiar with. Newport, Rhode Island at the turn-of-the-century--the Gilded Age--was the premier summer resort in America, especially for New Yorkers and other easterners. These were high society people, the "movers and shakers" of the era who had more money than they knew what to do with. Love on a Dime is a story about a couple who tries to adjust to the norms of their social group while also living their Christian values.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketMaybe Katie Holmes for my heroine.


And any tall, handsome actor with black hair and dark eyes.

Maybe Jon Hamm of Mad Men

What is one thing you've learned about yourself as a result of your writing career?

I've learned I'm not very disciplined, but I do get things done--sometimes at the last minute.

Mercy, do I hear that. 

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

I know this is trite, but I'd choose a book to represent me. It's usually closed, but it promises more than you see at first glance. You might find the front cover intriguing or maybe the back cover copy. Sometimes neither cover gives the right idea. So you have to read the book to discover if the story lives up to the hype.

It is funny how often authors say they're like books. I suppose some of us are just that into the written word. 

What is the last book you read that moved you? 

I really loved Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. It's a non-fiction book about a young Christian woman's spiritual journey from certainty, to doubt, to mature faith. Her questions are really thought-provoking. And it's a journey I've taken myself, so I could really relate to the aches and pains of growing and continuing to grow.

What are you working on now?

The second historical romance in the Ladies of Summerhill series, Love on Assignment, will be in bookstores in January 2011. Right now I'm working on Love by the Book, the third. I'm also mulling over ideas for a new Gilded Age series set in New York City.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website is www.caralynnjames.com. I'm a Seeker (a group of inspirational romance writers) and I blog on Seekerville. Also, I'm on Facebook.

Thanks, Cara, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Cara has offered to give a copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, July 15. To enter, leave a comment for Cara, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interview with Teri Wilson and see my post about a free, signed copy of Beach Dreams, below. Leave a comment under each post to be entered in drawings for signed copies of Teri's book and mine.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Finally, if any of you are novelists (or hope to be) and would like some guidance from one of the pros, check out James Scott Bell's Webinar.


Terri Tiffany said...

I'm so excited to see a book written about a writer! YAY! I would love to win this! terri dot tiffany at yahoo dot com.

Wendy said...

Sounds like a good book. I love the 5 fun facts she gave.

April said...

Sounds great. Please enter me.

Merry said...

What a lovely cover! It looks perfect for a mysterious author.

rbooth43 said...

I would love to read Love On A Dime to discover if the story lives up to the hype.

windycindy said...

I love the setting of her book. Newport Rhode Island is lovely and
I saw the home where The Great
Gatsby was filmed...Her main
character sounds very interesting.
Great interview!
Many thanks, Cindi

Anna W. said...

Sounds great! Please enter me in the giveaway!

writer_weaver at yahoo dot com

Katy F. said...

Ooh, I love the Gilded Age! And the characters sound so fun!


Cindy W. said...

This book is definitely on my must read list. I also love the cover...it's beautiful. I would love to win a copy!

Cindy W.


Trish Perry said...

I agree about the Gilded Age--the one time I thought about writing historical, that was exactly the time period I chose. And the cover is just perfect, isn't it?

Nora said...

Wo!! Thanks for letting us know more about this bok Trish. I've seen this book on the shelf and It's been calling to me.

I appreciate a chance to win this book. Thanks for putting my name in the hat.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

norafindinghope (at) gmail.com

Cherie J said...

Would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!


karenk said...

would enjoy reading this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

hspruitt said...

I would love to read this new Cara James' book. I have been hearing about it for a few weeks now. Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

hspruitt said...

I just posted and totally forgot to include my email address. It's been a long day.

hspruitt {at} juno DOT com

Barbara M. said...

This book looks so good and I just love the cover. Please enter me.


Cara Lynn James said...

Good morning! Thanks for having me here today, Trish. Sorry if I'm a little late to the party.

Love on a Dime was such a fun book to write, and since I had a lot of time to write it, I really enjoyed the process. Even the research was more like fun than work.

I was so lucky that Thomas Nelson gave me such a gorgeous cover.

Jo said...

Oh, I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.


Runere McLain said...

What an intriguing interview, Caralynn! I'm certain your life experiences and depth of character transfer to your books! Thank you for putting your ideas to paper. Can't wait to read this and future works!

Sylvia M. said...

Oh, I read about this book and thought it sounded good. It's not often I read ficton books about fiction writers.


Julie Lessman said...

Great interview, Trish!

Cara, it always blows me away to hear you were a naval officer, my friend!! I would LOVE to see a pic of you sometime in uniform ... maybe on the Seeker blog???

LOVED the book, but don't enter me in the contest because I am already lucky enough to own it.


Trish Perry said...

Agree re the cover! Absolutely beautiful!

Deborah said...

I would love to win a copy of Love on a Dime. I have been hearing such good things about this book! Please enter me!


Love the cover.

Cara Lynn James said...

I recently got the cover for my second book, Love on Assignment. It'll be released in January. The cover is just as beautiful as the first one! I'm relieved!

I once read a book with a picture of the ocean on the cover. But the book never mentioned the ocean or water of any kind. It's important that the cover reflect the content in some way.

Ann Lee Miller said...

Sign me up for the drawing!

Anonymous said...

Cara Lynn James thank you! Thanks for serving your country and thanks for writing. I love history and God put in the same book (i feel like i am learning) Questions for ya: How long does it usually take to research for a book and do you not usually get to have input on your cover? I have to admit I do judge a book by the cover and if the cover is as neat as "Love on a Dime" I really want to read it.

~holli mom4bajr[at]yahoo[dot]com

Carole said...

A 13-generation New Englander! I have always been drawn to New England and this Georgia girl would move there if anyone in my family would go with me!

I love seing a new author published and Cara's book sounds wonderful. Congratulations on your continued writing, Cara. I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the chance to win this book.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Cara Lynn James said...

About covers--I've heard some publishers don't give their authors any say-so in the covers for their books.

Thomas Nelson showed me pictures of the model they chose and I asked for my opinion. She's so pretty! I sent them several pictures of mansions and also the types of costomes the characters might wear. From that they decided what would look best on the cover.

Diane said...

Sounds fun and great cover art! :O)

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

barbjan10 said...

The cover of your book - beautiful...the heroine's face is an "I dare you to learn my secret" look. It's my kind of book, in a much more romantic time period than present day - and when certain careers were taboo for women. I'm quite interested in reading your book, Cara, and thank you for giving the chance to win. I hope it's me!

Blessed Be in Christ,
Barb Shelton



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