Cara Putman juggles being a mum, a career in the law and writing! Needless to say as a fellow mum and lawyer, I can relate. I'm really excited to read her latest historical novel, Stars in the Night, set in the fascinating era of World War II. Enjoy this peek behind the scenes.
Over to you, Cara:~
Brief physical description
Audra Schaeffer lives in Indianapolis in 1942. Because she’s trying to earn the right to use her law degree, she wears her brunette hair pulled back in a tight bun. She has slightly curved, hazel eyes and is pretty in an understated way. When you look at her, you see a woman who hides behind her bun and lack of make-up, though she would deny it.
Robert Garfield has dark hair that waves in all the right places, and chocolate brown eyes you can lost in. He has an easy Cary Grant kind of style: always wearing pressed pants and a sports jacket, but he’d like to see himself as more of a Jimmy Stewart guy next door kind of actor
Audra Schaeffer is a Midwest girl and doesn’t have the glamour of the early forties going. Because she’s often denied her more feminine side to try to make it in the male dominated world of law, there weren’t any actresses that fit her look. The cover photo actually is a great match for how I envisioned her.
Robert Garfield: I had fun looking for screen actors from the thirties and forties that had the look I imagined for Robert. I ended up going with Peter Lawford, except Robert has blue eyes.
Strengths and weaknesses
Audra’s strength is her independence, but at the same time it causes her to not know who to rely on. She’s also walked away from the fulfillment of a dream to find her sister. Because of an earlier tragedy, she can’t go home and determines to find the killer. Her tenacity is a strength that could get her killed.
Robert’s strength comes in his faith. But his weakness comes in an inability to trust women. His ex-wife from a studio arranged marriage walked away, and he’s not sure he can trust himself to make a wise choice again.
Quirk (if any)
Robert grew up on the vaudeville circuit even if he’s stuffed that part of himself into a far corner of his persona.
Your inspiration for the character
With Audra, I knew I wanted a strong female character. Someone who had the backbone to do unexpected even frowned upon things. But at the same time she’s willing to walk away from all of it for the sake of her family. I also wanted her to be the antithesis of Hollywood. She’s not into image and glamour. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and is willing to fight for what she believes in.
For Robert, I read the back-stories of many stars from that time. It was fascinating to see how many of them got their start in vaudeville and then moved to silent films and then into talkies. But because of his faith, Robert hasn’t quite bought into the whole Hollywood aura. He’s there and he wants to succeed, but he’s learned the hard way that following everything the studios demand can lead to heartache.
Background to the story
I was looking for a new setting for a World War II series. Because I love movies from the 30s and 40s, I started thinking about the various roles the stars played in the war. Some served. Some didn’t. Some participated in USO tours. Others in the Hollywood Canteen. But as I researched, I found a lot to love. The contrasts. The high drama. The glamour and the glitz.
As I kept looking I ran across the real Hollywood Victory Caravan. Conducted during May 1942, the train crossed the country from L.A. to D.C. filled with stars like Bing Crosby, Claudette Colbert, and Groucho Marx. Some joked that if anything had happened to the caravan, Hollywood would have been out of stars. While a bit of a stretch, you get the idea. My mind began to play with an idea. What if there was a second train? And what if people started dying? You’d be trapped with the killer but not know who it was. Stars in the Night grew from that initial set of what-ifs.
Cara - fascinating reading. Thanks for sharing your characters with us - looking forward to reading where you take them :)
On Monday, the spotlight shines on Ronie Kendig's Max & Sydney Jacobs from her stellar military suspense, Nightshade. You won't want to miss it!
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