Author Cara Putman shares about her 3-in-1 historical romance collection
Ohio Brides (Romancing America):
Step into 1940s Ohio when dreams are challenged by a climate of war.
Q: Your ‘Romancing America’ book started out as separate titles for the Heartsong Presents readers. Tell us how the individual novels are linked together into a larger picture.
Ohio Brides has three short novels, each starring a sibling and their experiences during World War II. The first is set in 1939 when Europe is embroiled in war, but the United States hasn’t joined the fight. Yet the heroine and her husband’s lives are touched when they take an evacuated English child into their home. In the second novel, Mark is working on a top secret project and surrounded by Navy WAVES. In the final story, the youngest sister Kat is invited to join a team in the All American Girls Professional Softball League, which was created as a result of World War II.
Q: When you were originally writing the series, how much were you focused on each individual title — and how much were your eyes on how each piece fit into the larger story?
I actually have scenes that appear in two books, so it made the plotting of the stories challenging. I pulled out a 1942 calendar and went to work plotting out the stories — incorporating actual events — and making sure I could make the two plots dovetail where I needed them to without sacrificing the history. Because the series tells the stories of siblings, the siblings appear in each other’s stories. That added a fun element, too, especially for Kat who was 14 in the first book.
Q: What was your inspiration for the original series? (And how much did your original plan change over the course of the arc?)
My husband and I traveled to London for our tenth anniversary. While going through the Imperial War Museum (we’re both huge World War II history buffs), we stumbled on an exhibit about children and war. While I knew children were evacuated from London to the countryside, I didn’t realize more than 2000 children were sent to the United States with more traveling to Canada and Australia. That became the historical hook for A Promise Forged. Then I prayed and searched for two more story ideas. God lead me to a top secret military project which became the hook for A Promise Born. And then I realized the All American Girls Professional Softball League would be a fun hook for the third book, A Promise Forged.
Q: How does your faith influence your writing?
I can’t write without my faith overflowing into the story. I don’t always know what the spiritual thread will be when I start, but by the end it’s crystal clear in my mind. And the common thread through all the books is that no matter how dark life may seem, God never leaves us.
Q: What do you most hope readers get out of your fiction?
I pray my readers will leave a story with fresh hope. Hope that God is always with them. Hope that He has good plans for them even in the darkest moments. And hope that He can make their days meaningful.