Today’s guest is a #CFRR2017 author and I am looking so forward to meeting her in a couple of weeks!!
Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Cara has two recent releases – Devil in the Dust and Soul’s Cry!
Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.
And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.
Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.
Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.
“The author’s familiarity with this time period and her ability to write a story of hope, despite the havoc of the weather, makes this a fantastic book.” ~ Romantic Times review
June 1933 . . . Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.
Emma’s husband is missing. She keeps house, keeps her five children fed as best as she can, and keeps smiling as her hope fades. But when the days stretch to weeks, she faces the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, she would never contemplate.
Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her tasks as if numb. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.
And then he comes.
His new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money catch Jessie’s eye, much to the dismay of her mother … and much to the concern of the minister’s wife, Lillian. He’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But who is to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for?
Lillian and her husband stand by, helpless, as they realize that the winds carry more than one kind of evil, and as they are all forced to decide where the evil lies: in hunger, or in hope.
Hi Cara! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Cara: Oranges…because when I’m on a diet, by the time I get done peeing enough of the white junk off, I don’t even want to eat it anymore😊
Cara: Both. Actually, autumn is my favorite. I live in Wisconsin, so winter is really cold, and summer can get really hot. Perfect day is about 65.
Carrie: I can get on board with that! My ideal temp is somewhere between 50-60 degrees.
Cara: Cats…dogs are too needy.
Carrie: Zuzu (my dog) takes great offense to that generalization 😉 Even as she tries to climb up in my recliner with me…. all 65 pounds of her lol!!
Cara: Tea if it’s very strong. I prefer Diet Pepsi—please no haters.
Carrie: The only hate you’ll get from me is how you could prefer Diet Pepsi to Diet Coke 😉 But then again… you like cats … so…. (heehee)
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Cara: If I could pick any super power, I would be that shape-shifting blue chick on X-men. But seeing as how that’s not likely, I’d say reading…or being a mom😊
Carrie: Hey – never say never!! lol
If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?
Cara: Dictionary. Thesaurus. A medical dictionary. Something about how to survive an apocalypse (because that’s about the only reason I can see for being down to 5 books), and a really big empty notebook to write in.
Carrie: Oh I like the way you think! Especially that notebook – you’ll just write your own fiction! 😊
If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Cara: I don’t carry a lot of stuff I don’t need. And I couldn’t care less about makeup and hair, etc.
Carrie: I don’t carry a lot of stuff I don’t need either…. but my problem comes in defining ‘need’ LOL. Books… bookmarks … more books …. well, you get the idea
Your April release Devil in the Dust is set in 1930s Oklahoma – right in the middle of the Great Depression as well as the Dust Bowl period for that area of the United States. What surprised you (or touched you) the most during your research? And how did that play out in the novel?
Cara: I knew I wanted to write about faith when everything goes wrong and stays wrong for a long time. I think, especially in the church, we fight a temptation to equate long term suffering with a lack of faith. But this isn’t true at all.
The Dust Bowl lasted an entire decade. I began to think about how a small-town pastor would have met the needs of his flock in such dire circumstances. I wondered how suffering would change the pastor’s call.
When I began, I didn’t know what the answer would be. But as the characters developed, and as I studied and put myself into the time period, the answer (at least for my character) became clear to me.
Carrie: This sentence so intrigues me – “I wondered how suffering would change the pastor’s call.” I can’t wait to see how that plays out!
Soul’s Cry released in June and is the third book in your Portraits of Grace series. What is the soul’s cry for Ione? For Miriam? What about you personally?
Cara: Ione’s soul cried to break free of her past. Miriam’s cried to recognize the value of the present over that of the future. For me…I want to be the best person I can be. I want to use this gift of life to do something that matters.
Carrie: I love the premise behind this series and am eager to meet these characters … and YOU! 🙂
What do you most want readers to take away from your books?
Cara: I want readers to be challenged. I do not write fiction that is an expression of how I wish the world to be. I think we get a lot of that kind of story in Christian Fiction, and that is understandable because our hope is in the future. But what I want readers to do after they read my books is to recognize something about our imperfect world, and see how much of a gift it is, and how we have a responsibility to live in this world and help people where they are now.
Carrie: Yes!! Amen!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me, Cara! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Cara: I’m working on another novel right now, set in Colorado in the 1860s. It will be a suspense😊 I’m not progressing fast, though, because I am also working on my Masters of Divinity…so I’m reading and writing A LOT…just not fiction at the moment!
That makes my heart a little sad…but I love what I am learning.
Carrie: Loving what you’re learning helps, for sure!!
Cara Luecht is giving away a copy of Soul Painter, the first book in her Portraits of Grace series (US only). This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you the most about Cara or her books?