Friday, July 15, 2011

LOVE BY THE BOOK - Cara Lynn James - Free Book

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My books are inspirational historical romance. I write from a Christian point of view because my faith is part of who I am. It would seep through my writing whatever I wrote. I like reading romance, so that’s why I chose to write the genre. And historical because I really enjoy reading and researching and writing about other time periods and long gone cultures. I usually add a touch of mystery to my stories too since I love reading mysteries and suspense, contemporary and historical.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day! It’s hard to believe I got married 34 years ago. Another great day was the day I sold my first book, nearly two years ago. But I think I was in the state of shock and probably enjoyed the day after more than the actual day I got ‘the call’!

My wonderful wedding day was almost 47 years ago. How has being published changed your life?
I have to be disciplined now. Sometimes it’s difficult to force myself to be creative and write when I’d rather curl up with a book and read. It’s so easy to procrastinate and promise myself I’ll take today off and work doubly hard tomorrow. I’ll admit I sometimes succumb to the temptation, but I try not to very often.

Like a lot of writers, I’m an introvert. Promoting my books doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m perfectly content to sit on my sun porch and write. Also, friends who once thought of my writing as a quaint little hobby now give me ‘respect.’ They don’t seem to understand I was a serious writer way before I was published!

I learned I can’t do everything I did before, including housework. I sure didn’t mind giving that up! But I like my house to look neat and clean. My husband and daughter help, but they have different standards than I do. So I had to adjust and not worry about a little dust—or a lot of dust. As long as we have food on the table and clean laundry, we’re doing fine.         I’ve learned to close my eyes and keep my eyes on my deadline.    

What are you reading right now?
The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen. It’s a historical mystery with a bit of a romance set in New York City during the turn-of-the-century.

What is your current work in progress?
I’m writing a historical romance set in the Adirondacks at what is now called a “great camp.” The story is about New York millionaires and their guests who go rustic and enjoy “roughing it,” but really don’t give up any of their luxuries. The widowed daughter of the family returns home determined to keep a secret—she’s flat broke and afraid her parents will learn of her disastrous marriage. But the past has a way of following her home and intruding upon her present and future. A handsome childhood friend does his best to help her through the bad times. Against their wishes and better judgment, they fall in love.

What would be your dream vacation?
When I lived in Vermont I would’ve chosen a Caribbean cruise. But now that I live in Florida where it’s never really cold and sometimes scorching hot, I’d say my dream vacation would be a trip to Great Britain and Ireland. I’ve travelled through the rest of Europe, but now I’m ready to tour English speaking countries I haven’t seen before. Actually any vacation sounds great!

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I always wanted to write about Newport, Rhode Island during the Gilded Age. My mother came from there and we always spent a lot of time visiting. It’s a beautiful and fascinating place. Over the years I read a dozen or so books about the town and the society, so it seemed natural to use it as a setting. After I finished the Ladies of Summerhill series, my editor asked me to choose another northeast resort setting for my next book. I picked the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York state because it’s so different from the seaside setting of Newport, and has spectacular scenery. I lived in neighboring Vermont for twenty years, so I was familiar with the area.

After this maybe I’ll move my stories to New York City or a small town in the south where I lived now. Since I’m a New Englander it’ll be more of a challenge to write about southern culture etc. but since my husband is from north Florida (very southern!) and we now live in northwest Florida, I think I can manage. Friends will set me straight. I also lived three years in Texas and five years in Virginia.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My favorite author, Maeve Binchy. She’s an Irish women’s fiction writer. I love her easy, conversational style and how she draws her characters with all their quirks, foibles and virtues. They jump right off the page. She seems so chatty and friendly—someone I could learn a lot from.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t think of writing as a hobby anymore because I have deadlines and I get paid periodically for the work I submit. Now it’s ‘work.’ Before I sold writing was a fun hobby I indulged in when the muse came calling. It’s still enjoyable. If it weren’t, I’d find something else to do ASAP. My work hours are flexible, but still I have to follow a schedule so I can finish by my deadline.

Reading really is my favorite hobby. I love to read fiction and non-fiction, especially American and European history. If I had more time and money I’d travel a lot. Thirty years ago I spent four months traveling around Europe and I’d love to go back. My husband and I camp in our little A-liner camper, which is like a very fancy aluminum tent with a stove, microwave, refrigerator and air conditioning. But we usually only go as far as Gulf Shore, Alabama, about an hours drive from home.

When my daughter was young I used to sew dresses for her. I quilted and crocheted too, but I’ve given up those hobbies. I don’t need another afghan in Florida.

Except for reading and writing I don’t have much time for hobbies anymore.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
That’s easy! A retired husband, a daughter, and a four-year-old grandson all living with me and home for most of the day. It’s great having people around (I’m never lonely), but I have to shoo them away when I’m writing. I’m sure to them it must seem as if I’m writing all the time. Sometimes it seems that way to me, too.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write every day and finish your book. Don’t start one, get bored and start another. Do let go of chapter one. My tendency was to re-write it again and again and not move on until it was perfect. Join ACFW or RWA and their local chapters. Get a critique partner, enter contests, submit your manuscripts, listen to the advice of authors who have already experienced what you’re going through, study the craft and keep at it when you get discouraged. Writing is a very challenging profession, but worth it when you finally sell. Don’t expect to get rich and famous because you probably won’t. But of course it’s possible…

Tell us about the featured book.
Love by the Book is a historical romance—a marriage of convenience. This is a love story set in a lavish seaside mansion in 1901 Rhode Island.Melinda Hollister is a society lady, intent on finding a rich husband before her peers discover her quickly diminishing wealth. Nick Bryson is all business, focused on making a name for himself in his father’s steamship line. Despite the marriage of their siblings, they rarely gave each other a second glance—until a tragic accident results in Melinda and Nick being appointed as co-guardians of their three-year-old niece Nell.

In order to get better acquainted with Nell and one another, Melinda and Nick agree to spend the summer in their own private quarters of the Bryson family vacation home, Summerhill. As their love for Nell grows, so does their attraction to each other. And for the first time in their lives, they sense that God has a bigger plan in motion.

Yet old habits die hard – and Melinda and Nick each find it difficult to resist the pull of their former worlds.

When the unthinkable happens, they find themselves faced with seemingly impossible choices and a new understanding of God’s true love.

 Please give us the first page of the book.



Melinda’s sharp intake of breath shattered the silence. All eyes turned toward her, but Melinda could do nothing but stare at the attorney. Had she misheard her sister’s will? Or had he misread it? How could Cora leave her daughter to Melinda’s care—as well as Nick’s? She couldn’t imagine.

         Cora had never mentioned such an odd arrangement, but then again her sister normally avoided unpleasant subjects. A wave of panic swept through Melinda. No one loved Nell more than she. No one. But being a mother was far different than being the doting aunt...

         Attention shifted from her to Nick. Seated at the other end of the semicircle of family members, Nick’s blue-gray eyes were still wide with shock.

         The minutes dragged by until finally, mercifully, Mr. Ricker concluded the reading and dismissed the others. Nick immediately rose and walked over to join them.

         Mr. Ricker cleared his throat and spoke in a hushed tone. “You both seem surprised by the custody situation. But let me assure you Mrs. Parker Bryson insisted you two share guardianship—for reasons of her own.” He looked from Melinda to Nick, frowning. “I understand that arrangement might be somewhat unconventional but she knew you two would see it through. It is what Cora and Parker desired for Nell.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is  . I also have a facebook page. Last, but not least, I’m a Seeker at

Thank you for dropping by, Cara Lynn. I just love your book covers.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Judy said...

I enjoyed the interview. I simply love the cover of this book! I would love to win a copy of "Love By The Book" it sounds like a great read!

Thank you Cara for your Christian witness!

Judy from Indiana

Wendy said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for offering.
Buffalo, Mn

Cara Lynn James said...

Hi Judy and Wendy! I'm very fortunate to have great book covers from Thomas Nelson. All I wanted was for the cover model to be nice looking, but they actually used beautiful young women. I would love to see a real cover shoot.

Jo said...

Thanks for the offer of your new book and for the interview. The book sounds good. Please enter me.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Mary Connealy said...

Cara, honey, I came over thinking I'd learn all your secrets. I've always suspected you were a woman of mystery. And yet, NOPE.
It's still you.
Great interview!!!!!

Lanita said...

Hi Cara,

That was a really great interview and I congratulate you for 47 years of marriage. I have 18 under my belt and pray God gives us many more as you have had. The book sounds great and really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Lanita said...

My email address is Again Thanks

Cara Lynn James said...

Actually Mary, I do have a lot of secrets!!! But I'll never tell what they are.

Lanita, I've only been married 34 years. Lena has been married 47 years. Congratulations go to Lena!

Mary Connealy said...

I've been married 34 years, too, Cara.
What day? What if we were both starry eyed brides on the same day?
I'm January 29th. The coldest day in the history of the known universe.
Or it seemed like it to me.

Anonymous said...

Hye Cara, Your historicals bring the period to life. Love the series. Rita Bay

Myra Johnson said...

Lovely to get to know even more about one of my favorite authors and sweetest friends! I love your settings, Cara, and you really know how to bring them to life. And I agree--your book covers are strikingly beautiful!

Congratulations on LBTB, Cara! Can't wait to read it!

Patricia Cornelius said...

I would like a chance to win this book. Sounds very god with what i see in the first part

Cara Lynn James said...

Mary, my anniversary is December 9th. I got married in San Diego so the weather was great! But Dec. 9 was a bad anniversary to have during the 20 years we lived in Vermont. It was always so freezing cold I hated to leave the house to go out to dinner. But of course we did anyway. I did think of celebrating our half anniversary in June when the weather was better.

Marianne said...

i was glad to read that Cara Lynn's faith would come out in whatever she wrote. That's what faith should be...loved the interview/post and giveaway. Thanks Lena and Cara Lynn. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Pam K. said...

This is an interesting premise for a book. The cover is lovely too, it makes me want to peek behind the fan to read the book.
Thanks for the interview and book giveaway. This reader from Kansas would love to win!


Pam Hillman said...

Cara Lynn, what an absoloutely gorgeous cover, and I know the story within is just as breathtaking.

Can't wait to read it!!

Kari Linder said...

This looks so good and I'm super excited about it's release!
Thanks for the chance to win!
Kari in Oregon

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the book giveaway. Thank You for the chance to win.

Cara Lynn James said...

I'm having a lot of trouble posting this afternoon maybe due to thunderstorms or maybe it's just my provider. Here in northwest Florida it gets very hot and humid after a storm!

Fran McNabb said...

Hi Cara, loved the interview almost as much as I loved your book. You're married to a wonderful man so I'm glad you said your wedding day was so special. You and he make a great couple.
By the way, don't enter me in the contest since I've already enjoyed the book. Fran

Debbie Clark said...

Rhode Island interests me. My husband's ancesters came from there and are in fact related to Roger Williams. My hubby has some pretty wonderful ancestry. His ancester was given property in RI by the King of England. "Love By The Book" sound like a great read. Thanks for the chance to win. Oh. I hail from Oregon, the End of the Oregon trail is about 15 miles from where I live SE of Oregon City. We have some wonderful history here too.

Debbie Clark


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Debbie, the second book in my McKenna's Daughters series, which I'm writing right now. Is set in and around Oregon City.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This sounds like a great book. I would love to read this. Thanks again.

I am from Oklahoma.


Gwynlyn said...

I adored visiting Newport, so can well imagine your setting. The book sounds intriguing, and I hope it garners many sales.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Cara, gotta sympathize with your obstacles to writing,made me laugh out loud.

wmmahaney said...

What a wonderful interview. The setting of this book sounds wonderful.
Thanks for all the great books that you highlight.

Wendy from Michigan

Cara Lynn James said...

Debbie, all my mothers ancestors came from Rhode Island via Massachusetts. Some of them founded Portsmouth and Newport in the 1630s. My generation is the first in the family not to be born in R.I.

During the RWA conference in NYC my cousin told me she remembered I always said I wanted to write a book about Newport. I don't remember saying that, but it's true.

I'd love to write more stories set in Newport during the Gilded Age. We'll see.

cynthia said...

Thanks for the great interview. It can be distracting when others are around. I find it easier to write when my husband is at work. I can't wait to read your latest book. I loved the first one in the series.
I live in the San Francisco bay area.

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. I love these interviews also. Thank you authors for blessing us with your work. I live in S. CA

Joyce said...

Would love to win this book!

Joyce in TN

Jackie S. said...

Love her books....please enter me.
Thanks.....from GA

Patsy said...

I love her covers too! This book sounds like a great read. I know I would love it.

Oh, and I've been married 35 years!

From Mississippi


Rose said...

Your book sounds fantastic!!!
from Walla Walla WA

holdenj said...

I really enjoyed the interview and thought how ironic it was that Cara's dream vacations change so much depending on where she lived! I guess that's true of a lot of us. Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful book.
Julie in MN

Linda Cacaci said...

The book sounds wonderful. I would love to win it.
Linda Cacaci
Daytona Beach, Florida

Ms. Greer/Ohio said...

Looking forward to winning this book for sounds great....I have an idea what you can do with all those AFGHAN'S.....have a contest for all your readers for one of them.....I'd sure like one :) have a great day Cara....Ms. Greer

Krista said...

Looking forward to reading this one! Please enter me!

Krista from Gresham, OR

scottsgal said...

reading is one of my favorite hobbies too
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Katy said...

Oh, oh, oh! Ever since I saw this book would be coming out, I've wanted to read it. Marrying for convenience and not for love...but then maybe falling in love anyway? Yep, that intrigues me! I'd love a chance to win. Thanks!

Katy from Florida

Cindy W. said...

I so enjoyed your interview and would love to win a copy of Love By the Book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Cindy W. from Indiana


apple blossom said...

WooHoo. My computer is going to let me enter this giveaway. For some reason your site I have to go in and clear all my cookies and then refresh the page and then maybe sometimes it'll let me comment and sometimes I'm totally out of luck. I don't know what the deal is. I have found that it is only on your site so far. So Strange.

I would love to win this book thanks. I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia Cornelius said...

I would like a chance to win this book.

karenk said...

sounds like a wonderful novel...thanks for the chance to read it :)

karenk...from pennsylvania
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Brenda said...

I'm a follower and a subscriber. Please enter me.
Brenda from Michigan

Abigail said...

Would love to win a copy,thanks for the chance.
Blanch, N.C.

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Roanna said...

Sounds like a good read!

Roanna from Ohio

sarahw said...

love the cover, makes me want to really read the book. great interview! please enter my name in the draw. thanks,
sarahw- Mt.Lake, MN

Kristie said...

I read "The Lilac Bus " by Maeve Binchy when I traveled to France. I liked it but it was some of the only English material available. That made me biased, I think. I love historical romances. Yours sounds great. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.