The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Author Interview: Sarah Sundin

Today I get to welcome Sarah Sundin to my blog. Sarah writes WWII Inspirational/Romance, and recently released her debut novel, A Distant Melody. I've heard many good things about this book! But not only is Sarah is talented writer, she's a super nice person, and it's my pleasure to have her here today.

SW. Would you please tell us a little about yourself, Sarah.

SS. My first novel, A Distant Melody, historical fiction set during World War II, was published by Revell in March. I live in northern California with my husband and three children, a skittish cat named Janie, and a yellow lab named Daisy who is determined to destroy my writing career by distracting me and eating my manuscripts. When I’m not ferrying kids to soccer and karate, I work on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

SW. I have a collie named Daisey. Great name!
When did you first become interested in writing?

SS. January 6, 2000. How’s that for exact? Although I always read voraciously, I didn’t consider a writing career. Instead I chose a practical career in pharmacy which allowed me to work on-call and stay home with our three children. Then in 2000, I had a dream with such intriguing characters that I felt compelled to write their story. That first novel will never be published, nor should it, but it got me started.

SW. Okay, not only do we both have dogs named Daisy, my writing career began with a dream too. Weird, huh?
Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?

SS. When I first started writing, I churned out two awful contemporary romances. I learned through this process, and began attending a critique group and writers’ conferences and reading books on writing craft. In 2003 my critique partners said the first novel in my World War II trilogy was ready, so I submitted A Distant Melody at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. I received good feedback from published authors, editors, and agents—and began accumulating a stack of “good” rejection letters. They liked my writing, my story, and my characters—however, historicals weren’t selling. Over the years, I often felt discouraged, but the Lord made it obvious that He wanted me to finish the trilogy, so I kept plugging away. Then at Mount Hermon in March 2008, I heard, “We need historicals.” And there I was with my trilogy close to complete. I submitted to Vicki Crumpton at Revell, and in September I was offered a three-book contract.

SW. So it was a matter of God's timing, and waiting for trends to change. That's really encouraging.
How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?

SS. I’m definitely an outline-oriented writer. That’s the science nerd in me. First of all, since I write historicals, I do lots of research beforehand. Secondly, I follow a loose version of Randy Ingermanson’s “Snowflake Method.” ( I start with one-line descriptions of story and main characters, expand to one-paragraph summaries, then write a one-page synopsis. Then I fill out character charts and a plot chart. Then come scene lists with everything from the date, the weather, what characters are wearing, goals and conflict, what’s happening historically, and a rough outline of the scene. Finally I get to my rough draft.

SW. Tell us about your latest release?

SS. In A Distant Melody, Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

SW. Very cool! What inspired you to write this story?

SS. It came out of a “what if” question—what if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? It wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I was hooked. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.

SW. Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?

SS. My inspiration for Allie Miller came when I visited a particularly gorgeous friend after her daughter was born. The first words I heard the mom say were, “Thank goodness she’s pretty.” My thought? What if she wasn’t pretty? What would happen to a plain-looking daughter of a woman who thought beauty was a virtue? Would she think she could never find true love? Lt. Walter Novak came about primarily as Allie’s counterpart. I gave him two brothers and no sisters so he’d be clueless about women.
What endears Walt & Allie to me is that they’re not perfect—they’re not gorgeous and confident like most romance heroes and heroines. But they grow due to their friendship, their experiences, and their walk with the Lord.

SW. What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?

SS. I hope my readers will learn through my characters’ mistakes and walk more closely with the Lord. My long-term goals are to keep writing, and eventually get into teaching. My primary spiritual gift is teaching, and I love helping people understand concepts to improve their own writing.

SW. Any ideas for future projects?

SS. Oh yes. A Distant Melody is the first book in the Wings of Glory series. The second book, A Memory Between Us, comes out in September 2010, and the third book in August 2011. Right now I’m preparing a proposal for another series, also set during World War II.

SW. Okay, off topic now. What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, any other hobbies?

SS. My favorite movie has to be the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. It never gets tiresome. Favorite food is Chinese. Favorite place to vacation is England—so much history, so many gorgeous sites—and the accents!
As for hobbies…our three children are 11, 14, and 17, so I ferry them to soccer, karate, baseball, choir, and youth group. I work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist, and I teach Sunday school to fourth- and fifth-graders. At this point, I have no time for hobbies, but writing relaxes and fulfills me.

SW. Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?

SS. I wouldn’t know where to begin! There’s so much great Christian fiction out there in every possible genre. A great place to find novels you might enjoy is, which was established by American Christian Fiction Writers, and lists by author, genre, topic, era, etc. Very helpful.

Sarah, this was great! Thank you so much for being here.
And Sarah is giving away a copy of her book, so leave a comment, with your email, to enter the drawing. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday.

For more about Sarah Sundin and her books, check out her website.
Purchase A Distant Melody.


  1. Hi Sarah,

    It's nice to meet you. Your book cover is gorgeous!

  2. Thanks for the great interview. I've wanted to read Sarah's book for a while. WWII is definitely one of my favorite eras to read about and this one has had great reviews all around the web.


  3. I would love to read this novel! The interview was great!
    janet at janetstreasures dot com

  4. This is a definite 'must read' book. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  5. Lovely interview, Sarah and Shawna.

    Sarah, your life sounds like mine, except I transport kids to baseball and hapkido instead of soccer and karate, but it's the same difference.

    Your work sounds fantastic. Here's wishing it and the author many sales in the present and future.

  6. Please enter me to win a copy. I've read it from my local library, but was unable to own a copy of it. Sarah is a super nice person! Just very sweet!


  7. I've been playing with a WWII era story, but am so intimidated by the research I don't know if I'll ever finish it. I'm completely fascinated by the time period, though!

  8. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I also think Revell did a lovely job with the cover - I'm so pleased.
    Heather - don't let the research intimidate you, but let the story guide you through. I didn't mind reading the (amazingly dry) B-17 pilot's manual when I thought of my hero at the controls :)

  9. I really enjoy reading about the WW ll era and I'd love to win a copy of Sarah's new book. caralynnjames at yahoo dot com

  10. I love this time period! Thanks for offering it.


1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)