ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in
. Sarah lives in England with her husband and three children. California
How did you come up with the idea for With Every Letter, did you base your main character after anyone special?
The idea for With Every Letter occurred to me while watching the classic Jimmy Stewart movie The Shop Around the Corner (which inspired You’ve Got Mail). The anonymous correspondence intrigued me, and I wondered what kind of person would be drawn to anonymity. About that time I was researching Army nursing in World War II for A Memory Between Us and read a lot about the flight nurses. I wanted to write a series about three friends who were flight nurses—and decided to have the first story to include the anonymous correspondence plot.
In your book With Every Letter, did you have an encounter in your research that affected you deeply? Changed the way you thought about things? If so, could you share that with us?
My favorite research treasure trove for With Every Letter was a box from the grandson of a WWII Army engineer based in
What has surprised you most about being an author?
The first thing that surprised me was that anyone other than my mother actually enjoyed my stories! That still surprises me. The second thing that surprised me was the juggling act. Right now I’m doing publicity for With Every Letter, doing my publisher’s edits for On Distant Shores (Book 2), working on my final outline for Book 3, and pulling together ideas for another series proposal.
What are you working on now?
I received my edits back for On Distant Shores, the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, which comes out June 2013. I had so much fun writing this book. It’s about Lt. Georgie Taylor, a flight nurse who’s afraid she’s in over her head and Army pharmacist Sgt. John “Hutch” Hutchinson, whose goals seem frustrated at every turn. Tragedy draws them together, but their differences threaten to keep them apart. Georgie is social and bubbly, and Hutch is quiet and serious—and their banter kept me hopping.
What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?
I’ve belonged to a book club since 2004. Through this group I’ve enjoyed some fabulous books and developed some of my closest friendships. So as an author, I like to do anything I can to support reading groups. I love to meet with groups in person, over Skype, or over speaker phone. Of course I benefit in gaining readers who might never have picked up the book, but more importantly, my greatest joy is watching a novel help friendships grow.
Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you'll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?
I don’t have a limit. I’ve enjoyed speaking to small groups and larger groups.
Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books, to one of your characters? If so, which ones or what surprised you?
|My book club, the Bibliovores, minus me (I'm taking the photo) and our Skype visit with author Carla Stewart.|
Good surprises. A few weeks ago, I met with a local book club that had read my third novel, Blue Skies Tomorrow. They were a wonderfully chatty group, and I had so much fun seeing what they picked up out of the book. One lady solved the “mystery” of Helen’s past on the first page (wow), others didn’t figure it out until the big reveal at the one-quarter point of the book, and others slowly picked up on clues I’d planted. I saw they disliked characters they were supposed to dislike, and liked characters they were supposed to like. They asked fabulous, intelligent, well-informed questions. It was so much fun. And they served pie.
Has your book club experience - getting feed back from reading groups - helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?
|At my launch party for Blue Skies Tomorrow, with author Keli Gwyn, my agent Rachel Kent, me, and author Michelle Ule.|
I think so. Actually listening to my own book club analyze novels is a fascinating experience for me as an author. What resonates with readers? What types of characters and set-ups and plots do they like? What issues do they care about? And what doesn’t work? The ten of us are close friends with so much in common, but often half of us love a book and the other half hates it. This helps me when I read reviews of my own novels. When someone dislikes my book, I don’t take it personally, since I know how tastes vary.
QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK
You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
I would not be the leader, guaranteed. But I’m a hard worker and would do whatever had to be done. And I was a Girl Scout, so I wouldn’t be totally useless ☺
You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any person (alive or dead besides Jesus). Who would you pick and what would you do?
I’d pick my grandfathers. My mother’s father died when she was in high school, so I never got to meet him. And my father’s father died in 1992, long before I started writing. He loved to tell stories about his World War II experiences, and I listened, but I didn’t LISTEN, and I didn’t ask questions.
What three things would you rather not live without? (Besides friends and family)
Caffeine, books, and air conditioning.
As a young person, what movie impacted your life, a movie you’ll never forget? If you didn’t watch movies what book affected you most in your youth?
I did watch movies, but books affected me more. I think the books that impacted me most were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. My sister and I almost wore out our copies, we read them so much. They affected me because I was able to put myself in Laura’s high-button shoes and imagine what it was like to live in a very different time. They gave me a great appreciation for the past and a love for history that I certainly didn’t gain in school history classes.
A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for awhile. What would you do with it? Where would you go and what would you do?
No real mystery here. I’d go back to the 1940s and do the best kind of research ever! Can you imagine being able to talk to people back then and find out how they really felt, unfiltered by seventy years of hindsight?
ANY FINAL COMMENTS YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH READERS?
|Book signing at the Lifeway store in |
http://www.sarahsundin.com, Facebook and twitter.
Thanks Sarah for stopping by and giving us a peek into your new book, you and your book club memories. I really enjoyed With Every Letter. I could really relate to your mail character Mellie. I specially enjoy how you wrapped this special story in the 1940’s war setting. I learned so much.
I’m thrilled that Revell is giving away 5 copies of your book. I’m also thrilled to be featuring you at The Book Club Network this month. This new series sounds really good. I can’t wait for your next book to come out. Praying the Lord touches your writing and spirit as you write this series.
You’re a Blessing
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