Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Books & Writing -- A Chat With Sarah Sundin

Welcome Sarah Sundin!

I'm thrilled to have the tenacious and talented Sarah Sundin with us today. It has been my privilege to work with Sarah, the last few years, as one of her critique partners. It is my pleasure to introduce her to you.

Sarah is the author of With Every Letter, as well as the Wings of Glory series--A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.

Goodness, Sarah, you are busy. I marvel at you.

Can you tell us a little about how you became a writer?

I didn't plan to become a writer. Although I always loved reading, I majored in chemistry and became a pharmacist. But in 2000, I woke up one morning from a dream with such compelling characters that I had to write their story. And I did--very badly. I wrote one more bad novel, then joined a writers group and started attending writers conferences. The third book I wrote became my first published novel, A Distant Melody.

A chemistry major turned author -- amazing transformation. I love the unexpected turns of life.

Thus far the books you've written take place during World War II. How did you came to write about this era?

I've always been drawn to that era. My grandfather served as a Navy medic in the Pacific, and my great-uncle was a B-17 pilot. Their stories--plus those from my grandmothers on the Home Front--always intrigued me. I love how ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and how women explored new roles--while remaining ladies.

I see that in your novels--the truth and reality of real life and the people who fought for our country during the time period come through with clarity. And the scenes that take place in the B-17's are among the best I've ever read. You always plant me right there in the midst of battle.

What a stunning cover. Can you share a little about your most recent release, With Every Letter?

With Every Letter is the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, which follows three World War II flight nurses who discover love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean. In With Every Letter, shy nurse Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence (like in You've Got Mail) with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver, who longs to escape the legacy of his infamous father. When they're both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past--or will they reveal their identities?

     Here's a peek at the back cover: 

Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. She is not looking forward writing a letter to a man she's never met--even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program. Lt. Tom MacGillliver , an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence--he's been trying to escape his infamous name for years. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship, despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?   

 I loved this story. Well done, Sarah! 

What do you love most about writing? Least?

I love writing dialogue, and I really love getting to know my characters. But plotting is difficult for me--it often feels like a smackdown wrestling match.

I can relate. I've had a few of those smackdown matches myself.  : )

When you have time to play, what is your favorite thing to do?

I like to explore and see new things. I've always loved to travel, but a hike at the local regional park is lovely too.

I know you made a trip to Europe in 2011, can you share some of the highlights?

The Sundins at the Colosseum in Rome
It was a wonderful trip. We spent one week in southern France and one week in Italy. We had days at the beach and saw the tourist spots--Rome, Pompeii, Florence , the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But I also did research for the Wings of the Nightingale series. We walked through Greek ruins at Paestum, where the Americans landed for the invasion at Salerno. We spent a day at Anzio and found a delightful little museum about Anzio in World War II that wasn't in any of the guidebooks. We also got remarkably close to the airfield at Istres-le-Tube' near Marseille where the flight nurses were based--and is an active airbase today.

Your time in France and Italy was an asset to the book, making the scenes come to life.

So, what are you working on now? And do you have a project that is waiting in the wings?

On Distant Shores, the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, is going through the publisher's edits and will be released in August 2013. I'm currently writing the rough draft of the third book, which is a lot of fun. I'm also working on a proposal for another potential series.

I'm waiting expectantly for Wings of the Nightingale. August seems so far away.

Where can readers find you on the web?


Sarah is offering a free copy of her new book, With Every Letter. For a chance to win all you need to do is leave a comment along with your email address. I will be drawing a winner one week from today.


  1. Thank you for the interesting interview, Bonnie and Sarah.

    I love books with a WW11 setting! "With Every Letter" sounds like a really good read, please enter me in the draw.

    Thank you.

    ruthanndell2 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. I am such a fan of Sarah's work! I really enjoyed your interview!

    somerbreeze8 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  3. 'With Every Letter' sounds like a great book. Thanks for a chance to win.

  4. Oh! I love giveaways!


  5. Thanks for having Sarah on your blog today,Bonnie. I love her writing.

  6. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Alicia11:25 AM

    I am a childhood friend of Sarah's and so happy for her success. I'd love a copy of "With Every Letter."


  8. Anonymous11:32 AM

    I love Sarah's books! I took 'A Distant Melody' on a camping trip one summer and read it in one day, finishing it at night by flashlight :)

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    samantha (dot) jmj (at) juno (dot) com

  9. Annie1:11 PM

    I have been eager to read this one, not at my library yet.

  10. Alicia!! Hi there! How fun to see you in blog-land.

    Samantha - thanks :)

    Annie - if you don't win, you can ask your library to order it for you.

  11. So often when I tell someone I've written a WWII novel, I'm asked if I've read Sarah Sundin's novels. "With Every Letter" is on my "read me next" list. (I already have the book, so there's no need to enter me in the drawing.)

  12. I loved WITH EVERY LETTER. Looking forward to ON DISTANT SHORES. Would love to win!

    Pam Burke

    pamburke74 (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Loved the interview and will add this book to my reading list. Would love to win a copy of the book.

    Ann Ellison

  14. Johnnie, that's funny because "Where Treasure Hides" is on my to-read list :) I'm so excited to see more WWII fiction being published - and I adore your cover!

    Pam and Ann - thank you :)

  15. Anonymous6:45 PM

    Thanks so much for the interview! "With Every Letter" was actaully the first book I've read by Sarah Sundin and I've been in love with her work ever since! My email is

  16. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Would love to win one of your books.

  17. Anonymous10:03 PM

    Great interview. I've tried several times to win this book. It sounds good. Maybe I will get lucky this time.

  18. Kristina5:21 AM

    Love your books and can't wait for the next one! :)


  19. Fun interview! I know I'd love this book if my adoration of the Wings of Glory series is any indicator. :) The cover is SO beautiful! This one and the next in the series them. :)


  20. Wonderful interview ladies! Sounds like a great book. I have not had the opportunity to read Sarah's work.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.



  21. Thanks, everyone! You're making me blush, which - with my complexion - isn't terribly hard to do :)

  22. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Bonnie and Sarah-
    I am so excited to have the chance to win this book! It sounds just like somethin I would love to read. Thank you for the wonderful interveiw