An interview and a giveaway? What can be better than that?! Yes, indeed! I am doing an interview with Sarah Sundin as well as a giveaway of her new book, Anchor in the Storm!
Thank you so much, Sarah, for doing this interview and giveaway with me! I really enjoyed getting to ‘know’ you through emails as we got ready for this interview! I hope you enjoyed doing this as much as I did!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by messaging me or commenting on this post.
To learn more about Sarah:
Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups. Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.
Questions with Sarah:
Q. Hmm, so this usually doesn’t happen, but I actually have to think about the right question to ask! Usually I can just quickly write one out. There are just so many ideas that I have. I don’t know which one to choose!!! But, here goes nothing. What book, by you, is your favorite? Which one did you have the most fun writing and researching?
A. I have three children, and I love them equally. At any given time, I might like one better than the others—depending on how they’re behaving—but I love them equally. It’s similar with my books. I know each book’s strengths and weaknesses, and I simply don’t have a favorite.
Likewise, each one was fun to write and research in its own unique way. Each presents a challenge I’ve never faced before—character, plot, setting, research—so it’s always fun.
Q. I personally love writing– stories, poems, and things like that. Have you liked writing all your life?
A. I have. When I was in third grade, I had a poem published in the PTA newsletter. Granted, my mom was PTA president, but I was still thrilled. I was an avid reader, and I dabbled in writing but never took it as a serious goal. I also wanted to be a ballerina, and I knew that was never going to happen either. Instead I majored in chemistry and became a pharmacist—a very practical career. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I began writing for publication.
Q. When you were in your high school years, did you like reading? If so, what kind of books did you read? Did you have a favorite author, book, or series?
A. I was the girl in class who did her schoolwork as quickly as possible so that I could read. I always had a book with me. Of course, a lot of my reading in high school was the required reading for English—some of which I loved (Othello) and some I hated (Heart of Darkness—ugh). Christian fiction wasn’t really big back then (yes, I’m old), so I gobbled everything on my parents’ bookshelves and in the library, mostly popular fiction, but classics too—I was especially proud of myself for completing War and Peace!
Q. All of your book covers are wonderful; they are all very well done. Do you have a favorite? Do you get to help with the book covers or does the publishing company do it all?
A. I have been elated with each of my covers. For aesthetics, Through Waters Deep is probably my favorite, but I’m fond of Blue Skies Tomorrow for personal reasons. Not only does Ray look exactly like the Ray in my head, but they used the actual El Campanil Theatre in Antioch, California in the background—and there are several scenes in the book set there. Also, on the marquee they put Cover Girl, which my characters see in the book. The orchestration for Cover Girl was done by Carmen Dragon, an Antioch native, so it was an extra-special touch. We held the launch party for the book at the El Campanil, which was so much fun!
As for the process, my publisher sends me a questionnaire, which asks about the story, characters, and setting. I fill it out and include lots of pictures of outfits, uniforms, hairstyles, locations, ships, etc. The photographer often sends me pictures of the outfits and uniforms for the photo shoot to make sure the details are right—very important for the military uniforms. Then the photographer does the photo shoot, and the art department puts together the initial cover. In my contract, I’m allowed to suggest corrections or improvements. I only make suggestions about historical things—the wrong ship or plane, incorrect insignia, etc. They’ve been extraordinarily flexible about making changes, and I’ve been thrilled with each cover.
Q. Net question! Where do you find your inspiration? Do you write your novels at the library? Outside? In an office? Do you listen to music?
A. I write in my home office now. When I started writing, my kids were little and I wrote whenever and wherever I could—at the ballet studio, karate studio, soccer field, dentist’s waiting room. Now that my kids are older—I only have one at home and for less than a month!—I can keep office hours. I don’t mind background noise, but I can’t write to music. The wannabe ballerina in me wants to get up and dance.
Q. This may have a long answer, but it is very interesting to read about whatsoever! How/why did you become an author?
A. I didn’t have much of a choice. God pulled me in. In 2000, I woke from a dream that wouldn’t leave me alone. It was a complete novel, and I was compelled to write it. I was terrified. I was a stay-at- home mom who worked on-call as a pharmacist. I loved pharmacy. I studied science. I had no business writing novels. But the story consumed me, and every time I wanted to give up, the Lord gave me crystal-clear signs that He wanted me to keep writing.
Soon I joined a writers group and started attending writers’ conferences. I set aside that first novel. And the second. And I started writing my first World War II novel. Then in 2003, I first submitted A Distant Melody to editors and agents—and received my first professional encouragement and my first rejection letters! Five years of rejection letters followed, but God kept prompting me to write, so I obeyed. In 2008, I submitted at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference…and a few months later I signed my first contract. A Distant Melody was published in 2010, almost exactly ten years after I started the journey.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice, and only one, to an aspiring writer or author, what would it be? I know, I know, why just one piece of advice? Because, I like giving author’s a hard time during their interview! Just kidding!
A. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. When we start writing, we’re so eager to be published and that’s a good thing. However, be patient and resist the temptation to cut corners and rush the process. Just as it takes years to learn any profession, it takes years to become a good writer. Learn the craft through writing conferences and craft books. Learn about the business side of writing through conferences and online. And develop your voice, something that only happens over time. Also, I found God had vital lessons to teach me through rejection and waiting—lessons I wouldn’t pass up for the world!
More about Anchor in the Storm:
For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attention only annoys her—even if he is her brother’s best friend.
During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?
To enter Anchor in the Storm’s giveaway, click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
And the winner is….Jan H.!!!
I will contact the winner through email immediately.