Interview with Sarah Sundin ~ Plus a Giveaway

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



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 Deeindexp is probably my favorite, but I’m fond of blue-skies-tomorrow-wings-of-glory-book-3.jpgBlue 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 receiADM-Official-Cover.jpgved 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.


Thank you all for entering this giveaway!!!


31 thoughts on “Interview with Sarah Sundin ~ Plus a Giveaway

  1. Rachelle O'neil says:

    This was such a fun interview! Thanks for the giveaway chance; I’ve been wanting to read Anchor in the Storm.

    Hmm, if I could ask an author any question, I think I’d ask what God has taught them on their writing journey.


  2. Rachelle O'neil says:

    Oh dear, I don’t think my first comment went through.

    Anyway, I wanted to say what a fun interview this was! Thanks for the giveaway chance; I’ve wanted to read Anchor in the Storm for a while. By the way, Ms. Sundin, I adored A Distant Melody, so it made me happy to see it mentioned here. 😀

    Hmm, if I could ask an author only one question, I’d think I’d ask what God has taught him or her on the writing journey.


    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Rachelle! I’m so glad you enjoyed A Distant Melody.

      God has taught me many things on the writing journey – to lean on Him and not on myself, to trust Him in the waiting process, and to step out in faith and OBEY.


    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Kathryn! For me, it’s a lengthy process. There’s a percolation phase, when I have the germ of a story idea and I play with it in my head and see if it has enough substance to stick. If so, I develop it, fleshing out characters and plot ideas, and performing basic research to see if the story works. These early phases may take a few years, and involve submitting the proposal to my publisher. When it’s time to really dig in, I spend about three months developing my characters and plot in detail – plus more research. The rough draft takes about six months, then another month or two for edits. For me, filling in the holes means lots of research, lots of time getting to know my characters, and lots of scribbling on scratch paper for plot brainstorming.


  3. Tami says:

    1 question I would ask is, for historical writers: How long does the research take and what was the favorite research done for this book?


    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Tami! For me, research is intertwined with the process. I research while playing with my initial story idea to make sure it actually works. I research during the outlining phase – this is structured research where I methodically work through the references I know I need. Then I do a lot of “spot” research when I’m doing the rough draft and even through the edits. Ideally I’d finish all my research before starting the rough draft, but deadlines don’t allow that luxury. I’m always working on one print research book that I carry around with me, plus an online research book that I read over lunch.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Celestial says:

    This interview is so much fun to read! Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. Bravo on your first giveaway!


  5. Kelly S. says:

    I’d be interested to hear if/when/how authors made a living writing, or whether they had other jobs to support themselves (or husbands lol). (Sorry for redundancy; this is the same question as in response to your announcement post.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Kelly! Sadly, few authors make enough to support themselves and their families. Not only does writing not pay well, but we have to spend a lot of our earnings on professional expenses, such as websites, conferences, publicity, research books, postage, etc. Most of us have day jobs, working spouses – or both. My husband has a good job, and I work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist – we’re putting kids through college 🙂 Authors certainly don’t write for the money – but the fact that we continue to write tells you how very much we LOVE our work!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      That would be a novel in itself 🙂 In my case, God made it incredibly clear. I had NO plans to write novels. I was a pharmacist, working on-call while our children were little and planning to edge my way back into full-time work. One morning in 2000, I woke from a dream that wouldn’t leave me alone – I knew it was a story, and I knew I had to write it – and I knew that I didn’t know HOW! God and I had a lot of conversations about this – I explained how I had no business writing novels for a large number of reasons – and God told me to shut up and obey (but in nicer words). A long string of “coincidences” kept pointing me in this direction. For example, once I dove in to my first novel, my mother (bless her) was bragging about “her daughter the writer” at the bowling alley. Turned out one of the ladies on the other team, Kathy Collard Miller, was (and still is) A Real Published Christian Author. She let me CALL her and ask all my newbie questions, and she gave me wonderful advice. Which I followed. And I just kept obeying God – even through five years of rejection letters. He had to keep giving me signs, because I’m a thick-headed Gideon, but I kept obeying and writing. It’s been a weird and wonderful journey.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Absolutely terrifying. The first time I went to a writers group and had to read my chapter out loud – to complete strangers. Oh my. For the first year I attended, my stomach would be such a knot I could barely eat on those evenings. But over time, it got easier. My group was wonderful – lots of praise and lots of constructive criticism. And I’m so glad I went. Reviewers can be far more cruel than my critique partners, so by the time my first novel was published, I was able to handle feedback a lot better. Though my stomach still knots up when the first reviews come in 🙂


  6. Joan Denman says:

    Love all your books–thanks for great reads!

    Question– when researching, how much time is spent on books, primary sources and verifying facts with experts, either veterans or current/former military, or others?


    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Joan! It’s hard to tease out actual hours or even percentages. As an introvert, I prefer research in books and online (and TONS of primary sources are online now) to interviews. But I’ve learned that experts LOVE to share, and I’ve found some amazing information by contacting people by email, phone, or even in person.


    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Characters are my favorite part of writing. As an avid lifelong reader, one of my pet peeves is when authors always write the “same” character – with different hair, jobs, and locations. So I make a concerted effort to have a mix of character types in my series – and in my body of work. In the Waves of Freedom series, Mary is a quiet and analytical sort, Lillian is bold but emotionally guarded, and Quintessa is the social butterfly. I even give my characters personality tests 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Heidi S. says:

    Thank you for doing this interview! It’s nice to learn about new authors! I always find it fascinating to learn what people do and what inspired (or continues to inspire) them to share their passion with others. I can’t wait to check out some new books from my library! 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s