Tuesday, August 05, 2014

An Interview with WWII Author Sarah Sundin



Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including her latest that releases this month from Revell, In Perfect Time. Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children, where she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

Sarah will be giving a copy of In Perfect Time to one of our Pastimes visitors this week! Just answer this question in the comments to be entered in Friday’s drawing:

Have you ever done anything crazy or odd to get a good photograph or video?


Sarah, welcome back to Novel Pastimes! It’s always fun to have you with us. You followed a bit of a different path to becoming a writer. You’ve shared that when you’ve been our spotlight author before, but can you tell us again?
Unlike most authors, I didn’t plan to become a writer. Although I always loved reading and story, I chose to follow a practical, scientific pathway. I majored in chemistry, have a doctorate in pharmacy, and was enjoying part-time work as a pharmacist while being a stay-at-home mom. Then I had a story idea that wouldn’t let me go, and I felt compelled to write it. So I did. That book will never be published (it’s really bad), but it got me started.


Congratulations on the release of In Perfect Time! This will be the last in your Wings of the Nightingale trilogy. Tell us a bit about the main characters.
Lt. Kay Jobson serves as a flight nurse in Italy in World War II. She’s bold and confident and enjoys having a boyfriend in every airport. Lt. Roger Cooper is a C-47 pilot, ferrying supplies and paratroopers throughout the Mediterranean, biding his time until he can become a big band drummer. Kay is drawn to the energetic pilot, but finds him curiously immune to her charms. In fact, he goes out of his way to avoid her—until he glimpses the hurt inside her and realizes his story might be just what she needs.


That sounds great! By the time you finish writing a 3-book series, you know so much about those characters and their lives. Sometimes we have a hard time leaving a series as readers. How do you say good-bye as the author who knows the stories so well?
It’s kind of like moving to a new city and leaving your friends behind. Writing the last chapter of In Perfect Time and saying good-bye to my nightingales was heart-wrenching. If that chapter is a bit sentimental…well, I make no apologies.


And we wouldn’t expect you to! :-) Since we’re in the heat of summer, what would some of your characters do to relax on a hot summer day when they’re off duty?
Since they were based in Italy in the summer of 1944, they’d go to the beach and splash in the Mediterranean.


You share on your website that you think three things about World War II fascinate us – drama, daring, and romance. How do you work each of those into your stories?
I gravitate toward stories with these three elements. In Perfect Time has “daring” in the action plotline as Roger and Kay fly air evacuation missions in combat areas. The drama comes out in the emotional and spiritual challenges they face, and in relationships with friends and family. And of course, the romance. I do love a gripping romance, and Roger and Kay’s was fun to write!


You first series, Wings of Glory, focused on bomber pilots in WWII and your latest series, Wings of the Nightingale, focuses on WWII nurses. What draws you to write about a certain type of character? Where do the ideas stem from?
When I consider series ideas, I look for an idea that grabs me hard, with enough scope and covering enough time to allow for three novels. The Wings of Glory series started with a single romance idea (A Distant Melody). As I began my research into the US Eighth Air Force, I realized I could—and should—tell three stories. Since I knew my hero had two pilot brothers, the series just whooshed together. The Wings of the Nightingale series sprang out of research into nursing in World War II, and the stories of the flight nurses really spoke to me—and provided plenty of material.


You’ll have a story in When Treetops Glisten, a Christmas novella collection that will be released later this year. What can you tell us about the collection and about your story in particular?
This was so much fun to write. Cara Putman asked Tricia Goyer and me if we’d be interested in putting together a WWII Christmas novella collection. We decided to use one Indiana family as the focus and to follow them throughout the war, using the great WWII-era Christmas songs as inspiration. In my novella, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Lt. Pete Turner comes home after completing a tour as a fighter pilot in England. He’s running on empty. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of his friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?


And, as if you don’t have enough happening in 2014, you have a new series launching in summer 2015! You’ve been a very busy lady! Can you give us a sneak peek into those books?
Visitors, come back tomorrow for the rest of our interview with Sarah – including a bit about her new series that will launch in 2015 and one of her most memorable times researching for her novels.

And remember, you could win a copy of Sarah’s brand-new novel, In Perfect Time! Leave your answer to this question in the comments section with your name and email (spelling out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help cut down on spam, please).

Have you ever done anything crazy or odd to get a good photograph or video?

The drawing will be held Friday, August 8. Good luck and we’ll see you again tomorrow!

17 comments:

Amy C said...

Congrats to Sarah on her new release. I cannot wait to read In Perfect Time. I'm loving the series.
To answer the question: No, I have always been way too shy to do anything crazy or odd to get a good photograph or video.
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Elyssa said...

Good question! There was one time that I climbed into a tree to pose for a photo, but that's just about as far as I've gone. My sister loves to take pictures, so she has done some pretty interesting things to get good ones. ;)

Fun interview! Can't wait to read the rest of the interview and to get a sneak peek of Sarah's new series!

Thanks for the great giveaway!

lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

Bonnie Roof said...

Thanks, Sarah and Leigh for the interesting interview!! I'm looking forward to part two.

I'm also looking forward to reading "In Perfect Time" not only because of the three elements Sarah includes in her books - drama, daring, and romance - but also because I love books set in the World War II era, and appreciate books involving the military. There are several generations of military officers in my family - my brother was a cargo plane pilot during the Vietnam War, my nephew is currently a chaplain in the Army.

I love the idea behind "Where Treetops Glisten" - using World War II era Christmas songs as inspiration - and it offers the opportunity of inspiring novellas from three wonderful authors within one book. "I'll Be Home For Christmas" has a beautiful story line which includes so many wonderful elements: romance, Christmas, World War II, and a child.

I haven't had the opportunity to do any traveling recently, but used to travel extensively - a lot of it while driving alone - and would take photos of my travels. I'm sure I've done numerous crazy things for the sake of a good photo - such as risking safety by frequently stopping on the side of the road to snap photos. I always kept both a camera and video camera on the seat beside me - just waiting for those unexpected "perfect" photos to make an appearance. I once drove several states away from home, snapping photos all the way there and back home - without incident - only to have the camera slide off the car seat and onto the ground when I opened the door, knocking the flash out of alignment. The repair would have been so costly that I ended up buying another camera.

bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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apple blossom said...

No I can't say I've done anything crazy or odd to get a picture...unless you count going on a photography scavenger hunt with church kids.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Emma said...

I have never done anything crazy for a photo. Although, I have tried to take up photography, it never seemed to stick. When I'm in a moment that will no doubt become a memory, I'd rather live it and have the professions take the pics. Good thing my brother's a photographer!

Emreilly303(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for this book release for so long! :)
I haven't done anything crazy just for a photo, but for my 50th recently, our family of four went to Hawaii and right on my birthday, my husband and I went parasailing for the first time, 1000 ft in the air! I'm not adventurous by nature but had wanted to do something big for my big milestone...and it was SO fun! We had the people on the boat take lots of pictures, so does that count? :)
~Tammy
tamlynn@myfrontiermail.com

Anonymous said...

Oops, leaving email again in other format:
tamlynn[at}myfrontiermail[dot]come
~Tammy

Patty said...

I'm rather camera shy also, so have never really done anything crazy for a photo. Congrats to Sarah on finishing this series, can't wait to hear about the next one.

Pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

Terri Wangard said...

I've gotten into some crazy positions while on a photo shoot of boats from a boat. Try keeping a camera steady in a rocking boat. Or when a boat flies by too close, sending a wave into our boat. We have no choice but to protect our cameras with our bodies. It's one way to cool off.
tlw131 [at] gmail [dot] com

Sharon Timmer said...

Yes, I just returned from Chicago with my kids & Grandkids & we went to the bean so like all the other tourists we had to take our reflection pictures & came out with some pretty funny shots!

Stimmer(at)familylife(dot)com

Natalie Flores said...

I once saw a really nice photo of someone lying on the ground in the middle of Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom. It was beautiful because the photo was taken from the ground as well, right where the trolley tracks crisscross each other. The girl in the photo had her hands resting on her chin, a smile on her face, with Cinderella Castle in the distance.

The next time my family went to Disney World, my sister and I recreated the shot. We got to enter the park before regular opening because of a breakfast reservation, so we plopped ourselves down in the middle of an empty Main Street, trying to recreate the photo. Although we got a few stares, we also got some great photos. And we must have done something right because some of the people who were there started doing the same thing.

Thanks for the giveaway!
natalieflores(at)live(dot)com

Robin Willson said...

Oh my, a cliff hanger with continuing the interview later - not fair!
I guess I'm pretty boring with taking pictures. Unless it counts looking down a steep hillside taking pictures in South Dakota driving down the roads.(husband was driving BTW)
raeray2 at yahoo dot com

Newsgirl said...

Crazy positions turn out amazing pictures - even things just as easy as getting on tiptoes, or sticking your arm over your head and pressing the shoot button. I'm a big fan of artsy angles and capturing something tiny yet significant in a huge scene!

Congrats to Sarah on her new book. Her series is amazing!

kwhittle(at)wgem(dot)com

Pam K. said...

No, I don't think I've ever done anything crazy or odd to get a good photograph. I don't really take a lot of photos.
I really enjoyed the first two books of this series. Thanks for the chance to win In Perfect Time.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Anonymous said...


I've not done anything crazy of myself to get a picture. Did get a picture of my husband when he came in with work coveralls to rest a minute. He picked up a long blond wig from a playbox and put it on. I just had to take a picture of him. It has gotten lots of laughs and comments from the kids and other family and friends. He is no longer here and it brings a memory and laugh when I see it. Susann I would love to win this book to put with the others I have of yours. I do love the WW ll stories since my oldest brother served then. And many other family members and close friends. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie
> mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Geni W said...

I am so excited about this new book and the upcoming series. I love World War 2 era things and these books are just perfect.

I recently did something that I consider pretty crazy to get a picture. I am a huge NASCAR fan and one of the drivers has a charity motorcycle ride that benefits the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which is a camp that he created in memory of his son that was killed in a racing accident. The camp is for children who are seriously ill and it gives them a chance to spend time with other children who are battling illnesses and for them to just be a normal kid.

Anyway, they had an autograph line and I got Richard Petty's autograph, but I wasn't able to get his picture. Things were moving too fast. So afterward, I kind of kept following him around, hoping for an opportunity. That never really materialized and they were getting back on their motorcycles and were ready to take off. So I see him on his motorcycle and decided to just go for it. I practically jumped in between his motorcycle and another one as they were getting ready to leave and asked him if I could take a picture with him. He smiled and said "Get it!!" and posed with me. It was awesome!

Sorry to ramble. Just took a bit to get to my point. :)

Thank you for offering a cool opportunity to win this!

RwhiteRhino (at) aol (dot) com

Michelle L. said...

no not really crazy or odd. I don't like getting my picture taken so I avoid being in front of the camera. But I'm not beyond laying down on the ground to get a good photo of a flower or animal. :)
aQrose at yahoo dot com