Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday for the Military: Meet Sarah Sundin

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Sarah Sundin to the blog! Sarah is the author of the "Wings of Glory" series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow). If you'd like to read my review of the second book (A Memory Between Us), click HERE. I loved it!

Amber:
Thank you so much for joining us today, Sarah! To start, could you share a little bit about yourself?

Sarah: I live in northern California with my husband and three children, a cat and a yellow lab. When I’m not ferrying kids to soccer and tennis, I work on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teach Sunday school. I started writing fiction about ten years ago, and my first novels are now published—A Distant Melody (Revell, March 2010), A Memory Between Us (September 2010). The third book in the Wings of Glory series, Blue Skies Tomorrow, comes out in August 2011.

Amber: What inspired you to write a book series about the military set during World War II? Do you have any military members in your family?

Sarah: I ended up writing historical fiction almost on a whim. I wrote a few contemporary novels (badly), when I had an idea for a story that would only work in a historical setting. I had no idea how much research the story would require, so I dove in. The World War II time period grabbed me. There are so many dramatic stories and settings—a novelist’s dream. This was a time when ordinary men had to do extraordinary things, and when women explored non-traditional roles—while remaining ladies.

My grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate in the US Navy, and he was quite a storyteller. Also my great-uncle, Roderick Stewart (yes, the original Rod Stewart) was a B-17 pilot. I grew up hearing the story of how he was in one of the Flying Fortresses coming into Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack. He flew missions out of Hawaii and Australia, then served as a squadron commander with the 94th Bombardment Group serving in England. In the early 1960s, my father-in-law served as an Army chaplain, but we don’t currently have any family members in the military. Wait, though. I could easily see my youngest son in uniform.

Amber: That's quite a legacy! What do you admire most about the military?

Sarah: I admire how our military men and women—and their families—are willing to sacrifice so much for the rest of the nation. Not only do they put their lives on the line, but they have difficult jobs, frequent moves, and restrictions to their freedom that civilians would not put up with.

Another thing I admire is how the military embraces the qualities that made America great—courage, discipline, respect, hard work, perseverance, working together, responsibility—qualities that are less and less common in the civilian world.

Amber: I completely agree! As an acclaimed published author, is there anything you have learned about humility that you can share with us?

Sarah: First of all, get rid of “acclaimed.” =) And oh yes, God is constantly, laboriously teaching me about humility. What helps most is to remember that writing was God’s idea in the first place. Before Jan. 6, 2000, I had never written a story that wasn’t assigned in class. After that date, ideas flowed. He definitely called me to write. I know He turned on the story faucet, and He could just as easily turn it off. Also God gave me a teenage daughter at just the right time to humble me. I read her an email from a girl her age who raved about my books. I told daughter, “See, she thinks I’m cool.” Daughter (not even looking up from texting): “That’s because she doesn’t know you.” I need that.

Amber: What’s next in your writing career? (I saw on your website that you have a new WWII series in the works! Could you tell us a little bit about it?)

Sarah: Yes, I do! I’m really excited about it. While researching A Memory Between Us, I became enthralled with flight nursing. Five hundred women served during World War II as the very first flight nurses—adventurous, dangerous, pioneering work. My next series, tentatively titled Wings of the Nightingale, follows three World War II flight nurses in the Mediterranean Theater. I recently signed a three-book contract with Revell. The novels will be released in September 2012, June 2013, and June 2014. I’m about halfway done with the rough draft of the first book, and I’m loving the characters.

Amber: Sounds great! So, how can we pray for you and other authors?

Sarah: Thank you for asking. I can always use prayer. Please pray the stories I write would glorify God and help people grow in their walks with Him. Also pray I can learn balance and time management. And yes, pray that God will keep teaching me humility—and if I ever become prideful that He yank the writing away!

Amber: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, Sarah!

Readers, if you would like to learn more about Sarah and her books, click HERE to visit her website.

This just in: Sarah is giving away a copy of
A Memory Between Us to one lucky commenter. Leave a comment and your e-mail address to enter the drawing! Thanks, Sarah!

31 comments:

Renee Ann said...

Great interview, Amber! I've enjoyed Sarah's books, especially because I love reading about the WWII time period. Some have called those brave men and women "the greatest generation." I guess we could say that about most of the folks who serve our country in the military.

I can't wait for the new series to begin! When I was young (a looong time ago), I read a series of books about a nurse: Cherry Ames. In a few of the books, she was an army nurse. Those were my favorites :)

Don't know if Sarah will be returning to read the comments, but does she have a favorite WWII movie?

Vince said...

Hi Sarah:

I see your first book is now on Amazon for the Kindle. When I first looked into this book it was not available. I need the large print. What great reviews on Amazon: 55 with an average of 5 stars. Amazing.

I love WWII stories. I was supposed to be born on D-Day but it was a false alarm. I came a few days later.

I have two questions:

Have you flown on a B-17? There are still two out there that fly around the country giving rides. I was heartbroken when I took my $300 to fly on a B-17 and it was sold out.

Do you listen to WWII time period music. It is my favorite and I can’t imagine writing a WWII novel without listening to at least Glenn Miller.

I must read “Distant Melody” soon. I was in the Air Force and I have been a pilot.

Vince

Sarah Sundin said...

Renee Ann - yep, stopping by :)Hmm, favorite WWII movie?? I'm a horrible one for "favorites" because I like so many things. Most of the movies made during that time period appeal to me. I have my DVR filled with TCM movies :)
Vince - Yep, both books are now available on Kndle, and both are available in hardback large print as well - I'm beginning to need that myself! I have not flown in a B-17 - just could not justify the $400 (maybe it's higher in California). When they come to our local airport each year, I do go and do the walk-through and just hang out. I bring my kids as an excuse :)And I love Big Band music - my car's CD player is loaded with Glenn Miller (my favorite), Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Harry James, and all that good stuff. But I can only play it when I'm in the car alone. My teens, for some reason, don't care for it. Young whippersnappers.

Linda Yezak said...

Sarah, terrific interview! I particularly love that bit about your grandfather. Mine was more of a joke teller than a story teller, but he would've had tons to tell!

Amber, good job. I really enjoyed this!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Sarah! I love Sarah and Daisy the lab too! :-) I'm uber excited for Blue Skies Tomorrow and the new series featuring nurses sounds great, it will be releasing just in time for my birthday! What a way to celebrate!

Thanks so much for having Sarah, Amber...I love your interviews they are always so fun!

XOXO~ Renee

Katy said...

Wonderful interview, Amber and Sarah!

Your upcoming releases, Sarah, sound really good. I have not yet read any of your books, but hope to start sometime soon. :-)

Amber, these posts are always fun to read. Thank you for taking the time to interview these people about the military. :-)

~ Katy

Keli Gwyn said...

Amber, I really enjoyed the interview. You asked some great questions. I'm a big fan of Sarah's work. I'd read very few WWII romances before hers, but I'll read anything she writes because she's a gifted storyteller. I'd love to write as well as she does.

Sarah, I got a kick out of your daughter's comment. Leave it to teenagers to keep us humble.

Bluerose said...

I'll admit that the books set in war time periods typically aren't my favorites. BUT, I greatly enjoyed reading A Memory Between Us!! I think it's great that your books can appeal to all of us out there. :) And I've heard nothing but great things about A Distant Melody.

I'm now very intrigued by the WWII music! I'll have to check out some of those musicians. :)

Sarah Sundin said...

Linda - my grandpa could tell jokes too. He was so much fun. They say you're not supposed to laugh at your own jokes, but he couldn't help it - I think that was part of the appeal.
Renee & Keli - thanks :)
Katy - I'm glad you've heard good things.
Bluerose - thanks! By the way, Big Band music will strike your rock & roll ear as dorky at first, but the musicianship is phenomenal, the tunes are catchy, and they lyrics are (gasp!) clean!!! I love hearing the brass and the woodwinds. All our generation has are guitar and drums.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I love Big Bands, my 5-year-old already thinks I'm dorky and I don't mind :)

Great interview, Amber & Sarah. I've already read both of Sarah's books so no need to enter me. They are page-turners I highly enjoyed.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

great interview Amber ")
interesting to see how her writing direction was re-directed ....

Michelle said...

Wonderful interview. I loved reading it. I am definitely looking forward to the new series. It sounds very good. I also enjoy the big band music. Both of my grandfathers were WWII vets. One was in the Pacific, and the other in Europe. It's also been one of my favorite times to read about.

Please don't enter me for the giveaway, I already have the book.

Sarah Sundin said...

Julia - train 'em when they're young :) The kids and I like Christian contemporarty, so we listen to that together, then I flip to Glenn & Benny when I'm alone in the car.

Amanda said...

Great interview ladies! Wow, Sarah it is so nice to meet you! I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of your books but they sound so interesting and I've only heard wonderful things about them! I love what you said about God turning on the "story faucet" and your beautifully humble attitude of knowing He could also turn it off. I was very blessed by your interview and touched by your prayer request. You seem incredibly sweet and genuinely humble and I pray the Lord will bless you and your writing abundantly. Thank you so much for a chance to win your book!

Amber, my friend, once again you have introduced me to a great author and blessed me with the great interviews you always put together! Thanks, girl :)

Blessings to you both!!
Amanda
mrose608{at}gmail{dot}com

Amber S. said...

Renee Ann,

Glad you enjoyed the interview! :) That's a great phrase to describe the people living in the WWII era (and all military men and women, as you said): "the greatest generation." Very inspiring!

Sarah's new series does sound great! I loved A Memory Between Us, so it would be neat to read more about the flight nurses. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Vince,

I've only read one of Sarah's books, but I definitely gave it a high rating, and I'm sure her other books are (and will be) fabulous, too!

How interesting that you were almost born on D-Day! And I know you've mentioned that you served in the military before, but again, thank you so much for your service to our country. Perhaps you might let me interview you sometime for "Monday for the Military"??? :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Sarah,

Thank you again for taking the time to let me interview you and for stopping by and responding to comments! :)

Oh, and I thought I should add that I'm relatively young and I like Big Band music! ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Linda,

I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview! And yes, aren't grandpas wonderful? :) My grandpa has told me a lot of stories about his life (I started working on his memoirs with him, but I haven't gotten very far...), and he also wrote a book about my great-great grandpa's life, so I've been blessed to learn a lot about my family!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee,

That's so sweet! That means so much to me that you think my interviews are fun! :)

And I agree--I'm looking forward to Blue Skies Tomorrow and any more books by Sarah! Books/New releases always make great birthday presents. ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Katy,

Thank YOU for your encouragement--it is my pleasure to spotlight military men and women, as well as the people who serve them in some way. :) So glad you enjoy these posts!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Keli,

Thank you so much! I'm glad to know that the questions are interesting to my readers! :)

And I agree--Sarah is definitely a gifted storyteller, and I can't wait to read more by her!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

Wasn't A Memory Between Us great? :) I've heard good things about her first book, as well, and I'm eager to get my hands on Blue Skies Tomorrow!

And you should definitely check out Big Band music. ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julia,

Thank you! Big Band music is so fun, isn't it? :) I got a CD over Christmas break of just instrumental Big Band music from Target, which is so upbeat and exciting!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Faith Hope Cherrytea,

Thank you! :)

I agree that it's interesting to hear about the writing process. In fact, my current WIP went through a time when it was contemporary, too--but it definitely works much better as an historical, and that's where my heart lies! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Michelle,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading the interview! :) WWII is definitely an exciting and dramatic time period to read about it, isn't it? Thank you to both of your grandfathers for serving our country!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I'm so glad I could introduce you to Sarah! :) It was a pleasure to get to "meet" her through e-mail and this interview! I loved A Memory Between Us, and if her other works are like that book I think you would love them all!

And I agree about Sarah--her humble attitude is definitely inspiring, and I hope I can live and write with that attitude, as well!

~Amber

Michelle said...

This trilogy sounds wonderful.

I would also like to read her next trilogy about flight nurses.

Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!
moma3homeschool(at)gmail(dot)com

Amber S. said...

Michelle,

Thanks for stopping by! I'm excited to read more by Sarah, too. :)

~Amber

Sarah Sundin said...

Amanda - you're very sweet, but I have suuuuuch a long way to go. God smacks me upside the head at least once a day about pride. My head hurts. But it's a good kind of pain :)

Sarah Sundin said...

Amber - thanks so much for having me! Your readers are so interactive - I love it!

Amber S. said...

Sarah,

I'm so glad you could join us--it was an honor to host you! :) And aren't these readers wonderful? I'm so blessed to know them!

~Amber