Thursday, March 18, 2010

A DISTANT MELODY - Sarah Sundin - Free Book

Welcome, Sarah. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

All and none. I try to think like my characters do, so a bit of me goes into each one. I may never have experienced what my heroine is going through, but I know what it’s like to feel rejected, joyful, angry, terrified, ashamed, or content. However, I’m careful not to make my characters just like me. How boring would that be? Since I’ve always loved to observe behavior, I enjoy filling my novels with a variety of types.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

You stumped me. I even polled family and friends. The most common answer: “You wrote a book.” I may be odd, I may be weird, but apparently I’m not quirky.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

January 6, 2000. Although I always read voraciously, I didn’t consider a writing career. For one thing, I knew getting published was as likely as becoming a professional ballerina. I studied chemistry at UCLA, then received my doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. I married a fellow pharmacy student, and I chose to work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist and stay home with our three children. Then on January 6, 2000, I had a dream with such intriguing characters that I felt compelled to write their story. That first novel will never be published, nor should it, but it served a purpose. Since God called me to write, I decided to write seriously. I joined a critique group, attended writers’ conferences, and learned as much as I could.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Although I write historical romance, I rarely read it. I gravitate toward the classics, women’s fiction, and contemporary or historical fiction—but it has to have a romantic thread or I lose interest. I also love a good suspense novel and anything with humor. Currently I’m reading The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill (for fun), Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell (for writing craft), and Me 262 in Action by Hans-Henri Stapfer (for research). How’s that for an odd collection?

That is eclectic all right. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve written two contemporary romance novels which should be burned when I die—my starter novels. I’ve also completed the second novel in the Wings of Glory series, and I’m almost done with the rough draft for the third book. Ideas are percolating for a second series.

I'd love to feature all the books in the Wings to Glory series. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Sanity? What sanity? I have a husband, three children, a cat, and a yellow lab. I work part time, and teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. But I love it. I thrive on a certain level of busyness. However, as an introvert, I crave solitude. My quiet time with the Lord is a high priority, and I’m careful not to schedule much during those lovely, silent hours when the kids are at school.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Oh, I love names! Sometimes a character comes to me with name attached, and other times I have to search for the right name—the sound, the meaning—is it a biblical or family name? For historical novels, I feel the names should fit the time period. If an author puts a Ma’Kenzee in the Old West, she’d better have a really good reason, and the other characters had better stumble over it. One of my favorite resources is The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, which lists the most popular baby names for each year. Since my novels are set during World War II, I find names in obituaries and from patients in the hospital where I work. We had a patient named Latrina recently. Ouch. But isn’t there a great story in that?

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

That’s a tough question. I could say I’m most proud of my degrees, my publishing contract, or the accomplishments of my children—and I am proud of those. However, I agree more and more with Paul that I consider my accomplishments “a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). I take most pride in obeying God’s call to write, and to keep obeying in spite of the obstacles.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I asked my thirteen-year-old daughter, and she said “a sloth.” That’s the problem with writing—no one thinks you’re actually doing anything! By the way, never ask the opinion of your teenaged daughter.

And I've learned never ask the opinion of your teenaged granddaughter. What is your favorite food?

Chinese food. Love it. A dozen people at a Chinese restaurant so you can try a dozen dishes, plus soup and appetizers? Ooooh.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

The greatest roadblock I faced was the market. When I first submitted my World War II trilogy in 2003, I received my first “good” rejection letters. They loved my writing, my story, and my characters, but historicals weren’t selling. Did I have any chick lit? I didn’t. From 2004-2007, I heard the same thing. God kept telling me to persevere and to finish the trilogy, so I kept plugging away. The hardest part was when family and friends asked, “So when is your book coming out?” Kind of like being nine-months pregnant—for five years. Then at the 2008 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, I heard, “Chick lit is so over. Give us historicals!” I submitted to Vicki Crumpton at Revell, and in September, Revell offered me a three-book contract.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Be teachable and learn as much as you can about the craft of writing and the publishing process. Join a writers’ group, attend conferences, read books on writing, and join American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep praying.

Tell us about the featured book?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the Eighth Air Force based in England during World War II.

In A Distant Melody, Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancĂ© in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence that binds them together—can they untangle the web of lies, engagements, and expectations that keeps them apart?

Please give us the first page of the book.

Los Angeles, California
Monday, June 22, 1942

One whole delicious week together. Allie Miller clung to her best friend’s promise and to the train ticket that would deliver it.

Allie followed an inlaid marble pathway through Union Station and breathed in the glamour of travel and the adventure of her first trip north. Anticipation trilled a song in her heart, but the tune felt thin, a single line of melody with no harmony to make it resonate.

She glanced at her boyfriend, who walked beside her. “I’m sorry you can’t come.”

Baxter shrugged, gazed at a knot of soldiers they passed, and pulled the cigarette from his mouth. “The war didn’t stop just because Betty Jamison decided to get married.”

Allie shrank back from the discordant note. Her bridesmaid duty might seem trivial, but she honored it as much as J. Baxter Hicks did his duties as business manager.

They entered the waiting room, which blended Spanish Colonialism and modern streamlining. A wood-beamed ceiling peaked overhead, and iron chandeliers illuminated hundreds of men in Navy white and blue or Army khaki and olive drab.

None of the men cast Allie a second glance. Yet when Mother rose partway from her seat and beckoned with a gloved hand, she attracted dozens of stares with her blonde beauty.

How can readers find you on the Internet?


Sarah, thank you for sharing this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can find the book. By using this link when you order it, you'll be helping support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Coolestmommy said...

Oh, WOW!! Sounds like a story that will make me laugh and make me cry. Would love to win it.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

A J Hawke said...

Hi Sarah,
I have always been fascinated by this time in our history. So many lives torn apart and thrown together. Your story sounds like one that I would completely enjoy.
Thanks for the opportunity for winning a copy.

From the interview I didn't understand if this was the first in a series or a continuation of one. I enjoy series when I get caught up in the characters because I don't want to let go of them.

Blessings on you and your writing,
A J Hawke

Judy Glidden said...

I was so excited to see this book up for a chance to win it. It is on my list of books I really want to read, so now I have a chance to win it. Thanks.

apple blossom said...

sounds like a good book.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Merry said...

I enjoyed the sneak peek. Please include me in the drawing for A Distant Melody. Thanks!


Katy said...

I've read nothing but raves for this book! I'd love a copy!!

Sarah Sundin said...

Hi everyone! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview - and I'm amazed how many of you have already heard about it.
AJ - A Distant Melody is the first book in a three-book series. I love series too. I used to love those 1000-page family sagas that were so popular in the 80s because I didn't have to say goodbye!

Sherry Kuhn said...

This looks like such a good book. I really like the cover too! Please enter in the drawing.

Unknown said...

A Distant Melody sounds like a great book! I enjoyed the interview as well!
Please enter me in the draw! :)

runner10 said...

This looks like a great book. Would love to have it.

Anonymous said...

Sarah sounds a lot like me: gifted in teaching, while having a quiet personality. I enjoy historical fiction!


Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

Edna said...

please enter me into the drawing would love to win this book


Mark said...

I'd like to enter, thanks

Anonymous said...

I am so anxious to read this book....please enter me! Thanks!!!

Cindy W. said...

Oh, I so want this book! I absolutely love the cover! It reminds me of one of my favorite old time movies, The Best Years of Their Lives. Please enter me in your giveaway and thank you so much for the opportunity!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Lydia M. said...

I love the cover! It looks very interesting


Sarah Sundin said...

Thanks for all your comments on the cover! I think Revell did such an awesome job. They even got the right B-17 model.
Cindy - I love The Best Years of My Life too. What a great movie. One of the characters in the movie is a former B-17 bombardier, which is fun for me - plus the scene with the "airplane graveyard." There's another connection with the movie which I can't tell you about because it would be a spoiler :)

Cindy W. said...

Oh Sarah, you keep dangling the carrot. I really have to read your book! I loved the 'airplane graveyard' scene too! :)

Linda Kish said...

This sounds wonderful.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Mary said...

The sloth comment was classic! Thanks for the laugh!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this interview with Sarah. I enjoyed hearing about her life.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Sounds great! Please enter me!

Carla said...

Sounds like a good book. Please sign me up.

Rosalie Patience said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I agree with Robyn 'sounds like a story that will make me laugh and cry.'

Elyssa said...

Sounds like such a great book! Please enter me!

Anonymous said...

would LOVE to read this one...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

I would really love to read this book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com said...

I would love to read the book!

dancealert at aol dot com

Carole said...

My dad was a radar technician during the war and I've always been interested in this era. Thank you for the interview and chance to win Sarah's great book.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Sarah Sundin said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.
Carole - how interesting about your dad. Radar was a brand-new high tech thing back then, so that must have been quite exciting for him!

misskallie2000 said...

Great interview. This sounds like my kind of book. I will keep the kleenex close by and be prepared to laugh. I love humor in my books. Thanks for stopping by. Pls enter me in the giveway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Nancye said...

I really enjoyed this interview! I had no idea there was a sourcebook for names. That's pretty cool! I have always been intrigued by names. Being a teacher I have come across many, many names. It's hard not to have a certain association to a name of one little "angel" you just couldn't wait to see every morning {smirk}.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Judylynn said...

I'd love to win!


Marla said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Other stops on this blog tour: