Welcome back, Sarah. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
God is truly amazing. I’m still marveling at His perfect timing. I went through five years of rejection letters, convinced I was ready. I wasn’t. He knew that all along. As for the horizon, I’ve signed a contract for another three-book series, but only God Himself knows what He’ll do with that or after that!
Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I just celebrated twenty-two years of marriage. Our oldest son is a sophomore at UCLA majoring in mechanical engineering, our daughter is a junior in high school, and our youngest son is in eighth grade. We have a skittish but adorable cat, and a yellow lab named Daisy, whose antics drive me crazy but keep my Facebook friends amused.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Absolutely. First of all, I read nonfiction books for research that I never would have glanced at a decade ago. Military history? The B-17 technical manual? Luftwaffe uniforms? My former self shakes her head at current self. Secondly, I’m reading more widely now. I’ve strayed past my old favorites of classics and women’s fiction to discover some fabulous voices in historical fiction and romance.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently doing the final polish on the first book in my next series, which is due to my publisher September 1 and will come out Fall 2012. I’m also plotting the second book. This new series follows three World War II
flight nurses in the Mediterranean Theater.
What outside interests do you have?
Can you hear me laughing? With my kids’ outside interests, I live in my car. Thank goodness I find writing so relaxing and enjoyable. I used to do lots of sewing for myself, the home, and for my daughter when she was little and let me choose her clothes. Oddly, when I started writing, I lost my interest in sewing, as if the minuscule creative section of my brain could only handle one outlet at a time.
When my kids were in junior high, I had a t-shirt that said If woman's place is in the home, why am I always in my car? How do you choose your settings for each book?
For this series, I picked Home Front settings in towns I was familiar with, including my hometown, which made research convenient. I chose the English setting for two reasons—because the US Eighth Air Force was chockfull of fascinating stories (including my great-uncle’s—a B-17 pilot in the 94th Bombardment Group), and because I love England and thought it would appeal to readers as well. My husband’s frequent flyer miles allowed us to visit
. I was able to stroll the streets of Bury St. Edmunds and imagine my characters doing likewise. England
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I don’t know how I could pick. In my research I’ve read so many stories of men and women, both famous and not, who modeled integrity and courage. My heart is drawn to spending an evening with my grandfather, Fred Stewart, who served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the US Navy during World War II. He loved to tell stories, but he passed away before I started writing. I’d love to be able to hear those stories all over again and ask him more questions.
What a heritage! What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Actually, I don’t wish I knew too much more than I did. If I knew how long it took the average writer to get published, I might have given up. If I knew how much research I’d have to do, I might not have written a historical novel. If I knew how much non-writing work I’d have to do as a writer, I might have stopped. I think the Lord let me have only as much information as I could handle at the time.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
He’s teaching me the importance of abiding in Him. This is a lifelong lesson for all of us, but He’s impressed it on me lately. John 15:5 is my theme verse right now: “’I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing’” (NASB). Everywhere I look, this concept and this verse keep popping up, a firm indication that the Lord wants to get my attention.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Oh, wait…you’re talking to me? I still feel like a bumbling novice. I think what’s helped me best navigate the strange world of publishing are being teachable, cooperative, and genuine.
Being teachable is vital. I want each book to be better than the last, so I keep learning and listening and pushing myself.
Cooperation has helped me deal with my publisher. I trust them as experienced and knowledgeable professionals. I’ve stood my ground when necessary, but they know way more about the industry than I do, so I let them do their thing.
Being genuine helps me relate to readers. Pedestals are very dangerous places, but every time I share something stupid I did or something inedible my dog ate, I blow up that pedestal.
Tell us about the featured book.
Blue Skies Tomorrow is the third book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in
during World War II. Each book stands alone. England
Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over
Please give us the first page of the book.
Helen Carlisle strolled up
G Street, careful to keep a pained expression. Some days the performance of grief was easier than others, but it was always necessary for her son’s sake.
She shifted two-year-old Jay-Jay higher on her hip and inhaled the Delta breeze, flowing fresh from the
into the Sacramento River Delta, rain-scrubbed and scented by new grass on the hills. San Francisco Bay
With a bump of her hip, Helen opened the door of Della’s Dress Shop and set her notebooks on the table by the door.
From a picture frame on the table, Jim Carlisle smiled up at her—long, lean, and handsome in his Navy blues. The hometown hero. Was he wearing that uniform when a Japanese torpedo slammed into his destroyer off
She pressed her fingers to her lips and then to the cold glass over Jim’s cold face. But a scan of the shop revealed no sign of her in-laws. Footsteps came from the back room and the curtain swished open, so Helen repeated the performance, laid another kiss on the portrait, and lifted it for her son. “Give Daddy a kiss.”
Jay-Jay mashed his palm over his mouth, making a crunching sound, and passed the kiss to the father he couldn’t remember.
A crunching sound? Jay-Jay’s cheeks stretched rounder than usual. “Sweetie, what do you have in your mouth?”
He shook his blond curls, his mouth clamped shut.
“Let Mama see.” Helen dropped to her knees, pinned the boy on her lap, and pried open his mouth. He howled and flapped his arms at her.
“Please, sweetie?” Nausea billowed through her. Chunks of slimy gray shell lay in her son’s mouth. She’d set him down for a minute, only a minute while she hung the thermometer poster in the window of the Red Cross Branch Office to monitor the War Fund Campaign.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website: http://www.sarahsundin.comTwitter: http://twitter.com/sarahsundin
Thank you, Sarah, for dropping by.
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