Interview with Sarah Sundin

» Posted on Mar 23, 2010 in Blog | 11 comments

Sundin #47 ©2008 Linda Johnson Photography web
This week I’m hosting Sarah Sundin with A Distant Melody and Catherine Imbert who writes music. If you want to enter the drawing for Sarah’s book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (Mar. 28th) evening.

Interview with Sarah Sundin:

1.What made you start writing?
Although I grew up surrounded by books and read everything I could, I didn’t consider a writing career. Instead, I became a pharmacist and chose to work one day a week so I could stay home with our three children. On January 6, 2000, I had a dream with such intriguing characters that I felt compelled to write their story. Before that date, I’d never had an idea for a book, and after that, ideas flowed. It was as if God turned on a writing switch in my brain.

2.How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I started writing in 2000, started submitting to editors and agents in 2003, and sold my trilogy in 2008.

3.How do you handle rejections?
I have five years’ experience with rejections. First comes a numb shock, then a self-pity phase—which got shorter over the years. I allow myself a day or two to wallow, then I get back to work. The period after a rejection is a time of prayerful evaluation for me. Since God got me started in writing instantaneously, I know He could take it away as quickly. After rejections, I’d take it back to Him—was I really called to write? Did He still want me to write? Did He want me to write something more marketable than historicals were five years ago? What did I need to change in my writing? In myself?

4.Why do you write?
I write because I can’t not write. I love it. And the Lord has made it clear He wants me to write, and not to do so would be disobedience. Also, the stories and characters won’t loosen their grip on me.

5.What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
I might be working more hours as a pharmacist now that my children are older. Or I might be doing what I was doing before writing struck me—pathetic attempts at whatever craft was fashionable with stay-at-home moms. I tried stamping, stenciling, scrapping—I’m horrible at that kind of thing.

6.What are you working on right now?
I’m doing the juggling act of a published author—that’s something they don’t tell you when you’re seeking that first contract. This month I’m doing publicity for A Distant Melody, waiting on Revell’s copy edit on A Memory Between Us (the second book in the series), polishing Book Three before turning it in to my editor, and brainstorming ideas for another series.

7.Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
All of me and none of me. 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, my characters are nothing like me and the stories they inhabit are nothing like I’ve ever experienced.

8.Tell us about the book you have out right now.
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 US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

In A Distant Melody, Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be teachable. Read books on writing craft, join ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and join a local writers’ group or an on-line critique group. Don’t submit to agents and editors until you’re ready with a complete manuscript, positive feedback from experienced writers, and enough knowledge of the publishing industry to know how to submit properly. You want your first impression to be stellar. Lastly, when you’re ready, submit and keep submitting. Keep polishing your craft, and keep praying for the Lord’s guidance.

10.How important is faith in your books?
I’m middle-of-the-road as far as Christian fiction goes. I don’t write evangelistic novels with a goal of leading people to the Lord, but I also don’t write with just a whiff of Christianity. My characters struggle with aspects of their faith, talk about God, pray, and grow in their walks with the Lord. The spiritual lessons they learn help them deal with the problems they face.

11.What themes do you like to write about?
I don’t pick themes, but they arise from my characters. The first novel deals with obedience and sacrifice and honesty, the second with pride and shame and trust, and the third with courage and misguided efforts to earn grace. Pride does seem to run as an undercurrent through all three books, but I feel pride lies at the base of most, if not all, sin—the crazy idea that we could ever know better than God.

12.What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
That’s like asking which is my favorite child. I have three children—all wildly different—and I love them all equally. It’s the same with my books. Of course I love my kids more. Although my books never give me ‘tude.

13.What is your writing schedule like?
My children range from 6th to 12th grade, so I’m in the carpool and activities phase. I do the bulk of my writing during the school day, taking breaks to entertain my yellow lab so she won’t eat my manuscript. She would. She’s evil. After school, I do e-mails and most of my on-line work, which leaves me available to sign permission slips, check homework, and listen to my kids’ stories. I also use of snippets of “wasted” time. I can edit or check emails during karate classes and in the dentist’s waiting room. For example, I’m doing this interview in the car while my daughter practices soccer. On average, I spend twenty hours a week writing.

11 Comments

  1. I have seen alot about this book and would love to win it. Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  2. I've heard wonderful things about this book from a certain "influencer" I know. Congratulations, Sarah!

    I'm always fascinated to read other authors' take on the writing business–how we got started, what our routine is like, etc. It's comforting to see the common threads and fun to note the differences!

  3. Thanks, everyone!
    Myra – would that be Carla? 🙂 She's the best! And I'm also continually amazed at how many very different types of people are writers – and yet we have a common insanity. "I hear voices. They tell me what to write." Hmm, in pharmacy school we learned what medications to give for that!

  4. You guessed it! Carla is a great friend!

    And I'll skip the medications, thank you. If I lose the voices, there goes my writing career!

  5. Congrats on your book. I've been reading great reviews about it.
    Would love to read it.
    csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

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

    cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. I have been so anxious to read this book….please enter me! Thanks!!!
    jackie.smith(at)dishmail(dot)net

  8. Great interview! I love hearing about author's inspirations!

    Love WWII settings and would love to be entered to win a copy of A Distant Melody (since my birthday is still months away for MIL to purchase from my wishlist)!

    Thanks for the chance!

    mybabyblessings [at] gmail [dot] com

    The Creative Side of Me

  9. would love to read this fabulous book…thanks for the chance 🙂

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  10. Great interview, Margaret and Sarah!! I've heard so many wonderful things about Sarah's book, that I would love to get my hands on it. Thanks for the contest!

    gsus(at)charter(dot)net

  11. I guess my ears were burning. When you have a great book like A Distant Melody written by an author who is talented and so much fun, telling others about the book is sheer pleasure. Good job, Margaret, getting Sarah on here. And did you know she has ANOTHER book coming out soon?

    Go Sarah!

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