Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Author Sarah Sundin

Please help me welcome today's guest, author Sarah Sundin!

Q:  How do you deal with writer’s block?
A:  I rarely get writer’s block. I have the book plotted out beforehand, so I know what I’m going to write when I sit down. However, sometimes the start of a chapter will hang me up for a while. My cure is to get a running start by reading the last chapter or two. If that fails, I just start writing something, anything, telling myself I’ll come back and find a better starting place later. The funny thing is those tend to be my favorite chapter openings.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  For the Wings of Glory series, each novel took about two years—one for research and plotting, and one for writing. I wrote the first two books before I had a contract, and I’ve lost count of how many drafts they went through as I learned more about writing and refined the manuscripts. Blue Skies Tomorrow “only” went through three drafts, which about gave me palpitations, but I’m writing cleaner and tighter now. For my next series I have to write a book a year, which is faster than I’m used to. However, my children are older now, and I have more time to write, so it’s working.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I’m definitely a plotter. I do lots of research before I start, plus character charts and outlines. However, I don’t always have all the plot points worked out in advance, and side characters have a way of springing out of nowhere. And despite my plotting, often a scene will turn out quite different from how I originally planned it.

Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  I was surprised at how much juggling was required. Right now I’m doing publicity for Blue Skies Tomorrow, polishing the first book in my next series for its September 1 deadline, and plotting the second book in the series. In addition, social networking, blogging, and publicity stretch my multi-tasking skills.

Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  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.

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  I might be working more hours as a pharmacist now that my children are older. Or I might be doing what I did 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.

Q:  What does your family think about your crazy career?
A:  My poor scientific, business-oriented husband has been baffled by the whole thing, but he supports me. My two sons (13 and 18) are pretty excited, especially the youngest. My daughter, 15…well, she once declared (insert dramatic teen sighs) that I sought publication for the sole purpose of ruining her life. It’s no mistake that God gave me a publishing contract and a teen girl (who is bright and beautiful and witty, by the way) at the same time. She keeps me humble.

Q:  What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A:  The Star Trek food replicator. Speak your order, it hums and sparkles, and voila! A full complete meal made to order. I want one.

Oh yes, put me down for one of those, too! Thanks so much for visiting today, Sarah.

Sarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and tennis, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school. She is the author of the Wings of Glory seriesA Distant Melody (Revell 2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011).

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 England during World War II. Each book stands alone.

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 Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy Blue Skies Tomorrow just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Sunday, August 14th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


Deb said...

Sarah, congratulations on your series. I've read about it and am looking forward to reading it. I've told my sister about you, too, when I discovered you last week while surfing some other reader blogs. I usually read Regency era novels (Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean, etc.), but love the idea of a trilogy set during WWII.

Deb said...


Karen Lange said...

I love Sarah and this series! She is a sweet and talented writer. It's fun to learn more about what makes her tick. Love the replicator idea; I want one too!

Thanks and Blessings,

WordNerd said...

Such a great author, series and interview! I'd like to be entered for the book under:
minizabel [at] live [dot] com

Jo Huddleston said...

Sarah, you already know how I love your books. On FB you asked what sci fi invention would we like to have now. Hands down it would be "The Jetsons" maid. But then you're too young to remember that. Ask your mother. Would love to win your book.

Jo Huddleston said... email address

Christy said...


The food replicator would probably be my wish, too! But if I had to think of what my hubby would want, it'd probably be a Millennium Falcon...Star Wars nut that he is. :o)

Congrats on your latest release, too! I'd love the opportunity to win a copy.

southernsassythings at gmail dot com

Stephanie Morrill said...

Oh, Sarah, your daughter just cracks me up! My 3 1/2 year old daughter keeps me humble too. It's their job, right? Stephanie(at)StephanieMorrillBooks(dot)com.

Sarah Sundin said...

Deb - it's fun to read about other eras, isn't it? I'm so excited that the Christian market is expanding beyond the prairie :)

Jo - I loved the Jetsons! What I always wanted was the bed that pitched you out and made itself. That would solve a lot of problems for this snooze alarm addict.

Christy - I think my hubby wants the Borg cube from Star Trek. We have one on our Christmas tree. It talks. We have several other Star Trek vehicles on the tree. They talk too. Yes, we're the nerd family.

Stephanie - read above comment. If you were a teen girl growing up with "Resistance is futile" on your Christmas tree and your mom talking to the people in her head, you'd be snarky too. Just wait until your daughter learns bigger words :)Yep, it's her job and I'm sure she'll do it well.

karenk said...

thanks for the opportunity to read sarah's latest novel, jen....

and to sarah, i love this series...looking forward to reading book 3.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marjorie said...

I love her books and would love to add this one to my library.
Thanks for the chance to win it.


Judy said...

Sarah, I enjoyed your interview. So you became a writer just to embarrass your daughter?! I loved that! I am delighted that you are grounded in Christ. I love Chrisitan fiction. You are a new author to me and I am looking forward to reading your books. Your Wings of Glory series sound like good reads. Of course if I win this book I must read the first two! Thanks so much for this giveaway.


Elyssa said...

What a great interview, Sarah! I'm very excited to read your latest and to find out what happens with Ray. I've loved all the other Novak boys!


Sarah Sundin said...

Thanks, everyone!

Judy - I did. When my daughter was 4, I thought to myself, "In less than a decade, she'll be a teenager, and I have to find a way to embarrass her. Hmm. What would be the best way? I know! I'll spend the next decade writing novels, trying to get published, getting rejected, all that. And then! Just in time! I'll get a contract and ruin her life!! Mwa-ha-ha!!!" Yes, that's what I did :)

Rebecca said...

Love the series and can't wait to read this book, I'd love to win it! I enjoyed the interview, too. :)


Rick Barry said...

I'm just delighted with what Sarah is doing with this series. World War II touched so many lives on so many continents.... There are so many ways in which these years affected our globe forever, so it provides a fascinating backdrop for her characters. I'd love to win a copy of Blue Skies--and my wife would like it even more if I did!

biemrick at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

My 93 year old dad is a WWII Veteran
and the time period has always interested me. I would really enjoy reading Sarah's book...
Many thanks, Cindi

maudie-mae said...

I so want to win this book. I thought Sarah's other two were absolutely wonderful.

penguinns at gmail dot com

Jennifer AlLee said...

And the winner is... Rick Barry! I'll be sending you an email, Rick.

Thanks so much to all who stopped by, and an extra-big thanks to Sarah :+}