I started writing historical fiction because of a story idea (A Distant Melody) that simply didn’t work in a contemporary setting. The World War II era appealed to me because this was a time when ordinary men had to do extraordinary things, and when women first explored non-traditional roles—while remaining ladies. I don’t write other genres right now, but that could change if the Lord yanks me in another direction. He does that sometimes.
Are there any other Christian Historical Fiction authors that you think your readers would enjoy?
So many! If they specifically are looking for World War II stories, I point them to books by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Dan Walsh. For other historical fiction, I love Liz Curtis Higgs, Laura Frantz, Lorna Seilstad, Karen Witemeyer, and Melanie Dobson. I know I’m forgetting somebody—and I’ve got some fabulous, highly recommended books sitting in my to-be-read pile.
Are there bits and pieces that were cut in editing that you might ever share with your readers?
Not really. What was cut deserved to be cut.
The series isn’t romantic comedy by definition, but With Every Letter does have some lighthearted moments and fun banter. The second novel in the series, On Distant Shores (June 2013), has quite a bit of humor, which surprised me.
What is your favorite scene from With Every Letter?
Definitely the “big reveal” scene at the end. Tom and Mellie have been anonymous pen pals and have developed a relationship in person as well, so this is the culmination. Any time I write a novel, there are one or two scenes I build to, and in With Every Letter, this was the scene I had in mind from my first inspiration for the story.
At this point are these titles for this series written as books or still in conception stages?
The second novel, On Distant Shores, has been turned in to my publisher and will be released in June 2013. I’m finishing the plotting for the third novel (June 2014) and can’t wait to get into the rough draft.
How would you relate your writing experience and research to some Creative Madness?
Writing is definitely creative madness. I come from a scientific background, a health care profession, where everything is logical and linear and predictable by formula. Writing defies logic, requires non-linear thinking, and bucks against formulae. The madness comes from surrendering yourself to this unpredictable process and allowing the characters to take over in their own voices.
What is something that you have never told anyone in an author interview?
My first published work was a poem about my goldfish Swimmy (creative, huh?) in the PTA newsletter when I was in third grade. The newsletter editor was my mother. It’s all about who you know.
What is the one thing that you want to leave readers of With Every Letter pondering over?
Hmm. Perhaps to ponder how we judge people based on superficial matters. Tom is judged based on his name and family legacy, Mellie on her unconventional looks and shyness. It takes time and compassion to see past the superficial to the heart.
Please please tell us about your next planned project…
I just finished the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, On Distant Shores (June 2013). It was a lot of fun to write. Lt. Georgie Taylor fears she’s in over her head as a flight nurse, while pharmacist Sgt. John “Hutch” Hutchinson finds his goals frustrated. As Hutch and Georgie care for patients in Sicily and Italy, tragedy draws them together, but their differences threaten to keep them apart. Georgie is cute and bubbly, Hutch is quiet and good-natured—and the banter between these two kept me hopping. Now I’m plotting the third book in the series. Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, but C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper is immune to her charms. This story tours Italy and Southern France, and I can’t wait to write it.
Tell us about your blog and participation in other blogs… (web presence, social networking)
On my blog (http://www.sarahsundin.blogspot.com) I feature a daily “Today in World War II History” tidbit, plus posts about World War II (I’m planning a series on Army nursing later in September) and book recommendations. I’m also active on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/sarahsundin). Come join me!