About the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of seven historical novels, including Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015). Her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten is a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award, and her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or who inspired you?
Although I grew up in a home wallpapered in books, I never seriously considered writing as a career. Since I loved science, I became a pharmacist, a career that allowed me to stay home with our three children and work on-call. Then in 2000, I was slammed by a story idea—in a dream, of all things—and I felt compelled to write it down. That first book was never published, nor should it be, but it got me started. I began attending writers’ conferences and a writers’ group, and I kept writing and learning. I started submitting in 2003, and after five years of rejection letters, I received my first book contract. My first novel, A Distant Melody, was published in 2010.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I’ve written seven published novels and one novella, all Christian historical romance set in World War II. I also have two unpublished Christian contemporary romances, my “starter novels,” which should never, ever be published.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
The second book in the Waves of Freedom series, Anchor in the Storm, is complete and is going through edits at the publishing house. I’m currently outlining the third book in the series. In this book, Lt. Dan Avery, a no-nonsense naval officer, is working on radar development at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont, even when she joins the WAVES—and is assigned to his unit. This story promises to be a lot of fun to write!
4. What does your writing process look like?
I’m a heavy outliner. Before I get started, I do basic research to make sure the story idea works. To get to know my characters deeply, I fill out long and detailed character questionnaires, which I love. To wrangle my plot into submission, I fill out a plot chart outlining each scene. Then I write one-page sketches of what will happen in each chapter. That kind of pre-writing would kill some writers’ creativity, but it unleashes mine! My rough draft flies, and editing is a breeze.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
When my kids were little, I wrote whenever and wherever I could, usually on the couch at naptime. I also wrote at the karate studio, on the soccer field, and at the dentist’s office. Now my nest is emptying and I have my own home office, which I adore. I have a large L-shaped desk with plenty of cupboards and drawers for supplies, binders, and files. There’s a corkboard over the desk for my calendars, goal sheets, and other things I like to keep in sight—such as the cross-section of a Gleaves-class destroyer.
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Names are vital in my stories, and I choose them carefully. Sometimes the characters’ names are vital to the story, as they were for Tom McGilliver and Mellie Blake in With Every Letter. Sometimes it’s less deep. In Through Waters Deep, Mary came to me with name attached. She was always Mary, a perfect name for a quiet young lady, old-fashioned and lovely. Her last name, Stirling, is a play on sterling silver, since silver is a recurring symbol in the story. Jim Avery was originally Joe, but I didn’t want “Joseph and Mary,” especially since a Christmas pageant occurs in the story! But Jim had the same feel, solid and manly. As for Avery, I just liked the sound. Since the Avery family is the center of this series, I wanted a name that was familiar but not common.
For resources, I have the two baby-naming books I bought when we were expecting our firstborn. I look at sounds and nicknames and ethnicity and meaning. I consider the popularity of a given name in the time period. If the name is unusual, it has to be for a very good reason. A great resource is the Writers’ Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, which lists names by nationality and includes lists of the most common names in given decades.
7.What inspired the idea for the Waves of Freedom series?
I was intrigued by historical events in 1941. When the USA was still neutral, American destroyers escorted British convoys across the Atlantic and exchanged fire with German U-boats. Six American ships, including a destroyer, were sunk in 1941--before Pearl Harbor! So why didn’t the nation go to war earlier? Then I read about the bitter debate between isolationists, who wanted to keep America out of yet another European war, and interventionists, who believed we had to get involved before Britain fell. The harsh language sounds a lot like the political climate in America today! Also, rumors of sabotage and espionage ran rampant. It seemed like a fascinating setting for a story.
Check out my book reviews for:
FOR SUCH A TIME (coming soon) & THROUGH WATERS DEEP.
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