Glowing Author #30
Sarah Sundin lives a busy life in northern California with her husband and three children. She is the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell, March 2010), A Memory Between Us (September 2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011). And she’s with us today!
Hi, Sarah! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Oh, I’m just your typical writer/pharmacist/carpool mom. My husband and I have three children, an anti-social cat, and a yellow lab who chews up wooden spoons and reading glasses. I started writing fiction in 2000 after a compelling dream—an odd start, but it’s been exciting to follow God’s lead in this crazy venture.
Pharmacist, huh? Does this “day job” influence or inspire your writing?
I work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist. Since the work is completely analytical, it helps the creative side of my brain recharge. Also, hospitals are full of dramatic situations, and drama fuels story ideas.
Tell us a bit about your book that came out this summer.
A Memory Between Us is the second 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.
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?
Hmmm…. Way to leave us on the ends of our seats! So which character is your favorite?
It has to be Lt. Ruth Doherty, the heroine. She fascinated me. On the surface she is so strong she doesn’t need another human being—and she has a great sense of humor. But underneath she has deep hurts and shame. It was fun for me to tease out what made her the way she is and to watch her change and grow.
Do you find that you put a little of yourself into your main characters?
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, I’m careful not to make my characters just like me. How boring would that be? Since I’ve always loved to observe behavior, I enjoy filling my novels with a variety of types.
It’s one thing to write a book and another to edit it. How do you feel about the editing process?
I love editing. I find a lot of deeper meaning and ah-ha moments in the editing process. While I’m writing the rough draft, I resist the urge to edit. I’ll scribble notes (“more emotional reaction,” “add her best friend to the scene,” “stupidest sentence ever!”) rather than doing an actual rewrite. This keeps me from parking in chapter one forever. Once my rough draft is complete, I do a content edit, analyzing the story and characters, and incorporating input from critiques. Even though I outline extensively, my characters still surprise me, and changes have to be made. Finally, I do a thorough copy edit before turning it in to my publisher. I even like the copy edit. I’m weird that way.
Do you have a writing mentor, Sarah?
I have a mentor “cloud.” I’ve belonged to a critique group since 2001, and I’ve learned so much from them. I can also point to dozens of faculty members from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference who have taught me, encouraged me, and pointed me in the right direction. I’ve also greatly benefitted from membership in American Christian Fiction Writers.
A mentor “cloud.” I like that! In regards to your writing career, is there anything you would do differently if you could go back with the wisdom of a published writer?
I’d go back to my 2003 self and tell her to take a deep breath and relax. My rejection-letter years were painful, but now I see it was all in God’s timing. Back then I could only write 15-20 hours a week, and now writing takes at least 40 hours a week. When my children were younger, I couldn’t have made the time to meet the demands of being a published author. So I’d relax, savor the process of learning, relish the unhurried writing of the uncontracted writer, and get a lot more sleep.
What a lovely perspective! Thanks for being with us, Sarah.
“If God has given you a dream, have the courage to do what He asks you to do. Persevere, learn, seek support, and keep praying.”