Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1st Blogoversary: Interview with Sarah Sundin & Giveaway!

Sarah, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Thank you SO much for being a part of my 1st 
Blogoversary Celebration! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in northern California with my husband and three children. When I’m not ferrying kids to soccer and tennis, I work on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. I’m the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell 2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (2011).

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
My mother probably influenced me the most. She read to me, shared from stories she was reading, surrounded me with books, and took my sister and me to the library regularly. That gave me a love of books and story.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
The first novel I wrote was a 750-page contemporary romance. Yes, 750. After going to my first writers’ conference, I pared it down to a publishable 350 pages, but about that time I realized the book had serious flaws. It will never be published, nor should it. Nor will the second book I wrote, also a contemporary romance. But both of these “starter novels”—and most published authors have some of these—served a purpose. First of all, they showed me I could complete a full-length novel. Secondly, they showed me I loved to write and couldn’t not write. Thirdly, because of them, I started attending writers’ conferences and a critique group—and because of them, my third novel, A Distant Melody, was published.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
I completed the rough drafts of all three books in the Wings of Glory series longhand, curled up on my couch. Entering the drafts into the computer served as my first edit. But by the third book, I found I was writing much cleaner, and the extra step wasted precious time, which I can’t afford on deadline. So now my rough drafts go straight into my laptop.

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
In Blue Skies Tomorrow, both Ray and Helen resonated with me, but perhaps Ray more so. He takes on a role he feels ill-equipped for, and he has to find the courage to forge forward and to turn to God to find the purpose in his adventure. I pushed Ray harder than I did any of the Novak brothers, at a time in my life the Lord was really pushing me. We both had to find courage in the Lord.

What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
A meaningful gift I received a few years ago was my mother’s sapphire ring, which has been in the family for several generations. I love the heritage—plus blue’s my favorite color.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
I honestly can’t think of anything. My childhood dreams were to take ballet lessons, write a book, and own a house with stairs. Done. My teenage dreams were to go to college, get married, and have kids. Done. I always wanted to visit England, Germany, France, and Italy. Thanks to hubby’s frequent flier miles, those dreams have been achieved too. I never wanted to do anything crazy like bungee jumping or sky-diving (I’m a great big chicken). Although I did always want to ice skate like an Olympian. At forty-six, that ain’a gonna happen.

What is your all-time favorite book?
I think it’s Jane Austen’s Persuasion. There’s something so poignant about Anne Eliot’s situation, having rejected her best chance for love, her horrid family, suffering from her family’s foolisheness—and then being thrust into the company of the only man she’s ever loved, who has lost all respect for her whatsoever. And Anne handles it with such grace, even as she’s tormented inside. And the ending might the single most romantic ending ever.

Other than yourself, who is your favorite author?
It may be cliché, but it’s Jane Austen. She has it all—laugh-out-loud humor, snappy dialogue, well-drawn characters, and endings that make you feel all warm and gooey inside. Another thing I love about Austen is that the rogues turn out to be—well, rogues—while the heroes are quiet men of integrity. Most romances hold up the “bad boy” as hero, and I don’t think that’s healthy. Too many women follow that example and choose charm over character—and regret it.

If a TV show was based on your life, what would the theme song be and why?
I guarantee you it would not be “Sarah, Smile.” I hated that song. It was popular when I was in junior high, and I was very quiet and shy. Everyone thought it was hysterical, absolutely hysterical, to sing it whenever they saw me. “Sa-rah….smi-ile!” Well, what if I didn’t feel like smiling, huh?

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? Can you use the term in a sentence? Language of origin? I’m not familiar with the term. My kids are in middle and high school, so I live in my car. Thank goodness I find writing so relaxing and enjoyable.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Night owl. I firmly believe alarm clocks were invented by Satan. And of course I married a morning person. Thank goodness not a perky, let’s-sing-a-happy-morning-song kind of person (I had a roommate like that in college. No, I did not kill her.)

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie?
My favorite movies are Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version), the Anne of Green Gables series from PBS, and You’ve Got Mail. Also I love classic movies from the 1930s-1950s. I think my DVR is permanently set on TCM.

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at any time in history, where would
you go and why?
That’s a hard question. Most historical events are events because of tragedy or danger—while I love to go there in the pages of a book, in real life, I’m chicken. How about something joyful like the big V-J celebration in Times Square at the end of World War II? Can you imagine the elation?

You are given an unlimited budget to plan your ultimate party. Please describe it (i.e. Where would it take place? Who would be on the guest list? What would be on the menu? Would there be a theme? etc.).
First of all, I’d hire someone else to do the planning. So not my thing. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I pulled my own wedding together. I suppose I’d want an English garden party, with all my friends and family and readers. And all the ladies would get to wear pretty dresses and hats, and all the men would be forced to wear suits, because they look fabulous in suits. Lots of wonderful food in a buffet. I’ll include Mexican food for my husband since I’m forcing him to wear a suit.

What are you currently working on?
The entire Wings of Glory series is now published, so I’m still doing publicity for that series. Plus, I’m gearing up for my next series, Wings of the Nightingale, which follows three World War II flight nurses in the Mediterranean Theater. The first novel, With Every Letter, is at the publisher, and I’m waiting for the next set of edits. I’m writing the rough draft for the second book, taking notes for the third book, and jotting down ideas for another series.

Where can people connect with you online?

Thank you so much Sarah for being on Hardcover Feedback!

Sarah has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book Blue Skies Tomorrow! If the winner is from the US or Canada they may choose a printed book or an e-book. If the winner is NOT from the US or Canada, then they would receive an e-book.

To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogaholic Designs”=


  1. It's interesting to me that this great author has accomplished so many of her goals! I love her writing, and I can't wait to see what the next series will be like!

  2. I love that Sarah's first manuscript was 750 pages! That made me grin. Now I don't feel so bad about writing a 40K word manuscript. I still want to get it published and have split it into two different books. Thanks for the opportunity to win Sarahs's book! I love WWII stories. :-)


  3. Sarah wrote a 750 page book and then was able to 'cut' 400 pages, I can't imagine reading a book that long yet alone writing one, lol, and then to have to cut it back and deciding not to publish it. I guess you would draw from that and chalk it up to a learning experience, which we all need learning experiences, so at least it wasn't for nothing. You have to look at the positive.


  4. Woohoo for night owls! I love finding fellow people who prefer staying up late to rising early!

  5. Kandra - thank you! The book cover for the new book, With Every Letter, was just revealed - and it's on my blog today :)

    Gwen & Wren - You RHYME!! Love it. Yes, overwriting that book and editing it was an important lesson for me. Please remember the whole process of overwriting, whacking to pieces, and discarding took about 3 years, during which I started two other projects. It was easier to let go once I had something else to work on.

    Abbi - if only the world let us :( My kids have to be in school with lunches in backpacks and breakfast in bellies at 8 am. As a west coaster, critical e-mails from my Michigan publisher must be addressed early in the morning. Sigh. And I married a morning person, who starts saying, "Time to go to bed?" every night around 8 pm. If I can hold him off until 10:30, I'm doing well. Double sigh.

  6. I loved discovering the author is a Jane Austen fan. It's amazing how many of us are.

    1. Because Jane Austen got it right! Her characters ring true 200 years later. And she writes gentleman heroes. Sigh.

  7. Great Giveaway!

  8. I am now a follower! LOVED the entire Wings of Glory series and can't wait for the next series to come out this fall! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    1. Thanks, Ashley! I'm honored :)Hope you like the Wings of the Nightingale!

  9. I agree, Anne Eliot is a great character. Love her perseverance and grace.

    1. Isn't she? Perseverance and grace - that fits her perfectly.

  10. I love Sarah's books and can't wait to read Blue Skies Tomorrow. I have had on my wish list since the first word of it being published.

    Your ads are covering Networked Blogs and I could not get to link to follow you. It has taken me 1 hr to get this entry processed. Now I am exhausted and have a back ache. lol
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    1. Kallie - I'm so glad you're enjoying the series! I hope you enjoy Ray & Helen's story!

      Sorry about the cyber issues - computers are equal parts help and hindrance.

  11. I've never read any of Sarah's books, but I'm dying to! I liked that she didn't give up writing after her first two books weren't published. That shows perseverance.


    1. Perseverance...pigheaded stubbornness...take your pick :) Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi Sarah! So nice to see you here. :) I can't believe you wrote your first three manuscripts longhand! I'm getting carpal tunnel just thinking about it. :)

    1. Hi Sarah!! Yep. It just helped me get into the story more - kind of like curling up on the couch with a good book. I still like the idea, but I can't afford the extra time it took. And curling up on the couch with my laptop is NOT comfortable :)

  13. I Love WWII fiction and am excited to read Blue Skies Tomorrow. Also as an almost graduated nursing student I'm super geeked up about the Wings of the Nightingale series!


    1. Thank you, Liz! The heroine in A Memory Between Us was a nurse too. When I was doing the research for that book, I got the idea for the Nightingale series. It's fun to write! And very interesting. For example, can you imagine sterilizing your syringes and washing your rubber gloves? It was a different world!

  14. I can't believe she wrote in longhand for her first drafts. It would take so much time to transfer everything to the computer, although I like writing that way a lot instead of using the computer too.

    1. Yes, it did. But the transfer process also served as my first edit. I tended to massively overwrite when I first started, so when I entered, I trimmed and refined. Now I write tighter and that extra step is a serious time waster. So out it went. Not as romantic to write on the computer, but much more efficient :)

  15. I read the second book in this series and liked it very much. I would like to read the first and third books as well. Thanks for the interview and the chance to win a copy of "Blue Skies Tomorrow."