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Writer’s Window: Sarah Sundin

Monday, August 8, 2011

Joining us today for Writer’s Window is historical romance author Sarah Sundin.

One lucky commenter* will win a signed copy of Sarah’s latest novel, Blue Skies Tomorrow. Deadline for leaving a comment to enter the drawing is Friday. To enter the drawing, you must answer the question posed by Sarah at the end of the interview. Only one comment per person will count toward the drawing. Please do not include your e-mail address in the body of your comment—just make sure it’s correct when you sign in to leave your comment. The winning name will be drawn next weekend and the winner will be notified via e-mail.

*U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. If you win the drawing, you will be ineligible for the next three drawings, though hopefully you will still come back and join in the discussion.


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?

Welcome, Sarah!
What do you like best about being a writer?

    Almost everything—when an idea sparks, when the story flows, when a sentence sings. I love research and plotting and getting to know my characters. I love the rough draft and even love editing. Publication gave me new joys of interacting with my readers.

What do you like least about being a writer?

    I’m not fond of marketing plans, and I don’t care for some aspects of promotion—it often feels like bragging to me.

Pop, Soda, or Coke? What do you call it, and what’s your favorite variety?

    Soda—I’ve lived in California most of my life. My favorite is Diet Coke, but I’m cheap, so I usually drink generic diet cola unless the brand name is on sale.

What’s your favorite dessert?

    Homemade white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry topping.

What’s the most fun/interesting/crazy/scary/unique hands-on research you’ve done for a book?

    One of the most things I’ve done for research was visiting England and walking the streets my characters walked. Another fun thing I got to do was an actual flight in a restored B-17—an absolutely amazing experience and a rollicking ride.

What’s your favorite movie from childhood?

    I was very fond of Disney’s The Aristocats. I had a record with the songs and learned them all. My daughter loved it when she was a preschooler and watched the video over and over. I was surprised how much I remembered about the movie, considering I was very young when I saw it and I only saw it once.

If you were to write a novel about what your life would have been like if you’d become what you wanted to be at eight years old, what kind of character would the story be about?

    I would be an elementary school teacher who also danced professionally as a ballerina and somehow managed to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. At eight I had little concept of time management.

What makes you happy?

    Watching my kids having fun together, watching them grow into godly and talented young people, my husband’s laugh, time with friends, when I’m teaching Sunday school or Bible study and my class gets it, a good romantic comedy, finding just the right phrase, rain, chocolate, hot tea, a down comforter, and anytime my yellow lab is sleeping and not eating random household objects.

What makes you nervous?

    When I hear Daisy the yellow lab chewing—and it’s not mealtime. Tension in the home or among friends—I love conflict in my stories, but not in real life.

What’s your biggest dream for the future?

    Right now I’m living my dream—husband, kids, even published novels! It’s too early to dream of grandkids—my kids are at the “don’t even think about it” age. But I do dream of a growing writing career, being able to give back to the industry, and for my children to live godly, productive lives.

Tell us about your newest release and what you’re working on now.

    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, but each book stands alone. I really enjoyed writing this series, and I already miss the Novak boys.

    Right now I’m finishing the first book in my next series, tentatively called Wings of the Nightingale, which follows three World War II flight nurses in the Mediterranean Theater. The first book comes out Fall 2012.

Where can people find out more about you/connect with you online?

Now it’s your turn to ask the question. What question do you want to ask the commenters to answer?

    Do you have a family member who was involved in World War II—either in the armed forces or on the home front? How were they involved?


©2008 Linda Johnson Photography

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 and women’s Bible studies. In 2011 she received the Writer of the Year Award at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network. She is the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell 2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011).

  1. Monday, August 8, 2011 5:25 am

    Hi Kaye and Sarah
    I think I just answered that question elsewhere but I will share that my dad was an MP in the Pacific and was eventually chosen to be the American bodyguard for Emperor Hirohito during the Peace treaty.
    I also heard a lot of stories from my mother who was in high school–most of the boys left to go fight. The girls had a very unusual senior ball. Her brother came home for awhile after being shot in the neck in France. I find the whole period fascinating. I’ve got to grab up your whole series soon.


  2. Judy Burgi permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 6:39 am

    Good morning ladies!
    My Dad served in World War II and was stationed in Germany. I remember him telling me when I asked about his war experiences that while in the trenches he had his toes frost bitten. That is about the extent of Dad’s stories. He just won’t talk about the war. Dad will be turning 91 this October and is a very quiet man. Oh by the way, did I mention my Dad is and has always been my Hero?

    God Bless!


  3. Monday, August 8, 2011 6:52 am

    Thanks for the giveaway and interview! My maternal grandfather was a cook in the war. He was also known for brewing/providing unsanctioned liquid refreshment for the boys. 😉 Oh well.

    Sarah, I know all about pets who eat things they shouldn’t. I have a cat who steals anything left on the counter. Among the more random items, I’ve lost a loaf of bread (he dragged the entire loaf off the counter and into the living room where he ate half of it under the couch), a cucumber (consumed several large chunks and left bite marks in the rest), and a corn cob (which had me very worried for a while). My other cat steals my mint gum. Apparently mint is part of the catnip family. Bizarre.

    Please enter me! I’d love to win a copy of your book. I’d especially love to hear more about the heroine’s struggles toward peace and the discovery of love.

    Thanks so much!
    -Emily Reynolds


  4. Monday, August 8, 2011 8:14 am

    My Grandpa (who just passed away this summer) was a soldier in WWII. He never would tell us what he did or what position. I tried several times to ask him. Maybe it was just too hard to talk about. 😦 He was a very peaceful man, so maybe he just didn’t want to rehash something as terrible as a war.

    Your book sounds awesome. I’m ashamed to admit that I have never read any of your books. I will change that 🙂

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway, Kaye!


  5. Audry permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 8:51 am

    My grandfather was a naval intelligence officer during WWII. He spent a lot of time in England but also “spying” in Germany. He never did talk about it much. My grandmother was a war bride and came from England to the US on a ship with a bunch of other war brides. She has a photo of a bunch of them, her included, sunbathing on the deck of the ship :o)


    • Audry permalink
      Monday, August 8, 2011 12:03 pm

      I should add that my other grandfather joined the Army after pearl harbor (when my father was just a few days old) and served till the end of the war. My dad never knew his dad till he was a few years old.


  6. Monday, August 8, 2011 9:33 am

    My dad’s Dad was in WW2. He was in the Army. When my grandfather was alive, he never talked about the war. My grandmother did the talking for him. She’s the storyteller. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. At one point, he was a cook. I do remember a story about him falling asleep at the wheel, and getting injured from a car accident. That brought him back to America for a while. My grandparents were active members of the VFW for as long as I can remember. My grandmother is now 93; grandfather died in 1991. I know he was proud to have served his country.


  7. Monday, August 8, 2011 11:33 am


    My grandpa was in World War II. He was in Photo Recon over in Europe. I never met my grandpa because he died before my parents got married (not in World War II). The only stories that I’ve heard have been from my grandma and involve how the war was hard on her living in America. I can only imagine how hard it would be to have the one I love so far away and in dangerous places.

    I also had a next door neighborhood who landed on Normandy Beach. Mr. Yokuty was more of grandfather-figure than a neighbor and sadly, he passed away a few years ago.

    I will never forget what those who fought and worked in World War II have done for our country and all that our current armed forces do for us each and every day.


  8. Monday, August 8, 2011 11:42 am

    Hey Sarah,

    My uncle was in World War II in the Navy. His rank was Chief Petty Officer. Of course, at that time he was drafted; no volunteer military as we have it now. I never heard him talk of his Navy experiences. World War II must be rightly called the Big War because those involved speak little about it. But my uncle let me wear his Chief Petty Officer pin that he had to wear on his uniform. I have a school picture showing that pin on my dress.

    (As an extra, I had an uncle and a cousin in the Korean War. My uncle was wounded 3 times and my cousin spent 3 years in a POW camp. To this day they neither will talk about what they went through.)

    War is not nice.



  9. Monday, August 8, 2011 12:15 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Sarah’s books and just started savoring Blue Skies Tomorrow last night. I wish I didn’t have anything else to do since I want to read, read, read.

    My father-in-love served in the U.S. Navy. He longed to be a pilot but due to heart issues was unable to fly. Because he’d worked in the aircraft industry for several years, he was chosen to train pilots and was stationed in Norman, Oklahoma. He used to laugh about being a Navy man who only saw the sea during boot camp in San Diego.

    Kaye, since I have Sarah’s book, please don’t enter my name in the drawing.


  10. Monday, August 8, 2011 12:27 pm

    I already have the book, so don’t enter me.

    Both of my grandfathers were too young to fight in WW2. My paternal grandfather was in the Army during Korea, but never left Germany. My other grandfather had a new baby at home so they didn’t draft him.

    I had three great-uncles fight though, and a great-aunt who worked in the munitions factory in Minden, LA. We have two lamps made out of shell casings from that factory, that belonged to her. They’re very cool.

    My great-uncles died when I was little so I don’t know if they talked about it or not. One of them, there’s a picture of him right after he came home, in a fedora and leather jacket, and I swear he looks just like Indiana Jones!


  11. Monday, August 8, 2011 1:04 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! After reading and loving the first in the series, I had to comment for a chance to win the third book!

    My uncle served as a Navy air traffic controller. He put those talking skills to good use as a salesman when he returned home. Our family treasures the trinkets he brought back from serving in the Pacific. My other uncle (still living) served in Iraq. Until we talked a few years ago, I didn’t realize the U.S. even had a WWII presence there.


  12. Monday, August 8, 2011 1:40 pm

    Great interview! It’s wonderful to get to know you more, Sarah!

    My grandfather served in WWII, though I don’t know anything about the details, other than he met my grandmother when he went to England. She came to America to marry him at the age of 18.

    Thanks for entering me!


  13. brendabh permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 2:17 pm

    My dad and several uncles were in WWII but my uncle JC went to Iwo Jima to serve and he was there and watched when the Flag was raised. He had six children and his wife that he left at home so he really gave up his family for a few yrs. When he was asked if he wanted to serve here in States or go to Iwo Jima he told them he wanted to go overseas. We celebrated his 100th birthday this pass Sat. and 100 family and friends were there.. The Marines gave him to awards for his service and our local TV station come out and made video to show on TV. He is still active and alert. He and my aunt Murrie raised 6 great Christian kids, have 14 grand kids and 1 great grand son. We took a pic of the 4 JC’s, Father, Son, Grandson and great grandson. Such a close and loving family.

    I read A Memory Between Us and can’t wait to read more of Sarah’s books.


  14. Pam K. permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 3:05 pm

    Several of my uncles served in World War II. One was in England, one in the Philippines; we have photos of another in the court room at Nuremberg (he was an Army guard, or something). I don’t remember them talking about their service much but the one who was stationed in England went back several times for reunions with his unit buddies.
    I enjoyed the interview with Sarah and would very much like to read (and win!) her new book.


  15. Monday, August 8, 2011 3:18 pm

    Wow! What fabulous stories! Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    Debra – I apologize for asking the same question twice 🙂 I’m not creative in that way.
    Judy & Sheri & Audry & babyantsmom & Jo – it’s very common for men not to have talked about it. For some, I think it was because the experience was so painful. For others, I think it has to do with humility – the sense that they were just doing their jobs like every other man. My own grandfather was a storyteller, for which I’m thankful. He related so many of his experiences to us.
    Emily – that’s funny about your grandpa – and about your pets! A cucumber? That’s hysterical!
    Rebecca – I’m so glad God gave you a substitute grandpa. Mr. Yokuty sounds like a treasure.
    Keli & Rachel – hi!!!
    Kim – oh, that’s a shame! How did you get passed by? And isn’t that interesting about Iraq? I was just reading about that the other day. It truly was a WORLD war.
    Michelle – your grandma was very brave too. I can’t imagine moving to a whole new country at the age of 18!
    Brenda – I’m so glad the local news did a feature on him. Send me the link if you can 🙂


  16. Betsy permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 5:58 pm

    My father served during WWII in the US Navy on the USS Bowie. My dad passed away in 2006. My father in-law was one of the elite Army Rangers called Merrill’s Marauders, serving in Burma. My father in-law is 89 and still tries to attend the yearly reunions of the Marauders. Both men have been examples of honor, patriotism and standing for what you believe in. Great examples for us all. Due to their examples, my son served 6 years in the US Navy and after college graduation, joined the Alabama Army National Guard.
    My husband and I read and watch everything we can find about this time period to learn more about what life was like. I am grateful for Sarah’s books and look forward to reading book three in the series.


  17. Monday, August 8, 2011 7:01 pm

    Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII.

    My maternal grandfather enlisted in the Navy in 1943, he was 16, and lied about his age to enlist. He enlisted along with 5 other boys from his community. Papaw T. and four of the other boys went into the Navy. One went into the Army, and he was killed by a sniper in Europe.

    My paternal grandfather was an Army corporal. He fought in Europe. He went ashore 2-3 days after D-Day. During the winter of 1944-45 he was manning an artillery piece. It was very cold, and one of his friends suggested they change places so my grandfather could get warm. Just a few moments after they changed places, the gun was hit by the Germans, and Papaw C’s friend was killed.


  18. Tammy Anderson permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 9:29 pm

    My PaPaw Stiltner was in World War Two. He served in the Navy. I never heard him speak of it. My mom has a picture of him and those he served with in a chest at the foot of her bed. He was an amazing man.



  19. Monday, August 8, 2011 9:49 pm

    Pam & Betsy – I’m glad your loved ones were able to go to the reunions. It’s good for them to get together with guys who understand what they went through.

    Michelle – I’m always amazed how many boys lied to get in – nowadays guys would lie to get out 🙂 And don’t those stories like your Papaw C’s give you the chills? My grandfather was a pharmacist’s mate in the Navy (medic). Half his unit went to Iwo Jima – and his half didn’t. I hate to think of what would have happened to him if he’d been sent to Iwo.

    Tammy – that generation sure didn’t like to brag. They were amazing men of real courage who did what had to be done even when they felt inadequate or scared.


  20. Sarah permalink
    Monday, August 8, 2011 9:59 pm

    my grandma was a nurse in north Africa before moving on to Sicily and then Naples for the invasion of Italy. She spent almost three years there, and then was sent to the pacific. She brought back a cameo ring from Italy and I wear it a lot.


  21. Monday, August 8, 2011 11:55 pm

    Sarah – if I were a dog, my ears would have pricked up. My next series follows three flight nurses in the Mediterranean. I’ve spend the last year mentally in North Africa and Sicily writing the first book. I just got back from 2 weeks in southern France and Italy researching the second two books (yes, a writer’s life is painful).

    The nurses in the field lived in harsh conditions and dealt with some horrible situations. Your grandma performed a valuable and difficult service!


  22. Tuesday, August 9, 2011 2:46 am

    Im late here but my dad served in WW2 he was a machine gunner stationed in Darwin and shooting at the Japanese planes. He had to be discharged early because he was one of the first groups to do jungle training and spending over a week in wet clothes affected his back.
    His brother was in the army, his sister was part of the airforce not sure what she was doing but they has women working with the airforce. Her future husband also was in the royal airforce. Mums sister was a army nurse in New Guiniea (sp) her brother also was there but he was listed as non combat and was working transport etc. Her brother inlaw was a prisoner of war by the Japanese, Her other brother in law was part of the Z force which we found out is a spy force.

    Yesterday we learnt our most decorated WW2 heroine died. Nancy Wake was 98 and one of the nazi’s most wanted. She was a freedom fighter and part of the french resistance. She was truely a hero and she was awarded to honors from several countries after the war.


  23. Tuesday, August 9, 2011 11:19 am

    Jenny – my goodness, your family was active! Australia’s story in WWII isn’t known well in the US, which is too bad. There was a serious risk of Japanese invasion, heavy bombing (especially Darwin!), and some nasty jungle battles throughout the Pacific. It sounds like your family covered every single aspect 🙂

    I read about Nancy Wake. What a woman.


    • Tuesday, August 9, 2011 6:32 pm

      Yes Sarah Australia was well involved. The japanese even got into Sydney Harbour.
      Mum use to work in a shirt factory that made the uniforms for soldiers she like the others even wrote there names and addresses in the shirts in hopes of a letter.
      My uncle was caught when they landed on Ambon Island Indonesia and of the 700+ men captured only about 160 left alive.

      They had a mini series on Nancy Wake at one stage and she was amazing. Looks like they are going to make a film now. If they keep it true to her story it will be a great film.


  24. Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:34 am

    I make Jenny look like an early bird! 😀

    My great uncle was a fighter-pilot stationed in New Guinea. I wish I knew more about his experiences, but while I was growing up here in KY, he lived in Iowa, and now lives in Washington, DC, with his son. He’s 93, I believe! I loved looking at the pictures he sent to my grandmother, his sister. He had that jaunty, devil-may-care look about him, especially in his flight togs.

    Great interview!



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