Monday, October 22, 2012

Sarah Sundin

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah Sundin to Ink Dots. Sarah is the author of With Every Letter, the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series from Revell, and also the Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow). In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children, and she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. 

With Every Letter - As part of a morale-building program, World War II flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, they develop a deep friendship. But when they're both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past—or will they reveal their identities?

Welcome to Ink Dots, Sarah. I'm loving the sound of this story... but first, tell us about the most important people in your life right now. My husband and children, definitely. Our kids are now 14, 17, and 20, so the nest is starting to empty. Also our Bible study group is very important to us—some wonderful friends. My book club, women’s Bible study group, and a fabulous group of writer friends all provide mutual support and prayer. I really feel blessed. Wow... you really are blessed. I'm with you on the Bible study group. Mine includes my favourite people too!

What inspired you to write With Every Letter? I had the idea while watching The Shop Around the Corner, the classic Jimmy Stewart movie that inspired You’ve Got Mail. The anonymous correspondence intrigued me, and I began to wonder what sort of people would be drawn to a relationship like that. And I loved the romance of two people falling in love based on character rather than looks. What a brilliant idea. Anonymous letters fascinate me too.

How do you choose your characters’ names? Sometimes I just know the name, sometimes I just see a name that completely fits, and sometimes I have to search. For the heroine in With Every Letter, I wanted a long and odd name that could have a cute but unusual nickname. So I pulled out my trusty baby name book. Eventually I found the name Philomela—and it meant “nightingale.” Nightingale? For a nurse? Who loved to sing? What could be more perfect? So that’s how Mellie got her name. How perfect, indeed!

Have you been to Australia? I have! My family spent two weeks in Australia in 2005, half in Sydney and half on the Gold Coast. We were most fascinated by the platypuses in the Sydney Aquarium—so cute! We love how they swim! My youngest son has an abiding love for the platypus from that trip. But the memory we talk about the most was a harrowing drive up to Lamington National Park. Hiking on the platforms high up in the rainforest trees, seeing strangler figs and padmelons, and feeding wild lorikeets made the trip worth it, but it was the single scariest drive in my entire life. Narrow roads, blind tight turns, and steep drop-offs. Oh my. Sounds like a real Aussie adventure! Glad to hear you survived it with great memories. 

What’s next for Sarah Sundin? My next novel, On Distant Shores, the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, comes out in June 2013. It’s gone through the first set of edits with my publisher, and I’m expecting the book cover any day. Now I’m diving into the third book in the series. 

You're one busy writer. Where can we find you on the internet?

Thanks for joining us today, Sarah. I loved learning about your inspiration for With Every Letter, and look forward to hearing more about your writing in the days to come. 


If you'd like to a chance to win a copy of Sarah's book, please leave a comment below. Tell us about the scariest road you've ever travelled along. My near-death drive hugged the Hawaiian coast, and whilst the scenery was breathtaking, the bus ride there and back left me gasping for the safety of solid ground. How about you? I'll announce the lucky winner in the comment thread on Friday. Good luck to all who enter.