Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Author Interviews: Sarah Sundin "On Distant Shores"

You will remember when I read Sarah Sundin's With Every Letter and enjoyed it so much I ended up interviewing her on The Inkpen Authoress? Well, when I heard that her newest book, On Distant Shores, released, I sent her an email and asked if she'd be willing to be featured again.

 See, one of the things I like best about Sarah's books are how well researched they are. Her historical novels might not be the ones with the massive driving plots or the wild action, but they are accurate as all get-out and the characters get at you in a way that is not so frequent as you might think. In short, I love what of Sarah's work I have read, and I think you will too.

  1. As a published author, which are your favorite and least-favorite parts of the responsibility of promotions?
Like most authors, I’m not fond of promotion. I love the “interact with readers” part of it—Facebook, email, things like that. I don’t care for blogging or writing articles, and I dislike when I need to post too many things about my books or myself within a short period of time. Book release months can feel a bit icky—and yet they’re a lot of fun too.
  1. What is your favorite method for historical research?
Whatever does the job. I start with general books, peruse bibliographies for more specialized books, search the internet, contact museums and experts, and visit the settings when I can.
  1. I know you have been to a couple of the places featured in your books, but when traveling to your setting is not an option, how do you ascertain that your portrayal of the places and people are accurate and believable?
That’s always a challenge. I love Google Maps “Man on the Street” feature where you can “drive” down the streets and enjoy a panoramic view. However, this shows me the sites in 2013. I have to watch out for what has changed and what hasn’t. I like to read firsthand accounts from people who were there for the bits of color.
  1. Georgie sounds quite a lot like how I would have been if I was in the military during WWII. :) Describe her to us, and tell us how she became involved in the military in the first place!
Georgie was fun to write. She’s a perky people-person with a huge heart—but she struggles with fears, and she’s used to turning to friends and family to make decisions. In fact, she joined the Army Nurse Corps and became a flight nurse all to be with her best friend, Rose. When she’s faced with the dangers of the combat zone, she’s afraid she’s in over her head.
  1. Your first book in the Wings of the Nightingale Series, With Every Letter was about Mellie Blake, On Distant Shores is about Georgie Taylor, and you have told us that the third book will be about the final gal in the tight-knit trio. If this isn't too much of a "choose your favorite child" question, can you tell us which heroine is your favorite and/or which most resembles your personality?
It’s definitely “choose your favorite child.” Mellie, Georgie, and Kay couldn’t be more different, but I completely loved writing from each point of view and adore each of these women. Mellie’s personality is definitely closest to my own—an introvert who never fit in when she was younger, but learns to embrace friendship.
  1. In another interview you mentioned that your sons like to read your novels more than your daughter - do you have any idea why, and have your charming literary-ladies set a high standard for your sons' idea of a suitable wife? ;) {not that this would be a bad thing. Any guy would be lucky to win a Mellie's heart.}
That’s still true about my children. I’m not quite sure why the boys (15 and 20) like the books—except that I do blow things up. That’s important. My daughter (17) just feels uncomfortable reading romances her mother wrote. Eww. I understand.
As for the feminine standard, I hope my books would help. My heroines are realistic women with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, dreams and hang-ups. I hope the stories would help the boys understand real women and how they work. For the same reason, my heroes are well-rounded, so young women will have realistic expectations on how men act—it’s rarely flowers and poetry and effusive compliments.
  1. Your computer crashes and you lose a third of your book. (God forbid.) Your first reaction: 
    The paralysis of sheer terror. Followed quickly by freaking out.
  2. Your son or husband or the technician comes in and finds the lost work; everything's peachy-keen. Your reaction to that initial reaction:
Embarrassment at the freaking out. Profuse apologies for the freaking out. Over-the-top gratitude.
  1. You are handed plane tickets to go on a research trip to anyplace in the whole world except where your novels are currently set. Which continent do you choose, and what sort of story might you decide to write?
Well, that’s not very nice. Right now I want to go to Boston or take a cruise on the North Atlantic to research my next series. And the last thing I need is a new story idea to distract me. How about Hawaii? That would be very inspirational.
  1. Some authors swear by reading books in their genre during the writing-stage of their novel. Others consider that the most counter-productive thing they could ever do. Where do you stand on this?
No problem. I read what I like, in and out of my genre. I do try to keep up with the other WWII novels on the market to make sure I’m not duplicating story or character elements—and because I love a good WWII story. I also like to direct my readers to these other books, because they’re usually hungry for more. And I only write one book a year!
  1. What is your favorite snack to eat while writing, or are you one of those creatures who can exist on lukewarm tea and no sleep?
Gumdrops, tea, chocolate, coffee—all good. While writing In Perfect Time (August 2014), I started chewing gum because my hyperactive drummer/pilot hero is a gum-chewer. I found it burns off my nervous energy when writing and reduces gumdrop consumption.
  1. Ocean or mountains to rest up and recharge?
Yes, please I love the ocean. I love the mountains. Both are inspiring and relaxing and rejuvenating to me.
  1. What is your favorite book on writing how-to?
I have a trio. Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey for story structure and plot development, Brandilyn Collins’s Getting into Character for character development, and Dave King and Renni Browne’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers for good general fiction writing conventions.
  1. Are you a shoe-queen or a barefoot girl?
Neither. I don’t go barefoot because my feet get too callused, but shoes are just…shoes…to me. I like a good comfortable pair, cuteness is always fun, but I wear my favorites long past their fashion expiration date and refuse to pay much for new shoes. I’m disgustingly practical.
  1. Have you ever read an Amish romance, and if so, did you like it?
I have. It isn’t my favorite genre, but I read Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books at first because she’s a personal friend—and I love them! She includes lots of humor, and her characters are complex, realistically flawed, and different.
  1. Which do you love best: your cat or your well-meaning-but-destructive dog?

My cat. I’ve always loved cats best. But Daisy the yellow lab grows on you—she’s a true character. And she’s Facebook gold—any post where I mention Daisy gets twice as many comments as any other post. By far.

What a fun interview! Thanks so much, Sarah, for participating. And she didn't only participate in the interview; Sarah has agreed to give away a copy of On Distant Shores to one blessed reader! To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address. That will earn you one entry. For extra entries, follow Sarah's blog, share the giveaway on Facebook, your blog, or Google+, and come back here with another comment to tell me what you did! The winner of the entry will be drawn next Wednesday, so don't forget to check back. Again, thank you for the interview, Sarah, and congratulations on the release of On Distant Shores


Anonymous said...

I am entering! My email is trailofstardust(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

...And I shared it on Google+ and I followed her blog.

Krista Southworth said...

I would love to enter! Thank you so much for the opportunity! My e-mail is! I follow her blog :)

Unknown said...

I'm entering.

Miss Dashwood said...

This interview was SO fun to read! Loved the first book and I'm looking forward to the second. My email is missdashwood95 at gmail dot com.

Vicky said...

I would love to win your book! thedanielsr at comcast dot net

Sue W said...

I had so hoped I'd win a copy of your new book at your author chat, but didn't. Maybe this will be my lucky chance. Enjoyed With Every Letter,

WendyBrz said...

Thanks for the opportunity to enter!
theportablenest at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Loved reading the interview! I really wanted to win a copy at the author chat but didn't! I'm entering, thanks for the last opportunity! I am a blog follower too!

tickmenot said...

Loved hearing Sarah's answers! I follow her blog!

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

Awesome interview! Thanks so much for writing!

Jasmine A. said...

Absolutely loved the interview! Now to read the book....

Jasmine A.

Unknown said...

I loved this interview! You have such interesting questions, Rachel. :)

*is entering* My email address is

Unknown said...

What a fun interview!

Emily Chapman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jasmine A. said...

I Follow Sarah's blog. I Shared on Facebook.

Hope to win!

Jasmine A.

Marissa said...

I can't wait to read this one!! I read the first one in the series and loved it.


Marissa said...

I am also a follower of Sarah's blog!