If you enjoy historical fiction, chances are you've heard of Sarah Sundin. And if you haven't, you're in for a real treat!
Keep reading to enjoy a bit of Sundin's delightful humor, amazing writing advice, and her short-term imaginary friend (poor thing!)
Sarah Sundin is the best-selling author of ten historical novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.
Tell us a little about your younger self. When did you first start writing? Did you always know that you wanted to be an author?
Like all avid readers, I considered it and dabbled with some stories—but I knew they weren’t any good. I also wanted to be a ballerina, a firefighter, and a protozoologist (studies one-celled protozoa)—which led me to study science and become a pharmacist. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was thirty-four.
Did “The Sea Before Us” turn out how you thought it would? If not, what was different?
Yes, it did. I write from an outline, so I don’t have plot surprises when writing. The surprises come in smaller ways—unplanned humor or compelling thoughts, a side character who takes on life, and thematic elements.
Did you have any imaginary friends as a child? If so, tell us a little about him/her!
At about the age of six, I decided I should have an imaginary friend because that’s what little girls did. So I tried, but I neglected the poor thing and I think she died of starvation.
What do you find the hardest in finishing a book? Is it the writing process, the editing process, waiting to hear back from publishers, etc?
The outlining process, specifically plotting, gives me the most headaches. I call it a smackdown wrestling match. All the scene ideas and character development ideas have to be placed in an order that makes an engaging plot structure—and also fit the timeline of actual historical events.
If you could have lunch with any author, who would you choose?
As a people-pleaser, I hate these questions, because I don’t want to leave anyone out! Also, one of the unforeseen benefits of joining the writing community is that I’ve met almost all of my favorite authors at writing conferences—and had lunch with them.
Are you more of a coffee or tea person?
Depends on the time of day. In the morning, I need the rude jolt of coffee. In the afternoon, I like tea—hot in the winter, iced in the summer (today’s is black tea with black currant). In the evening, just water so I can sleep.
Do you write down story ideas as you think of them? If so, how many do you have written down/in your head?
I’m not blessed with a lot of ideas—I say the Lord gives me only as many as I need. So when I have an idea, I grab onto it. In this phase, I make a lot of handwritten notes and throw them in a binder. Right now I only have three percolating ideas, all for my next contracted series. After that…she stares into the void and prays for the next idea.
What is one thing about your MC that we might not know?
There was a childhood incident when Wyatt’s younger brother Adler talked him into doing something rash, and Wyatt broke his leg. This highlighted both their personalities and why Wyatt is so incensed in the prologue when Adler’s sweet-talking puts someone in danger. That never really fit into the novel itself, but it definitely shaped Wyatt’s thinking.
What project(s) are you working on right now?
I’m waiting on the final page proofs from my publisher for The Sky Above Us, the second book in the Sunrise at Normandy series (February 2019), and I’m at the quarter-way mark in the rough draft of The Land Beneath Us, the third book in the series (2020). Plus, I’m doing early story development for my next three novels.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to an aspiring author?
Relax and take a deep breath. Write and write and write. Learn and edit, and learn and edit. And relax—don’t rush things. The self-publishing revolution has so many positives, allowing stories to be told that might never have found a home. However, it’s led many writers to rush their first novels to print, when they really should have been practice novels. I have two starter novels sitting in my file cabinet. I adored them when I wrote them, and I was convinced they’d take the market by storm. Now I know they’re really not good at all, and I’m glad I didn’t have the option of tossing them on Amazon at the time. Writing, like any profession, takes time to develop properly. So relax and enjoy the process!
Connect with Sarah!
The Sea Before Us blurb:
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.
As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .
I had so much fun learning more about Sarah! If you haven't read her books, you should add them to your TBR list!
Are there any authors that you'd like me to interview? Put your suggestions in the comments! I'd love to hear them!
Until next time, friends, keep letting your lights shine!