Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Author Chat: Sarah Sundin

Hello friends--Emilie here. I invite you to come have a chat with author Sarah Sundin and I! Go get some coffee (or tea) and sit back and relax while we talk about fall, books, and Sarah's novel Anchor in the Storm.

What’s your favorite fall drink and snack?
When I was in Boston researching the Waves of Freedom series, I bought some cranberry black tea. I will be severely sad when I run out. As for snacks, I’m not very seasonal. However, I love baking and I’m looking forward to cooler weather when I don’t feel guilty about heating up the house. First on my list: snickerdoodles and almond sandies.

Ooh yum! I love snickerdoodles. I'll be right over hehe! So, do you have any fall traditions?
This is my first year without kids to send back to school. I’m going into withdrawals not buying school supplies. I may have to hang out at the office supply store and live vicariously through others.

I hang out there and I don't even have kids (ha!). I bet that will be a big change for you. Becuase we're nearly there, what is your favorite part about fall?
Fall is my favorite season. School, cool weather, sweaters, football—I love it all. Living in California, we don’t get a lot of the gorgeous fall colors, but I adore those we have.

Ah yes, I remeber that from when I lived in Southern California. About the time it hit "fall" it was actually near Christmas. I'm looking forward to 4 seasons in Ohio! Speaking of fall and Anchor In the Storm, I thought we'd have a little bit of fun. I've got a few questions for your main characters, Lillian and Arch.

What fall activity do you think Lillian and Arch would enjoy doing together?
Living in Boston, I can definitely see them touring the New England countryside to see the fall colors. They love going on outings, and who can resist that riot of color?

Oh I bet! I'd like to tag along...But, along the way, if they stopped at a pumpkin farm to carve pumpkins, what would Lillian and Arch make their punkin faces to look like?
Hmm. This made me laugh. My first thought for Arch was a pirate, so I’m going with that. There are a few scenes in the novel to back this up. Ha! As for Lillian, she’s no girly-girl. I can see her making a frightening, sharp-toothed monster face.

Yes, I can definitely see that! Can you tell us a little bit about the research you did for this book?
My favorite research was on the ground—exploring Boston and the WWII-era destroyer USS Cassin Young. But most of my research is via books and the internet. For Arch’s story, I read about US destroyers and the U-boat war off the East Coast in 1942, including the war diary for the Eastern Sea Frontier. For Lillian’s story, I read about pharmacy in World War II. As a pharmacist myself, I was fascinated about how much the corner drugstore was affected by rationing, shortages, and scrap collection. Since I’m cruel to my characters, I had to read medical information about PTSD (called combat fatigue at the time) and prostheses.

Wow! That all sounds facinating! Can you share with us a little bit about your creative process when writing?
I’m very much an outline-oriented writer. I need a thorough map before I can take the road trip of the rough draft. Since I do a lot of pre-writing, my first drafts are pretty clean and I don’t have to do super-heavy editing. In my pre-writing process, I fill out character questionnaires, do a hero’s journey analysis, and fill out a plot chart. By the time I start the rough draft, I know my characters and the story intimately, and the story is bubbling out of me.

That's great. I know a lot of authors who write that way as well. It's funny how different all of our processes are. I know too that, during the writing process, its not hard to fall into a slump. How do you regain writing inspiration when you’ve lost it?
I read what I’ve already written, or I review my plot and character charts. These usually give me the kick-start I need. If not, I give myself permission to write junk. Just write something! I tell myself I can delete it later—I just need a running start. However, I often find those “junk” beginnings become my favorites.

Oh-that's a great idea! I think I'll try that the next time I'm stuck :-) What books are you looking forward to reading this fall?
I’m so far behind on my reading, it isn’t even funny. I highly recommend a novel I read for endorsement that’s coming out this week—You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo—a fun but deep story set in 1920s Chicago. Next up in my reading pile: The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson, The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron, and The Things We Know by Catherine West.

I'm also behind on my reading and have The Red Door Inn and The Ringmaster's Wife on my TBR list!

Do you have a verse or some sort of encouragement you can share with us as we transition to a new season?
The theme verse for Anchor in the Storm seems appropriate. We live in tumultuous times with too much anger and bitterness, and we’re tempted to despair. Hebrews 6:18-19 reminds us, “We might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” We have to cling to Christ, cling to hope, and refuse to give in to strife and despair.

Wonderful! Thank you for this fun chat Sarah. I always enjoy your novels and loved getting to meet you at last years ACFW conference. Can't wait to have you back next time for the releae of When Tides Turn!

Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.
Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sarahsundin
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sarahsundin

Anchor in the Storm 
by Sarah Sundin

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ens. Archer Vandenberg. As Arch’s destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch and Lillian work together on the investigation, but can he ever earn her trust and affection?
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