I’m sure most of you have heard of Sarah Sundin and her fantastic and sweet WWII novels, but if you haven’t today is your lucky day! Sarah is a dear…a wonderful person and a talented writer. With a passion for research, and WWII era romance, her books are satisfying from beginning to end! Her most recent series, Wings of the Nightingale debuted this last fall with the first installment, WITH EVERY LETTER.
It was my pleasure to sit down a while back and ask Sarah a few behind the scenes questions about her writing, and WITH EVERY LETTER. I’m telling you I have had my nose in this book all week and have loved every moment spent with these characters: Mellie, a kind-hearted and unconventional beauty and Tom, a caring man battling against his heartbreaking past. It’s a tender and intriguing romance that has gained such due praise, including making many lists as one of the top favorite reads of 2012! And I tell you this, from the bottom of my heart, with only two chapters until I reach the end, I’m so blessed to have read this book. I highly, highly recommend it!
A chat with Sarah Sundin:
1. What interesting facts about the way you write or research might surprise readers?
I doubt it would surprise my readers, but I’m very fond of research and a bit nerdy about it (okay, a whole lot nerdy). I use plenty of binders with tabs in pretty colors to keep everything organized and have way too many items in my bibliography.
My favorite research for the Wings of the Nightingale series was a trip to southern France and Italy. My husband and two younger kids and I went to Provence and Italy, part family vacation, and part research. Not only did we see tourist places like Pompeii and Rome and Avignon, but I was able to see the ancient Greek (yes, Greek!) temples at Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno, where the 93rd Evacuation Hospital was based, sink my toes in the sand of the Anzio landing beaches, and get remarkably close to the active French military airfield at Istres le Tubé, where the flight nurses were based. There was something special about being able to smell the air and feel the sand and hear the cigales (the cicadas in Provence).
2. What is it about your time period and setting that stirred you to write this story?
I love writing about the World War II era. It was a time when ordinary men had to do extraordinary things, and when women first explored non-traditional roles—while remaining ladies.
The concept for the Wings of the Nightingale series came to me while researching Army nursing in World War II for my second novel, A Memory Between Us. The flight nurses fascinated me—true pioneers who did amazing work in dangerous circumstances. The idea of following a group of flight nurses who form an unlikely friendship grabbed me. Around the same time, I read about the Engineer Aviation Battalions that built airfields in combat zones, often under fire. The Mediterranean Theater of Operations appealed to me for several reasons—it hasn’t been explored a lot in stories and the settings are exciting and romantic! I get to take my readers on a tour of the Mediterranean, from Algeria to Tunisia to Sicily to Italy to southern France.
3. What do you hope readers will take away from this story? What aspects might encourage them to reflect on their own lives or the world today?
At the start of With Every Letter, both Tom and Mellie are uncomfortable in their own skins. They have to learn to see themselves as God sees them and grow into the people God wants them to be. I hope if readers struggle with self-image, they’ll be encouraged by Tom and Mellie’s journey. Also, I hope readers will reflect on the danger of judging people based on superficial things.
Sarah is the author of historical fiction set during World War II. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. Watch for Sarah’s newest release, ON DISTANT SHORES, coming soon! Visit her website, or find her on Facebook!
Let’s chat: What fascinates you most about WWII history? What do you hope to find within the pages of a Christian romance?