Monday, September 22, 2014

A Visit from Sarah Sundin

Exciting news - Sarah Sundin has two new books out! She is here this week to share about her latest release, Where Treetops Glisten. Please join me in welcoming her. :)  Sarah's offered a copy of Where Treetops Glisten for a giveaway, so check out the details below.

Welcome, Sarah! Congratulations on your latest books! You have been super busy this year with the release of In Perfect Time and Where Treetops Glisten. How did the collaboration with Cara Putman and Tricia Goyer for Where Treetops Glisten come about? 

That was a lot of fun. In 2011, Cara came up with the idea of the three of us writing a WWII Christmas novella collection. Tricia and I loved the idea, tossed around a few ideas, and then we let it rest. That Christmas, on a road trip to visit family, I was blindsided by a Christmas novella idea. It flew together so quickly it’s hard to trace how the story came together. In a few days I essentially had the entire novella outlined with major scenes sketched. I loved this story so much, I knew I had to write it even if Cara and Tricia weren’t interested in a collection. Well, I emailed Cara, and it turned out she had an idea for a novella…and so did Tricia. We had a few brainstorming emails and a conference call or two, and the concept for Where Treetops Glisten came together.

Can you give us a peek into the stories? 

The three stories follow the Turner family from Lafayette, Indiana throughout World War II.

Cara Putman’s story, White Christmas, happens in 1942. Abigail Turner is a student at Purdue who enjoys her job at Glatz Candies. Then she meets Jackson Lucas, a man carrying a heavy burden for his widowed mother he’s supporting. Abigail is determined to help him save the family farm, but will she be able to overcome her fears of falling in love again?


In my novella, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Lt. Pete Turner comes home for furlough in December 1943 after completing a combat tour as a fighter pilot based in England. His tank is on empty, but his pastor’s advice to give baffles him. How can he give something out of nothingness? But then he meets little Linnie Kessler and her lovely widowed mother Grace. Can he convince Grace he’s no longer the bully she knew as a child? And will his gift to them fill the empty places in their lives?


In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Merry Turner is serving as an Army nurse in the Netherlands in December 1944. Still reeling from betrayal and a broken heart, she’s confused and concerned by the anonymous gifts that turn up for her Christmas birthday—personal gifts that point to the very man who betrayed her.

Is this the first collaborative project/book you've done? Has it been any different from when you write a novel by yourself? 

This is my first collaborative project, but Cara and Tricia had done collections before. It required some coordination, particularly with timelines and character histories and traits. I made up several charts to keep us on track, so Cara and Tricia dubbed me the “spreadsheet queen.” But then I benefited from their energy and fountains of ideas. Really, these women don’t shut down. Another thing that was interesting to me was using characters who didn’t “belong” to me. Both Abigail and Merry appear as side characters in my story, and we all used the parents and grandma, so we needed to keep the personalities consistent. We had lots of emails asking “What would Abigail be doing here?” “Would Pete say that?” or “What’s Merry feeling at this time?”

It would be a lot to keep track of, that's for sure. How do you keep yourself on track with your writing deadlines? Have any tips to share? 

Spreadsheets and charts. He he he. Really, I do. My monthly goal chart is crucial to me—that’s where I list all the tasks that have to be done each month. I work back from my deadline and divide up how many chapters I need to write each month, leaving time for editing afterward and lots of pre-writing beforehand. I also include publicity activities, when I need to update my website and social media sites, etc. I keep a separate spreadsheet for interviews and articles with due dates and post dates so nothing falls between the cracks.

Sounds like a great system. Successful too, since you have seven books to your credit! Are there any new books in the works? 

Yes, there are! My new Waves of Freedom series follows three American naval officers based in Boston during World War II. The first novel, Through Waters Deep, comes out August 2015. In 1941, as America teeters on the brink of World War II, Mary Stirling works at the Boston Navy Yard and renews an old friendship with naval officer Ens. Jim Avery. Jim’s destroyer escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic, but problems on his ship point to a saboteur at the shipyard. As Mary works to find the culprit and Jim battles U-boats, their friendship promises to blossom into something more. But could a deeper friendship rip them apart?

Wishing you all the best with your current books and the new series too. Looking forward to reading them. :)

Thank you Karen, and thanks for inviting me to stop by!

Giveaway Details

  • You must be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower of Write Now. (See sidebar to sign up if you don't already follow.)
  • Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.
  • Giveaway ends Thursday, September 25 at midnight EDT. Open to US residents only.
  • Winner will be chosen by random.org and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Find Sarah and her books on her website. Stop by her blog as well, she'd love to see you!  

Do you have any questions for Sarah? How do you keep your writing tasks organized?

Happy writing,

Karen

48 comments :

  1. Congrats to Sarah! Loved hearing how she collaborated. I never heard anyone talk about using spreadsheets to stay organized but it makes sense. Good luck to her on her new book.

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  2. Congratulations to Sarah--what a great group to collaborate with, and what a fun looking collection! I'd love to be entered: authorsusannedietze at gmail dot com.

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    1. It really was fun - actually it still is now that we're working on publicity.

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  3. Someone has to keep track of the spreadsheets!
    Christmas is only three months away, so good timing. Good luck with the book, Sarah!

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  4. Congrats. I'm looking forward to reading this Christmas compilation!

    I'm a follower!

    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. Congratulations. A great giveaway and feature. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. How nice to have two Sarah Sundin books back to back! Looking forward to reading this in time for the holidays!

    kwhittle(at)wgem(dot)com

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    1. It's been fun for me too - though a tad busy :)

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  7. I'm so looking forward to reading this too! I love reading and learning more about WW2 and love Christmas, so it's perfect!
    taralynee[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. We thought it sounded like a great combo too!

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  8. Looks like a fun book! writerforhisglory@yahoo.com

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  9. I'm looking forward to reading both of these books!!! I love your books Sarah! Thanks for offering this giveaway! I do follow the blog as a member! :)
    Cspicuzza83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I love your books. Keep them coming.

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  11. Natalie,
    I'd not thought of spreadsheets either other than for keeping track of submissions and whatnot. Glad you got a chance to meet Sarah! :)

    Susie,
    It does sound like a great group to collaborate with, I agree! ) Soon you will have your own collaboration out too! :)

    Alex,
    You are absolutely right! Someone has to do it. :) The end of the year will be here before you know it.

    Kate,
    Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by to see us! :)

    Traveler,
    Glad you stopped by! Sarah is a talented writer! :)

    Newsgirl,
    It is a treat to have them both come out in the same stretch, isn't it? Looking forward to reading them too. :)

    Tara,
    I'm with you, looking forward to reading both of Sarah's books. She brings that era to life so well. :)

    Alicia,
    I agree. I think this will be another winner! :)

    Christina,
    Sarah's books are always a treat to read, aren't they? :) Thanks for following!

    Virginia,
    I'm with you - Sarah is one talented writer! :)

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  12. The time period means a lot to me, mainly because of all the stories I heard growing up. Love the cover. She looks a bit like Rita Hayworth. Best of luck and huge congratulations, Sarah.

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    1. She does a bit! Even better, she looks exactly like the Kay Jobson in my mind!

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  13. Sarah, do you have a prayer partner that you pray with on a regular basis? I am looking forward to reading "Where Treetops Glisten". Blessings!

    psalm103and138"at"gmail"dot"com

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    1. My husband and I belong to a small group, I belong to a women's Bible study group, and my critique partners and I pray for each other. They're all wonderful!

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  14. Looks like a fantastic collaboration. I like WWII settings and anything Christmasy. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

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  15. Congratulations to Sarah. I love the idea of a series of stories set in WW2. I love the movies from that time.
    I want ot read this collection, whether I win it or not. cll4him2sbcglobal.

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  16. Congrads Sarah! What a fantastic collaboration. Amigo, what a wonderful interview. I LOVE all things Christmas. Cannot wait to read this collection.

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    1. I've had a great time working with Tricia & Cara!

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  17. Joylene,
    I know what you mean. I heard stories from my grandparents about the war, so I too like historical fiction from that period. :)

    Caryl,
    That's a good question! It's nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by!:)

    Medeia,
    I thought maybe you might like Sarah's books. She's a talented writer! :)

    Cecelia,
    I too, enjoy movies from this period. Films and books bring this period to life and help me appreciate the history even more. :)

    Robyn,
    Glad you enjoyed the interview. Appreciate your support, always! :) I think you'll enjoy Sarah's latest books!

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  18. I've read many of Sarah's books and would love this one!

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  19. I have heard great things about Sarah's books! I remember also hearing about the novella collection. It sounds very exciting. Thanks for sharing Sarah's interview. Also, thanks for the giveaway. :)
    ~Jess
    haightjess@aol.com

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  20. Susan,
    I had a feeling you'd be interested in these books! She's a good writer, isn't she? :)

    Jess,
    It is exciting! Excited for Sarah and her upcoming series too. :)

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  21. One of my favorite eras, Sarah. The stories you outline sound intriguing. Best of luck with them!

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  22. Congratulations to Sarah. I have all three of the Waves of Freedom series in my TBR pile and adding Where Treetops Glisten to my wish list. I love reading books based around WWII and Christmas books. Thank you for the giveaway.
    kmgervais(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

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  23. Hello Karen and nice to meet you Sarah! Congratulations!

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  24. Susan,
    Mine too! Hope you get a chance to read some of Sarah's books. :) I think you will like them.

    Karen G.,
    It's nice to meet you! :) Thanks for stopping by. Hope you make a dent in the TBR pile soon.

    Keith,
    Hope you had a Happy Birthday! Thanks for coming by! :)

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  25. I used to be organized, then I started publishing books and my system went belly up. I'll get it together again. I hope. I love reading novels set in the WWII era, so these are definitely on my list. Thanks for introducing the series to us.

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  26. A kindred spirit! I never met a spreadsheet I didn't like. :) I have a lot of respect for Sarah's organizational skills and goal setting, and her ability to team up to write. I'm a control freak over my work, so that would be tough for me, but I can see where it would be incredibly satisfying and fun (and a great learning experience) as long as you've partnered with the right people, and it sounds like Sarah has.

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  27. Lee,
    I'm like you, I used to be more organized, but you wouldn't know that now if you looked at my desk!:) Oh well, there's hope, right? Sarah is an inspiration!

    Lisa,
    I admire Sarah's organizational and writing skills, that's for sure! She is one talented writer. :) Glad you got to meet her.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  28. Great, eye-catching cover. The tips on organization is inspiring. Congratulations to Sarah on the release!

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  29. I love Christmas, reading Christmas stories, and books by all three of these authors! This book sounds good.

    I'm a follower.

    nina4sm/at/gmail/dot/com

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  30. Nas,
    I like all of Sarah's covers. They really do capture the story. :) Good to see you!

    Sylvia,
    I think all of Sarah's books are winners! Hope you get to read this one soon! :)

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!