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