Monday, September 17, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is here today! We are celebrating the release of her book, With Every Letter.

Welcome, Sarah! Congratulations on the new book! Your extensive research is evident in all your books - they are rich with history and authenticity. I think that is one reason I enjoy them so much. Did you find any surprises while researching With Every Letter?

Thank you, Karen! It's a pleasure to be here. There were a lot of surprises. The war in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations doesn't get as much attention as the war in northern Europe, and I learned all sorts of interesting things. The American campaign in North Africa wasn't always pretty -- a lot of "should haves" and "should not haves" -- but they learned important lessons about commanders and tactics and strategy that paid off later in France and Germany.

I found it educational as I hadn't been aware of all the wartime activity in that area. This fictional account was an interesting way to learn about it. :) Early in the book, you referred to one of my all time favorite films -- The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart. Do period films like these help you with elements such as clothing, etiquette, and setting?

Oh yes, also vocabulary and phrasing and prevalent attitudes. I love period films, and Jimmy Stewart is my all time favorite actor. I had the idea for With Every Letter while watching The Shop Around the Corner -- no big surprise, huh? The anonymous correspondence grabbed my interest, and I wondered what kind of person would relish anonymity.

So this is how the idea for your main character, Mellie Blake, originated? 

Yes, the main idea came from the question above -- what kind of person would be drawn to anonymity? How about a woman who's shy and never fit in? Around that time, a couple of missionary children visited my Sunday School class. They'd spent most of their lives in Africa and they dressed and wore their hair differently than my fourth graders did, talked differently, and were interested in different things. I found the children delightful, but it was fascinating to watch my regulars. These are some of the nicest kids in the world, but they didn't quite know what to make of the newcomers. My heart went out to the visiting children. They probably didn't belong in Africa, and they didn't belong in America. So I gave Mellie a similar background, straddling two cultures and not belonging in either.

I can see where that would present issues and conflict -- good ones for a main character. Mellie was an interesting mix of both. Watching her interact with others in the story, well, you just weren't sure what was going to happen next! So now that this book is out, what is on the horizon? Are you at liberty to give us a peek at upcoming books?

Absolutely! The second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, On Distant Shores, comes out in June 2013. Lt. Georgie Taylor fears she's in over her head as a fight nurse, but she enjoys her friendship with Sgt. John "Hutch" Hutchinson, an Army pharmacist. As Hutch and Georgie care for patients in Sicily and Italy, tragedy draws them together, but their differences threaten to keep them apart.

The third book comes out in June 2014. Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she goes, but C-47 pilot Roger Cooper is immune to her charms. Throughout Italy and southern France, as she evacuates the wounded and he delivers paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them where they don't want to go.

Sounds great! Looking forward to reading them. Will you come back and visit us then?

Yes, thank you, I will!

Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. I wish you many blessings and great success with your books. :)

Thank you, Karen. It's been fun to stop by and see everyone. Thanks for having me!

My Review of With Every Letter

Lieutenant Mellie Blake happily serves her country, now deeply involved in World War 2. She didn’t have friends as a child, having lived overseas part time due to her father’s job. As an adult, she’s had difficulty making friends, so she keeps a professional distance from the other Army nurses. This plan works just fine, until her supervisors order her to make friends and fit in or else.

Tom MacGilliver, also a Lieutenant in the United States Army, keeps a low profile for other reasons. His father’s shady past has made their last name a household word, and Tom hasn’t been able to shake the stigma. To make matters worse, he’s unable to gain true respect from the men in his company. 

Mellie reluctantly participates in a morale-building program where nurses correspond anonymously with soldiers. She agrees to write one letter. Turns out, the letter goes to Tom. And he writes back. These two lonely souls settle into a routine of correspondence, feeling secure with their agreement of anonymity.

Mellie’s duties as a flight nurse take her overseas, close to Tom’s unit. As the war intensifies, their affection for each other grows and both entertain notions of revealing their identities. Will fear and circumstances prevent a meeting? 

Sarah Sundin’s attention to historical detail is outstanding. It lends authenticity and character to her stories. Not only does she entertain readers, she challenges them through her characters’ flaws and growth. I enjoyed getting to know Mellie and Tom, and watching them stretch out of their comfort zone as they got acquainted and navigated their way through perilous times. I enjoyed With Every Letter thoroughly, and am looking forward to the next books in the series.

Giveaway Details
  • You must be a GFC follower and leave your email address with your comment. 
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please total your entries and include link with your comment where applicable.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST Friday September 21, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, September 24, 2012.

You can visit Sarah and find out more about her other books, which are very good, btw, on her website and on her blog.

Prior to hearing about Sarah's book, did you know that Army nurses helped evacuate soldiers during World War II? Do you have any questions for Sarah?

Happy reading and writing,



  1. I haven't had a chance to read Sarah's books yet but am looking forward to checking this out!! There are so many things that are fascinating in history but we don't learn about them until we start digging.
    Thanks for the interview, ladies!

  2. I thought that was neat how you came up with the character and having her not really belong anywhere.
    Congrats on your book!

  3. Jessica,
    I think you might like this one. :) Sarah's books are rich with history and entertainment.

    I thought that was interesting too. You just never know where an idea will come from, do you? :)


  4. Wow! Congratulations on creating a series. What wonderful job security. :)

    The time period makes me think of Mr. Schrock who is a bona fide history buff and loves the World War II era. Best wishes for your success, Sarah. And Karen, you could be a professional reviewer. You really could.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Great interview, and it's so cool that Sarah writes in one of my favorite time/settings. Good to know. :)

  7. Great interview, ladies! Congrats on your success, Sarah!

    I've read two of Sarah's books - both outstanding!

    sorry typo above - my bad

  8. I love the of the setting of this book. My grandpa was there during WWII.
    I'm a gfc follower.
    Shared on twitter.

    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  9. Karen - thank you so much for the lovely review! I'm glad you liked Tom & Mellie's story.

    Jessica - it's amazing what wonderful little tidbits you can find in history, isn't it?

    Jennifer - she was really fascinating to write.

    Rhonda - my history buff husband is partly responsible for my genre - a History Channel documentary sparked my first series. And I agree about Karen's reviews - very professional.

    David - thanks! WWII is such a fascinating era!

    Loree - thank you! And I understand about typos :)

    Amy - how interesting! Did your grandpa serve in North Africa? That part of the war doesn't get much attention, but it should.

  10. Hello! I like a few others have not had a chance to read this interesting sounding book. I find the WWII era to be loaded of interesting facts that would make great books. Would love to win it!

  11. Oh, I loved The Shop Around the Corner! Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite actors too... the story is so sweet! Can't wait to read Sarah's latest- it looks wonderful!


  12. Can't wait to read this one! I'm entering for a friend....thanks for the giveaway!


  13. Rhonda,
    That is a good way to look at it - job security! lol It is a good book. :) Thanks for your sweet words!

    Thank you! Sarah makes it easy; she's a good guest. :) Got your name on the list!

    Thanks so much! Sarah really does bring reader into that period of time; it's a great read.

    I know, the setting is part of the appeal. Thanks so much for spreading the word!

    It's always a pleasure! Too bad we can't visit with a real cup of tea. :)

    It's good to meet you. It is such an interesting read. Sarah does a great job! Would you do me a favor and comment again with your email address? Thanks a bunch! :)

    Oh I love that movie too! It makes my top favorite's list! If you don't win, hope you get a chance to read it! :)


  14. Great interview, ladies. I'd love to get my hands on Sarah's book, so please enter me! :)

    sarah at sarahforgrave dot com

  15. I don't have any questions, but I do like stories set in that era. Jimmie Stewart is one of my favorite actors as well.

  16. Sounds like a great historical novel! I like that era too.

  17. Sarah,
    Thank you! I think you'd like this one. Got you on the list! :)

    Me too! Stories set in this era can be so interesting. :)

    I thought it was, guess you could tell, huh? :) Sarah's a gifted writer!


  18. I've read all of Sarah's books so far, and can't wait to read this one. She does such a great job with her research.

  19. Karen, thanks for introducing us to Sarah! I haven't had the privilege of reading one of her books, but I've heard great things.

  20. Hi Karen...Thank for doing that interview. Imagine all the time and effort it must take to do a lot of research for a book. Amazing. As you know, I am a Follower. Susan

  21. Eventually I will win this book, I hope!

  22. Eventually I will win this book....unless I forget to leave my email address!

  23. Count me in, this sounds like a winner!

  24. Lcenlow - it's truly a fascinating era with millions of stories waiting to be told!

    Hi Elyssa and Emily! Yes, Jimmy Stewart is an all-time favorite.

    Karen - tea would be lovely :)

    Sarah with an H - thank you. You know I love your H.

    Nancy - I don't think I've seen a bad Jimmy Stewart movie :)

    Lydia - I always like meeting people who like the 1940s too!

    Susan R - thank you :) I like the research a bit too much...

    Melanie - it's nice to meet you too!

    Susan - you don't want to know how much time. You really don't. :)

    Melody - you made me smile :)

    Sally - thank you!

  25. Susan R.,
    I think you will enjoy this one too. She keeps coming up with great ideas! :)

    You are welcome! The pleasure is all mine. :) I hope you get a chance to read her books!

    Susan W.,
    I know, the research was extensive. Sarah is so good at that! :) Added you to the list.

    Nice to meet you! Sarah's books are wonderful. :)

    Got you down! It sure is! :)


  26. I haven't read any of Sarah's books either yet so reading this review actually whet my appetite for it--thanks for bringing to our attention good books and sharing your reviews.

  27. I am going to have to get this book! Every time I turn around someone is saying another great thing about it! Great interview, Karen... and great writing Sarah. The buzz about this release is as fantastic as I'm sure the book will be! :)

  28. Terri,
    You are welcome! I think you might enjoy Sarah's books. Maybe once you get settled from the move you can check them out. :)

    I think you would like this one - historical fan that you are. :) So glad you enjoyed the interview!


  29. great interview! Mellie sounds like an interesting character to get to know :)


  30. Awww Karen, I am filled with list of books to read that I noted from your post and still under pending (not done reading) and now, this book is going to be another addition. :D

    In between, the month of September is reading month of the year.

    Thank you Karen for this Wonderful book.


  31. Nutschell,
    Thank you! Having Sarah along is always a pleasure. :) Glad you stopped by!

    Thanks so much for your kind words and support. Sorry to pile on the books, but it always gives us something to read, yes?


  32. Dotti - thanks! It's nice to know good things are being said :)

    Nutschell - thanks :) I'm rather fond of Mellie.

    Yeesi - September had a bumper crop of good books! I'm nowhere near caught up. The to-be-read pile runneth over.

  33. Please enter me to win. I would love to read this book.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  34. Squiresj,
    Thanks for stopping by! Sarah's written another good book. Hope you get a chance to read it!

  35. Hi Karen,
    Great interview. Sarah's book sounds great. I love historical fiction. The World War II era is fascinating, and what a wonderful idea to craft such an inspiring female character.

    Please put my name in the hat to win a copy of Sarah's book.


    dvolkenannt (at)

  36. Donna,
    Got you down! Glad you made it over in time. :)
    Happy weekend,

  37. Jane - thank you :)

    Donna - I agree - WWII is completely fascinating.

  38. These books sound really great! I love reading about WWII and the history of nursing!

    I'm a new follower via GFC - Liz R

    I tweeted -

    I shared on Facebook -


  39. Liz,
    Good to meet you! Thanks for spreading the word. You made it just in time; I added your name to the list! :)


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!