I’m excited to have Sarah Sundin here to share her love of the World War II era. She’s written quite a few romantic war stories. As my followers know, I write murder mysteries with romance set int the post WWII period in America. So Sarah and I have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. We both love this 1940s time period.
WITH EVERY LETTER, September 2012. “A well-researched and absorbing tale”—Publishers Weekly
First let’s get a few particulars about WITH EVERY LETTER…
As part of a morale-building program, World War II flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, they develop a deep friendship. But when they’re both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past—or will they reveal their identities?
With Every Letter is the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, in which three World War II flight nurses discover friendship, love, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Walter Reed General Hospital
Army Medical Center
October 2, 1942
Lt. Philomela Blake believed mornings should start gently, with the nighttime melting into golden sunshine and birdsong luring to wakefulness.
Most nurses on the morning shift assaulted the patients with electric light and harsh voices, but not Mellie.
She pulled the cord of the blackout curtain and sang “At Last,” and the volume of her tune built with the intensity of light. Hurting and healing men deserved a soft hand.
On the nearest bed, Corporal Sloan shifted under the blankets. He’d undergone an appendectomy late last night. “Any dame . . .” He cleared his throat, his voice raspy from the ether. “Any dame with the voice of an angel must have a face to match.”
Mellie’s song and her hands stilled. How many soldiers dreamed of a beautiful nurse who might fall in love with him?
He rubbed his eyes, looked at her, and his smile flickered.
Papa called Mellie his exotic orchid, but American men seemed to prefer roses.
Nike: Your new release, WITH EVERY LETTER, has such an interesting premise with the exchange of letters, which is so 1940s. How did you come up with this idea for a story?
Sarah: The idea came to me while watching the Jimmy Stewart classic The Shop Around the Corner (which inspired You’ve Got Mail). The anonymous correspondence piqued my curiosity. What kind of person would be drawn to an anonymous correspondence? How about a shy nurse who has never fit in? How about the son of a notorious murderer who longs to be free of the prison of his name?
Nike: What first got you interested in the WWII era? You already have one WWII series (Wings of Glory) out. What is that one like and how is it different from your new series?
Sarah: I’ve always been interested in the WWII era. I loved hearing my grandparents’ stories and was always drawn to novels and movies set in that time period. When I had the idea for my first published novel, A DISTANT MELODY, I knew it had to be historical rather than contemporary, and World War II was the only time period I considered.
The Wings of Glory series followed three brothers who were B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force based in England, while the new Wings of the Nightingale series follows three friends who serve as flight nurses in the Mediterranean. Both series combine romance and action, and both involve WWII aviation, but the settings are different. Also, in Wings of Glory, the men had the “glamorous” jobs, but in Wings of the Nightingale, the men fill less glamorous but vital jobs—as an Army engineer, an Army pharmacist, and a C-47 cargo plane pilot.
Nike: What has your personal writing journey been like? How long have you been seriously writing for publication?
Sarah: I started writing seriously in 2000 and started submitting to editors and agents in 2003. At that time, historical fiction wasn’t selling. For the next five years, I accumulated “good” rejection letters—they liked my story, characters, and writing—but not the genre. I kept praying, kept writing, and kept learning about the writing craft and the publishing industry. In 2008, the market flipped and publishers actively sought historicals. By then, the first two novels in Wings of Glory were complete and polished, and the third book was completely outlined. I submitted to Revell at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and they offered me a three-book contract a few months later.
My road to publication was long and rocky, but I wouldn’t change it for a thing. I learned so much about God and about myself through the process. The lessons I learned about obedience, faithfulness, and trusting God’s perfect timing were even more valuable than that contract.
PURCHASE LINKS for WITH EVERY LETTER:
Wings of Glory Series:
BLUE SKIES TOMORROW, 2011. Four and a half stars, RT Book Reviews.
A MEMORY BETWEEN US, 2010. Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Finalist.
A DISTANT MELODY, Revell, 2010. Editor’s Choice from Historical Novels Review.
To obtain purchase information for the Wings of Glory series. http://www.sarahsundin.com
Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series from Revell, and also the Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow). In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com