Today, I'm pleased to feature another one of my web site clients on my blog today. I'm joining with many others this week on a week-long blog tour spotlighting Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody.
First, the standard details...then my review and author interview.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SARAH SUNDIN’s first novel, A Distant Melody, released in March 2010 by Revell. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.
A DISTANT MELODY
by Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell
ABOUT THE BOOK
Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?
Readers, buy your copy of A Distant Melody today!
Hmm, where should I begin? As an author who has written more than one wartime romance, the premise for this debut novel by Sundin grabbed me from the start. There's just something about love that blossoms in spite of such tragedy that gives you a sense of hope and inspiration. And just like I included letters exchanged between the key couples, Sundin does the same. The language and the sentiment evident in Allie and Walt's letters are perfect for the time period.
The proof of Sundin's extensive research of B-17's and wartime pilots is clear. She takes you back 70 years and dumps you in the middle of the heartache, the action, the excitement and the suspense of WWII, expertly guiding you along the journey with the vivid characters she's created. Allie's story with her family tears at your heart, but the love and friendship she develops with Walt help heal those wounds.
If you're a fan of wartime romances, grab yourself a copy today, sit back and prepare for an adventurous flight back in time--you'll be glad you did!
1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?
This story came out of a “what if” question in a contemporary novel I wrote (very badly). What if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? Obviously it wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
My experiences only come into play in a general way. For example, like Allie, I was shy and had low self-esteem when I was younger, but unlike Allie, I had accepting parents and a supportive church family, and I was never as socially isolated as she. But I was able to use the feelings of awkwardness and rejection, and build on that.
3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?
Allie would describe herself as plain vanilla. She’s quiet, shy, and considers herself plain-looking. However, I think she’s one of those really good vanillas with bits of vanilla bean. She has a big heart and wants to serve God. I love how she grows over the course of the year into a strong and confident young woman.
4. Are there any themes in A Distant Melody that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
The main theme that arose is summed up in 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Both Walt and Allie are willing to make sacrifices to please God, but they tend to choose sacrifices according to their own purposes rather than the Lord’s. They each have to learn to obey. Other themes that arose include the importance of honesty and the counter-cultural notion that beauty is not required for someone to be worthy of love.
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
For me, the hardest part to write is always the first chapter—you have to do so much in so few pages. One scene that was emotionally difficult to write was late in the book when Walt receives some bad news similar to bad news I once received. My first draft of that chapter was short and flat. I realized I didn’t want to delve into his emotions, but I had to—for Walt’s sake and for the story—and for myself. My favorite part to write was the rowboat scene when Walt and Allie were sharing some fun banter and having a deep connection. Plus there was humor. I love writing humor. Oh, and Walt surprised me! He plucked a cattail and began poking Allie. I didn’t plan for him to do that. I told him to behave himself and act like a gentleman. He refused. So I left it in.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
The second book in the Wings of Glory series, A Memory Between Us, releases September 2010: Maj. Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets Lt. Ruth Doherty, a striking nurse with a shameful secret. While Jack leads his squadron in the most savage air battles of the war, Ruth trains to become a flight nurse to better support her orphaned siblings. Can they confront their deepest sins, face their greatest fears, and learn to trust and to love?
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Thank you, Sarah, for being in the spotlight with us.
Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of A Distant Melody.
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** Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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