image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Blogger Sarah Sundin and With Every Letter


SARAH SUNDIN is the author of With Every Letter, as well as the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.

by Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell


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?

Readers, buy your copy of With Every Letter today!


The Power of a Hand-Written Letter

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Or sent one? How did it make you feel?

I love modern communication—texting and e-mail and Facebook messages. These are fast, effective, and efficient forms of communication. They’re also impermanent and impersonal.

My new novel, With Every Letter, centers on an anonymous correspondence between a flight nurse and an Army engineer in World War II. Already I’ve received lots of comments from readers about how they’re reminded of the special nature of a written letter. Some have even been inspired to write letters to loved ones.

During World War II, if you were overseas, letters were the only way to communicate with friends and family back home. While researching With Every Letter, I was sent copies of letters written from an Army engineer serving in the Mediterranean, to his little daughter back home. Not only did the letters give me wonderful, colorful details to add to my story, but they brought home the poignancy of the war years. Little Jane did not see her father for three years, ages seven to ten. Her father missed those delightful years with his daughter. Her mother raised her daughter alone. Wartime worries and dangers deepened the pain of separation.

However, letters between father and daughter allowed them to stay connected. In July 1944, he wrote from Italy:


Your letter that you wrote me on “Dad’s Day” came yesterday. It’s very sweet of you to write and send me a picture too.

So you’re in fourth grade now. Next fall, you will be studying some pretty important subjects. Because you passed, and because I’m very proud and fond of you anyway, I am sending you a money order for ten dollars. Like last year, I would like to have you save five dollars of it for Mother’s Christmas present, and spend the five dollars for something you want yourself, including maybe a few war stamps.

It’s very warm here now, and there’s no place handy to go swimming, to show off the new bathing trunks that Mother sent me. But I’ll be able to use them before the summer is over, I’m sure. I hope you have lots of fun this summer, and get good and tanned and strong.

Love, Dad

Not only did this letter certainly warm Jane’s heart in 1944, it warms ours now. Because it was written in his own handwriting, on a piece of paper, so it could be saved for sixty-eight years and more.

When my husband and I were dating, even though we saw each other almost daily, we had a tradition of writing letters to each other. Every week I labored over my letter, recalling my favorite memories and focusing on what I loved about this man. And with every letter he wrote, he stole more and more of my heart. We’ve saved these letters, and occasionally I’ll read them, remembering the joy of falling in love with my husband and relishing how our love has deepened and matured in the twenty-five years we’ve known each other. Someday, when we pass away, our children and grandchildren may read the letters. They’ll laugh hysterically, they’ll be astounded, and maybe they’ll cry.

So yes, use e-mail and Skype and Facebook and text messaging. But consider occasionally putting your thoughts to paper in your own hand. You’ll create a more touching message for today and a legacy for tomorrow.

* * * * *

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: My question for you…from the beginning of the post: When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Or sent one? How did it make you feel?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


TulsaBelle said...

I send letters to my husband all of the time. Our romance was a cross-country one and we started the tradition and have kept it up. I also send out Christmas cards every year still and find it important to do those things that are more time consuming to let people know we care so much about them.

Unknown said...

The last time I received a letter was my friend who lived in IL at the time. Her Internet was down so she decided to send me an old-fashioned letter. I was so thrilled!! It even contained something really special in it: her senior photo!


Jenny A said...

The last handwritten letter I received was back in February or March. It came from a young lady who was my camper at bible camp the previous summer. It was very sweet and encouraging, not to mention unexpected! The card traveled over 2,000 miles, over land and ocean. We generally text each other, so you can imagine how special this letter was to me.


Merry said...

A month ago I received a hand written letter from a ladies prayer group in Kansas. I was touched by their kindness and just the personal touch of writing via post.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

It's been a long time since I've written a letter. I can't remember when the last time was.
However, just received a post card from my mom this week as she is on vacation. Her last hand written letter was probably in July in my birthday card.
Love getting hand written letters makes you feel special because they took the time in this fast email day and age.

ABreading4fn [at] gmail [dot] com

Elyssa said...

The last time I received a handwritten letter (or note, in this case) was yesterday. The online offices at my college sent me a beginning of the semester gift of a notebook, magnet, and pen, and put a kind little note in there for me. It made me smile! The last time I sent a note was around Christmas, when my second grade teacher sent me a note to catch me up on her year. We've written notes to each other every year since I was in her class, and it's always fun to catch up with her. =)


Jenny said...

I don't really send letters or receive them... when I do, however, I always find that it makes my day. Knowing that I could brighten someone's day by sending a letter and even knowing that it makes me happy, brings a smile to my face.


Ira said...

I received a letter in the mail the other day from a missionary that I've been supported for years now. When I first met him he was single, and now he's married and has 3 boys. It's amazing how God works!


squiresj said...

I get handwritten letters on a weekly basis and I still write them too.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Please enter me to win

Emily said...

The last time I got a hand written letter was probably from my Grandma...we don't really see her much and she usually sends my family a letter during the holidays. Sometimes it makes me sad because it's so hard to accept that we're not close.

Thanks for the giveaway!


Debbie said...

Wow, when was the last time I got a hand written letter? Too long ago is my guess. It kind of makes you miss the old days when that's how they communicated long distance. It must have been exciting to get a letter in the mail from someone you loved. These are the things that make me wish I was born in a different time. lol!

Please enter my name into the drawing!


John said...

A hand written letter, huh? Well, aside from a letter from my mother every once in a while, it's been a long time. Telephones and emailing seemed to take over where letters left off. We should write more letters, if only to bring back some of the simplicity of life.

I'm entering for my daughter! Thanks!


Cheryl said...

What a fabulous post. Thanks for sharing this dad's letter to his little girl. How touching.

It's been years since I received a handwritten letter, but the last one I sent was to my father maybe a year or two ago. I tend to type mine up because my penmanship is horrible.

All my best,



Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

I can't remember the last time I received a hand written letter. I always write when I send cards but I'm really frustrated when I receive a card from friends or family with nothing written in it but a name. I loved your post. God bless you.

Glenda Parker

Sarah Sundin said...

Isn't it amazing how much more touching a handwritten letter is?

Personally, I'm convicted, because I'm terrible at writing letters. I love the actual writing of the letter - but I procrastinate sitting down to write them, and then (oddly) procrastinate actually mailing them.

Sharon Moore said...

With my mother's passing this spring, I received many wonderful handwritten letters sharing memories. And I wrote return letters, even though I usually do not handwrite letters. Email has been wonderful to connect to overseas friends. But those handwritten letters from folks in their 70s, 80s and 90s are appreciated very, very much.

Sarah - I read "A Distant Melody" and enjoyed the story. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series and your new series. Thanks for the give away.
smoore at tcq dot net

Ganise said...

You know, I thought about that one this week. Receiving a hand written letter. Now, that's something special. Unfortunately I can't remember the last time I received or wrote one BUT I am definitely keeping that idea in mind.

Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

g.ggclermont AT gmail DOT com

Amy C said...

My best friend and I exchange handwritten letters regularly. I love the personal touch to it.
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Jes said...

It's been a while! Other than birthday cards I don't remember the last time I received a hand-written letter. I haven't written one in months either. It is fun receiving and sending them though - makes me want to go write one right now :) - the speed of emails is difficult to forego! Thanks for the giveaway!

jswaks at gmail dot com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Congratulations to Debbie Reilly for winning a copy of With Every Letter. Sarah will be in touch for your address so she can send out your book.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and support. New guest blogs and giveaways every week. Come back again!