Sparkling Vintage Fiction. Among other things.

Sparkling Vintage Reads and Giveaway!: An Interview with Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the StormOne of my very favorite historical eras to read about is World War II, a naturally dramatic time period that lends itself to engaging stories. With eight novels set in that time period, Sarah Sundin has become a master of the genre. Her latest book, Anchor in the Storm, has just released from Revell to widespread acclaim. Publishers Weekly said, “Sundin, exhibiting her usual flair for 1940s history and setting, will delight WWII buffs.” Booklist called it “an optimal hybrid of 1940s crime and romance” And RT (Romantic Times) Book Review gave it four stars, saying, “Full of exciting intrigue . . . just the right amount of romance to balance out the drama.”

Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Here’s the scoop: For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ens. Archer Vandenberg. As Arch’s destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch and Lillian work together on the investigation, but can he ever earn her trust and affection?

If you’d like to enter to win a free copy of Anchor in the Storm, simply post a comment below or send an e-mail to jenny (at) jenniferlamontleo.com. The winner will be drawn at random on Monday, May 9, 2016, and I’ll notify the winner.

Jennifer Lamont Leo: Welcome, Sarah. Anchor in the Storm is the second release in your Waves of Freedom series, set during World War II.* What has intrigued you about this time in history?

Sarah Sundin: The World War II era has always fascinated me—and not just because of the swinging music, cute dresses, and men in uniform. It was a time when ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and when women tried exciting new roles. The war highlighted the darkest nature of humanity, but it also brought out the best. It’s an era full of drama, daring, and romance—perfect for a novel.

JLL: What sparked your imagination for this particular story?

SS: My husband and I are both pharmacists. A few years ago he made a transition from medical research to community pharmacy, and he was stunned at the extent of the narcotic abuse epidemic that’s now making the news. He cracked down on shady prescriptions, and my novelist’s brain began to churn. What if he angered someone big in the illegal drug community? But what if it happened in World War II? And the pharmacist was a woman? And I gave her a physical disability to make things even more interesting…?

JLL: Tell us a bit about your research process for Anchor in the Storm. Do you have any favorite resources for World War II research?

SS: For starters, I had to research life in the US Navy, the U-boat war off America’s East Coast, pharmacy practice, and Boston during World War II. My favorite resource for WWII military research is the HyperWar website, which contains hundreds of documents—manuals, official histories, and more. For researching the Battle of the Atlantic, I’ve been a frequent visitor at uboat.net, an extraordinarily thorough and well-researched site. For Lillian’s story, my favorite resource was a book called Pharmacy in World War II by Dennis Worthen.

JLL: What do you most hope readers will take away from Anchor in the Storm?

SS: Both Arch and Lillian have placed their identity and security in their careers. But when those careers are threatened, so is that identity, that security. I hope readers will learn along with Arch and Lillian that our true identity rests in Christ alone, and that the Lord is our security. That’s the “hope we have as an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).

JLL: Are there any particular challenges you’re facing in your writing life these days?

SS: My family is going through a lot of change. Our oldest son graduated from college and got a Real Job, our daughter got married—and they’re all living a full day’s drive away. Our youngest son graduates from high school next month and ships out to Navy boot camp this summer. These are all happy and wonderful things, but change is…change. And deadlines are deadlines.

JLL: How do you stay spiritually grounded during the writing and publishing process?

SS: God has a way of keeping me grounded and bonking me on the head any time that head threatens to get swollen. I can count on it—and I’m glad of it. He’s also placed wonderful, godly friends in my life who know me as “Sarah,” not as “Sarah Sundin, Author.” They slap me upside the head when I get whiny or fretful or just plain annoying. With all the head-bonking and head-slapping, I should have a concussion by now.

JLL: What are you reading these days?

SS:  Funny you should ask, because I recently finished a charming, sparkling novel called You’re the Cream in My Coffee, by a certain Jennifer Lamont Leo (shameless plug intended).

JLL: You are too kind. 🙂 🙂 🙂

SS: And I just started reading another debut novel called Close to You, by Kara Isaac—it’s about a woman who conducts Tolkien tours in New Zealand and a man who’s stuck on a tour against his will. Great fun!

JLL: What’s on your music playlist?

SS: An awful lot of big band music! Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, the Andrews Sisters, Artie Shaw. I love it, and it puts me “In the Mood” to write my stories. Now it’s your turn to slap me.

JLL: What’s the next book project coming up for you?

SS: The third book in the Waves of Freedom series, When Tides Turn, is going through edits right now, and I’m starting work on my new series about three estranged brothers who fight on D-Day from the sea, the air, and the ground.

JLL: Thank you so much, Sarah. Anchors in the Storm is a marvelous story.

SS: Thank you so much for hosting me today!

*(Breaking news: The first book in the series, Through Waters Deep, has just been named a finalist in the prestigious INSPY Awards for faith-driven fiction!)

About Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. http://www.sarahsundin.com

Disclosure: I’ve been given a review copy of this book by the publisher. This generosity, while appreciated, has not biased my review. I also post some of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

38 Responses to Sparkling Vintage Reads and Giveaway!: An Interview with Sarah Sundin

  • Sarah Sundin sounds like a very nice person who has excellent taste in books. She likes ours! 🙂 However, here in the 1920s we are still recovering from the Great War. Do you mean to tell me that there will be another one coming up in the 1940s? Haven’t people learned anything?

  • Teresa Burgess says:

    Sarah us right in her genre (Christian, Fiction, Pharmacist) with this one.

    • Jennifer says:

      The way the pharmacist angle plays into the story is fresh and interesting.

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Ever since I started writing, my husband and I have joked about me writing a pharmacy thriller…because pharmacy is less than thrilling most day(“Oh no! I can’t bear to look! That tablet…is EXPIRED!!”) But I finally found a plot 🙂

  • Kendra Whittle says:

    What a wonderful interview! I’m so excited to read this book! “In the Mood” is also one of my go-to songs when I’m trying to get plugged in and get to work! So catchy!

  • Winnie Thomas says:

    What a fun interview! I have been wanting to read some of Sarah Sundin’s books but haven’t yet. They are definitely on my TBR list. I’ve heard so many great things about them. I would love to win this book. The cover model looks amazing like my granddaughter. Also, the story sounds so interesting. Note to Sarah–I love to read/review for authors if you need any more people to help. I don’t have a blog, but I always post reviews Amazon and Goodreads and recommend books I have enjoyed to others in person and on Facebook. Let me know if I can help.

    • Jennifer says:

      So glad you enjoyed the interview, Winnie! Good luck on the drawing. 🙂 FYI if you’d like to contact Sarah directly, she has a contact form on her website at sarahsundin.com.

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Thank you, Winnie! The funny thing…when I was filling out my publisher’s title questionnaire, I sent a photo of a girl who reminded me of the heroine – my daughter 🙂 Maybe your granddaughter and my daughter are doppelgangers!

      As for review copies, those come from my publisher (Revell) or publicist (Litfuse), but I believe they both want reviewers with blogs. You can look into it though!

  • Tori says:

    I love Sarah Sundin’s books!! She never disappoints and she always paints an amazing picture with her stories.

  • Kerri says:

    Loved the first book in this series and look forward to reading this one as well. Great author!

    • Jennifer says:

      You’ll love it. Lillian is a lively heroine, and a pharmacist in an era when some people weren’t too happy with the idea of lady pharmacists. The war years opened up some doors for women.

  • Kathy West says:

    My parents were newlyweds when WW2 started, and my father was in the Navy, so Sarah Sundin’s novels based in this time period are especially interesting to me. I also love Christian fiction, mysteries and romance, so it’s icing on my cake to have these themes together. Thank you for sharing this lovely interview with us.

    • Jennifer says:

      So glad you enjoyed the interview, Kathy. That’s interesting about your parents, and I definitely see why Sarah’s books would appeal to you. WW2 was such a dramatic time period and emotions were high. I loved the way so many pulled together for the war effort.

  • Dana Bailey says:

    I have read every book Sarah Sundin has written and all of them have been meaningful to me! I can’t wait to read this one!

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