Thursday, March 18, 2010
An Interview With Sarah Sundin
1) Hi Sarah. How did you start writing?
I grew up surrounded by books and read everything I could, but I rarely considered a writing career. Instead, I studied chemistry at UCLA, then received my doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. After graduation, I chose to work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist so I could stay home with our three children. On January 6, 2000, when our youngest was a toddler, I had a dream with such intriguing characters that I felt compelled to write their story. That first novel will never be published, nor should it, but it served a purpose. Since I felt God had called me to write, I needed to take it seriously. So I set out to learn the craft of writing from books, a critique group, and writers’ conferences.
3) Which character in the book is your favourite and why?
I adore Walt and Allie, my hero and heroine, but my favorite has to be Cressie Watts. I didn’t plan for her—she just showed up. Allie, a wealthy, educated, well-mannered young woman, goes out for a walk after a horrendous day and enters a rundown church. She needs to get away from her parents’ superficial congregation, so I thought she might talk to the pastor. Instead, Allie and I both find—to my surprise—this feisty older woman who ropes Allie into helping her air out the pew cushions. She’s Allie’s opposite in every way—exactly the mentor Allie needs at this point. I adore her brusque ways, her deep faith, and her humor. And there’s a funny story regarding her name too.
4) "A Distant Melody" is your debut novel. How did your path to finally landing that elusive publishing contract happen?
I first submitted this novel at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in 2003. I received good feedback from published authors, editors, and agents—and began accumulating a stack of “good” rejection letters. They liked my writing, my story, and my characters—however, historicals weren’t selling. They wanted chick lit. This continued through 2007. I often felt discouraged, but the Lord made it obvious in many ways that He wanted me to finish the trilogy so I kept plugging away. Then at Mount Hermon in March 2008, I heard, “We don’t want chick lit. We need historicals.” And there I was with my trilogy close to complete. I submitted to Vicki Crumpton at Revell, and in September I was offered a three-book contract.