Friday, December 16, 2011

Character Creation with Author Sarah Sundin

Happy Friday!

Wow, do I have a ton going on this weekend! My Mother-In-law flies in tomorrow morning which will begin a flurry-filled week of delicious restaurants, Christmas shopping and lots of chat time. But, before I get to insane house cleaning, I'd like to close this week with our last interview installment with Sarah Sundin.

Today she's sharing a little bit about her books, and how she came up with her diverse characters. So lets get to it. :)

Have you always written WW2 fiction?
I actually started off writing contemporary romance. Icompleted two and had an idea for turning them into a seven-book series. Theidea for my first World War II book, ADistant Melody, sprang out of that second book. After a year of researchand writing, I realized I had to write a trilogy. Right now, World War II seemsto be where my “voice” is at, and I have plenty of ideas for more books, soI’ll stick with it. And I love the era. 

The Wings of Glory Series is a compilation of three booksthat follow the three Novak brothers in their separate tours of duty duringWorld War II. Did any of the brothers’ (Walter, Jack, or Raymond) charactertraits come from the men in your life? If so, which traits?
Living with a husband and two sons gives me lots oftestosterone material to work with. The brotherly teasing and rivalry I showedwith the Novak boys happens in my house all the time. My daughter—stuck in themiddle—gets in plenty of shots of her own. But all three Novak boys are theirown selves, completely fictional and products of my imagination. Though mydragon-loving youngest son is convinced I used a recurring dragon motif in Blue Skies Tomorrow just because of him.I didn’t, but he does not believe me.

In writing the ladies who ended up being the love interestsof the Novak brothers, which female character do you think you’d get along bestwith in real life? Why?
I’ve often wondered that myself. While temperamentally I’mmost like Allie Miller in A DistantMelody—we’re both people-pleasing introverts—in real life, the women I tendto be closest to are blunt-talking extroverts, more like Ruth Doherty in A Memory Between Us. And to tell you thetruth, I’d admire Helen Carlisle from BlueSkies Tomorrow, but I’d probably keep my distance out of fear that she’dtalk me into serving on some committee.

Each of your main characters has a personal struggle and afault they are trying to deal with. What would you say is the hardest part inbalancing a character’s good with their bad while keeping them likable to thereader?
You used the key word in your question—balance. Think aboutthe people you like in real life—lots of good traits you adore, a few quirksthat annoy you, and some deep things inside that they’re struggling with—sins,pain, shame, fears. The best characters have this too. In moderation, flawsmake characters more likable because we relate better to imperfect people thanto supposedly perfect people. However, in your characters, make sure the goodqualities really shine and that she shows growth in her flawed areas. Thatgives the reader hope that she can change too.

For those of you who enjoy historical fiction, I highly suggest the Wings of Glory Series. Everyone who I've loaned my copies to (or bought for friends/family as gifts) have just loved these stories. And not only does Sarah write well, she's about as sweet as they come as far as fellow authors go. When I first met her online, she was doing a blog tour for her first book, A Distant Melody. Seeing as she wrote WWII fiction, and I was in the process of also writing a story from that era, I sought her out. Then she did something I didn't expect; she reached back. And not in the be-my-blog-follower-sort of way. She has helped and encouraged me in so many faucets of writing and I can't wait to one day meet her face-to-face and buy her a cup of coffee. Until then though, I'll continue to read her books and pick her brain.    


  1. Thanks for the interviews, Rachel and Sarah! I love hearing about an author's journey.

  2. My pleasure Rain. I love reading about success stories too and I used to prefer the stories of those writers who just slammed a story together and a few months later they had an agent and a publisher, but now I'd rather hear about the realistic ones, the stories that took hard work, time, determination.

  3. Thank you, Rachel! You made my day. I love reaching back to you - you're motivated and teachable and sweet. Can't wait to meet you some day too!