A Memory Between Us, Wings of Glory Series #2A Memory Between Us, Wings of Glory Series #2
Sarah Sundin
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Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?
     

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Sarah SundinSarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. She has a degree in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. 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. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII.

Favorite Verse: John 15:5 (NIV) - [Jesus said,] "'I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.'"


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Sarah Sundin


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in northern California with my husband and three children, a skittish cat named Janie, and a yellow lab named Daisy who is determined to destroy my writing career by distracting me and eating my manuscripts. When I’m not ferrying kids to soccer and karate, I work on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. A Memory Between Us is my second novel.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

John 15:5 is my theme verse right now: “‘I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing’” (NASB).

What inspired the concept for A Memory Between Us?
 
My first novel, A Distant Melody, was originally meant to be a standalone, but while doing research, I became enamored with the Eighth Air Force and wanted to tell the full story to V-E Day. Since my hero had two pilot brothers, I decided to write a trilogy, with each book focusing on one brother.

About this time, the character of Lt. Ruth Doherty came to me—what if a poor girl made a bad decision in order to feed her family? What kind of girl would make such a decision? What would she be like when she grew up? I mentally put Ruth in the same room with Jack—and sparks flew!

Is any part of A Memory Between Us factual?
  
All the historical events are as factual as possible. Jack flies his B-17 on missions the Eighth Air Force actually flew over Nazi-occupied Europe, with as many true details as I could find. Likewise, Ruth is stationed with a real Army hospital and in a real air evacuation squadron when she becomes a flight nurse. However, all characters are purely fictional with the exception of a few real-life people I had to “animate” for historical accuracy, namely Jack’s commanding officer and executive officer.

How closely is A Memory Between Us based on your life experiences or family history?
 
Jack’s career is based on the career of my great-uncle, Roderick Stewart, who also flew into Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack and served as a squadron commander with the 94th Bomb Group. However, Jack’s personality is all his own.

Like Ruth, I’ve also dealt with shame (although for different reasons), so I was able to follow her on that journey.

 

How did you choose the location for the setting?

I chose the 94th Bomb Group because of my great-uncle. The 94th was based at Bury St. Edmunds, which I had the privilege of visiting—a charming small town in a lovely country.

How long did A Memory Between Us take you to complete?
 
Approximately one year for the research and another year to write and edit.

What is the symbolism for the title A Memory Between Us?

That was the title Revell chose—it has to do with Ruth’s secret, which comes between Jack and Ruth.

Do you have a favorite character in A Memory Between Us? Why?

It has to be Ruth. She fascinated me. On the surface she is so strong she doesn’t need another human being—and she has a great sense of humor. But underneath she has deep hurts and shame. It was fun for me to tease out what made her the way she is and to watch her change and grow.

How much research did A Memory Between Us take?

As a reader, historical inaccuracies throw me out of the story, so I wanted my own novels to be as accurate as possible. I have to confess, I have over two hundred books and websites in my bibliography for this series. Yes, that’s sick. Since the heroes are B-17 bomber pilots—but I’ve never flown a plane—I read a “How to Fly a Plane” book to get the basics, purchased copies of the actual B-17 pilot’s manual and the training film (pure gold!), and ran the flying scenes past a pilot friend. For this novel, I also had to do lots of research into nursing during World War II, flight nursing, and Army hospitals. My favorite research for this novel involved visiting England.

 

What was the most interesting tidbit(s) that you learned while writing A Memory Between Us?

I’m a pharmacist, so I really enjoyed learning about medical care. The most interesting tidbit I found was a picture of nurses washing, drying, and patching latex gloves! In today’s “Universal Precautions,” disposable society, that really fascinated me. So I included a scene where Ruth and her friend May are washing gloves.

How many titles will be in this series?

Three. A Distant Melody came out in March 2010, A Memory Between Us comes out in September 2010, and the third book comes out August 2011.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Life. We have a middle-schooler, a high-schooler, and our oldest son will be going away to college this fall. They’re active, so that means I live in my car. And we have a yellow lab who wants to play, play, play. This past year I’ve also made the transition from casual writer to professional author. Although I’ve always put a lot of hours into my writing, my mindset has had to change.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

There’s so much. I love the research, the planning, the drafts, and the editing. I’m not as fond of publicity, but I do enjoy public speaking and meeting my readers. The most exciting part has been reader reactions—when a friend clutches my book to her chest and says, “I didn’t want it to end. I feel like your characters are my friends.” And even more amazing, when total strangers like the book!

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in between?)

I’m definitely an outline-oriented writer. That’s the science nerd in me. First of all, I do lots of research beforehand—not only does this let me know if my story idea will even work historically, but it gives me ideas for scenes, problems, and characters. Then I fill out character charts (I love character charts!) and a plot chart which helps me track subplots and story arcs. Then come scene lists with everything from the date, the weather, what characters are wearing, goals and conflict, what’s happening historically, and an outline of the scene. Finally I get to my rough draft.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Despite my outlining, yes, they do! Some of my favorite scenes happen when my characters take over. They often add a special twist I hadn’t thought of—but I always let them take over. And yes, as a pharmacist, I know there are medications for my condition.

 

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
The third book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows Ray Novak and Helen Carlisle, comes out in August 2011. I’m currently working on a proposal for another series set during World War II.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

That’s got to be a group effort! I’ve been taught, influenced, and encouraged by my critique group (Diablo Valley Christian Writers), the faculty at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and the membership of American Christian Fiction Writers. I told my editor I needed an acknowledgments novel, not an acknowledgments page!

What message would you like your readers to take from A Memory Between Us?

I never write a novel with a message in mind, but I do hope my readers will learn from my characters’ experiences. Shame serves a purpose—to bring you to ask God’s forgiveness—but when it persists after forgiveness, that’s not God talking. Shame burdens so many people and holds them back from the wonderful plans God has for them. I hope my readers will learn to truly accept forgiveness, shove off shame, and allow God to use them. I also hope they see the insidious nature of pride and learn to trust in the Lord a bit more each day.

What is your greatest achievement?

That’s a tough question. I could point to my degrees, my publishing contract, or the accomplishments of my children—and I am proud of those. However, I agree more and more with Paul that I consider my accomplishments “a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). I take most pride in obeying God’s call to write, and to keep obeying in spite of the obstacles.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To help others grow in their relationship with the Lord—confronting sins, building trust, and stepping out in obedience to serve where God leads.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Get away? I have a husband, three children, a cat, and a yellow lab. I work part time, and teach Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. But I love it. I thrive on a certain level of busyness. However, as an introvert, I crave solitude. My quiet time with the Lord is a high priority, and I’m careful not to schedule much during those lovely, silent hours when the kids are at school.

 

 

 

 

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