Sarah, thank you for sharing some of your precious time with us here at
Between The Pages and for graciously answering our questions.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write my rough drafts longhand with pencil and scratch paper, curled up on the couch. All my life I’ve loved to curl up on the couch to read. That’s where I lose myself in a story both as a reader and now as a writer. The computer feels sterile to me. It’s where I edit, not where I create.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The idea for A Distant Melody came out of a “what if” question in a contemporary novel I wrote (very badly). What if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? It wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters.
As for information, I did a lot of research. My bibliography has over two hundred books and websites. Yes, that’s sick. Some of my favorite research finds were copies of the actual pilot’s manual and Army Air Force training film for the B-17, and also my local newspaper on microfiche for details on Home Front life.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written two contemporary romances that should never, ever be published, and the three novels in the Wings of Glory series. Of the three World War II books, I could no more pick a favorite than I could pick a favorite child! I love them all for different reasons.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters who are realistic, have flaws to overcome, and who grow. I like at least a hint of romance, even in a subplot, and a dash of humor. And I love good writing—the kind that makes me chew on a sentence, re-read it just for the joy of it, and feel a twinge of envy that I didn’t write it.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I was born into a long line of readers. During my childhood, my mother read to my sister and me, shared books with us, and took us to the library weekly. As a child, I was a social reject—buck teeth and big words do not make a winning combination on the playground—so I made friends with the characters in books. Yes, they have therapy for that. But it stimulated my imagination and encouraged me to lose myself in my own stories as well.
What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
I went through five years of “good” rejection letters (“We love your writing, but we don’t want historicals”), so when the contract offer came by e-mail, I had to read it twice before I realized it wasn’t a rejection letter. Once the disbelief wore off, elation took over. I screamed and did some pathetic hand-flapping thing.
As of this writing, I’m expecting the FedEx guy with my author copies any day. I’m not sure if I’ll repeat the hand-flapping thing or fall to my knees and cry. We’ll see.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I think every little girl who loves to read dreams of having her name on a book some day. I’m no exception. I put that dream on hold, since my practical left brain is stronger than my creative right brain. Even as a teenager I knew the odds of getting published were as high as the odds of becoming a professional ballerina, so I studied chemistry in college and became a pharmacist. But when I was a stay-at-home mom, the Lord brought the writing dream back to life—and now, shockingly, he made the publication dream come to pass.
If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
To grow in their relationship with the Lord—confronting sins, building trust, and stepping out in obedience to serve where God leads.