Monday, March 22, 2010

Sarah Sundin's "A Distant Melody"

We're happy to have Sarah Sundin with us today talking about her new book, "Distant Melody."
To learn more about Sarah, read on.

Your title: A Distant Melody
1) How did this story come to you?
It came out of a “what if” question—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 which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe 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.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I first submitted A Distant Melody at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in 2003—and began accumulating a stack of “good” rejection letters. They liked my writing, my story, and my characters—however, historicals weren’t selling. 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 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.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
During summer breaks in college, I worked as a ride operator at Knott’s Berry Farm. I knew how to jump on and off of a moving merry-go-round. Don’t ask to see it now.
2. I write my rough drafts longhand, curled up on the couch. That’s when the stories flow. The computer feels sterile to me. It’s where I edit, not where I create.
3. For my birthday present I made my husband buy me a model kit of a B-17 Flying Fortress (the plane my heroes fly in my series). He and I put it together—175 itty-bitty pieces to paint and assemble—and I was a prissy girly girl who never did models. It’s so cool! One half of the fuselage is clear so you can the itty-bitty crewmembers and bombs and all. Really nerdy, huh? I bring it to my book signings—if it fits on the table—because it’s a great conversation piece.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m doing publicity for A Distant Melody, doing edits with Revell on Book 2, A Memory Between Us, polishing Book 3 before I turn it in, and doing preliminary work on another series, also set during World War II.

5) Parting comments?
Thank you so much for visiting with me today! If the Lord has called you to something, have the courage to step out and do it. Don’t let setbacks discourage you. I’m always encouraged to remember that God’s view of success is different than the world’s. He values obedience over results. As Mother Teresa said, “God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that you try.”

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?

Easing into Ebooks by Shawna Williams (part 1)

Easing into Ebooks
Part One
by Shawna Williams

It seems to be human nature to greet something new with a certain amount of skepticism, and I can't claim to be totally immune. When I first became aware of ebooks, I turned up my nose, thinking they were a passing fad in which I had no interest. But when an author I like published a book in ebook format, I decided I would give it a try. Reading on my computer wasn't my preferred choice, as I like to recline on the sofa and get cozy, but since the book was interesting, it was worth snuggling up with my laptop instead.
Of course, now with the influx of ereaders and ereading apps there are plenty of options that make reading ebooks a more enjoyable experience. There's also a lot of misconceptions, and today I'd like to address the top three as they pertain to ereaders..
Anytime I see an article on ebooks/ereaders I always scroll down to the comments section, and it never fails, someone has made this statement. "I don't want an ereader because reading off a screen hurts my eyes." Sometimes the complainant ventures further. "In ten years, when all of today's youth are blind from staring at screens for countless hours, then what are we gonna do!" Occasionally, they're downright belligerent. "Ereaders! No thanks! If I wanted to fry my eyeballs I'd stare directly at the sun!" (You may think I'm joking, but I'm not.)
Let me explain the technology behind today's ereader. It's called e-ink, and it actually is ink. The particles are rearranged with every turn of the page through an electronic charge. It looks like paper, with non-reflective surface and a contrast that is pleasant to the eyes -- no blurring or smudging of words either. The font is also adjustable. In short, there is less eye strain than what you will encounter with a traditional book For more on e-ink:
Probably the second most common complaint is that the cold ereader can never match the comfort of holding a "real" book. Now, before I fully address this, I want to tell readers to please reconsider before saying this aloud, or typing it in a comment. It is offensive to authors, who have put countless hours into writing, researching and editing a book; then to have gone through the submissions process, being rejected numerous times, most likely; finally being accepted (brief celebration) more edits, formatting, promotion and so forth, to be told that theirs isn't a "real" book.
There. Since that's off my chest, I'll continue. For some people, this is true. Reading from an ereader is a slightly different experience than reading from a print book. But "different" isn't the same as not being cozy or comfortable. I have a Kindle. I keep it in a book-like cover made especially for Kindles. When you open it, you can either hold it like a book, or fold the cover behind the Kindle so that the soft felt surface rests in your hands.
I'm prone to muscle cramps and stiff fingers, so for me, holding a book causes discomfort over time, since constant tension is needed to keep it open. I also like the fact that if I read at night, I'm not continually having pages get caught on a book light and having to readjust it. So while reading from an ereader is different than reading from print, I wouldn't go so far as to say the experience is any less satisfying.
The last most common objection I want to address, though not the last I've heard, is this: "What if the power goes out. Then my ereader is useless." Thanks to e-ink, and the minimal amount of power it requires, your ereader's battery should last from two to four weeks, if you remember to turn off the wireless feature. This is a reasonable amount of time for your power to be restored.
These are just a few of the concerns consumers have, and often voice. But not all concerns are related to ereader. Some are related to ebooks, and in my next post I talk about the top three of these.