Thursday, March 11, 2010

Antioch (CA) author releases first Christian romance

Here is an article I wrote about a local romance author last week on her new Christian romance release. For the Contra Costa Times

In 2000 a local pharmacist decided she wanted to write a historical romance that took place in her hometown.

"I wanted the story to take place in a small California town, and since I lived here and knew the area, I decided what better place to set my story around," Sundin said, a 17-year resident of Antioch.
Sundin's book is set during World War II. She said that she completed a lot of research by going to the library and taking out books on Antioch history, as well as reading old copies of the Antioch Daily Ledger.

Sundin said that the journey of writing her first novel was quite a learning experience. After initially coming up with the idea of writing the book that was at first an idea based loosely on her great-uncle's life as a B-17 pilot in World War II, she spent the first year just working on researching everything she could find out about the era.

"There was a lot of research going on and very little writing," she said.

Sundin first submitted her book to a publisher in 2003 after attending a writer's conference where she showed her book to two well-published authors. They encouraged her to send her book and her idea for a three-part series to a publisher and to get an agent. At the time she had only 12 chapters of the first book written and quickly found that publishers were only interested in finished manuscripts for first-time authors.

By 2004 she sent her completed manuscripts into publishers, but received several rejection letters because, she was told, her timing wasn't right.

It was very important to Sundin to write for the Christian audience and at the time the Christian novel market was inundated with historical romance and the industry was looking for fresh "chick-lit." Sundin's novel, even though it is written about a subject that is generally considered modern historical, was not close enough to fit the criteria of the modern women's lighthearted stories that comprise the "chick-lit" genre.

Sundin didn't give up on her idea though. While she was told it would be hard to find a publisher who would accept her historical genre at the time, she was also told her story had merit and to hold on until the market changed. It only took a couple of years for the historical novels to come back in vogue.

Sundin used her time wisely, completing research for the second and third novel in the series and writing the second to completion. By the time she signed her contract with Revell Books, a 125-year-old Christian publishing company out of Michigan, she was already working on the manuscript for the third book.

While Sundin might have been able to publish her book through a non-Christian publisher, she said she never considered the option.

"I've always wanted to keep my book in the Christian market," she said. "Other (markets) often write about despair and the Christian market has such a hopeful perspective."

While she is getting ready for her first book signing, Sundin lives a busy life, caring for her family, which includes transporting her three children to and from soccer and karate. She now works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school to fourth- and fifth-graders, as well as women's Bible studies at her church.

Her first book, "A Distant Memory," features a young woman from a wealthy family who meets a World War II pilot at a wedding just before he heads off to war. Throughout the book the two write letters back and forth as he spends time at a muddy bomber base in England and she in a mansion in an orange grove.

This Christian romance is part of a three-part series Sundin is calling "Wings of Glory." The series features three brothers, all of whom are B-17 bomber pilots with the U.S. 8th Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

Sundin said that her book will be available through Barnes & Noble in Antioch and online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders, Revell Books and many Christian book retailers.

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