I hope you’ll enjoy hearing from Historical Romance author Sarah Sundin this week. She’s sharing about her new release, The Sound of Light, and is offering a paperback as a giveaway. (US winner only). To enter, simply comment below by February 21.
Welcome, Sarah! Start off by telling us a little about yourself and your family.
I’m an author of historical fiction set during World War II and I used to work as a hospital pharmacist. My husband and I live in Southern California. Our three children are all grown up and on their own now, and our first grandchild was born in December. I’m a bit giddy about being a grandma!
Congratulations on the new grandchild! Grandparenting is the best. Do you have any pets? Do they find their way into any of your stories?
We have two rescue dogs, a black lab mix and a Jindo—a Korean breed. They have totally different personalities in every way but adore each other. Although I wasn’t able to work a dog into The Sound of Light, for many reasons, our pups aid my writing in other ways. Namely, they get me outside walking, which stimulates ideas and creativity, as well as counteracting the effects of a sedentary profession!
Aside from walking your pooches, what does a typical day in your writing life look like?
It’s so important to work with your own schedule and your own personality. I am not a morning person. So in the morning, I take care of social media, emails, business matters, and chores. In the afternoon, my brain and my creativity are fully awake, so I dedicate that precious time to writing, whether outlining, rough drafting, or editing. In the evenings, I take care of busywork and other business matters while my husband and I watch TV. That’s what works for me. That would not work for a morning person.
That makes great sense. Let’s talk about your new release. What is the setting? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it.
The Sound of Light is set in the real location of Copenhagen, Denmark, during World War II. Copenhagen is a charming city known for colorful homes, a lively port, and people who love bicycles and the outdoors. It was fun to work Danish landmarks into the story, including Tivoli Gardens and the statue of the Little Mermaid, which plays a crucial role in inspiring Henrik.
The location is intriguing. Is The Sound of Light inspired by true events or personal history?
This novel was inspired by many events that happened in Denmark in World War II. The hero, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt, was inspired by the real story of Knud Christiansen, a Danish Olympic rower who is named in the “Righteous Among Nations” by YadVashem for hiding dozens of Jews in his seaside home and transporting them to Sweden in his racing boat. My character Henrik is also an Olympic rower, and he uses his skills to transport messages for the Danish resistance. To allow him to do so, he abandons his nobility and takes on a secret identity as a shipyard worker.
I love your story inspiration! How did you select the names for your characters?
For my characters, I select names that are true to their personality and role, true to the era, and true to the region or the character’s ethnicity. For this novel, I used traditional Danish names. Since many Danish names look unpronounceable to American eyes, I tried to choose those that either closely resemble familiar names or that could be pronounced phonetically. However, for geographical locations, I couldn’t be picky—which left some tongue-twisters like Bispebjerg and Søllerød and Gillileje in the book. I did include a pronunciation guide in the back.
Fascinating. Which character in The Sound of Light was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?
Both Henrik and Else were easy to write for opposite reasons. Henrik is nothing like me, so it was fun to slip into the skin of this bold and courageous, but wounded, man. Else is very much like me, so I could easily imagine what she would do. The most difficult character was Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr. Dr. Bohr is a real-life character, and I get extremely nervous whenever I need to “animate” historical figures. I wanted to stay true to his actual story and personality—and yet I set this real man among my fictional characters. I hope I did this great man justice.
What is one of your favorite quotes from The Sound of Light?
At one point Henrik tells Else, “Sometimes silence takes much courage . . . and sometimes silence is nothing but cowardice.” This is a recurring theme in the story, and it made me think about when it’s right and good to speak out and when it’s right and good to hold our tongues.
Excellent quote. What’s next from you?
My next novel will release in February 2024. Fleeing from the Nazi invasion in 1940, a Dutch refugee is separated from her young son. In London, she desperately searches for her child with the help of a BBC radio correspondent. As German bombs set London on fire, they discover murders flaming among the ashes of the city.
Sounds like another great read to look forward to. May God bless you as you continue to write for Him. Thanks again for sharing about your book with us.
Comment on @sarahsundin’s author interview by February 21 for a chance to win her new release, #TheSoundofLight. #giveaway #amreading #historicalromanceTweet
Join the conversation. Have you read any of Sarah’s books? Which is your favorite? Does The Sound of Light seem like a book you’d enjoy reading?
Be sure to comment below by Tuesday, February 21, for a chance to win a paperback of The Sound of Light!
The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin
Click the book cover for purchase link
To help their country, he must silence his voice—and she must find hers.
When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden. American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research—her life’s dream—and makes a dangerous decision to print resistance newspapers.
As Else hears rumors of the movement’s legendary Havmand—the merman—she also becomes intrigued by the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse. Henrik makes every effort to conceal his noble upbringing, but he is torn between the façade he must maintain and the woman he is beginning to fall in love with.
When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence.
Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including The Sound of Light. Her book Until Leaves Fall in Paris won the Christy Award, When Twilight Breaks and The Land Beneath Us were Christy Award finalists, and The Sky Above Us received the Carol Award.
Sarah lives in Southern California and serves as co-director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.
Please share Sarah’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her new book!
If you missed last week’s interview with Heather Norman Smith, find it here.