That being said, if you love WWII history, fiction, and romance, Sarah's books will make your bookshelves swell with pride. Her stories are the perfect balance between all three. I'm a WWII junkie, of sorts. In fact, if you visited my office, you'd think I wrote WWII fiction because my entire office is decorate 1940's with WWII artifacts and newsclippings. But I don't write WWII fiction, because Sarah does it soooooo much better and I love to have a genre to sit back and just drink in like a fine wine -- or cup of really good coffee.
SO! ENJOY meeting Sarah, and be sure to read to the end because she is giving away a copy of her newest release!
Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?
When Tides Turn is the third book in the Waves of Freedom series, but it stands alone. When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions—and his heart.
The novel was inspired by history and by two characters who needed a story. For the plot, I wanted to finish the story of the US involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic that I began in Through Waters Deep. In this book, my naval officer hero is involved in the climax and the turning point of the long struggle between Allied warships and German U-boats. As for the characters, Dan Avery had appeared in the earlier books as the no-nonsense oldest brother, determined to make admiral and to avoid distractions, especially of the feminine variety. And Quintessa Beaumont was the vivacious friend who introduced some…drama…in the earlier books and received some humbling. I knew Tess needed to challenge herself and to find some purpose.
Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I don’t know why, but I often have the most fun with my male characters. Dan is so black-and-white, and it was fun being in the head of someone who knows his own mind so thoroughly. And then to shake him up and make him rethink all his assumptions.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?
I’m probably the only author today who doesn’t “cast” her characters. I see them so clearly in my head, I rarely find faces that match. Then I have to scramble to find pictures for cover questionnaires and names for interviews like this. And even then, I’m drawn to classic movie stars for the right look and feel. For Tess, I’d pick Betty Grable—perky and beautiful, but in a friendly, accessible way. For Dan, I’d choose Tyrone Power with his rugged dark good looks. But really, can’t I pick the cover models? They’re absolutely perfect! I’ve been in contact with the family of the woman who “plays Tess,” and apparently she has a similar personality—sweet and vivacious. Isn’t that fun?
How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?
For the Waves of Freedom series, I wanted to tell the story of the US Navy’s involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic, plus have Home Front mysteries for my heroines. I needed an East Coast city with a destroyer base for my naval officers and a Navy Yard for the sabotage mystery in the first novel. Boston met those requirements, plus I’ve visited the city several times and just love it. The more I researched, the more I realized Boston was the perfect setting for the series.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?
I don’t think I could write a story set primarily in a Nazi concentration camp or a Japanese POW camp. Those stories must be told, but I’m not the author to do so. I know myself too well—I think it would devastate me.
Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?
Oh goodness. I identify a bit with almost every character I read about. Like all novelists, I have a lot of Anne Shirley’s dreaminess—although I don’t share her penchant for getting in trouble. I have a lot of Hermione Granger’s attention to detail at the expense of social skills. I have a lot of Anne Elliot’s (Persuasion) quiet perseverance. I’ve learned courage, fortitude, and balance from fictional characters.
What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?
Huh. I’m odd, but I’ve never been able to stand on my head. What most people think strange about my writing habits is my excessive pre-writing. I do lots of preparation before I start the rough draft—character charts and plot charts and outlines and scene sketches. And research too. See Hermione above.
Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?
SO many! I’ve been blessed by dozens of authors who have taught, encouraged, and pushed me along this road. Writers’ conferences, especially Mount Hermon and ACFW, have introduced me to some of my best friends and mentors—and now mentees as well!
We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?
Faith is deeply ingrained in my writing. Usually in my rough draft I think I’m not getting “spiritual enough.” Then I re-read it before editing and see the faith thread. It just comes out. Often I have to edit it down a bit! Since God is such a part of my life, He colors how I see the world and how I portray it on the page. I don’t see how I could write a novel without faith as an element—it would feel so restrictive.
Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?
Mother, pharmacist, author. She never could decide what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?
I love my parents’ story because it defies expectations. They met on a blind date set up by my father’s fraternity brother at the University of Michigan in September. He gave her his pin a few months later. They never officially got engaged. They eloped in January, and didn’t tell their parents until they learned I was on the way. I was born in November (don’t bother counting—it was ten months, all right!). And their marriage grows stronger every day—they celebrated fifty-two years this January.
Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?
I’m a hopeless romantic. Every movie I watch or book I read—I seek the romance. And I’m disappointed if it isn’t there or it’s weak. When I’m writing, the romantic plot drives the story in my mind. The action plots interest me and the emotional/spiritual arcs draw me deep, but the romance is what keeps me at the keyboard. Writing a fun bit of banter or a juicy kiss—that makes my day!
We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:
This is from the first chapter of When Tides Turn. Quintessa Beaumont is working at Filene’s, a department store in Boston. Her roommate’s big brother, naval officer Lt. Dan Avery, comes to buy a birthday gift for his mother.
“How about this?” Quintessa held up a tailored cream blouse with a brown yoke and short brown sleeves. An embroidered green vine with delicate yellow flowers softened the border between cream and brown.
“I’ll take it.”
“Let’s see what else we have.”
“Why?” Dan gestured to the blouse. “Is it her size?”
“Do you think she’ll like it?”
“Well, yes, but—”
“I’ll take it.”
The man certainly knew his mind. One of many things she found attractive about him. “All right then.”
Quintessa took the blouse to the cash register and rang up the purchase. “How are things at the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit?”
One dark eyebrow lifted, and he pulled out his wallet. “We’re making progress, but personally, I want to get back out to sea.”
“That’s where the excitement is.”
“And the real work. We finally have convoys along the East Coast, and we’ve pretty much driven the U-boats away. But they’re back to their old hunting grounds in the North Atlantic, and they’re wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The battle’s constantly changing, and we have to stay on top of it.”
Quintessa focused on making change. Concentration was always difficult when Dan Avery spoke about the war or ships or the Navy. Passion lit the strong lines of his face and animated his firm mouth. If only he’d remove his white officer’s cap and run his hand through his wavy black hair. The wildness of it.
OH my! A Naval officer with black hair and strong lines? *Jaime just geeked out*
Do ya'll see what I mean? It's like a modern-day Hermoine Granger meets 1940 meets romance. Happy sighs.
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