Friday, November 5, 2010

My Journey to Publication by Sarah Sundin

This Fortifying Friday, we welcome author Sarah Sundin as our guest. She shares how being stubborn helped in her journey to publication, as well as a beautiful spiritual lesson learned along the way. Enjoy!

My Journey to Publication

I come from stubborn stock. Stubbornness genes flowed from both sides of my family and puddled in my soul. Stubbornness can be seen as annoying mule-headedness or as true strength—persistence, tenacity. Without stubbornness, I wouldn’t have a book on the shelf.

When I started writing in 2000, I decided to be serious and pursue publication. I joined a writers’ group, read books on writing craft, and attended local writers’ conferences.

In 2003, I submitted at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. I received good feedback from published authors, editors, and agents—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 for five years.

I never wanted to give up on my World War II series, because I loved my characters. However, in 2005 all doors to publication seemed closed and padlocked, and I wondered whether I had heard God correctly. Was I truly meant to write? Was I wasting my time when I could be doing something more productive? Was I being persistent—or mule-headed?

That year at Mount Hermon I went for a walk under the redwoods and stopped to admire a little white flower. I praised God for the flower and felt touched—had He made that flower just so I would praise Him? Then I looked around. Hundreds of redwoods covered the hills, and thousands more out of my vision, all surrounded by white blossoms. How many of those flowers would ever cause someone to stop and praise God? Were they created in vain? Did the Lord waste His time creating them? Of course not. God is a creative Being, and He made us in His creative image. In His mercy, the Lord showed me that even if my writing was never seen by another human being and never caused anyone to praise Him, I did the right thing obeying His call to write. I was not wasting my time.

So I kept writing. I kept submitting. I kept praying. Then at Mount Hermon in 2008, the publishers begged for historicals. There I was with my three-book series close to complete. I submitted to Vicki Crumpton at Revell, and I was offered a three-book contract for the Wings of Glory series. A Distant Melody was published in March 2010—ten years after I started writing, A Memory Between Us in September 2010, and Blue Skies Tomorrow comes out in August 2011.

Mother Teresa said, “God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that you try.” If God has called you to do something for Him, measure your success through His eyes. Did you obey? Were you faithful? Did you persevere?

Stubbornness can be a serious fault, but when it’s applied to following God’s will, it’s a very good thing.

Sarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network. She is the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell, March 2010), A Memory Between Us (September 2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011).

To learn more, please visit Sarah’s


  1. I desperately needed this today. I have been asking God what He has in mind for me with my writing because it seems like all the rejections I'm getting are closing the door on this novel. Like you, I write WW2 historicals, but for the secular market. There doesn't appear to be a market for the type of book I write - it's a love story, but not a romance. I am about ready to give up. I have had agents who loved it, but said they weren't confident enough to sell it in this market. I know God wants me to write - but is my goal His goal? I have a very strong desire to be published...I think He put that desire there. Am I wrong? I don't know. I am just trying to be patient and see where He leads, but it is getting really, really hard.

  2. Sarah, Iloved when you said, "if my writing was never seen by another human being and never caused anyone to praise Him, I did the right thing obeying His call to write. I was not wasting my time." I can't believe that I came to almost the exact same conclusion. God didn't use flowers to open my eyes, but I don't think He could use me until my eyes were open. Thank you for sharing this story!

  3. Melissa - oh, I know how you feel! It's frustrating, isn't it? You're doing the right thing - taking it to the Lord to find out His will. I'm praying for you :)
    Lorna - I'm thickheaded. God has to hit me over the head a lot - at least flowers don't hurt.
    Jeanna - thanks!

  4. You encourage me on many levels, Sarah!

  5. I love your story--how good to take time to explore God's world. He often speaks to me through his creation. I'll think of this the next time I come across a tiny white flower.

    So glad you didn't give up.



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