Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend and co-author of Where Treetops Glisten Sarah Sundin. I love Sarah’s World War II novels — she does so much research and has such a passion for the time period that they really come to life. Today, I’m asking her about her latest novel Through Waters Deep. Now I loved this novel! I think it’s one of my favorites of hers because it combines a mystery with her trademark romance and strong WWII setting. I hope you enjoy this peek into the story behind the story.
Sarah, congratulations on the release of your new book Through Waters Deep. Tell us a bit about it.
In 1941, as America teeters on the brink of World War II, Mary Stirling works at the Boston Navy Yard and renews an old friendship with naval officer Ensign Jim Avery. Jim’s destroyer escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic, but problems on his ship point to a saboteur at the shipyard. As Mary works to find the culprit and Jim battles U-boats, could their friendship blossom into something more? Or could the dangers they face keep them apart?
What drew you to write this book?
I wanted to tell a story about two childhood friends who are reunited after several years apart and slowly fall in love with each other. And since my grandfather served in the Navy in World War II, I wanted a series dedicated to the Navy.
How did you get the idea for Through Waters Deep?
I was intrigued by historical events in 1941. US Navy destroyers were escorting British convoys across the Atlantic and exchanging fire with U-boats—before Pearl Harbor! What would it be like to do battle when the nation was officially neutral? Also, a fierce debate raged in the United States about whether or not to get involved in the war. Tempers flared, the nation was polarized, and rumors of sabotage and espionage ran rampant. What if there really had been a saboteur at an American shipyard?
What was the greatest challenge in writing this book?
Getting the naval details right. The Navy is a unique organism with its own language and customs, not easy for a landlubber to penetrate. There was a lot more research than I anticipated, but it was fascinating.
This book has a Nancy Drew feel to it with an intriguing mystery. Was that fun to write?
That was my second greatest challenge. I’d never written a mystery before. I had to learn to manage a cast of suspects, plant red herrings and clues, make each suspect look both guilty and innocent, and make the ending both logical and unexpected. Whew! It was challenging, but I did enjoy it.
What did you learn as you wrote Through Waters Deep?
I learned I could write a lot faster than I realized! I had less time with this contract than with previous books, and I had more research than I anticipated. As a result, I wrote the rough draft in record time for me.