Thrilled to talk to author Sara Ackerman today, whose second novel, The Lieutenant’s Nurse, releases on March 5. Her debut, Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers, happens to be a Kindle Daily Deal today–if you haven’t read it, snap up a copy for only $1.99.
Author Name: Sara Ackerman
Book Title: The Lieutenant’s Nurse
Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: MIRA/Harper Collins
Congratulations on the launch of your next book! Please tell us a little bit about it.
The Pearl Harbor story you haven’t heard before.
How did you come up with the title?
My publisher came up with the title. The main character is a nurse and the man she falls for is a lieutenant, so there you have it. I had some other title ideas in mind, but they were set on this one.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
The first draft took five or six months and after that I did several big revisions with my agent and editor. I had to read and reference many books, articles and interviews while I was writing. Part of the story takes place on the Matson Lurline steamship in 1941, and I found a great book on what it was like to make the five day crossing. They really did it in style back then! I also included snippets of real events, memos, letters, and messages leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, so I read voraciously about that as well as a book about the head crypto guy in a place called the Dungeon. And then the medical part and what it was like in Tripler hospital just after the attack. I have a list of resources in the back of my novel. I learned so much, but it was also very emotional reading. It’s hard to imagine what those people went through and as someone born and raised in Hawaii on war stories (from my grandparents and parents), I feel like writing this book was something I needed to do.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
The beginning, the middle, and the end! LOL. But seriously, as I’m starting, I think how I am I going to create a whole story out of this? In the middle I wonder how on earth I’m going to manage another 40 or 50 thousand words, and then at the end, I question whether I will be able to tie everything together and make a satisfying ending for the reader. It’s all hard, but I love it.
What do you love most about it?
I love the magic of a story unfolding before my eyes. I’m more of a panster than a plotter, so though I try to have an idea of what will happen, I usually don’t know most of the details until I write them. As I’m going along, characters and situations arise that I never could have planned for and they surprise me as much as they would surprise a reader. It’s what keeps me going. I need to see what happens in the end.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read THE LIEUTENANT’S NURSE?
I would say because it puts a unique spin on the Pearl Harbor story. Told from a woman’s perspective, it’s an honest, authentic telling of the days surrounding the attack. It’s also full of love and intrigue and there’s a cute dog in it.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
I’m a high school teacher and I also do acupuncture (though more just on family and friends now). I’m pitching a novel writing class for next year, so let’s hope it runs. Other than that, my job does not influence my writing (except for taking up writing time).
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I love being outdoors. I spend most of my free time hiking, surfing, stand up paddling, snorkeling, biking, and exploring this beautiful island. The nice thing about Hawaii is we get to be outside all year long. I also love animals, yoga, stargazing, baking, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
I love to connect with readers and book clubs. You can find me at:
I’m also a member of NovelNetwork, where you can sign up for authors to visit your book club (IRL or virtually) https://novelnetwork.com).
Thank you, Sara! The Lieutenant’s Nurse comes out March 5!
“The Lieutenant’s Nurse illuminates the invasion of Pearl Harbor with a riveting drama told from a unique perspective. Sara Ackerman brings a time and place to vivid life, putting a human and heroic face on events that changed history. I savored every page!” -Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
November, 1941. She’s never even seen the ocean before, but Eva Cassidy has her reasons for making the crossing to Hawaii, and they run a lot deeper than escaping a harsh Michigan winter. Newly enlisted as an Army Corps nurse, Eva is stunned by the splendor she experiences aboard the steamship SS Lurline; even more so by Lt. Clark Spencer, a man she is drawn to but who clearly has secrets of his own. But Eva’s past—and the future she’s trying to create—means that she’s not free to follow her heart. Clark is a navy intelligence officer, and he warns her that the United States won’t be able to hold off joining the war for long, but nothing can prepare them for the surprise attack that will change the world they know.
In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Eva and her fellow nurses band together for the immense duty of keeping the American wounded alive. And the danger that finds Eva threatens everything she holds dear. Amid the chaos and heartbreak, Eva will have to decide whom to trust and how far she will go to protect those she loves.
Set in the vibrant tropical surroundings of the Pacific, The Lieutenant’s Nurse is an evocative, emotional WWII story of love, friendship and the resilient spirit of the heroic nurses of Pearl Harbor.
Sara writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. She believes that the light is just as important as the dark, and that the world is in need of uplifting and heartwarming stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. Prior to practicing acupuncture, she worked as a high school counselor and teacher on the famed north shore of Oahu. She is the author of historical novels Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers and The Lieutenant’s Nurse, with several more in the works. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories.