Ray & Helen
Sarah Sundin's World War II novels are drawing readers back to a time where men and women made sacrifices many in today's society can't begin to imagine. Meet Ray and Helen!
Over to you, Sarah:~
Brief physical description
Helen Carlisle: 22 years old, wavy blond hair, golden-brown eyes. Pretty in a girl-next-door kind of way.
Lt. Raymond Novak: 31 years old, straight black hair, gray eyes, and handsome.
Helen reminds me of a combination of the two women in these posters.
Ray—well, this is fun. Revell’s cover art department got about as much description as you did in the previous question, and the man they used as the cover model for Ray looks exactly like the Ray in my mind. Exactly.
Strengths and weaknesses
Helen is energetic, organized, dedicated, and determined. Her town’s charitable organizations would fall apart without her at the helm. Her weaknesses are using busyness to avoid pain, and sometimes putting work above relationships.
Ray is thoughtful, kind, an excellent peacemaker, and a born pastor. However, his love of peace means he sometimes avoids saying the hard things, and he wonders if he has the courage to be a man of action in addition to being a man of words.
Quirk (if any)
Helen turns to work whenever there’s stress or pain in her life. Due to childhood polio, she has a slight “foot drop” which gets worse when she’s tired or stressed, making her limp—which she despises.
Ray always carries a little notebook with him to jot down ideas. He tends to get lost daydreaming.
Your inspiration for the character
For Helen, I was inspired by several “superwomen” in my community. You know the type—the PTA president who organizes the band fundraiser, coaches all her kids’ soccer teams, and runs the church soup kitchen. I’ve never figured out how they do it, so it was fun to pretend to be in one of those energetic and organized heads.
Ray wasn’t inspired by anyone. I knew he was the most gentle of the Novak brothers, and the thought of giving him the biggest, most harrowing adventure simply delighted me.
Background to the story
Blue Skies Tomorrow arose from my need for happy endings. In my first novel, A Distant Melody, Helen and Ray were side characters. Helen was widowed at only twenty-one, and Ray was dumped by his fiancée. I mentally introduced Helen and Ray, and the mutual attraction was strong. This novel allowed me to complete the story of the US Eighth Air Force in World War II to victory in Europe, and to cover the Port Chicago Explosion, which occurred close to Antioch, California, where Helen and the Novaks live.
Lovely to have you visit again, Sarah :) Glad to have spotlights on all the Novak men now!
Relz Reviewz Extras
RBC Book Club interview with Sarah ~ Part 1 & Part 2
Character spotlight on Jack & Ruth
Review of A Distant Melody
Character spotlight on Allie & Walt
Visit Sarah's website and blog
Buy Sarah's books from Amazon or Koorong