Building One Another Up

By Sara Sundin

Introverts and extroverts—we need each other.

As a shy child who was rejected and bullied, I benefited greatly from extroverted friends. Those kind souls reached out to me, nudged me out of my shell, and included me in their fun. I loved their energy, their generosity, and their encouragement. But honestly, I never quite knew what they saw in me.

A few years ago, I cornered one of my bubbly friends. “Why do you want me for a friend?”

She laughed as if it were the silliest question ever. “You’re thoughtful and you think deeply, and you force me to slow down and be serious.”

Huh. So I did bring something to the table.

In my Waves of Freedom series, I’ve enjoyed exploring the friendship between quiet Mary Stirling, driven Lillian Avery, and effervescent Tess Beaumont. When Tides Turn is Tess’s story, and I loved getting inside the head of this fun-loving extrovert.

I also enjoyed challenging her. I showed her where her motives weren’t entirely selfless. I introduced her to women who resisted or rejected her friendship. I made her realize she’d misjudged someone, despite her strong intuition. And—horrors!—when she needed to confide in someone, I stripped away her ability to do so.

But then I confirmed her strengths and showed her what a very good friend she was indeed. She grew into a better version of herself.

I was being Tess’s friend.

The best friendships both challenge us and affirm us. They give us chances to give and to receive, to comfort and to be comforted, to build and to be built up.

Our friends don’t need to be our polar opposites to accomplish this. I have many dear introvert friends as well and cherish the role we play in each other’s lives.

In what ways do your friends build you up? How do you return the favor?

About Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is the author of nine historical novels, including When Tides Turn. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups. Please visit her at

About Sarah’s New Release    When Tides Turn

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston—both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he’s torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?


This entry was posted in Guest Post, New Releases and tagged on by .


Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

13 thoughts on “Building One Another Up

  1. Cathy

    A slightly different and very thought provoking interview. I have followed Sarah and her books since I read the first of her Novak brothers series. Thanks!

  2. Rose McCauley

    I loved the one book I’ve read by Sarah Sundin, and think her introvertiveness (is that word?!) is what makes her such a great writer. I am an ambivert who can sometimes from extrovert to introvert, and I am blessed to have friends in both groups to encourage and nudge me when I need it! Thanks Shelia and Sarah for this insight.

    1. Sarah Sundin

      Thank you, Rose! Novelists do tend to be introverts – we’re observers and internal processors, and those traits work with with novel-writing. But I know some absolutely amazing extroverted writers!

  3. Paula

    Am I wrong or does Sarah look an awful lot like Tess( on the cover)!
    I have talked to Sarah by email several times and she is very gracious and friendly. I feel like she is my friend! Love everything I have read by her. Will read about Tess and Dan shortly!

    1. Sarah Sundin

      I do not see it other than the coloring – and even then, she’s much blonder than I ever was 🙂 But thank you! And thank you about the “friend” comments – I enjoy chatting with you by email. I have the BEST readers!

  4. Janice Laird

    I am a first-class introvert, and identify with much of what Sarah is saying regarding friendships. I often wonder what it is that I “bring to the table” and I suppose I would say it’s loyalty. Treat me right, accept me for who I am, and I will have your back no matter what. A dear friend of mine is a complete extrovert, and since she’s also an artist, she keeps encouraging me to go to writer’s events and to connect with other writers because she realizes how good the writing process has been for me – it is forcing me out of the shadows. Introverts, I believe, bring an underlying sweetness to their characters, and that comes across on the page.

  5. Jennifer Hibdon

    I have only read one of Sarah’s works and loved it. My problem was my husband,got to it first! I had to wait for him to finish it. When he steals my love story, I know it is a great read!!!!

  6. Shantelle Mary

    LOVED this post so much! Thanks for these beautiful thoughts, Sarah! <3 I'm an introvert myself, with some extrovert friends and some introvert friends, so I can relate. They definitely have helped me in different ways … and it's good to know I can help them too!

    I love your books and can't wait to read When Tides Turn with Tess’s story!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Shelia! Blessings!


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