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Author Interview: Sarah Sundin + The Sea Before Us Giveaway

The Sea Before Us

It’s an honor to have WWII author Sarah Sundin with us today. Her latest The Sea Before Us in the Sunrise at Normandy series released just a few days ago. Have you ordered your copy? You’ll want to after this delicious interview!

  • Stay tuned til the end for a Rafflecopter giveaway of the book and a package of goodies: Keep Calm and Carry On Traditional English biscuits in a sweet little tin and a Loose Lips Might Sink Ships pin.

The Sea Before Us

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans. As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

What drew you to write about three estranged brothers?

9-5 Telephone
Stereotypical tourist-in-a-London-phone-booth pic.

For the Sunrise at Normandy series, I wanted to explore D-day from the sea, the air, and the ground, seen through the eyes of three brothers. Most series are told chronologically, book two following book one, etc. But this series required all three stories to occur simultaneously, in parallel. If the brothers were in communication with each other, the first book would contain huge spoilers for the rest of the series. But if the brothers were estranged, they would be blinded to each other’s actions. Then I imagined a tragic sequence of events that thrust the Paxton brothers apart. This also lends the series an overarching theme of forgiveness and redemption that I love exploring.

In The Sea Before Us, Dorothy collects holiday snapshots. Why holiday snapshots?

This is a fun bit of historical trivia! In March 1942, the BBC put out a call for people to send in their favorite snapshots of the French coast for a contest. But they were secretly working with the Royal Navy! All those “holiday snaps” showed great details of the Normandy beaches that were used to create maps and diagrams for the D-day landings. In The Sea Before Us, Dorothy Fairfax is assigned to this project because of her own vacations in Vierville-sur-Mer, on what would become Omaha Beach. Since her family has been shattered by the war, she clings to her memories of their time in Normandy.

Why does Dorothy’s father depend on her?

9-5 Peter Pan Sarah
With the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, which plays a role in the story.

Reginald Fairfax, Dorothy’s father, became one of the most interesting characters in The Sea Before Us to me. He’s grieving deeply—but poorly. He barely eats, rarely goes to work at the company he founded, and ignores his daughter. Dorothy is trying to help him as best she can, and she feels that without her, he would surely waste away and die. This challenging father-daughter relationship produced the most poignant scene in the novel.

Describe Wyatt in one word.


Wyatt is a quiet man, dependable and loyal, determined to always do the right thing. The fact that he hurt one brother and betrayed the other has rocked him to the core, and he has dedicated himself to paying off his debt.

Other than the closeness of war, what are some elements pulling Wyatt and Dorothy together that readers can anticipate?

9-6 WWII Women S
At the Women of World War II monument in London, since Dorothy Fairfax serves in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

Ironically, Dorothy’s father pulls them together. Mr. Fairfax is drawn in a fatherly way to Wyatt. Although Dorothy is trying NOT to get involved with Wyatt, she has to admit Wyatt cheers her father up. Also, Dorothy is alerted to possible embezzlement in her father’s company, and she enlists Wyatt—as an accountant—to investigate. And the more time they spend together…well, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens!

Ooh! I can hardly wait to dive into my copy!! Thank you for joining us today, Sarah!

About SarahSundin Sarah Author Photo Tisha Martin Author Editor

Sarah Sundin is the author of ten historical novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. Please visit her at

Sarah’s Books


Barnes & Noble:

Rafflecopter Giveaway Details

  1. No purchase necessary to enter or win.
  2. Entrants are 18 and legally able to enter this giveaway.
  3. Giveaway will last two weeks from Friday, Feb. 9, to Thursday, Feb. 22.
  4. Winners must have a U.S. address.
  5. Winners will be announced via email and via social media, Friday, Feb. 23.

 In addition to winning a copy of The Sea Before Us, you’ll also enter to win a tin of English biscuits (NOTE: cookies contain gluten) and a Loose Lips Sink Ships pin.


Click the link below to:

Enter the Giveaway!

48 thoughts on “Author Interview: Sarah Sundin + The Sea Before Us Giveaway

  1. Love all your books Sarah!
    Write faster please.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Debbie! I love Sarah’s books, too. 🙂

  2. Great post! I can’t wait to read this book!

    I would tell people to take time to visit local historical places around them. We tend to miss out on the history around us because it’s too close to where we call home.

    1. Great suggestion, Kailey! I’ve found so many wonderful historical places in my area too.

  3. I can’t wait to read this book! It’s at the top of my TBR pile.

    I would recommend someone to visit Washington DC. There is so much to see and do there! I live about an hour away and each time we visit there is something new. The Smithsonians and National Zoo are free which is fantastic by itself but these places are phenomenal to visit.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Calli! Smithsonian would be a fabulous place to visit!

  4. I would visit Normandy American Cemetery. It is an amazing and sacred place

    1. Judy, I’d love to visit and have a moment of silence for the men who fought for my freedom. Thank you for the recommendation.

  5. I would recommend visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming. I personally would love to take a D-Day tour overseas someday.

    1. I have friends who travel to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone every summer and they rave about it. Good to know someone else has the same view! Thanks for commenting!

  6. There ar so many fantastic places in the world to see! If you haven’t seen Niagra Falls I think that is a must do. Make sure you see the them from the Canadian side as well. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

    1. Perriane, there is not enough time to visit all the places in the world, I agree! In 2004, I went to see Niagra Falls—from New York side—and it was amazing! Someday it would be neat to see it from the Canadian side. Thanks for commenting!

  7. I love London and I love the Tower Bridge.

    1. London is gorgeous, I agree! Thank you so much for stopping by, Mary!

  8. I’d love to see the Eiffel Tower.

    1. That would be such fun, Tami!

  9. Love all of Sarah’s books so thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    I’d highly recommend the Bahamas because there’s nothing like the clear, blue water there. It’s a wonderful place to visit!

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you for stopping by! Ooo, the Bahamas… I love the sight of clear, blue water.

  10. I saw where one person said to visit around your own city and state. I think that would be a wise thing. We visited a beautiful plantation house that has a legend and it wasn’t but about 20 miles from our house. We didn’t even know about it for years. We had such an enjoyable day. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Brenda! Ooh, a plantation house would be fascinating to tour! There is a rock museum and a home that was built in the late 1800s by a family who started a seed corn company around my area, and it’s the neatest little place. I’ve been at least a dozen times and learn something new each time!

  11. I would recommend people visit Singapore. I lived there for many years and it is such a beautiful place. I believe it is the prettiest city in Asia.

    1. Faith, that would be an amazing city to visit! I’ve dreamed of going to Korea on a mini vacation so many times. The food, in addition to the view, is sooo good!

  12. I would recommend Ireland (even though I’ve never been there) because of the castles, so much history, the food, etc. I could go on and on. It’s on my bucket list.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Becky! Castles are so gorgeous! Like you, I’ve never been but it would be wonderful to someday!

  13. Great interview Tisha.

    Sarah, huge fan of your books! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, JC! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. It was so fun to put together. I’m a huge fan of Sarah and her books too!

  14. This was a great interview with an amazing author. I’ve read a few of her books and truly enjoyed them. This book, and series, sounds amazing. Loved the pictures of Sarah in places related to the book.

    1. Thank you so much, Debbie! I am thrilled you liked it. I, too, am looking forward to this series! Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  15. I grew up in Michigan, and the whole state is an outdoor lover’s paradise. You can camp, hunt, ski, swim, hike, climb sand dunes, bird watch, sight see, etc. I grew up vacationing “up north,” which meant camping up around the Mackinac area. It’s beautiful up there and one of my favorite places on earth.

    1. Karen, I am so jealous right now. 😉 Your travel footprint sounds amazing, and I love to go camping! Mackinac Island is on my bucket list. Thank you so much for coming by!

  16. I would recommend Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City (they are both pronounced with the “aw” ending sound). I love the environment, and I may be partial anyway, having grown up in Michigan. Still, cars aren’t allowed on the island, so you see many bicyclists and horse drawn carriages.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, lorsna. Mackinac Island seems like a treasure spot to visit. And thanks for sharing how to pronounce the name—that is tricky.

  17. Wow! This book sounds so intriguing! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Robin, thanks for stopping by! It really is a fascinating book!

  18. Oops, forgot! I definitely recommend Niagara Falls! You can feel the power deep down inside, it is phenomenal! Everybody should go at least once!

    1. I’ve seen Niagra from New York side. Not as powerful a view as from the Canadian side, I’m told. I agree, every person should visit at least once!

  19. Thank you for the fun interview. Such a gorgeous cover on this book! I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the chance to win! There are so many places I would suggest visiting, both at home and abroad. Depends on people’s interests too. I love history and historical fiction, so I can be a bit of a geek on vacation. But I love the ocean too. We had a fun trip to the Outer Banks in NC and visited all the Lighthouses. Visited Nashville & Franklin, TN and toured many civil war sites. So many places to visit and so little vacation time 🙂

    1. Jeanne, geek away! 🙂 Never can get enough history. Lighthouses are beautiful, and Nashville/Franklin are fabulous cities. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I recommend Tulsa and Oklahoma City–both are full of history and culture and have areas downtown that have been developed for tourism. The Tulsa area is prettier than the Oklahoma City area, though–OKC is very flat, while Tulsa is in Green Country, w/ lots of rolling hills.

    1. Thank you, Karaleigh, for the recommendation!

  21. I’ve always wanted to vist Great Britain and Ireland. Never had a chance to do so when I lived in Germany. I also like to read fiction and non-fiction books about WWII.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Vivian! Living in Germany would be pretty awesome. What’s your favorite things about it?

  22. Thanks for the great interview! I would recommend going to Jamaica! My husband & I went there on our honeymoon and it was just beautiful! We stayed at Jamaica-Jamaica Resort and had a fabulous time!!!

    1. Thank you for commenting! Jamaica sounds like a refreshing place to visit!

  23. I would recommend visiting the western U.S. states. There are wide open spaces, many national parks, and many historical places. I enjoyed visiting Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, and California with my family when I was younger.

    1. Kay, thank you for commenting! National parks are gorgeous places to visit. I’ve only been as far west as Colorado. A friend of mine visits Yellowstone every summer.

  24. Ireland is a beautiful place to go. I have never seen it in person, but I have seen lots of pictures. My grandfather lived there before coming to the US. I have cousins there I would love to visit.

    1. Oh, Ireland would be a wonderful place to explore! I hope you can visit one day soon! In addition to looking at photos, you could sample Jeanne M. Dickson’s WWII book Grounded Hearts, about a wounded soldier, a midwife, and the lovely country of Ireland.

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