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?
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?
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?
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!
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 www.sarahsundin.com.
Rafflecopter Giveaway Details
- No purchase necessary to enter or win.
- Entrants are 18 and legally able to enter this giveaway.
- Giveaway will last two weeks from Friday, Feb. 9, to Thursday, Feb. 22.
- Winners must have a U.S. address.
- 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.
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