Meet Sarah Sundin

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, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.


Tell us about your newest book.

The Sea Before Us is the first book in the Sunrise at Normandy series. 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. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

What genre do you focus on and why?

I write historical romance set during World War II. It was such a fascinating and dramatic time, when ordinary people learned they could do extraordinary things and when people from diverse backgrounds were thrust together—and often found unexpected love. Plus, cute clothes and great music.

Why do you write? What drives you?

The characters won’t let me stop. I have to tell their stories. Each is broken in some way, even if he or she doesn’t know it. Only be putting them through the story-wringer will they become the people they were meant to be.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

This never comes out in the book, but Wyatt Paxton’s name is significant. The Sunrise at Normandy series follows three estranged brothers who fight on D-day from the sea, in the air, and on the ground. Wyatt is the naval officer brother…and his name in Welsh means “water.” And it sounded like a good name for a quiet, serious man from Texas. And “pax” means “peace,” just what the Paxton family needs most.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I am not a morning person, so I use my mornings for emails, social media, and the business side of writing. Over lunch I usually read a research book. Then my afternoons and early evenings (if my husband is working the late shift in the pharmacy) are reserved for writing. In the evenings while we watch TV, I take care of things like author interviews and the Today in World War II History tidbits I post on my blog each day.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

People assuming that because you work from home that you’re not actually working. People assuming that talking to a writer when she’s staring into space is just fine and hunky-dory and NOT ripping that writer from the dream state she needs to WORK. Not that it ever happens to me…

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I get paid to stare into space! Seriously, I get to tell stories and play with imaginary friends—it’s the best job ever. Bonus: I’ve met the most fascinating people since I started writing—first my fellow writers and then my readers. Such bright, interesting, and varied people. It’s an honor.

What are you most proud of?

My kids! Or as one of my friends calls them, “kid-dults.” All three are grown up and on their own and thriving in fields that are well suited for them and that they enjoy. One happy mama. Makes the empty nest worthwhile.

What is your favorite pastime?

Um…writing. As my daughter used to say when she was a snarky teenager—she grew out of that, thank goodness!—“It’s nice that you have a hobby that pays a little.”

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I do! The Sea Before Us is my tenth published novel, which is still unbelievable to me. I have three other World War II series—Wings of Glory, Wings of the Nightingale, and Waves of Freedom.

What are you working on now?

I just finished The Sky Above Us, Book 2 in the Sunrise at Normandy series (Revell, spring 2019). This book follows Adler Paxton, a P-51 fighter pilot who flies over the beaches of Normandy on D-day, and Red Cross worker Violet Lindstrom, who runs the Aeroclub on Adler’s air base.


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  1. Tisha Martin says:

    Thank you for a great interview! Loved reading why Paxton is Paxton. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Hibdon says:

    Loved the interview. I never knew Wyett meant water, or that it was Welsh! Thanx!

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