Guest Post — Sarah Sundin, Author of Sunrise at Normandy Series

4 Nov

I discovered Sarah Sundin early in my blogging career. Her first novel, A Distant Melody, was released in March 2010, and I was offered the opportunity to review it. (You can read my review HERE — don’t judge! 😉 ). I was immediately hooked! Sarah is a must-read author for me. Her books have also become favorites of my book club. We just cannot wait for the next book to be released. Sarah has a wonderful website where she shares her writing adventures. Be sure to check it out. Also make sure to check out the link to the 10 Year Blogivesary Giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Today, Sarah is sharing about her research travels for the Sunrise at Normandy series. Thanks so much, Sarah!

Guest Post — Sarah Sundin

Touring England and Normandy . . . I call it, tongue in cheek, “suffering for my art.”

Whenever possible, I visit the settings for my novels. Each novel in my Sunrise at Normandy series has scenes in England and culminates on D-day, so I was able to lump research for all three books in one trip. My husband was a trouper and let me hijack most of his vacation for research.

Sarah Sundin at Big Ben in London, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

We started in London, which is the main setting for the first novel, The Sea Before Us, and is featured in the other two novels as well. Of course, we saw the big London attractions — because my characters visit these sites too — and because we had to see them! But we also strolled through the Kensington area to find the house where my heroine Dorothy Fairfax “lives,” found the building on Grosvenor Square where the US Western Naval Task Force had its headquarters in the lead-up to D-day, and saw Norfolk House on St. James’s Square, which served as Allied Naval Headquarters.

For The Sea Before Us, we also took a tour of Southwick House near Portsmouth, which served as Battle Headquarters for the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, where Gen. Dwight Eisenhower made his famous final decision to carry out the invasion — and where Dorothy Fairfax serves on D-day as a Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service), monitoring the action on the far shore.

In The Sky Above Us, the hero serves on D-day as a fighter pilot, so we visited the Duxford Air Museum to see the workings of a real airfield in Britain. Plus, we saw several

US P-51 Mustang, Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

P-51 Mustangs, the plane my hero Adler Paxton flies.

To travel to Normandy, we took the ferry from Portsmouth across the English Channel to Ouistreham, France. Since Wyatt Paxton, the hero of The Sea Before Us, serves as a naval officer on an American destroyer on D-day, I loved approaching Normandy from the sea and imagining what all those soldiers and sailors must have been thinking as that same shoreline came into view on June 6, 1944.

In Normandy, we toured the German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer, walked along Omaha and Utah Beaches on gray and blustery days, and lingered in the American cemetery, an incredibly moving experience.

Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

In The Land Beneath Us, the final book in the series (coming February 2020), the hero, Clay Paxton, serves in the US 2nd Ranger Battalion, legendary for scaling the 100-foot cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-day. We spent another gray and blustery day visiting Pointe du Hoc, pockmarked with giant craters from naval shells and littered with chunks of concrete. We also hiked through the infamous “bocage” (hedgerows) and saw where the Rangers found the German guns and destroyed them.

I had the time of my life! And my husband . . . ? As we were traipsing through a muddy gun emplacement on a gray and blustery day (did I mention it was gray and blustery?), my husband was thoroughly enjoying the adventure and history. I said to him, “Aren’t you glad I don’t write novels set in pretty little English tearooms?”

The look of horror on his face . . . Sadly, I did not get a picture of that.


Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sea Before Us, The Sky Above Us, and The Land Beneath Us (coming February 2020). Her novel The Sea Before Us received the 2019 FHL Reader’s Choice Award, 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


One fateful night of tragedy and betrayal drove the Paxton brothers apart. Now, as D-day approaches, they battle the Nazis on the sea, in the air, and on the ground. Three women capture their hearts — a British naval officer striving for acceptance, a Red Cross volunteer searching for purpose, and a librarian longing for family. Will the battles they face lead them to redemption . . . or destruction?


10 Year Blogivesary Giveaway!

Be sure to enter HERE.

5 Responses to “Guest Post — Sarah Sundin, Author of Sunrise at Normandy Series”

  1. Paula Shreckhise November 4, 2019 at 9:52 am #

    Sarah is one of my top favorite authors. I love her website, too! So fun that she got to do in person research in England!

    • Sarah Sundin November 5, 2019 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you, Paula! You’re such a supportive reader 🙂

  2. susiesellnergmailcom November 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm #

    Sarah Sundin is a fabulous historical fiction author. She researches thoroughly and shares such interesting information with her readers even beyond what’s in her stories. I look forward to her next book.

    • Sarah Sundin November 5, 2019 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you, Susie! I’m glad you’re enjoying the history as well as the stories!

  3. Courtney @ The Green Mockingbird Blog November 10, 2019 at 3:57 pm #

    I am very excited for The Land Beneath Us and Clay’s story! How interesting to have a peek into your research, Sarah. I would be all for traipsing around even in the cold, like your husband. 🙂

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