I have been reading your WWII novels since With Every Letter crossed my path, so I have to ask – how did you become interested in the WWII era?
Family stories piqued my interest. My grandfather served in the US Navy as a pharmacist’s mate (medic), my great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot, and my grandmothers held down the Home Front. They were all storytellers, for which I am thankful.
Do you travel to the places you write about?
Whenever possible! I was blessed to be able to visit London and Normandy when researching The Sea Before Us. I was even able to tour Southwick House, a little-visited World War II site in England that is an important setting in the story, and we took the ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham in Normandy. What an experience to watch the Norman shore appearing over the horizon as my hero does in the novel on D-day.
I would imagine that the research for a series like this is extensive, so which do you enjoy more, the research part for a book, or the writing?
Both. When I’m researching, I love the research most, but when I’m writing, research annoys me. However, the love of the story is what fuels my interest in the research. The driest topics come to life for me when I realize how important it is to my hero or my heroine.
the British “Wrens” (Women’s Royal Naval Service), and Dorothy Fairfax came to me.
Is there a message in The Sea Before Us that you want your readers to grasp?
Both Wyatt and Dorothy have come through difficult times, but Wyatt leaned on the Lord while Dorothy leaned away. I love when Wyatt tells her, “When times are dark, it’s hard to see the light, but it doesn’t mean the light is less real.” Difficult times are inevitable, but we can come through stronger if we turn to the Lord.
I loved that line too! Who was your favorite character to create in this book and why?
It was actually Dorothy’s father, Reginald Fairfax. He has responded to the great losses in his life by shutting down and shutting out his daughter, who needs him desperately. He makes some poor choices, but his deep pain really touched my heart. It was a joy to watch him change and find his strength again.
Yes, he really surprised me in the end. When does the next book in this series come out?
The Sky Above Us will release in spring 2019. This novel tells the story of Lt. Adler Paxton, a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot who flies on D-day, and Red Cross worker Violet Lindstrom.
Last question for a bit of fun: You are stranded on a deserted island. What three books would you want with you and why?
The Bible, of course—for inspiration, courage, and strength. And it’s long.
The US Army Survival Manual. I bought it for research, and it’s chockful of how-to-survive-in-the-wild information that this suburban girl would need for deserted-island living.
My three-in-one Jane Austen collection of Northanger Abbey, Emma, and Persuasion. She’s my all-time favorite author for swoony romance with substance and humor.
Hmm ... There are sixty-six books in the Bible, plus the manual, plus a three-in-one book. I think that's cheating! That's really seventy books. Ha! Ha! Excellent choices! Thank you so much for stopping by today Sarah. I look forward to your next book.
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In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, who 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 turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.
As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .
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