The Sky Above Us
(Sunrise at Normandy, Book 2)
Have you ever had a “lightbulb moment?” A moment where a fully-formed idea popped into your head like a flash of light. That’s what happened to me on January 6, 2000. I awoke that morning from a dream so compelling I knew it was a novel. A novel I knew I had to write. As a pharmacist being an author was not in my original career plan, but I’ve been writing ever since.
I love coming up with characters’ names. As a writer of historic fiction, I try to be true to the times and the ethnicities of the region the characters come from. For The Sky Above Us, I wanted a “sky”-related name for my fighter pilot, and found the name Adler, which means eagle in German. I liked the different sound of it too, and it paired well with Paxton, the nice strong name I’d chosen for the three brothers who are the heroes of this series. Violet Lindstrom—I just knew her name was Violet. Sometimes a character just comes with a name attached. Violet is a name more common in her mother’s or grandmother’s era, and then I realized she was named after her great-aunt, a woman who serves as her role model. And Lindstrom is a good Swedish name you’d hear in her hometown in Kansas.
Some authors prefer research to writing, or writing to editing, but I love it all. Research is great fun, and yields so many story ideas—and so many interesting things in general. I could research all day. But the writing! That’s why I research in the first place, so I can understand my characters and the world they inhabit and the things they do. I get a bit giddy during the rough draft phase—it’s an absolute delight. But I also love editing. Not in a giddy way, but in a getting-down-to-business way. The rough draft always feels a bit flabby, and in editing I trim it down, get it into shape, and make it stronger. Like taking my story to the gym. And like going to the gym, it’s hard work and sometimes painful—but worth it.
I adore traveling. My husband and I are considering one of those Rhine River cruises in the future—combined with research for my next set of novels. We love Europe and history, so we’re very excited about it. And he’s remarkably tolerant of my research jaunts. When we were in Normandy researching the Sunrise at Normandy series, we went traipsing through old German gun emplacements in the mud and wind and rain—and loved it. I told him, “Aren’t you glad I don’t write stories set in dainty English tearooms?” The horrified look on his face was priceless.
Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sky Above Us and The Sea Before Us. Her novel The Sea Before Us was a finalist for the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, 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 and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.
About The Sky Above Us
Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, arranging entertainment for the men of the 357th and setting up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near . . . and secrets can’t stay buried forever.
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