To finish off my series, Books to Beat the Winter Blues, I have Alaskan author, Sarah Varland. She’s answering a few questions and telling us about her book, Mountain Refuge.
When someone tries to grab Summer Dawson on a secluded mountain path, she escapes—but soon discovers she’s a serial killer’s latest target. Her brother’s friend, ex-cop Clay Hitchcock, promises she won’t become the next victim, though, even if it means putting himself at risk. Clay thought he was done with law enforcement, but after finding Summer running for her life off a mountain trail, he’s back in cop mode. Determined to protect her, Clay shadows the brave, beautiful mountain runner. Now if they want to stay alive, Clay and Summer must work together to bring down the crazed killer lurking in the wilderness.
Why do you feel your book, Mountain Refuge, will be uplifting for readers?
Mountain Refuge is my favorite book of mine so far, and it’s because of how much the main characters are able to find hope despite the circumstances in their lives. I love the way the characters have to learn to be brave, to trust their instincts, because these are things I think many of us struggle with. Hopefully those elements, along with the fact that I’d like to hope it’s an entertaining story, will make it encouraging for readers! I love that it’s coming out in the winter, because winter is my favorite time to curl up with a book.
How do you combat so many long days of darkness, living in Alaska?
This is such a great question! I love that you’re doing this blog series, because we all need something to combat winter darkness, right? In Alaska, our winters are loooooooong and I think the most important thing to do is prepare for them. On a practical level, that means reminding myself if I’m having a rough, “blah” sort of day that it’s probably because it’s January and there’s no need to overreact and give those feelings too much weight. We also take Vitamin D pills because we can’t get enough from the sun. On a more personal level, I think getting outside during the daylight we do have really helps me handle our winters. Also included in the list of things I do are have lots of fires, turn fake candles on, read books, do crafts, and try to enjoy the coziness of the inside. I’ve been researching the Danish concept of “hygge” a lot this year and that encompasses what I go for.
Have you had any encounters with any of the large animals of Alaska? Bear? Moose?
Yes! Lots of moose encounters, though nothing that turned dangerous. We’ve walked outside into the front yard without paying attention before and noticed a moose 15 feet away, and I’ve hiked by many moose in my times hiking. This year a moose ended up inside our fence and kicked down one of the boards when it jumped/stepped over. It’s a five foot tall fence, by the way–moose have long legs. No bear encounters (yet. Gulp.) And I’d rather it just stay that way. My moose stories are enough for me.
If you could choose one vacation destination in the middle of winter, where would you jet off to?
Honestly, I love Alaska even in the winter, so I’m happy staying here. BUT if I could jet off to anywhere I’d probably go to Hawaii or New Zealand. Many Alaskans go to Hawaii in the winter, so that appeals to me, and I love Robin Jones Gunn’s books and some are set in Hawaii so that would be fun. On the other hand, New Zealand looks gorgeous and I have a friend there (shout out to Kara Isaac, whose books y’all should check out) who I’d love to visit. Plus it’s summer there when it’s our winter! Perfect!
What is your favorite scene or line from your new book?
Oh this is such a fun question! I don’t know that I can pick one favorite scene. But I do really love a scene that has my hero and heroine running through the Alaskan wilderness as a killer shoots at them and chases them. It’s an area of the state that’s real and I tried to describe it accurately as far as where mountains and creeks are, and I did my research for that scene while I was taking my kids on a camping trip, so I just find that amusing. Like, sure kids, we can stop for a bathroom break at this rest area, Mommy needs to check out the scenery in this part of the state anyway so she can write a better chase scene…
Ha! I love it! I have had fun with this interview and getting to know you better. I have a fascination with Alaska and really hope to make the trip up there someday! I have no idea what “hygge” is, so I’m going to hop over and Google it right now. (Here is what I found–very interesting!)
Sarah Varland lives near the mountains in Alaska with her husband John, their two boys, and their dogs. Her passion for books comes from her mom, her love for suspense comes from her dad who has spent a career in law enforcement. Her love for romance comes from the relationship she has with her husband and from watching too many chick flicks. When she’s not writing, she’s often found reading, baking, kayaking or hiking. You can connect with her on Facebook, andfind her books on Amazon and Christian Books.
Next week begins my February series, Valentine’s Day Romance Reads, with author Roger Bruner. See you then!