Author of Wild Montana Skies
Can you briefly describe your new novel?
Wild Montana Skies is the first book in the Montana Rescue series about a group of search and rescue heroes and heroines who risk their lives saving others. Wild Montana Skies jumpstarts the series by bringing back to town the lost love of Ben King, a country music star whose father runs PEAK Rescue. When Ben’s father is injured in a crash, Ben returns to town only to discover that it’s a set-up—his father has hired Ben’s old flame, Kacey Fairing, as the new chopper pilot. Ben hasn’t forgiven Kacey for giving up their child for adoption so long ago, and has tried to forget her with his music and career. But Kacey has secrets that will change Ben’s life forever—and he discovers them as they put their lives on the line rescuing the lost. It’s a story of second chances and amazing grace. I like to describe the series as “Chicago Fire goes to Montana, puts on hiking boots, and saves lives in Glacier National Park.” This book is a great way to meet all the players as well as dive into the drama and adventure of life in Montana.
What made you decide on Montana as the setting of Wild Montana Skies? Where did you find your inspiration?
I love Montana. My parents have lived near Glacier National Park for nearly twenty years, and every summer (and often in the winters) we’d vacation out there, hiking in the park, or skiing nearby mountains. I often read accounts of brave SAR teams who rescued those lost or injured and when I met a local SAR chopper pilot, my curiosity sparked about their lives. It wasn’t long before I was researching SAR scenarios and pulling together my team of handsome, brave, and beautiful rescuers. I’m so thrilled to partner with Revell to bring this series to my readers!
You have written a lot of romance novels. What do danger and adventure bring out of a romance story that other genres don’t?
Oh, good question! I love writing romantic adventure because I love the backdrop of finding the best (or worst) of ourselves in a traumatic situation. I feel like we can see our true selves in those moments, and when my hero and heroine are together, they can see into the other’s heart and find their true essence. Not only does romantic adventure create for wonderful, natural suspense (I love shows like I Shouldn’t Be Alive and Running Wild with Bear Grylls) but it also throws two people together, scrapes away their external trappings, and allows them to reveal themselves more quickly than in normal circumstances. Of course danger also raises not only the stakes of the story but the stakes of the romance—the more we invest in each other, the more we care, and the more we have to lose when things go south. (Which, of course, they always do in a great novel!) And the more readers invest in not only the drama but the revelation and romance of the hero and heroine, the more they worry for them as the stakes increase, and therefore, the more they are glued to the story. Of course you can find this element in any story, but it’s so readily available in epic romantic adventure that it’s a delight to write (and hopefully, read)!
Which character did you have the most fun writing? Kacey or Ben?
I love them both! But I think I enjoyed Ben’s reactions more. One of my favorite scenes takes place early in the story on top of a mountain when Ben and Kacey have a rip-roaring argument. Ben is completely heroic and yet deliciously masculine and that’s when I fell in love with him. I think I also understand Ben more—a guy trying to build something out of his life only to realize it’s empty without his family. He is at the top of the country music game, but has lost the ability to write his own songs until he returns and finds that his inspiration was the girl he left behind. My stories always contain themes of grace and second chances and Ben, most of all, embodies this theme.
What can you tell us about book two of the Montana Rescue series?
Oh, how I love Rescue Me, book two! It starts with the premise: What if the rescuer has to be rescued? The story is built around the alpha-male deputy sheriff Sam Brooks who works as the liaison between PEAK Rescue and the local sheriff’s office. Sam is an i-dotter and t-crosser and obeys all the rules, and hates it when others don’t. He’s dating the most sensible girl he knows but can’t figure out why there isn’t any real spark between them. There is spark, however, with her flower-child little sister, Willow, and Sam resolves to stay far, far away. Trouble happens when Sam is finagled into a hiking trip with a local youth group—headed by Willow—and they find themselves in a terrible car accident. Now Sam and Willow have to work together to get their little youth group to safety…and he has to figure out how not to let his heart escape into Willow’s arms. Because Willow has had a crush on Sam for years, and oh, it’s hard to resist a beautiful woman in love with him. Of course, Willow has her own set of guilt—the last person she should be in love with is her sister’s boyfriend. But none of that will matter if they don’t rescue the kids and bring everyone home safely. Set in the fall in Montana, it’s a story of survival against the elements, injury, and the fear of not being able to save those we love.
How can your readers connect with you online?
And, by the way, I’m offering a FREE prequel to the Montana Rescue series—a novella that jumpstarts the missing person story that permeates the entire series. Friends can find the signup box for the story, called If Ever I Would Leave You, right on the front page of my website.
Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.