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Sarah Varland | Writing TUNDRA THREAT

November 7, 2014

Sarah VarlandTUNDRA THREATEvery author’s writing process is different, and every story is different even for a particular author, at least that’s true with me. My latest release, TUNDRA THREAT, started with a full-of-personality character and a setting I love.

When McKenna Clark, my law-enforcement-heroine, first took shape in my mind, the first thing I did was try to think about what kind of guy it would take to make sparks fly. And not just romantic sparks. Conflict sparks. Because who likes a happily-ever-after that comes too easily? In the book, McKenna is a stubborn, red-headed wildlife trooper, so I paired her with an equally stubborn (because that’s always fun, right?) hunting guide.

That’s right. She protects animals. He takes people out to hunt them. And that’s just the beginning of the obstacles in their way.

If there’s anything that’s true of both McKenna and Will, it’s that they’re risk takers. Even when a tragedy in Will’s past makes him life more cautiously for a few years, he comes back to this way of living life fully with no regrets when he’s reunited with McKenna. As far as the setting fitting the characters, there was no better place to set their love story than Alaska, a land of extremes itself, where beauty and danger are too intertwined to separate them.

Alaska stories are growing in popularity as more people want to “visit” the Last Frontier and choose to do so in fiction. This works for me because it was my home for almost a decade and it’s still a place I dream about returning to every time I’m away. Besides, I don’t feel like an author or a reader could ask for a better place for a romantic suspense story. What could be more romantic than standing at the top of the world with someone you love, ready to take on adventures together? Yet what could be more spine chilling than knowing just from looking around you at the breathtaking vastness of such an untamed land that danger is oh-so-close?

I loved writing McKenna and Will’s love story amidst the danger facing them, and I had fun setting it in such a rugged state that always captivates my attention. Alaska and it’s way of life factors so deeply into the story that it’s almost a character itself. So I guess you could say the story started with two characters…

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