Saturday, February 3, 2018

Interview with Sarah Varland

Recently, I interviewed Sarah Varland.

What do you like most about living in Alaska? How many of your stories are set in Alaska?

I love EVERYTHING about living in Alaska. I love that it’s such a land of extremes, with things like how it’s light all summer and so dark in the winter. I love the people. Most of us share a love for adventure and there are a lot of people up here chasing their dreams. That makes it a fun place to live. I also love having hiking close-by, looking at the mountains, and that going to dog sled races is relatively common for us here.

I’ve got two stories so far set in Alaska, counting this latest February release. There is another scheduled for July.

Did you have to evacuate for the tsunami threat associated with the recent Alaskan earthquake?

I’m inland, so no, I didn’t need to evacuate. My husband did feel the earthquake though, even though it was centered hundreds of miles away. I slept through it. Earthquakes are always an interesting mix of exciting and nerve wracking since you never know when they start how long they’re going to be or how intense they’ll grow to be.

I’ve read that you enjoy hiking and kayaking. When was the first time you kayaked? Do any of your characters hike and/or kayak?

The first time I kayaked was in a small sit-on-top version when I was fifteen and lifeguarding at a Christian summer camp up here. We were life guarding for a swimming race across the lake and need to follow the swimmers in boats. It was so much fun and I decided then that I loved kayaking.

I don’t think I’ve had a character kayak yet—thanks for the idea!! But yes, actually Summer, the heroine from Mountain Refuge likes to hike. She’s actually a mountain runner so she took one of my favorite hobbies and stepped it up a notch.

Which of your stories did you enjoy writing the most? Why?

This was one of my very favorite stories to write. Not just because it’s set in Alaska, although that was part of it. I also really like Summer and Clay as characters and seeing their relationship grow was a lot of fun. I also learned a lot from writing this one and from the lessons especially Summer learns about living life to the fullest.

You are a pastor’s wife, a writer, a mother, and you homeschool your children. When do you find time to write?

That’s such a great question! I have no idea. But seriously, I know God wants me to be writing even though in some ways my life is already pretty full. My first contract call came literally a week before my second son was born and I was excited but wondered at the timing then but I know God knows best and I have had so much fun getting to do this. Sometimes I can get some writing done while the boys are doing school work, sometimes my husband or my mom will hang out with them while I go write at a coffee shop. My most recent favorite place to write and way to find time is to write on the couch at my boys’ weekly art lessons. We are all busy in different ways and it’s really just a matter of shuffling things around and balancing, really more like juggling.


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.


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.

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