With more than one million books sold, author Susan May Warren has written all manner of Christian fiction, from contemporary and historical romances, to romantic suspense, thrillers, and romantic comedy. She continues her action-packed Montana Rescue series with Storm Front (Revell), which is chock-full of romance, adventure, and danger. In this interview, the author shares what makes this latest Montana Rescue unique, why she picked a new setting for the book, and how she researched tornadoes to get the details right…
Readers have been raving over your Montana Rescue series. What makes book five different and exciting?
I am loving writing this series, so I’m delighted that fans are also enjoying it! The series as a whole is based on the themes of “Amazing Grace,” with the rescuers of the PEAK team each dealing with their own jaded, painful pasts, trying to break free and find a new start. Against a backdrop of adrenaline-laced rescues, each team member has to grapple with their frailties and fears.
It’s been a fun series to write—think Chicago Fire goes to Montana! We started with a chopper pilot with PTSD and a country music star, went to a type A deputy sheriff, then an epic snowboarding champion. In book four we got to know billionaire Ian Shaw, and in this book, we hang out with Ty Remington, a wealthy cowboy/rancher who has secrets that are revealed. Ty is the most mysterious of the team, and I think readers will love discovering this amazing hero, as I did. I think he might be my favorite!
Tell us what sparked the idea for your newest book in the Montana Rescue series, Storm Front.
I live in Minnesota, and for years wanted to write a story about a tornado that devastated a tiny town south of the twin cities. We helped with cleanup, and I remember thinking, How do people survive devastating moments in their lives? I had also recently lost my mother to cancer and had observed her experiences as a brave victim of this disease.
Finally, I had a couple friends who recently survived breast cancer and I wanted to bring in a point of view of a survivor who lives not knowing the future. The theme of devastation, of trying to hold out hope and the fear of letting people we love be our support team, fit well with searching for a lost loved one in the midst of tragedy. I think this has ended up being one of my favorite books in the series.
While many of the books in the Montana Rescue series are set in Glacier National Park, Storm Front has a different location altogether. Why did you decide to pick a new setting for this book?
I wanted to widen the stories a little, bring readers to new parts of the world (we visited the Caribbean in Troubled Waters). I also wanted to bring the rescuers of PEAK out of their element, make them have to rely on locals and other resources for their search.
But the biggest inspiration was attending a country music festival in Minnesota and asking myself, as the clouds rolled in and a storm threatened, What if a tornado happened here? This book is an attempt at an answer.
What type of research was required to write about the destruction of a tornado?
I read a lot of books about tornadoes, including What Stands in a Storm by Kim Cross, Into the Storm by Reed Timmer, and The Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum. I also watched every episode of Storm Chasers on the Discovery Channel to get a better understanding of tornadoes.
In addition, I read firsthand accounts and watched YouTube videos. I even chased a storm—but not quite as crazily as they do on television—one hot Minnesota evening.
Who is your favorite character in Storm Front and why?
Ty. He was such an enigma to me as I started the book. Who I discovered as I unlayered him was a man who harbored deep regrets, longed to live out his faith by saving others, had an amazing, determined, self-sacrificing courage, and was the kind of guy I would want beside me in a storm.
Ty is a true beta hero, the kind of guy who sneaks into your heart and you don’t even know you’ve completely fallen for him until he shows up to save the day. I think readers will love him.
What do you hope readers gain from reading Storm Front?
Hope. And the sense that when life feels like it’s taken you out, left you devastated, there is a way to get back up.
What is it like to write such fast-paced and adrenaline-inducing scenes?
I love it! First, it makes the writing go fast-fast-fast. I leave the scenes a little worn out but dying to know what happens next. It does sort of consume me, however. I am constantly thinking about the next scene and what could happen—and yes, worried!
But still, it’s such a great adventure. I love that I’m on it with these rescuers!
What’s next on your writing to-do list?
I just finished book #6! It is so fun to know what is going to happen with this amazing team. I can’t wait for my readers to discover Ty’s story (book 5—oh, he’s such a surprising, wonderful hero) and Pete and Jess’s story (book 6). The finale—oh my, so much fun to write!
Visit Susan May Warren’s author page: https://www.familyfiction.com/authors/susan-may-warren
Montana Rescue #5