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Intersection Column | Risk and Reward in the Alaskan Wilderness

by Susan May Warren


I’ve always been drawn to the sense of adventure that comes with living in a rugged, wild place like Alaska. We lived in Anchorage for a short while, and I loved the big, wild beauty of the area. But there is also real danger. Extreme climates, dangerous terrain, wildlife—Alaska demands respect. I love that sense of risk and reward. It’s part of why I’m constantly inspired by the heroic work of Search and Rescue teams like Air One. Their courage and selflessness is awe-inspiring.


I also have to admit that I’m endlessly fascinated by the idea of finding love in unlikely places. Of bonds forming between people in stressful, perilous situations. The way shared adversity can reveal someone’s true character and bring two souls together. It’s the stuff great love stories are made of!


I think my admiration for the people and places of Alaska, along with my respect for heroes like those at Air One, naturally influence me to want to craft stories exploring humanity’s capacity for bravery, sacrifice, and perhaps discovering love against all odds.


In my latest book, One Last Shot, country music star Oaken Fox signs up for Mike Grizz’s adventure show hoping to boost his career. But tragedy strikes on day one, dropping Oaken into the wild Alaskan elements with a paralyzing injury. Now he wants to go home, but producer Huxley signs Oaken on with the Air One Rescue team for her new reality series.


Meanwhile, EMT Boo Kingston signed on with Air One to save lives, not train celebrities. But as the newbie, she’ll be the one to train Oaken. If only the infuriatingly charming singer didn’t threaten to crack the walls around her guarded heart . . .


Their uneasy partnership is put to the test when five women go missing during a stormy weekend in the Alaskan wilderness. Now Air One, including reluctant recruit Oaken, will have to use all their skills to find them before it’s too late. But can Boo and Oaken work together, despite the sparks flying between them, before disaster strikes?


My readers love the family dynamic of close-knit teams working together and adventures that stir the soul. This is another of those series, and I think they’ll fall in love with these heroes and heroines as they navigate life-and-death situations with bravery, sacrifice and camaraderie.


One of the things I gained in writing this story was a deeper understanding that things are not always as they appear on the surface—that social media perceptions often only scratch the surface of someone’s true character and experiences.


I was reminded of the importance of extending grace and understanding to others, especially when we don’t have the full picture. We all have vulnerabilities, failures, regrets, and things from our past that cause us pain. I think we do better to lift each other up in empathy than tear each other down.


Writing this story reinforced for me that our sense of worth and identity can’t hinge on the fleeting opinions of others or empty accolades. Our worth isn’t defined by likes or followers or awards, as meaningful as recognition can be. I was reminded again that a true identity and anchor come only from God—the One who sees our whole story and loves us fully just as we are.


I hope reading One Last Shot gives readers a sense of hope—that even in our darkest hours, there are heroes who will rise up to rescue others. And that when we open ourselves to trusting relationships of loyalty and love, we can face anything.


About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling author of more than 90 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Sky King Ranch, Global Search and Rescue, and Montana Rescue series. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota.


About the Book

When country music star Oaken Fox joins survivalist Mike Grizz's new adventure show in the Alaskan wilderness, he just wants to boost his fan base. But when tragedy strikes, Air One Rescue EMT Boo Kingston and the rescue team will have to use all their skills and manpower—including Oaken—to find five missing women before a blizzard settles in.


Did You Know?

Asking questions reduces the time we spend talking about ourselves—currently 60% of our conversation based on one study—and increases our likeability according to another. Asking questions demonstrates humility, genuine interest in others, and authentic curiosity. Jesus asked questions in the temple, impressing those around Him. Several women in the Bible asked questions and instead of rejection, they received what they sought:


  • The Queen of Sheba. When the Queen of Sheba heard about King Solomon, she traveled from her homeland to “test him with hard questions” (1 Kings 10). Solomon answered every one, demonstrated his wisdom, and showed her all his kingdom until “there was no more breath in her.” Her questions earned her his respect and friendship.

  • The Samaritan Woman. Jesus had a lengthy conversation with the Samaritan woman by the well in John 4. When Jesus asked her for water, she responded with several questions. Jesus honored those questions by revealing to her that He is the Messiah, the Living Water.

  • The Daughters of Zelophehad. In Numbers 27, five sisters left without parents were subject to their inheritance going to a male relative. They dared ask Moses why they should not receive their father’s inheritance. God told Moses to give it to them and to change the law for all women.


How are you at asking questions? Could asking more questions open doors to more fruitful conversations, effective influence, and met needs? What do you have to lose? Increase your question-asking. You will see a positive change.


-Lori Stanley Roeleveld, Graceful Influence 


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“I love bookstores because there's nothing like holding a book in your hand. Online shopping and digital books are okay, but there's nothing like feeling the weight of a book in your hands or the joy of turning a page.”


-Karin Beery, Finally Forever


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