Today I’m interviewing Laurie Wood, author of the Heroes of the Tundra series. Laurie, I’ve read both books and truly enjoyed them. Thank you for joining me today so I can introduce you to my readers.
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Carol! I live in Winnipeg, Canada, which is the geographical centre of North America. I’m a military spouse – my husband is a Major in the Canadian Air Force – and we have two special needs children who’re adults now and still live with us at home. I write romantic suspense for Anaiah Press and have two books out with them. My third book in my series “Heroes of the Tundra” will be out this December 8, 2020.
What is Northern Hearts about?
NORTHERN HEARTS is a Christmas novella which is a cozy mystery without the dead body. The heroine inherits a hotel/restaurant in a small town in Canada’s northern wilderness. She and the chef have 30 days to work together to decide who stays, or who goes, or can they work together to continue her aunt’s legacy? It’s set in the real-life town of Churchill, Manitoba which is the Polar Bear Capitol of the world. And yes, there’s a polar bear in the story!
What is the inspiration behind your story?
The first book in the series is NORTHERN DECEPTION. In that book, I skipped from the ending which took place in late November, to an Epilogue in March of the same winter. So, my editor contacted me the end of July and asked me if I’d write a Christmas novella set during the Christmas I skipped over in the first book. I came up with a new couple for NORTHERN HEARTS, although you’ll find a few returning characters if you’ve already read NORTHERN DECEPTION.
What book do you wish you would have written?
Hmmm…can I say OUTLANDER? Or, anything by Daphne du Maurier? Or, anything by Susanna Kearsley? It’s impossible to choose just one book I wish I’d written because those three ladies are my motivation for storytelling. I admire them so much and have read everything they’ve written.
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
I was amazed that I pounded out this book in six weeks. It’s the fastest I’ve ever been able to write anything, and it pretty much “came” to me as a whole story, which doesn’t happen often. So, considering I had a tight deadline, that was wonderful. That was my first surprise, and the second was that it was easy to visualize new characters to add to the ones I’d already written about, as well as the cast I’d already created for my next book in the series. It was a happy circumstance that boosted my self-confidence.
Who was your favorite character to create?
This heroine, Kali McIntyre, was so much fun to create! I made her a rich girl but gave her enough spunk and nerve that she wasn’t spoiled or a stereotype. She has her own dreams and makes her own decisions even if they’re not welcomed by everyone else in the story. She learns from her mistakes. And she wasn’t looking for love, which I think a lot of twenty-somethings worry about too much, so when she found it, it was that much sweeter.
How did you come up with the names of your hero and/or heroine?
My sister’s and sisters-in-law have all named their girls quite unusual and romantic names, so I’m writing a heroine using each of these lovely names. “Kira” is the heroine in NORTHERN DECEPTION. I’m saving my own daughter’s name for a different series character, where the series will be built around her, rather than the town the way this series is built. And “Jake” just fit the vision I had of a 30-something guy in a red-and-black-plaid flannel shirt and jeans.
I like using Pinterest to find “faces” for my characters and I do a Pinterest board for each book or story I’m working on. I keep them “secret” until it’s time for publication.
What is your favorite book?
Christy by Catherine Marshall. I’ve read it at least six or seven times since I first read it at thirteen years old when I snuck it out of my mother’s bedroom and got in trouble for reading it. She thought it was “too mature” for me, lol. I loved that story and it was my first experience, of course, with a love triangle, but mainly it made me want to be a teacher. Which I desperately wanted to be until my father refused to pay for my university education so that I could be one. That’s a whole other story!
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is quite supportive. My husband beta reads my work before I send it to my editor. He’s great at catching grammar and time elements I might’ve messed up. (I have other beta readers as well) My kiddos get excited when a box of books arrives from my publisher. They don’t totally understand why I spend so much time typing on the computer but seeing a box of books with my name on them means a lot to them and to me.
Share your favorite excerpt from Northern Hearts:
“He stopped himself from knocking on the closed office door, and entered, letting the door bang on the wall. Just enough to get Kali’s attention. Tripod settled into his corduroy dog bed under his desk.
Kali, however, was chattering away on the phone, her right hand bouncing up and down on the desk blotter, her entire body vibrating with excitement. When she hung up, she leaned back in the swivel chair and crowed out loud.
“Woot! I just made an order for one hundred pounds of veal and pork for Friday, November 30th!”
“Veal and pork? From where? And why?” Jake walked to the coffeemaker by the window and put in a dark roast pod, slamming down the lid. “Those are two of the most expensive meats you can buy, especially this time of year.”
Visions of their red balance sheet for December’s year end danced in front of his eyes.
“I know,” Kali smiled up at the ceiling, swiveling her chair side to side. “We’re going to make old-fashioned French tourtières – I have a fantastic Québécoise recipe – and if it’s too expensive, we’ll just cut the boar sausages from the menu. And the elk meatloaf.” She tapped her pen on her teeth. “I think we’ll add some Beef Wellington, too. Or, what do you think about using salmon instead?”
“You’re actually asking me for input?” He knew he sounded beyond irritated, but he’d never see her so wound up. Okay, she looked pretty this morning, like a cross between a princess and a New York power executive, with her dazzling blue eyes, blonde hair, and the new icy-blue fleece top she’d bought from Ruby’s. For the life of him, he’d never seen such a small woman with so much kinetic energy.
“I want to add avocados to the salade du l’hiver, as well.” She scribbled on a piece of paper.
“Avocados? We can’t afford avocados…Listen, first we need to talk about the Nativity sets.”
Her head bent over her work, she said, “What about them?”
He muttered a prayer under his breath and took a swig of scalding coffee. He noted the can of diet pop beside her computer. Huh. She’d given in to her caffeine addiction and coughed up the twenty-six dollars for a case of pop.
“Those Nativity sets are a Great Northern Lodge Christmas tradition. We have to put them out.”
“Why?” She kept writing, head down.
“Because, that’s what Cora did every year for the past forty-odd years, and people expect to see them. They were special to her. Little kids love coming to see them and touch them – some of them, anyway – and the staff is upset.”
“The staff is upset? Whatever for?” Now, her head was up, those dazzling blue eyes staring at him.
“I believe you used some fighting words, such as old-fashioned, and tacky, and too religious.” He took another sip of hot coffee. Those eyes were killers. He wondered if she knew how attractive she was, or if someone with all her resources had known it since she was ten.”
©Laurie Wood 2019
What’s next for you as an author?
The next book in the series will be out December 8, 2020: NORTHERN PROTECTOR (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2). The hero of this book is the RCMP officer from NORTHERN DECEPTION, who was mauled by a polar bear. This is the story of his recovery, his PTSD, and his love story with Joy Gallagher, a nurse at the Health Centre. It’s also a murder mystery and how one present day case relates to a cold case in the town of Churchill, Manitoba.
Thank you again for being here today. I’m looking forward to reading your next book.
Where can readers find you online?
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