Today’s guest is, Laurie Wood, the author of the freshly released book, Northern Protector. You can find my review here.
So excited to have you here as my guest today, Laurie. Before we get to your new release, tell us a bit more about yourself:
Q: Tell us one little known thing about you.
A: Thanks so much for having me here today, Melony! I have two little known things about me… one, I was a municipal police officer back in the 1980s so I thoroughly enjoyed writing this tribute book with a police officer hero, and two, both of my adult children have Down Syndrome. My debut book, Northern Deception, featured three-year-old Sophie Tanner, who has Down Syndrome, and so she was a snapshot of my own daughter at that age.
Q: Favorite snack while watching movies:
A: Other than popcorn, which the kiddos love, I’d have to say Bridge Mixture. I don’t know if that’s available in the US, but in Canada it’s a mixture of chocolate-coated candy. Raisins, peanuts, mint, Turkish delight, etc. One of my grandmother’s always had it in candy bowls when we came to visit, so I associate it with wonderful memories. My husband will surprise me with it for special occasions.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I’m an avid knitter and knit socks and shawls constantly. I usually have two pairs of socks on the go, at least, and one shawl. I get bored easily! And I also spin up my own yarn from various sheep breeds like Shetland or Merino, as well as from alpacas, or silk from silkworms. I’m self-taught but I own two spinning wheels, one of which is an antique Icelandic wheel from about 1864.
Q: When you have downtime, who are favourite authors and what genres do you like to read?
A: My favourite genres are suspense/crime/thrillers and historical/time-slip fiction. I bounce back and forth between the two. I find I binge on the opposite one depending on what I’m writing. My favourite CBA authors in suspense are Dana Pettrey, Lynne R. Blackburn, and Ronie Kendig. Some up-and-comers are Sharee Stover and Darlene L. Turner. I can’t wait to see them branch out into single title works.
In the ABA market I love Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, Loreth Ann White, Rick Mofina, and John Grisham for suspense/crime/thrillers.
For historical/time-slip novels in the CBA you can’t beat Jamie Jo Wright, Donna Fletcher Crow, and Heidi Chiavarolli. Then in the ABA I’ve been re-reading all of Susanna Kearsley’s time-slips, which are clean reads, for e.g. The Winter Sea, The Shadowy Horses, The Firebird, etc. If you want deep historical fiction blended with a contemporary in a time-slip, you can’t go wrong with Susanna Kearsley. She’s this generation’s Daphne du Maurier, and I say that as someone who’s favourite author is Daphne du Maurier.
Q: I’m so excited for the launch of Northern Protector and can I just say that cover is gorgeous! Can you tell us about these two characters on the cover?
A: Thank you! I think my cover is gorgeous too! Constable Ben Koper appeared in the first book, Northern Deception, as the town RCMP officer and Lukas Tanner’s best friend. He gets mauled by a polar bear, and Lukas saves him by scaring the bear off when he drives at it with his truck.
There was a real polar bear mauling in Churchill, Manitoba on November 1, 2013, around 5:00 a.m. Some young people were walking down a street going home from a Halloween party, and a polar bear they encountered attacked the smallest girl in the group. A 69-year-old-man heard the screaming and went outside in his pajamas with a shovel and beat the bear on the head until it let her go. It then attacked him and nearly killed him. Someone drove at it with his truck, and the bear ran away. Conservation officers later killed it. Once a bear attacks a human (s), it’ll do it again, so they have to be destroyed.
They patched both victims up at the Health Centre in Churchill and then airlifted down to Winnipeg for reconstructive surgery. I went up to Churchill in July 2019 to do the research for Northern Protector, and I met the girl who’d been attacked. She returned to Churchill, which was extremely brave of her, as a response to the town’s raising enough money for her to pay off over $10,000 in medical bills. She now runs two businesses up there. It was quite something to meet her. The man who saved her received the Star of Courage, the second highest bravery award that Canada gives.
Because this is such a major Churchill story, I wanted to give it to my police officer. I wanted to give him PTSD and a real emotional hurdle to get over. Police officer’s can suffer from PTSD from many traumatic experiences on the job, but the symptoms and the devastating effects on your life are the same. So, Ben needs to prove to himself and everyone else that he can overcome this experience and beat his painkiller addiction.
My heroine changed as I wrote this story. She was originally going to be the female Conservation officer who tranquilized the bear in Northern Deception. I wrote about 25,000 words and I just could NOT get her and Ben “together” in any meaningful way. They weren’t gelling as a couple. I was so frustrated! Finally, a NYT’s Bestselling author told me that has happened to her, and that I needed to throw out those words and “listen” to who else in town Ben might be attracted to.
Well, I only mention Joy in one sentence in Northern Deception, and not even by name! But I’d given Ruby Gallagher, the owner of Ruby’s Café & Emporium, a daughter and granddaughter. And once I got to that part of the book again, Joy’s character burst into my mind, almost completely developed. That’s an experience I’m sure other authors have had, but it’s wonderful when it happens. She started walking around and telling me her story right away.
After that, getting her and Ben “together” was no problem. And her adorable daughter Emberlynn (at least, I think she’s adorable!) just added to the story. Joy’s a bit of a prodigal daughter. She had big dreams of being a big city doctor, leaving small-town Churchill in her dust. She didn’t need her family or anyone else. But she falls away from the Lord and in love with the wrong guy. And her problems multiply until she winds up quitting med school and going back home to Churchill with a small child and needing help to start over.
So, both characters are starting over and finding their way. It’s a story of overcoming and redemption. And I enjoyed writing characters who were in their mid-thirties.
Q: Is Northern Protector a stand-alone or part of a series?
A: Northern Protector is Book 2 of the Heroes of the Tundra series. Northern Deception is Book 1. Last Christmas I wrote a Christmas novella called Northern Hearts, that takes place in the same year at Northern Deception, and during the Christmas season I skipped in that book. Northern Protector opens up in August of the following summer with all the same characters, but it’s Ben and Joy’s love story.
Q: What is your favorite thing about each of your main characters?
A: My favourite thing about Ben is his determination to prove himself as a cop even as he struggles with his PTSD symptoms. He knows he’s not firing on all cylinders, he’s got the illusion of something or someone coming up behind him all the time, his nerves are on extreme alert, he’s got personality issues with his chain-of-command. But he refuses to quit or give up.
My favourite thing about Joy is that she realizes her faults even when it’s too late, like speaking too bluntly or out of place. She’s a straight shooter, and she doesn’t put up with fools like their ER doctor. But when she puts her foot in her mouth, she realizes it and she’s ready to make it right.
Q: How can readers connect with you?
A: I love hearing from readers and I always reply even if I take a day or two. If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll receive Chapter 1 of Northern Deception as a thank you.
Thanks so much for being my guest today! I enjoyed this series so much.
This blog post is part of a blog tour, and there is a tour-wide giveaway (see details below and enter using rafflecopter)
Here are the blog spots you can follow:
December 3: Rhonda Starnes
December 4: Rosie Somers
December 8: Preslaysa Williams
Melony Teague: (you are here)
December 9: Christina Sinisi
December 10: Sherida Stewart
December 11: Sharee Stover
December 14: Patti Jo Moore
December 15: Nola Lorraine
December 17: Joy A Melville
ENTER THE BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY HERE:
The winner will be announced 48 hours after the contest closes on Laurie’s Social Media.
Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Word Guild. She is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep released, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.
“A delightful romance sure to please anyone looking for a story about second chances, grace, and hope. This one has all the right ingredients!”
—Catherine West, award-winning author of Where Hope Begins