Continuing with my Christmas Novella series of interviews, today I welcome fellow Canadian, Laurie Wood. Today is also BOOK RELEASE DAY! Congrats Laurie.
Melony, thank you so much for having me on your blog today!
Q: Where is your novella, NORTHERN HEARTS, set? And what made you want to have your story play out at Christmas time?
Laurie: This is my first Christmas novella, and it came about because my editor contacted me and asked me to write one, set during the Christmas that I skipped over during my first novel NORTHERN DECEPTION. In that book, the main story ends at the end of November, and then I jump ahead to an Epilogue in March of the following year.
I set NORTHERN HEARTS one week after NORTHERN DECEPTION, although you need not have read that book first. (although you might enjoy reading it afterward!) Both books are set in the real-life town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada which is right where our sub-arctic borders the arctic. It’s a town known as the Polar Bear Capitol of the World because it has the largest known polar bear population that migrates back and forth through the town in the summer and late fall to come and go off the sea ice in Hudson Bay. Polar bears play a part in both books and I hope that my research helps the reader to learn more about these magnificent animals and gives the book an extra element of danger.
Q: What is your favorite part about Christmas and does it show up in the novella?
Laurie: My personal favorite part of Christmas is the day of Christmas Eve–all the last-minute preparations and present wrapping–and then attending our church’s supper time candlelit Christmas Eve service. I don’t have that in this novella as it just didn’t suit the story. I have other Christmas traditions in it though; decorating, Christmas baking and cooking, community parties, and some family traditions.
Q: What was the hardest scene to write in the book?
Laurie: My first kiss scenes are always the hardest to write! I sketch it in as I do the first draft, and then I always have to go back and layer it up as I write to the end. I want the first kiss to be special and maybe it’s an accidental kiss, or an almost-kiss, or a real firecracker. In this book, Jake (the hero) decides early that he’s falling in love with Kali so he doesn’t waste a lot of time. You don’t have a lot of time in a novella, although I tried to avoid that “falling in love at first sight” phenomena, which I personally hate.
Q: Tell me about your main characters.
Laurie: Which leads me to this question! I wrote this as a “fish out of water” story. Kali’s from the big city of Winnipeg and a wealthy family. She has a great work ethic for someone who’s been sheltered and handed everything, but that leads her to want to prove herself, with some disastrous results. She ends up in the small town of Churchill, on the edge of the arctic, in polar bear country, where her “big city” ideas aren’t welcome.
Jake, on the other hand, also came from a big city but has lived up there for ten years and acclimatized to the culture and thrives on it. He grew up in foster care, never knowing his real parents, His business partner was also his mentor and a bit of a mother figure. She was also Kali’s unknown aunt who held a deep family secret that Kali unravels during the story.
Q: If you have cats or dogs, tell us how they react to the putting up of the Christmas tree. (I have cats and they bat the ornaments. Every. Day.)
Laurie: We have two big dogs and two cats so it’s always interesting getting the Christmas tree up! Once the dogs have sniffed all the ornaments within reach, they settle down and leave it alone. Only one of our cats is a psycho, and he likes to eat the flocked parts of the tree and then barf it up the next day. Short of putting him in the basement to live for six weeks, I haven’t found a way to prevent him from doing this because he seems to only eat it when we’re not around. He’ll also try to climb it and sit in it, which he managed once. He’s a rescue and lived outdoors for a while so I think he comes by this instinct naturally!
Oh yes, I know all about cats barfing up bits of tree. Sigh.
Q: What are you working on now?
Laurie: I’m writing the sequel to NORTHERN DECEPTION, which came out last year. It’s called NORTHERN PROTECTOR and is about the RCMP officer who was mauled by the polar bear in NORTHERN DECEPTION. He’s mentioned in this novella because it takes place right after the first book. However, NORTHERN PROTECTOR is his love story, and the story of his recovery from the mauling, both physically and emotionally, along with a murder mystery this time. It takes place in the summer following NORTHERN DECEPTION.
I cannot wait! Sounds amazing!
Each book can stand alone but the characters do appear in each book.
Thank you again for hosting me, Melony!
Thank you, Laurie, for sharing about Northern Hearts and Northern Deception. These are both on my TBR (To be Read) Pile.
How about you, readers. Do you like stories set in the Tundra?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Wealthy socialite Kali McIntyre dreams of opening her own dessert bar, Sassy Sweets, in downtown Winnipeg—until her father crushes that dream when he cuts her off financially. He’s determined to get her to use her law degree to join the family’s high-powered law firm. She’s determined to do anything but that. And when an unknown-to-her aunt dies in Churchill, Manitoba, leaving her an unbelievable inheritance, Kali’s on the next flight up north to make her dreams a reality.
Chef Jake Miller has lived in Churchill for the past ten years, working hard to keep The Great Northern Lodge afloat through some tough times. But then his business partner dies unexpectedly, without telling him that she’d changed her will or that she had a niece who is set to inherit everything. Now, Jake and Kali have thirty days to work together and decide–who will stay and who will go–before Christmas rolls around. Secrets, attempted murder, and a new menu all add up to a Christmas unlike any other.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In the mid-1980’s I was a municipal police officer when women in Canada were pioneers in policing. But I always wanted to be a writer. Now I’m a military wife who’s lived across our beautiful country. My husband and I have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood and they bless us every day. My books have finaled in the prestigious Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis contests. We live in central Canada with a menagerie of dogs, cats, and kids and if the house were bigger, no doubt we’d have more.
CONNECT WITH LAURIE WOOD
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 she is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep releases, 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.
Available Jan 2020.