Today, I am pleased to welcome author Laurie Wood to I & R! Laurie lives in Central Canada and writes inspirational romantic suspense with an edge of danger. She’s also a military wife who’s raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. They’ve lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When she’s not writing she can be found at her spinning wheel, knitting, or hanging out with her dogs in the garden. She loves to hear from readers and always replies so feel free to get in touch with her.
Today, Laurie is talking to us about her latest book Northern Protector!
How long have you been writing?
I started writing when my children were in elementary school in the late ‘90’s and finished three books that were never published. When my husband joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2004 and we started moving all over the country I took a hiatus until 2016. My first book, Northern Deception, was published in December 2018, followed by Northern Hearts in December 2019. Now Northern Protector is out this December, 2020.
Do you travel to the place you write about?
All three of my Heroes of the Tundra books are set in the real town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. For the first one, I worked from over 100 photos my husband had taken of the town and surrounding area when he was up there on a military exercise for arctic Search and Rescue in May 2011. I also interviewed several people by phone and email from the town, as well as some
scientists in Winnipeg.
Then in July, 2019 my husband and I went up to Churchill together so I could do research for a week and take some tours because Northern Protector is set during the summer time, which of course, is quite different in the arctic than winter. I wanted to make sure I got all the details on the flora and fauna correct. And I was able to interview the RCMP for police procedures as well.
Sounds exciting! Which do you enjoy more, the research part for a book, or the writing?
I love doing both but the research part is exciting because I want readers to learn something from my books. I want every detail to be correct, even the smallest detail in dialogue. And as I write, if something comes up and I haven’t got it researched I’ll put “XXXX” in the spot because I can run “Find & Replace” later on and put in whatever I discover and write around it.
What is the central theme of your book?
The central theme of Northern Protector is leaning on God to overcome and get through your darkest trauma. Ben Koper has been physically and emotionally scarred by a polar bear mauling,
leaving him with PTSD and a painkiller addiction. Joy Gallagher was betrayed by a former boyfriend when she wasn’t living for the Lord and is a single parent. She’s further on her journey with God and she’s able to lead Ben to where he needs to be.
What inspired you to write this book?
My original inspiration was to write it to shed light on the appalling number of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls we have in Canada, so my murder victims were originally Indigenous. However, while I was writing the book, the #ownvoices movement became a huge deal in publishing, meaning that only people of colour or with certain disabilities could tell these kinds of stories. And while I’d interviewed one young university-aged Indigenous woman for the book, she got cold feet about it and so my editor and I decided it was too sensitive a topic for me to tackle on my own. I changed the characters to Caucasian girls just graduated from high school.
I rewrote the book to focus on the police officer’s journey to recovery from PTSD from the polar bear attack, and his resultant painkiller addiction which he got after suffering from his extensive
injuries. Prescription painkiller addiction is a common society issue that affects many families and I decided to shed some light on it.
It's a shame you couldn't go with your original concept. I would think the more light shed on the matter, the better. But it sounds like you created a very interesting story despite that setback. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
The message I hope readers take away is that it’s all right to reach out and ask for help, whether it’s a mental health issue like PTSD (or depression, or anxiety, etc.), or an addiction issue like
prescription painkillers, alcohol, etc. Christians are still prey to the same problems that face everyone else and there is no shame in asking for help from a professional who knows what they’re doing.
The other message I hope readers can get “between the lines” is that no matter how far we feel we may have fallen away, God is always there to pick us up again. He never leaves us or forsakes us, ever. And no matter how many times we fall down, as long as we reach out, and get up again, He’ll be with us to the end.
A wonderful message indeed! Thank you, Laurie for sharing your book with us today.
You can follow Laurie on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LaurieJeanWood and on her website at https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com
Constable Ben Koper is still healing from the polar bear attack that almost killed him. Nine months after it happened, he returns to Churchill, Manitoba, a changed man—scarred more than just physically. PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. He’s determined to prove, to himself and his colleagues, that he’s still up to his job. Failure isn’t an option.
ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with a healing Constable Koper. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, and she’s eager to level up their friendship and introduce him to the idyllic comfort of small-town life. Until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister, stirring old trauma Joy has never fully dealt with.
When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must confront their own demons, and join forces to track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim before it’s too late will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer, or will the past destroy them.?