How did you get the idea for your book?
The idea for Northern Deception came in stages. I was entering a contest looking for books about Canadian heroes, to be set in Canada or set outside Canada but the main criteria was that the hero had to be a Canadian. So, I was mulling over ideas for a Canadian hero and I knew most people would think of making their hero a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer because they’re a Canadian icon—the red-coated Mountie on a horse. And I’d been joking with my husband that people think of Canadians as either Mounties or lumberjacks in red plaid shirts.
That weekend we took our kids to the Zoo and their favourite part is the polar bear exhibit. We have six “rescued” polar bears from Churchill, Manitoba which is 1000 kilometers from Winnipeg. These bears were either orphaned, or they came into a human/bear interaction and then didn’t stay away from town after being flown back up north by helicopter, so our Zoo took them in. And as we were enjoying watching the bears, it hit me: what’s another famous Canadian icon? Our frozen Arctic with our polar bears! And my hero who owns a wilderness guiding tour company in Churchill, Manitoba stepped into my mind, full blown and ready to tell his story.
Along with our polar bears, of course. And I loved doing the research for the book and learning more about the bears and what it means for them to be dealing with climate change and how our North is changing.
Tell us why we’ll love your book.
Well, I hope people will love the reunion love story, first. It’s one of my favourite tropes, so that’s why I wanted to write it. I think people with some baggage deserve a second chance at working things out! And I’ve mixed in a solid suspense story along with the deep wilderness of our Canadian sub-arctic environment (Churchill, Manitoba is just on the edge of the parallel where the sub-arctic turns into the arctic in Canada) so I’m hoping people will enjoy learning about Canada. And there’s also an adorable three-year-old toddler who has special needs who’s based on my daughter. So, if you know of anyone who’s got family or friends with someone with special needs you’ll probably love little Sophie.
What does your writing process look like?
I consider myself a messy writer. I need a vision board and I make a physical one, not just on Pinterest although I make a secret Pinterest board. I use a Walmart triptych board that I can fold up and put away, but I cut out photos, and maps, and articles from research and make up what looks like a crime board, so the characters etc are right in front of me for inspiration while I write.
And I do outline my main plot structure points. I’m old school so I do it on index cards and that’s another triptych. I’ve tried using Scrivener but never got the complete hang of it. I do like K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Software for when I get further into my process and know more of where I’m going with the story. But as I write my character sketches, my characters evolve and change on me. Both Kira and Lukas changed almost completely on me, from what I started with in the story. That’s just part of writing and it pays to “listen” to your characters because it’s your subconscious telling where to go with the story.
Some people can sit down and write a first draft. For me, this part is my first draft, and I’ll use my Dragon Speak software to start “telling” the story for about 10-20 pages or more. Just talking it out, no fancy words or trying to write to a synopsis. I want to get all the points down as I think of them. They’ll change and grow but getting it all out of your head and down on the screen, or long hand in a notebook if it’s not coming to me on the screen, is how I do it in the beginning.
After I get that done, I can start re-arranging my plot points, focus and drill down on what the story really is about, and only THEN can I write a “Chapter One.”
See? “Messy” writer!
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Yes, there is. In the mid-1980’s I was a municipal police officer in a small city. On a night shift we had been going to call after call where an u/k male had been committing acts of vandalism and waking people up at various homes and apartment buildings. We had a description of the male, but we hadn’t caught up to him. Finally, around 4:30 a.m. he’d hit a boarding house and when I got there first on the scene, I saw smoke coming out of one of the back units. The door was open, and the smoke was heavy and just hanging in the air about waist high, so I bent over and duck-walked under it to see if someone was lying on the floor. There was a fire set on the bed, and it was a pile of clothes. I could smell gasoline and just as I thought “time to get out of here!”, there was an explosion and I ended up thrown backwards and landed on my back on the grass outside.
I was fine other than surprised and grateful nothing happened to me and there was nobody in the room. And while the fire spread, we were able to get eight people out of the building before the fire department got there.
I used this situation for my heroine in the book. Someone sets the same type of fire to her room, after searching it, but I changed it up because the villain also attacks her from behind. I was lucky I ended up on the grass outside!
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I love the title of my book but it didn’t come to me as a brilliant idea, I played around with my thesaurus. Good old-fashioned Roget’s Thesaurus! I knew I wanted “Northern” as the first word, so I was looking for words that meant the same as “secret” or “treachery” and experimented with it till I decided I liked the ring of “Northern Deception”. And I was ready for my publisher to change the title because writers are told to expect that but Anaiah Press said they loved it, so I got to keep it.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
I’m so happy to share a Canadian story with my readers. I hope that some Canadian culture and experience shines through my book as well as a good story. And I hope that readers enjoy a good love story along with the theme of forgiving yourself that’s just as important as forgiving others.
Laurie Wood has followed her RCAF serving husband across Canada, raising their two special needs children to adulthood, and “keeping the home fires burning” while she began her writing career. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, where she’s finalled in several prestigious contests, as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes romantic suspense and historical novels.
Reunions can be deadly.
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.