Congratulations on your new release!
Give us a quick one paragraph summary of your latest release, Northern Protector.
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— PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with him. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister. When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer?
Is this book part of a series, or a stand-alone?
This is Book 2 of my Heroes of the Tundra series. There’s also a Christmas novella in the series, called Northern Hearts, available as well.
Tell us why we’ll love your book.
Northern Protector (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2) is actually the third book in the series, if you count the Christmas novella, Northern Hearts. If you love romance, danger, suspense, police procedurals, smart 6-year-olds, and exotic wilderness locales, then you’ll love it.
The idea for Northern Protector took a lot of thought processing. I knew when I wrote the first book, Northern Deception, that the second book would be about the police officer who was mauled by the polar bear and whoever he fell in love with but I had zero ideas on what the central story would be around. First, I tried to pair him off with Sarah Thorvald, who was the Conservation officer who saved him by tranquilizing the polar bear. I wrote about five chapters and they just wouldn’t gel on the page for me. No chemistry!
Then I decided to re-read Northern Deception to get any other ideas, and one sentence leapt out at me. I described Ruby Gallagher, who owns the town Café & Emporium, as having a daughter and granddaughter who plays with the toddler who has Down Syndrome. These two had no names or history. It was just the one sentence to get little Sophie parked so that the hero and heroine in Northern Deception could go out and do their thing. But it leapt off the page at me and bang! I had my heroine for Ben Koper, and she had a daughter.
Once I had that, a vision of her came into my mind and the rest took me a couple of hours to flesh out her character and backstory. So, this book was tougher to write but once I settled on the question “What’s the worst thing that can happen to two teenage girls who go to a summer party at a cabin out of town on the tundra?”, I had my book.
What authors have inspired you to write?
So many authors have inspired me: Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, Susanna Kearsley, Laura Griffin, Karin Slaughter, Loreth Anne White, in the ABA market. Dani Pettrey, Lynne H. Blackburn, Jamie Jo Wright, Sara Davison in the CBA market
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
First, realize that your first book likely won’t get published, and that’s all right. I’ve seen some first books get published, and they were atrocious. However, the joy or high you feel after completing that first book is something I think you only experience once. I’ve felt wonderful after every book I’ve finished (I have three that haven’t sold) but nothing’s compared to how I felt after I finished the very first one.
Second, never stop taking writing courses. Not everyone can afford to go back to school to get a degree in writing/publishing, but there are plenty of reputable places, like Margie Lawson’s Writer’s Academy, for example, where you can keep learning about your craft. Writing’s a business and you’ll hear that ad nauseam. But it’s also an art and if you don’t have something to sell, all the book marketing and branding classes in the world will not help you.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
There’s something autobiographical in all of my characters, in each of the three books. Only someone who knows me well, or for most of my life, would know all the “Easter eggs” I’ve dropped throughout the stories. I think all writers do it. If you want a character to be authentic, it’s easier to write in some aspect of your character that you know deeply.
Then I take aspects of proper psychological profiles like Myers-Briggs and figure out what that character needs to be and what that character needs to learn *in these particular circumstances* that I’ve set up in the story. A story is just a specific period, so if you consider that your character is a “real” person, then that “real” person is going to learn and change and ebb and flow throughout their lifetime.
Other than that, I was a police officer in the 1980s but I did interview the RCMP in person up in Churchill in July 2019 because while basic investigation techniques don’t change I wanted to make sure I had all the details right for how they’d cope with the raw environment up there, as well as any possible new technology that’s come along in the past 30-odd years.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I’ve been extremely lucky. I titled all three books and came up with the series title on my own, and my publisher loved them. I know that’s often not the case, or rarely the case. This may never happen to me again in my career!
Are you working on anything new? Tease us a little bit!
I have two projects on the go but it’s too soon to talk about them. It might jinx them! But my readers will always get a dashof danger and suspense, no matter what I write.
Where can readers find you online?
My Website: https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com