Today we sit down for a chat with inspirational romantic suspense author Laurie Wood.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I started writing seriously in the late 1990s when my children were in elementary school and I had more time during the day. I joined Romance Writers of America in 1996 and took a lot of their online classes. My first novel was a medieval about 110K words and it hasn’t been published, but I got a couple of “close calls” with two romantic suspense novels I wrote right after that book.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I belonged to RWA till 2006 and then took ten years off because my husband had made a career change and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as an officer. We moved about four times across country, plus he was deployed to Afghanistan at the height of the war in 2010, so my writing took a back seat. We have two special needs children, and they needed my complete attention. In 2016, I tried writing again and entered another RWA contest in 2017, coming in second in my category. Then I sold my first romantic suspense novel in March 2018 and have sold a novella and another novel since then.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m traditionally published with Anaiah Press, which is a small Christian publisher. I participated in #FaithPitch on Twitter in February 2018, and they requested a full manuscript from my pitch. I sold to them a month later.
Where do you write?
I wrote that first novel in my Heroes of the Tundra series at my dining table. It’s an antique table and not ergonomic at all. I had aching shoulders and wrists from using my laptop on it. So, after I sold that book, my husband surprised me when I went away on a ladies' retreat with our church for the weekend. I came home and there was a beautiful glass desk in the corner of our dining room. Now I have files hidden in an old credenza and some in a microwave cart. It’s not an office, but I make it work.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
(Laughs) I may be showing my age, but when I was in my forties, I could write to music, but not anymore. I have noise-canceling headphones, also courtesy of my husband, to drown out the “living” noise in our small house. I can’t concentrate on words and music at the same time. It works for me because when I put on the headphones, it’s like a signal to my brain that it’s time to work.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I was a police officer in the mid-1980’s so there are definitely parts of my characters and plot issues that are drawn from actual life. I don’t think authors can help themselves from incorporating bits and pieces of situations from real life into their work. Violence against women is a theme in my stories, and second chances. And in my most recent book, Northern Protector, the hero suffers from PTSD and painkiller addiction from his polar bear attack. Those are two things which are issues in the law enforcement community as well as the military community we live in now. So, I wanted to shine a light on them.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I named all three of my heroines for family members. I love their names and wanted to honour them by naming my heroines for them. We have some unique names in our family, so I can see using more of them in future books. I don’t know a Lukas, but I know a Ben, who was very helpful to me with my bear research, so he was immortalized as the hero in this book.
And as both of my kids have special needs, I imagine I’ll have them as lead characters in future books as well.
Real settings or fictional towns?
Churchill, Manitoba is the setting for all three of my books, and it’s an actual town on the southern shore of Hudson Bay in Canada. It’s on the border of the sub-arctic and the arctic. I’ve been there, so it was wonderful to use it as a real setting, and my publisher loved that I could do it as well.
I may set future books in fictional Canadian towns, or I may choose to set them in larger Canadian cities.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Hm...I gave one character in Northern Hearts the quirk of collecting nativity sets, and she ended up with forty-eight of them. I don’t tend to have them do things like twirling pencils or rapping three times on the door before opening it.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I’m probably not too quirky, either! I tend to drink my coffee cold and will put an ice cube in it even in winter. I love purple and bought myself a purple fountain pen and purple ink imported from Japan, just because, which my husband thought was a bit self-indulgent. But hey, if you can’t do that after three books, when can you?
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Just about any book written by Susanna Kearsley. I own all of her books and re-read them all the time. My favourite is The Winter Sea, and I just re-read it for the fifth time in November. They’re time-slip novels, and clean but not inspirational ones. I met her at a book signing here in my city a year ago. She said her book contracts give her one year to travel and do her historical research and one year to write and turn in the book. Look her up! If you love time-slip and history, you’ll love her books.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I’m happy with my life. I can’t say I’d do anything over.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Anti-maskers. Don’t even get me started!
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A knife, flares, and a working radio. 😊
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Before my husband joined the military, he started working for a financial investment firm. I started working in the deli of a grocery store to help with his base income while he got the business started. It had been a while since I’d worked, but going from being a police officer to the social dynamics of who-was-who in the pecking order of the *deli* (it was like Mean Girls In High School) was the worst job I’ve ever held. I’d never worked an entry-level job like that back in high school or college, so it was beyond me that you had to work two yearsbefore you could dump macaroni salad into plastic containers and then weigh and price them. Horrible! But in this pandemic our grocery store workers have proven how essential they are and that we can’t live without them.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. It’s about an author who rents a cottage in north-western Scotland by the sea to do research for her historical novel and is thrown back in time via her “ancestral memories” into a love story that will just wrap around your heart and not let go.
Ocean or mountains?
Ocean all the way. You can’t beat it for soothing relaxation.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
There was a time when I would’ve loved living in the country on an extensive property and having a ton of animals, but I’m passed that now. When this pandemic lifts, I’m going to enjoy all the amenities our city offers that we’ve given up for the past year: the concerts, theatre, movies, baseball, and hockey. And our parks, museums, and art galleries!
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’ve got a couple ideas for some single title books and an idea for another series. First, I need to have cataract surgery and get back to normal. That’s going to be wonderful!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I live in Central Canada and writes inspirational romantic suspense with an edge of danger. I’m also a military wife who’s raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We’ve lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I’m not writing, I can be found at my spinning wheel, knitting, or hanging out with my dogs in the garden. She loves to hear from readers and always replies so feel free to get in touch with me through my website. https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com
Also, I hope readers enjoy the adventure aspect of my books, and that I try to write about real-life issues. I hate stories that are trite or don’t go deep enough. I hope people feel free to share my books with non-Christians friends and family because of the real-life issues. I’d like non-Christians to read them and be surprised that a Christian book actually tackled them.
Heroes of the Tundra, Book 2
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?