Happy Monday, Friends!
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I’m chatting with Laurie Wood today as we discuss her book, Northern Hearts. Have you read it? If not, add it to your TBR pile!
Toni: Welcome, Laurie! I’m so excited to talk to you about Northern Hearts. Tell us a little about your story?
Laurie: Thank you for hosting me today! The heroine is a very rich girl who’s grown up with everything handed to her. She’s trying to prove herself and that she can do something with her life besides what her controlling parents want her to do. The hero has lived in this small arctic town for the past ten years and is totally acclimated to it. He’s puzzled by why his business partner has left their Great Northern Lodge and Restaurant to this niece who she never met when she was alive, but he’s willing to work with her for the 30 days and try and make a go of things. She drives him to distraction, but being a Christmas novella, they do fall in love! You’d have to read it to find out the how’s and why’s though.
Toni: Sounds like a great story! What message do you hope readers will get out of reading your story?
Laurie: Well, first off, I hope they’re entertained by it because it’s a light, Christmas, Hallmark-type romance. And I think there’s a couple of messages in the story: follow your dreams, grow up and take responsibility for your life, don’t tread heavily in an environment where people don’t know you, and also that most of the time, what we *think* we want isn’t what God has for us. He always knows better than we do. 😊
Toni: I love Hallmark movies! Why should a reader choose your books if this is the first time they’ve heard of you?
Laurie: Wow, that’s quite the question! I write about the Canadian north – the sub-arctic where our polar bears live, among other wild animals. So, if people are interested in learning something about polar bears, or how life in Canada really works up north, or are interested in a story that might take on a deeper social issue at times, then they might want to take a chance on me.
Toni: I find the subject fascinating! Plus when I read your books I have something to bring to the polar bear discussion with my kids. 🙂 What life verse would your main character choose and why?
Laurie: Kali McIntyre has grown up rich, with a superfluous “religious” upbringing. She has what I’d call “head” knowledge of the Bible from summers at youth camp, but until she’s put in the situations in NORTHERN HEARTS, she’s never been tested with her “heart” knowledge of God.
So, I think if she was to chose a life verse *after* the end of the book, she’d choose:
“But from everlasting to everlasting
The Lord’s love is with those who
And his righteousness with their
Children’s children –
With those who keep his covenant
And remember to obey his precepts.”
Toni: Love that! What would be the verse that fits your story and why?
Laurie: “O Lord, you have searched me
And you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.”
Psalm 138: 1-2
I picked this verse because my heroine doesn’t really know God personally before the story opens. She realizes who He is during the course of the story, and while she’s estranged from her controlling father, she discovers that God is not like that at all. He’s the God of hope and peace.
Toni: He sure is! Who would you cast to play the characters in your book?
Laurie: For NORTHERN HEARTS, the heroine Kali McIntrye would be Kristen Bell, and the hero, Jake Miller would be Juan Pablo di Pace, who’s the actor from Fuller House. I used photos of them for inspiration as I wrote the book. I like to have photos to help me keep my head in the story.
I tend to like my heroes dark haired and brown-eyed, although that’s the farthest thing from who I married, which is hilarious.
Toni: That is pretty funny! So let’s talk about you. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Laurie: I knew I wanted to be a writer in high school, and I wrote a lot of short stories in high school and college. However, life intervened and I had to support myself so it went on the back burner for many years until I was home with my children and had time to devote to trying again.
Toni: I can understand that. What is your writing process like?
Laurie: My writing process is messy. I always start with the characters and spend a lot of time doing up character sketches and their Goal, Motivation, and Conflict charts. They have to become “real” to me in my mind before I can start to write the story. They have to grow and will change once I start writing, but I’ll spend a week or so getting the characters down the way I want them.
I also write “issue” books, although as I’m still fairly new in publishing that may not have been noticed yet. But I like to tackle a significant social issue, or medical issue, or racial issues in my stories and put my characters up against those and see how they come out, with God’s help. I prefer to read stories that are edgy and true to life, so I guess that’s why I like to write them.
Toni: Issue books are great in my opinion. Do you like coffee or tea?
Toni: Lol, you said that a little too enthusiastically. Chocolate or candy?
Laurie: Definitely chocolate!!!
Toni: I would agree. Beaches or mountains?
Laurie: I’m a beach/ocean gal, even though I live in the land-locked Prairies. I do love the water and being on the beach is so relaxing. I’ll gravitate to that kind of holiday every time.
Toni: Yes! What’s your favorite holiday?
Laurie: Definitely Christmas! I didn’t have happy Christmases when I was young so when we had our family, I made it my mission to have the most relaxing, fun-filled, and enjoyable Christmases we could possibly have. I love going to our Christmas Eve candle lit service, the stockings Christmas morning, and all the food that goes along with Christmas and the holidays.
Toni: I love that! What’s a normal writing day like for you?
Laurie: I don’t think I have a “normal” day. I try to get as many “new” words down on my WIP early in the morning because I find my mind is sharpest first thing in the morning. And then I can tackle emails, blog posts, advertising, etc. But if I miss that ‘window” and don’t get new writing done first thing, then it’s harder later in the day. I can edit, and I can outline, but the “flow” of new words won’t be the same. But, every day is different depending on where I am with my books.
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Toni! It’s been a real treat!
Toni: It was my pleasure! Readers, do you have any questions for Laurie?
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.
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.