Looking for Christmas? Romance? Suspense? Don’t miss Northern Hearts (Heroes of the Tundra) #anaiahpress #countdowntochristmas #amreadingromance

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 she’d changed her will or that she had a niece who will 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.

Welcome, Laurie!

If you haven’t checked out Laurie’s wonderful romantic suspense series, Heroes of the Tundra, now is the perfect time. The first three books are available and book 4 is coming in October 2023!!! Great news!

Tell us how your characters celebrate the holidays

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers from the book, but I did base the final scenes on how the Town of Churchill, Manitoba, really celebrates Christmas. They have a huge artificial Christmas tree decorated in the centre of the Town Centre Complex, which is about three city blocks long. They contain everything in town in this Complex: a 100-bed Health Centre, the library, the movie theatre, bowling alley, daycare, recreation centre, and municipal offices.

The week before Christmas Eve, they hold an “everyone’s welcome” party with food, a craft fair, and the main event is Santa arriving. Santa brings one toy for each child up to the age of eighteen in town. It might be the only gift a child gets, but the town makes sure that each child gets a gift.

So, I incorporated that party into the end of NORTHERN HEARTS, because I felt even though Santa makes an appearance, it shows the reality of living in the north and everything being so expensive that people often can’t afford toys and gifts for their children.

Does you hero have a favorite Christmas carol or movie? Does your heroine?

This is a great “get to know you” question that I hadn’t considered when I wrote the book. My hero, Jake Miller, receives a first edition copy of the book David Copperfield from his business partner, who’s died from cancer. In the book, I could only call it a “Dicken’s first edition” because my publisher doesn’t use brand names or proper titles as a style issue. But Jake was a foster child most of his life and I wanted to use the David Copperfield book as sub-text to show that his old partner would’ve understood what that story would’ve meant to him.

As far as a favourite holiday movie or carol, I think he would’ve loved “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and maybe “Elf”, because that movie has Will Ferrell searching for his “real” father in New York. And Jake says he’s over his roaming childhood, but I don’t think we’re ever really healed of childhood trauma, which is why I include it as a sub-theme in all my books.

My heroine, Kali McIntyre, comes from an uber-wealthy family and without giving away spoilers, she’s not steeped in Christmas traditions. I think her favourite holiday movie would be “Home Alone” because flying to Paris for the holidays would be something her family would’ve done, and they were definitely self-involved enough that they could’ve forgotten to take her along! And as for a favourite carol, I think she would’ve loved “Silent Night”, because as a kid she would’ve been staying up late listening to all of her parent’s interminable, meaningless, “Christmas” parties and she would’ve loved some peace and quiet.

What is the theme of this book? If it’s part of a series, how does this book fit into the series?

The theme of NORTHERN HEARTS is “finding your family”. Again, I’d be giving away too many spoilers, but Kali’s on the hunt for a missing family member she never knew about, and Jake, as I mentioned, grew up without a stable family. And so, finding family in a super-small town like Churchill (which really exists) where there’s maybe 900 people in the off-season, at the most, and healing old family hurt and trauma, is a big part of this story. I tried to keep it light and more of a sub-theme because it’s a Christmas story.

It’s Book 2 in the series: Northern Deception is Book 1, and Northern Hearts takes place in the Christmas right after the end of Book 1. Northern Protector, which is Book 3, takes place the summer after Northern Hearts.

Why do you write this genre? What inspired this story? Do you write any other genres?

I adore romantic suspense. I grew up reading it—I have first editions of every Mary Stewart book except for “Touch Not the Cat”, and I read all of Phyllis Whitney’s books, and Victoria Holt’s books. And I read both inspirational and secular romantic suspense as an adult. I need some suspense, danger, or mystery with my romance or else I get bored!

The inspiration for this story was the question: “what is family/who is family?” and that’s a theme I go back to again and again. I find it fascinating and rich and something that resonates with readers.

I’m not yet published in historical romance, but I have written a couple of books in that genre.

Any tips to share with fellow authors/aspiring authors? What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

Write about what interests YOU and what drives YOU. It might not be trendy or “to market” but if you sell it, you’re going to be asked to write more books like it, so you’d better enjoy writing about it.

 For example, I consider this series my “polar bear books”. And I loved researching polar bears, and wilderness survival, and my husband and I traveled north to the edge of the Arctic to the town of Churchill for research.

So, pick something that interests you enough to get you out of bed in the morning, and if it interests your husband enough to travel 2000 kilometers with you to check it out, all the better!

The best advice I’ve ever received was from my mentor, Tina Radcliffe. She once told me, “Listen to what your gut is telling you, because that’s really God speaking to you. Pay attention to it.” And I’ve taken that to heart and since then, I don’t think I’ve ever been steered wrong about a decision.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

My favourite Christmas tradition is practicing Advent leading up to Christmas. I love lighting the candle each Sunday and reading the Scripture associated with each week. I usually read a devotional book during Advent as well. It slows me down during the busy season and keeps the focus on Jesus.

Finally! Real Christmas tree? Or fake?

We’ve had an artificial tree for years. The current one has white “flocking” all over it to look like it’s laden with snow at the ends of the branches. Our kids call it their “Narnia” tree because it’s so nice and white. One of our cats tried to climb it the second year though and broke one of the main middle branches so now there’s an enormous gaping hole that I have to hide.

I like not having to remember to water it, and I think it’s environmentally better to have an artificial one. When our cats cross the Rainbow Bridge, we’ll buy another tree just like this one.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauriewoodauthor

Twitter:     https://twitter.com/LaurieJeanWood

Website:    https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com

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