Christmas Novella Spotlight: Northern Hearts

Today I welcome Laurie Wood back to my blog. Laurie is author of the romantic suspense series, Heroes of the Tundra, set in Canada’s northern wilderness.

As we begin our interview today, Laurie, there is snow on the ground here in Michigan. A perfect setting for talking about your Christmas novella.

Let’s start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a military spouse and the proud mom of two special needs adults. I’m the author of the Heroes of the Tundra series with Anaiah Press, and my fourth book in the series, NORTHERN REDEMPTION, will come out in 2023. When I’m not writing, I’m usually spinning my yarn, knitting, or hanging out with my two dogs.

What is your novella, Northern Hearts, about?

NORTHERN HEARTS is my Christmas book in the series. The heroine inherits a hotel/restaurant in a small town in Canada’s northern wilderness. She and the chef have 30 days to work together to decide who stays, or who goes, or can they work together to continue her aunt’s legacy? It’s set in the real-life town of Churchill, Manitoba, which is the Polar Bear Capitol of the world. And yes, there’s a polar bear in the story!

My publisher, Anaiah Press, rebranded the series this year and designed new covers to feature my handsome heroes for each book. I’m excited to share the new cover for NORTHERN HEARTS below:

That’s a great cover. Very intriguing and what a handsome hero!

Let’s talk about your writing. Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?

I’m lucky to be “retired” so that my primary focus is my writing. However, I’ve struggled with several significant health issues these past two years and am still getting a handle on them. I carve out writing time first thing in the morning when I’m fresh after breakfast. I’m not one of those people who can get up at 5 a.m. and be productive! I need my two cups of coffee and a good meal in me before the creative Muse hits.

Who was your favorite character to create?

This heroine, Kali McIntyre, was so much fun to create! I made her a rich girl but gave her enough spunk and nerve that she wasn’t spoiled or a stereotype. She has her own dreams and makes her own decisions, even if they’re not welcomed by everyone else in the story. She learns from her mistakes. And she wasn’t looking for love, which I think a lot of twenty-something’s worry about too much, so when she found it, it was that much sweeter.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I’ve learned over the past five years to become a plotter. I come up with my characters first, and then figure out what their basic story is going to be, in broad strokes. Plotting out a simple outline and hitting the main turning points gives me a guideline to write towards on those days when my health problems are holding me back.

Also, even my publisher (who knows me) likes to get a synopsis of the book before offering a contract, so learning how to write a good synopsis is a wonderful skill to have in your toolbox. That means plotting your story out from beginning to end.

With NORTHERN HEARTS, I knew they had 30 days to figure out what they were going to do in regard to keeping or splitting the business between them, and I had 30 days to get them to fall in love. It was a fun problem to solve and I enjoyed writing it even though it didn’t have the danger elements my usual books entail.

Please share with us your favourite excerpt from NORTHERN HEARTS:

“He stopped himself from knocking on the closed office door, and entered, letting the door bang on the wall. Just enough to get Kali’s attention. Tripod settled into his corduroy dog bed under his desk.

Kali, however, was chattering away on the phone, her right hand bouncing up and down on the desk blotter, her entire body vibrating with excitement. When she hung up, she leaned back in the swivel chair and crowed out loud.

“Woot! I just made an order for one hundred pounds of veal and pork for Friday, November 30th!”

“Veal and pork? From where? And why?” Jake walked to the coffeemaker by the window and put in a dark roast pod, slamming down the lid. “Those are two of the most expensive meats you can buy, especially this time of year.”

Visions of their red balance sheet for December’s year end danced in front of his eyes.

“I know,” Kali smiled up at the ceiling, swiveling her chair side to side. “We’re going to make old-fashioned French tourtières – I have a fantastic Québécoise recipe – and if it’s too expensive, we’ll just cut the boar sausages from the menu. And the elk meatloaf.” She tapped her pen on her teeth. “I think we’ll add some Beef Wellington, too. Or, what do you think about using salmon instead?”

“You’re actually asking me for input?” He knew he sounded beyond irritated, but he’d never see her so wound up. Okay, she looked pretty this morning, like a cross between a princess and a New York power executive, with her dazzling blue eyes, blonde hair, and the new icy-blue fleece top she’d bought from Ruby’s. For the life of him, he’d never seen such a small woman with so much kinetic energy.

“I want to add avocados to the salade du l’hiver, as well.” She scribbled on a piece of paper.

“Avocados? We can’t afford avocados…Listen, first we need to talk about the Nativity sets.”

Her head bent over her work, she said, “What about them?”

He muttered a prayer under his breath and took a swig of scalding coffee. He noted the can of diet pop beside her computer. Huh. She’d given in to her caffeine addiction and coughed up the twenty-six dollars for a case of pop.

“Those Nativity sets are a Great Northern Lodge Christmas tradition. We have to put them out.”

“Why?” She kept writing, head down.

“Because, that’s what Cora did every year for the past forty-odd years, and people expect to see them. They were special to her. Little kids love coming to see them and touch them – some of them, anyway – and the staff is upset.

“The staff is upset? Whatever for?” Now, her head was up, those dazzling blue eyes staring at him.

“I believe you used some fighting words, such as old-fashioned, and tacky, and too religious.” He took another sip of hot coffee. Those eyes were killers. He wondered if she knew how attractive she was, or if someone with all her resources had known it since she was ten.”

©Laurie Wood 2019

You can buy NORTHERN HEARTS here

Thank you for being my guest today, Laurie. What’s next for you as an author?

This is Book 2 of my Heroes of the Tundra series. NORTHERN PROTECTOR, Book 3, came out last year.

Readers can keep their eyes out for NORTHERN REDEMPTION, Book 4, which will be out some time in 2023. It’s the story of Rory Gallagher, the brother of heroine Joy Gallagher from NORTHERN PROTECTOR. He owns a helicopter touring company in Churchill, Manitoba, and ends up trying to survive a crash with Lise Dumont, a Conservation Officer. They crash, get kidnapped, learn to do wilderness surgery, and have all kinds of fun!

I have a couple of other projects under way, and we’ll see where they land.

Where can readers find you online?

Readers can find me online here:


Sign up for my monthly newsletter there!



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