Kicking off this feature is the lovely Laurie Wood and her Christian romantic suspense, Northern Deception.
Let’s start by learning a bit about you. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, what you write, etc.
My name is Laurie Wood, and I live in Winnipeg, Canada, which is the geographical centre of North America. How’s that for a Fun Fact? It’s true! It’s the exact geographical centre. And I write inspirational romantic suspense although I have some ideas on branching out into time-slip and/or thrillers. Too many ideas, too little time to write them all! I’m writing my third book for Anaiah Press, and they’re all set in Churchill, Manitoba which is 1000 kilometres north of Winnipeg, on the border of our Canadian arctic tundra.
Welcome, Laurie! We're thrilled to have you here today. So, let's get started, shall we? What does your character do for a living?
Kira Summers is a polar bear research scientist which is why she lives in Churchill, Manitoba. She’s just moved up there in my book NORTHERN DECEPTION, and she’s studying their migration route and keeping track of the bear population via their satellite collars. It’s her dream job as a scientist.
FUN FACTS: A female polar bear was tracked swimming nine days straight in the Beaufort Sea, for 426 miles, which is the equivalent of going from Washington, D.C. to Boston. Canada is home to about 15,000 polar bears. Adult males measure about 8-10 ft in length and females measure 6-8 feet in length. An adult bear’s foot is about 12” across and their claws are 3” to 5” long.
If your character could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I think if Kira could have any superpower, it would be telepathy so she could hear what the bears are thinking and understand them. I realize telepathy is usually a superpower reserved for other humans, but in this case I’ll make an exception and give it to polar bears!
FUN FACTS: Polar bears have a keen sense of smell and can detect seals nearly a mile away and buried under three feet of snow and ice. Their hearing is as acute as a human being and their eyesight is also good at long distances up to two miles. How’s that for some superpowers?
What thing annoys your character the most? Why?
People interfering with animal habitats and not believing in climate change which is affecting the Arctic circle. This is referenced in NORTHERN DECEPTION. For some reason, Churchill was built right on top of the polar bears migration route out to Hudson Bay and the Arctic ocean. This means the bears tromp through town beginning in July and ending early December.
FUN FACTS: In Churchill, it’s the law that your vehicle MUST be unlocked so that anyone can jump into it if they meet a bear coming on the street or out between buildings. When walking they can go around 6 km/hr. When they run, however, they can reach up to 40 km/hr!
What are the top three items on your character’s bucket list?
Hmmm, Kira’s got an adventurous spirit so here goes:
1) Because she works in such cold weather, a trip to Bali would definitely be on her bucket list.
2) Having children with her new husband Lukas, is on her bucket list too.
3) Traveling to Paris and seeing the Louvre museum and Versailles palace if she can convince Lukas to go – that would be her ultimate 15th anniversary trip!
FUN FACTS: I’ve never been to Paris or Bali and absolutely HATE flying, but the beauty of being an author is you can make your characters as brave or adventurous as you like. The only place I’ve been in Europe, was to Edinburgh, Scotland when my husband graduated with his MBA from Heriot-Watt University.
What is your character’s favorite holiday? Why? How do they celebrate it?
I’d have to say Kira’s favourite holiday is Canadian Thanksgiving. You have all of the special food: turkey, sweet potato casserole, gravy, dressing, pecan or pumpkin pie, without the pressure of gift-buying and decorating to the nines. All the yummy food without the snowy weather that often prevents family from visiting each other at Christmas time.
FUN FACTS: In Winnipeg and Churchill, there’s usually snow on the ground between Canadian Thanksgiving (the second weekend in October) and Halloween. Most kids trick-or-treat in their parkas with their costumes on top. And in Churchill, the Park Rangers and police officers are on patrol to prevent any children coming into contact with bears wandering through town. They also set up a perimeter of “bear monitors” on snow mobiles around town to prevent the bears from even entering town. They use “cracker” shells which emit a loud booming noise to scare them away.
Does your character have any children? How many? Gender? Ages? Names?
Kira’s husband Lukas has a three-year-old daughter named Sophie. She has Down Syndrome and is the light of their lives. Kira and Lukas will also have other children (someday) and if the series were to go on – and on, and on – then there might be a book about their offspring at some point.
FUN FACTS: Down Syndrome occurs about 1 in every 800 births everywhere in the world. It doesn’t discriminate between race or gender although there tend to be more boys than girls born with Down Syndrome. With the advances made in modern medicine, education, and society, people with Down Syndrome can live productive and happy lives in their communities with a life span well into their sixties. Only a generation ago, their life span was early thirties.
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Reunions can be deadly.
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.
Laurie Wood is a military wife who’s lived across Canada and visited six of its ten provinces. She and her husband have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood, and their son and daughter are a wonderful blessing to their lives. Over the years, Laurie’s books have finaled in prestigious contests such as the Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis. Her family lives in central Canada with a menagerie of rescue dogs and cats. If the house were bigger, no doubt they’d have more.
Thank you for having me on your blog, Kara for Fun Facts Friday! I’ve got an e-book copy to give away of NORTHERN DECEPTION to one lucky commentator today.