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Interview with Laurie Wood

Laurie Wood's background as a female pioneer in Canadian law enforcement gave her a variety of experiences to draw upon for her romantic suspense series, including some real-life scenes that made their way into her debut release, Northern Deception.

Welcome, Laurie. What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
The theme of Northern Deception is “second chances”. The thread running through the story is that even though both Kira and Lukas have suffered tragedy in their past, they both have a second chance, not only to love each other again, but to work through their own personal tragedies and come out the other side. I hope readers will take away the message that God is always there to heal us, help us work through those tragic things that happen to us, and that He never leaves us even in our darkest hours.

You mentioned you never really knew you wanted to be a writer. What got you started, and what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, I meant that I’m not one of those writers who’ll say “I started writing at the age of three when I scribbled my first story in purple crayon.” I’ve seen those kinds of author bios, and I wasn’t writing that young although I won two city-wide contests in elementary school.

I had a variety of jobs before I got myself onto a municipal police force and made that a career. I journaled throughout that time which informed the first three novels I wrote after I was married and had children. I sold none of those novels but they were practice and that’s never wasted.
I joined Romance Writers of America in 1996 and through them the Toronto Romance Writers Chapter and the Kiss of Death Chapter (where I was Vice-President from 2005 to 2006).

When we had our children, I stayed home with them to give them the care they deserved because of their special needs. So the outlet that writing gave me, and the internet becoming a brand-new entity and allowing me to reach out to online “friends” by 2001, was a major factor in my publication journey.

Having that writing community online was my anchor when my husband joined the military as a second career. We uprooted and moved four times in seven years, all while our children were in their teen years, and it was chaotic at times. During that time, he also was deployed to Afghanistan. The writing friends I had online were always there for me no matter where I moved and most of them are still friends to this day.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
God has wrestled with me like He did with Jacob. I became a Christian in my late twenties and before I met my husband. I struggled with writing for the Christian market - I strongly resisted it. The Christian fiction I read in the 1990s didn’t interest me; I had zero interest in Amish fiction or “prairie romances”, as I called them. I wanted to write “cop novels” because I’d just left the police force and yet this was still the early 1990s and other than Dee Henderson (who kindly corresponded with me via email at the time), no one was writing anything suspenseful or crime-related.

Long story short, my first novel was historical and the other two were romantic suspense, but they were secular. They placed in contests and almost sold at one point, but it was a source of friction between my husband and I.

I quit writing for ten years. God put me in the desert. There was Afghanistan. There were the four moves across country with barely any breathing room for our family in between. Our family needed time to recover. However, God also drew me closer to Him during this time.

And I can’t tell you the “aha!” moment when I decided to “jump the shark”, as I told my husband and committed to write for the Christian market but there was a moment when I realized that my desire to write was back and that *this* was what I was supposed to be doing.

Northern Deception was still the hardest book I’ve written so far. It didn’t flow out of me the way the first three did. It challenged me because it’s an emotional book. It challenged me because I’m aware of who I’m writing it for, and the audience I’m writing it for, so just like becoming a Christian, making that decision didn’t make my life any easier!

You were a pioneer in law enforcement in Canada and earned several accolades while serving. How has that career trickled into the stories you’re writing? Any specific instances you can recall that have found their way onto the pages of your books?
When I joined thirty-four years ago, women were just being allowed to do full patrol work on the streets and even drive cruisers in Canada. There were five women, including me, in my class of 125 police officers. So, you can see my interest in including law enforcement in my stories because I’ve seen bad officers and some stellar ones.

The scene in chapter two where Kira finds a fire in her room really happened to me. We’d been chasing a guy all nightshift and kept missing him. He’d been pounding on people’s doors at houses and apartment buildings, waking people up and shouting drunken threats. We got a call around 4:30 a.m. (it was getting light as it was summer) he’d been at a rooming house and when I got there, I saw smoke coming out the window of a back unit. The door to the unit was open and black smoke coming out, just hanging in the air. So I duck-walked under the smoke because I saw clothes on the bed and thought it was a person lying there. I wanted to drag them out, but I saw it was just a pile of clothes that had been set on fire.Then there was an explosion, and it threw me backwards and I landed on the grass outside, looking up at the sky. I was fine but had ringing in the ears and was shaken up. Another cruiser arrived, and we got eight people out of the building before the fire department arrived. I got a citation for that night.

This is the first book in Heroes of the Tundra. What have you learned from writing a series?
It’s both fun and challenging. I love playing in this world I’ve created because I’ve come up with heroes I didn’t even think of when I started this book a year and a half ago. Setting it in a *real* small town in the sub-arctic is a challenge because in terms of the “suspense” angle I’ve limited myself. You can only get in to Churchill by rail, large commercial ship, or air. So escaping from or by the “bad guys” has to be via ATV’s or snowmobiles or trucks (no one has cars up there) on the tundra and you can see for *miles* and *miles* away, so you can see the bad guys coming - there’s no mystery there!

Some play in the books will have to take place by going south to Winnipeg. The beauty of a series is that you can expand the stories and take your characters wherever the story needs them to go.

What led you to choose the genre in which you write, and what do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I also write historical fiction, so we’ll see where the Lord directs my steps. As to my style of storytelling, I’m hoping that my voice resonates with readers and as I develop and grow as a writer that readers will continue to enjoy my books.

What was the biggest challenge once your husband switched careers and began the world-wide traveling with the military? What benefits did you and your family see during this time?
The biggest challenge was leaving the house we’d been in for eighteen years (for me) and moving. My husband is the one who’s done the world-wide travelling; the children and I’ve moved across Canada and back. The children took to it better than we thought they would although when he was deployed for fourteen months in Afghanistan that was extremely difficult. They weren’t able to comprehend why he was gone so long. (They both have Down Syndrome) And the lasting effect of that is when he’s gone now for much shorter periods of time, they become anxious.

There were benefits, however. We’ve seen parts of our great country we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We’ve been a part of some wonderful church families. And our children have become self-confident because they’ve had to adapt and put themselves forward in new situations. All of which has helped them to grow as people.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Our family time is precious and between the two kiddos we see every super hero movie Marvel and DC offers, and everything Disney/Pixar puts out. Otherwise, it’s Uno and Quirkle time, or video games with Dad.

I belong to a spinning group and by that I mean, spinning with a spinning wheel like in Sleeping Beauty. I also dye my own wool and silk fibers. I love to knit as well. And, of course, I read as much as I can!

Finish this statement: In the future, I will…
Figure out a way to write 6000 words an hour! (laughs) Wouldn’t that be wonderful for all of us authors? I’ve read that some authors can write up to 5000 words but even with Dragon Speak I can’t hit that mark. But a gal can dream!


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having an active imagination and a flair for the dramatic. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who works in the health & wellness and personal development industries, helping others become their best from the inside out. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and son, and a Shiba Inu-mix named Nova. She has sold over 20 books so far, three of which have won annual reader's choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

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