Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is author Laurie Wood, talking about how wild animals, specifically polar bears. figure in her newest romantic release about murder on the tundra. Welcome, Laurie.
My new release, Northern Protector (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2), like the rest of the series, takes place in the actual town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. It sits on the southern shore of Hudson Bay, on the border of the sub-arctic and arctic wilderness. The population is about 900 people and they’ve learned to live with the migration of polar bears through their town in the spring and fall every year.
Polar bears live out on the sea ice from late November/December to late June/early July so they can feed on seals and keep up their fat stores. When they come ashore at Churchill and the surrounding area in mid-summer, they migrate westwards inland and either fast or live off of small prey like foxes and birds.
Churchill is called “The Polar Bear Capital of the World” because Canada is home to about 15,000 polar bears. They have an extremely keen sense of smell and can detect seals a mile away and buried under three feet of sea ice and snow. Their hearing is as acute as a human’s and their eyesight is good up to distances of two miles. They are the apex predator of the arctic and have no other rival besides humans.
The polar bear is an excellent swimmer and can swim an average of 6 miles an hour. In 2011, a satellite-tracked female bear swam for nine days straight in the Beaufort Sea for 425 miles, which is about the same as going from Washington DC to Frankfort, Kentucky. Unfortunately, the cub clinging to her back fell off and drowned on the way.
Whereas brown or black bears (including grizzlies) might maul a person, polar bears are predatory and will always kill a person unless someone saves the person from the bear. I placed my Heroes of the Tundra series in Churchill because of these fascinating facts about this magnificent but deadly animal, and used the bears to up the danger and suspense aspect of my books.
At the rate we’re losing polar bears world-wide to climate change, we may not have them in 25 to 30 years. I also felt the need to highlight their domain and their plight as an educational experience.
In the first book, Northern Deception, Constable Ben Koper is attacked and mauled by a polar bear in town during polar bear season. Northern Protector opens up during the summer right after, when he’s come back to Churchill and finished his recovery. It’s a story about murder on the tundra as well as how he falls in love with the head nurse in the ER at the Health Centre. In July 2019, I went up to Churchill for a week to research the town and area in order to give my readers the best reading experience I could. I hope you enjoy it!
By Laurie Wood
Constable Ben Koper is still healing from the polar bear attack that almost killed him. Nine months after it happened, he returns to Churchill, Manitoba, a changed man—scarred more than just physically. PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. He’s determined to prove, to himself and his colleagues, that he’s still up to his job. Failure isn’t an option.
ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with a healing Constable Koper. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, and she’s eager to level up their friendship and introduce him to the idyllic comfort of small-town life. Until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister, stirring old trauma Joy has never fully dealt with.
When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must confront their own demons, and join forces to track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim before it’s too late will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer, or will the past destroy them.?
About the Author:
Laurie Wood lives in Central Canada and writes inspirational romantic suspense with an edge of danger. She’s also a military wife who’s raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. They’ve lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When she’s not writing she can be found at her spinning wheel, knitting, or hanging out with her dogs in the garden. She loves to hear from readers and always replies so feel free to get in touch with her.