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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Journey to Churchill

By guest Laurie Wood
Journey to Churchill



           People have asked me if Northern Deception is the “book of my heart” and it is in the sense that since I began writing for the CBA market, I’ve felt a calling to write books set in Canada. This was the hardest book I’ve ever written up till now. It’s also the first book I’ve written for the CBA market, and I’m sure that's why it was so hard to write.


            The idea for Northern Deception came in stages. I didn’t want to make my first hero the “standard” Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer–or “Mountie”–even if the red-serge uniform is a Canadian icon. I kept joking to my husband that when people think of Canadian men, they think of RCMP officers on horseback or lumberjacks in red flannel shirts!

Journey to Churchill

             One weekend we took our kids to the local Zoo and their favorite part is the extensive polar bear exhibit. We have six rescued polar bears from Churchill, Manitoba which is 1000 kilometers north of Winnipeg. These bears were orphaned, or they came into a human/bear interaction and then didn’t stay away from town after being flown further up north by helicopter, so our Zoo brought them down. And as we were enjoying watching the bears, it hit me: what’s another famous Canadian icon? Our frozen Arctic with our polar bears! And my hero who owns a wilderness guiding tour company in Churchill, Manitoba stepped into my mind, full blown and ready to tell his story. 

Journey to Churchill

            So, I had a hero who owned a wilderness touring company and a heroine who was a polar bear scientist - now the problem was what to do with them? Churchill is home to an international science center where scientists come from around the world, along with university and high school students, to study the arctic ecosystem, and do various research projects. It took a while for me to figure out what to do with this rich location because science is NOT my strong suit! Eventually with research I developed a suspense story based on what could go wrong with a pristine environment that’s already under stress from climate change.
             Churchill, Manitoba is just on the edge of the parallel where the sub-arctic turns into the arctic in Canada so I’m hoping people will enjoy learning about Canada. It sits on the same parallel as Juneau, Alaska and Inverness, Scotland, and yet we still have another 2,794 kilometres of partially inhabited Arctic north of it that reaches to the North Pole.

Journey to Churchill

            For my love story, I did a reunion storyline because it’s one of my favorite romance tropes.I think people with some baggage deserve a second chance at working things out! I also wanted to cover a serious issue in a Christian book in a way that a non-Christian might pick it up and read it and say, “I didn’t think Christians thought that way”, or “I didn’t realize things like that happened to Christians”. And I was fortunate that Anaiah Press agreed with my take on the issue and let me run with it. 
            And the hero also has an adorable three-year-old toddler who has special needs. She’s based on my own daughter at that age. So, if you know of anyone who’s got family or friends with someone with special needs, you’ll love little Sophie. It was a joy to include a character with a disability.
            Weaving all the romance, suspense, back story, and faith threads together was challenging because my other novels were secular. They flowed out of me with ease, and yet none of them sold. I felt as though every word had to be ground out of granite with this book. And yet, I’m humbled by the positive response it’s gotten. The hard work and heartaches have paid off and I hope people will enjoy the suspense and love story and the takeaway of forgiveness for yourself and others. And I hope readers will gain an appreciation for my home country of Canada!
*****
Laurie will be giving away a PDF copy of her book today! In the comments, please let us know you'd like to be entered. Now let's celebrate Laurie's debut!
Journey to Churchill


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.

Journey to Churchill
About the Author:

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.



The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek

The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek
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by Jan Drexler

My next book releases tomorrow, September 18, and I’m busy working on the second book in the series, so I thought we’d talk a bit about how this series came about.

This post isn’t a lesson on how to write a series – it’s a narrative about how your series could be written.

We’ll start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!)

Two years ago this week, I was at ACFW 2016 in Nashville. Maybe I met some of you there! One of the things I enjoyed was a breakfast meeting with my editor from Revell, Vicki Crumpton, and Michelle Misiak and Hannah Brinks from Baker’s marketing department (Revell and Bethany House are both part of Baker Publishing.) We discussed my current series at the time (The Journey to Pleasant Prairie) and bounced around some ideas of what my next series might be.

From that meeting, I had an inkling of what this next series should be…but that was just the beginning of my work. I had a lot of research to do before I could think about submitting a proposal.

I knew this series would be about the Amish, and I knew it would be historical, so I started reading through my research materials. I found a book called “Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War” by Lehman and Nolt, and I knew I had my time period. As I continued my research, I discovered that there were Amish who fought in the war – very few – but that fact was the nugget. The series was born.


The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek


I created a place – Weaver’s Creek in southern Holmes County, Ohio. Then I created a family – the Weavers. I gave the family members names. Abraham and Lydia are the parents, and they have six children (four of them married) and nine grandchildren. Then I started thinking about which family members would be the main characters for the three books in the series.

Wait a minute…back up. At the same time as I was creating this family and their neighbors, I was thinking about the scope of the war, the setting (central Ohio), the political climate of the time, and the coming schism in the Amish church. All of those things also needed to be included in this series. 


The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek


Let’s think about what a series is:

It’s a group of books, each telling an individual story within a larger story arc. The series might consist of many books (like the House of Winslow series by Gilbert Morris which has forty titles!), or only a few. Most series published now are three or four books long, although with indy publishing, a series can be as long as an author and readers wish it to be.

The larger story arc for The Amish of Weaver’s Creek is the Civil War. The first book starts in the spring of 1862, when the war is a year old, and I think the third book will end around 1866, a year after the surrender at Appomattox. 

Once I had developed my time line, I found three major historical events that would serve as the background for each of the three books in the series. Then I determined who the lead characters would be. Finally, I created a brief synopsis for each of the books. 



The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek



My proposal was ready. I submitted it through my agent. My editor liked it (yay!), and she took it to the publication committee. They approved it (yay again!) and offered me a contract (big yay!)

Now I really had to get to work. The first book is done and ready for readers, but the second book in the series is due October 1st, and the third book is due in October 2019. It is work, and it gets pretty hairy sometimes (especially this close to a deadline!) but it is always wonderfully rewarding.

This is my dream job, and I am always, always, grateful. I am enjoying an embarrassment of riches!


The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek

Now, let's talk!

Do you read series? 

Do you like series that revolve around one character and one story, or a series that has a distinct story for each book but are related through the setting and characters?

Have you ever attempted to write a series? Do you think you ever will?


One commenter will win a copy of “The Sound of Distant Thunder,” the first in The Amish of Weaver’s Creek series. 



The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek
Order Here!
Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents' insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother's name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother's place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?

From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.
Journey to Churchill The Birth of a Series: The Amish of Weaver's Creek

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