Go Behind the Scenes with Harlequin’s Canadian Authors!
by Dana Grimaldi, Associate Editor
Let’s celebrate Canada Day with some Canadian book trivia! For example, did you know that Manawaka, the small-town setting for many of Margaret Laurence’s novels, was based on the town of Neepawa, Manitoba? And did you know that Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood was inspired by real-life murders that occurred in Upper Canada in 1843? Alright, bub, you’ve impressed me, but how much do you know about Canadian authors who AREN’T named Margaret? Read on for fascinating behind-the-scenes trivia from some of Harlequin’s Canadian romance authors! And stop by the comment section to share your own Canadian book trivia!
J. Margot Critch, author of Taming Reid
Miami Heat, my new series for Harlequin Dare, is set in a family-run rum distillery in Miami, Florida. The idea of writing about a rum distillery came to me a couple of years ago while touring a distillery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As I took in the sights, smells, and atmosphere of the facility, the idea for the series was sparked. I was so wrapped up in the idea that I barely paid attention to the rest of the tour. Since that day, I’ve become interested in the technical ins-and-outs of rum distillation, and I’ve enjoyed more than a few delicious cocktails. Whatever you have to do for research, right?
Sean Michael, author of Born of Air
Quincy from Born of Air is a third-generation baker, and one of his grandfather’s inventions in the book was a square doughnut with raisins called a dutchie. This is a real doughnut that was my absolute favorite. You’d often find me walking to the local Tim Hortons and getting two—one to eat as I walked home and one to eat once I got home.
Unfortunately, Timmies no longer makes them and I haven’t found anywhere else that has them. But I haven’t forgotten how yummy they were, and to commemorate them, I put them in Quincy and Mark’s story.
Patricia Johns, author of Their Mountain Reunion
When I turned forty, I decided I wanted to write an older heroine—a woman my own age. I wrote Their Mountain Reunion right around my fortieth birthday, and it felt great! I realized I could actually go a lot deeper into a character who had lived longer. The heroine had more depth, and the hero was a lot more attractive to me! There’s something about a rugged man who’s lived long enough to know what he wants and how to treat a woman right.
Michelle Sagara, author of The Emperor’s Wolves
I was asked in March of 2017 to be part of ThePixelProject.net’s charity drive (to raise funds to prevent violence against women), and I agreed. When the charity and I were considering different items that could be offered for monetary donation, I had an idea: what if I sold a charity prompt for a short story?
This seemed like a great idea. Readers could choose one thing and I would write a short story about that. It could be dragons, elves, etc., but it could also be an existing character or setting.
The choice was Severn Handred. No problem. I had ideas and a rough background of events—I could write about those in more detail.
But when I started, I remembered why I haven’t written a short story of any kind in years. The short story became a novelette, which became a novella, which became…well, The Emperor’s Wolves, the first of the books centered around Severn.
And yes, the person who donated for the short story prompt did get to read the submission draft.
Barbara Dunlop, author of The Dating Dare
Canada’s north provides inspiration for each of my Harlequin stories. I draw on sweeping mountain vistas, the neighborhood bears and moose, the community spirit, plus the vibrancy of an urban nightlife in a contemporary city. The Missing Heir called directly on my arctic lifestyle by featuring an Alaskan hero. From Temptation to Twins was built around a rustic forest-set lifestyle. The Dating Dare, set in a large southern city, drew on the extended family ties and cutting-edge restaurants in my northern community. That’s the diversity of Canada—a foundation for any story, anywhere in the world.