Do You Write In Season or Out?

Chalet in Norway

A reader asked me a question last week that got me thinking about the temperature settings in my books … not the ones that decide if a book is sweet, salty, or spicy, but the actual temperature and climate at the time the story occurs. She asked me if I considered the seasons and the time of year when I wrote a story. It got me to thinking. Do I? I don’t usually write holiday stories in and around the particular holidays because that’s when I want to sell them, but what about other books? Does when I write them reflect the current temperature? The truth is: it depends.

Weather plays a critical role in my writing, but not in the way you might think. Currently, here in Canada, we’re experiencing winter. So what does that mean? Well, last week it was -33 Celsius when I got up in the morning. To put that into perspective for my American friends, -40 C and -40 F are the same temperature. That’s where the scales meet. So, in a few words, it’s darn cold. With the wind howling outside and my longjohns on, what am I working on? A book set in July. Why? Because it will be released in April, and no one wants to read about winter then!

Winter Weather Woes

My latest romance and part of the Winter Weddings series starts in the fall and ends at New Year’s. Does weather play a role in it? Yes, very much so. A freak snowstorm near the Alberta-British Columbia border claims the lives of two people. The tragedy is the Inciting Incident in the story.

I’d been in that area of the country in early September, driving along the very road I describe, seeing elk along the side of the road and caution signs announcing animals, avalanches, or rock slides. Our tour guide described how treacherous the road could be in the winter. Storms can come up suddently even in the early fall, sometimes resulting in fatal accidents.

We were only home a few weeks when that very thing happened. Freak snowstorms in Alberta, massive floods in British Columbia–when Mother Nature pushes me in one direction, I can’t back away.

My YA Suspense Prove It! appeals to adults as well as teens and deals with betting on high school sports. How far will some people go to make sure their team or athlete wins? With the Olympics right around the corner, I wonder how many people will bet and lose?

It’s also a book that grew from a weather related incident. A jogger along the road was a victim of a hit and run. Why did the driver flee the scene? Was he or she impaired by alcohol or cannabis? Was he or she driving too fast? Or was it done purposefully, like in my book? Just before I wrote the story, we had a storm that covered everything, making it hard for joggers, runners, even power walkers to train outdoors safely. There was a hit and run invloving a young girl. Thankfully she wasn’t seriously injured.

The Power of Nature

In my Paranormal Romance Suspense, Hello Again, based on a Sioux Myth, it was Mother Nature herself who set the scene, with a little help from the spirits, of course.

When Charlie’s husband is killed in a motorcycle accident, she clings to the past, so much so that she refuses to move on. But the spirits have other plans for her. She needs to break a curse and right a wrong, but to do so she has to let go of the past. Drawn by a force she can’t explain, she heads to Saskatchewan, where she hopes to start over, but still carries the past and her husband’s ashes with her.

So how is weather involved here? At the time I wrote the book, there had been several severe tornadoes that had devasted both the American and the Canadian west. When Charlie is caught in a tornado, she looses everything she considers important to her, but finds so much more when she opens her heart to the future.

In my Contemproary Romance, Wedding Bell Blues, There are a number of natural phenomena in the story, but a tropical storm plays a key role in the Denouement. When MJ leaves home for her solitairy honeymoon on a Caribbean Island, she hopes everything will go well. What she doesn’t expect is to leave in a small boat during a rainstorm, where she imagines seeing a face staring back at her from the water. When she reaches her destination, she discovers there’s no room at the inn for her because her ex-fiance canceled the room she paid for. Now, stranded and humiliated, she runs into a past crush who offers to help her out.

What can possibly go wrong? Well, start with larger than life iguanas, a Quimbois priestess who claims she’s the key to breaking a curse, a missing pirate treasure with hunters anxious to find it, an evil bokor, and a mermaid–oh and the ex-fiance and his new wife–and you have a recipe for an interesting and at time hilarious story. When the tropical storm hits during the night, creating severe damage, things really heat up.

Suspense Goes Beyond Weather and Climate

I’m thrilled to be part of another awesome boxset with the ABB. Unforgettable Courage: Protection and Loyalty

When the stakes are high, and hearts are on the line
That’s the time you need UNFORGETTABLE COURAGE.

Presenting NINE high-octane romances!

From a missing president’s daughter to escaping serial killers, hiding from human traffickers to protecting a political target, secret agents and hostages to uncovering hidden murders and outrunning organized crime, these heroic men and women must dodge bullets and defeat baddies all while falling in love – not exactly a walk in the park.

Curl up with your Kindle and these thrilling, action-packed, full-length romantic suspense novels by the bestselling and award-winning ladies of The Authors’ Billboard.

Mimi Barbour – Special Agent Storm: How can a woman look into an ultrasound machine & see a baby growing in her tummy when she hasn’t been with a man for – well forever?!
“What do you mean I’m pregnant? Trust me, Doc. It’s impossible.”

Rachelle Ayala – Preying Heart: He’s a reclusive survivalist. She’s on the run for her life. He takes her in on one condition: that she never leaves his property.

Rebecca York – Life Force: What’s Matthew’s secret of living for over 500 years? Kidnapping his lady friend is just the first on the dying billionaire’s ways to extract cooperation from the immortal.

Patricia Rosemoor – Curse of Slater House: Tagline: Buried within the walls of Slater House lives a tale of lost love and not-so-accidental death.

J.L. Campbell – Taming Celeste: One woman’s quest to outrun her past leads her into the dangerous world of software piracy.

Susanne Matthews – The White Carnation: Can they catch the Harvester before he finds Faye and reaps another prize?

Taylor Lee – The Courage to Triumph: Caught in a hotbed of White Supremacist activists, both Ava and Luke become the targets. Not only do they have to overcome the constant danger, but Luke and Ava must decide if they can give their love a second chance.

Nancy Radke – Keeping Tatum Safe: What happens when two people with false identities fall in love?

Katy Walters – Lady Venetia’s Vow: Clinging onto the hope her fiancé is still alive, Lady Venetia vows to find him, even if she has to travel alone through war-torn Europe. A Regency Romance.

That’s it for this month. Wishing you all health and happiness. Enjoy Valentine’s Day with the one you love human or pet!

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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

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