The Sgt. Windflower mystery series is set in Newfoundland, on the eastern tip of Canada. Most of the action takes place in the small, but historic, fishing community of Grand Bank. I was born in Newfoundland and still go back to visit every year. I love talking and writing about my home province, and the series gives me a way to do that, through the eyes of the main character, Sgt. Winston Windflower of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It’s almost as if I can see the beautiful scenery through his eyes, and I, along with the readers, get to enjoy some fabulous meals together.
I especially like the part when Windflower discovers fish and brewis or the simple joys of partridgeberry jam on homemade bread. But I also like talking about the culture and history of my home province as he traverses that part of the world. I get to tell readers from all over the world about the history of Grand Bank, or when Captain Cook was headquartered in the bustling fishing town of Burin. Or that the town of Wabana on Bell Island, home of one of the largest underground iron ore mines in the world, was an old Beothuk Indian name for “place where the light shines first.”
For me, setting is very important. In fact, it’s about the only thing that I control. Sgt. Windflower came to visit me and my imagination out of the fog in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. He started talking, and I just wrote it down. Then other characters came along and my job was to keep them in line and organize their voices into some kind of order that would make sense to me and the readers of the series. But it all began with the setting.
Even the weather in Newfoundland plays a part in the series and has a major role in each story. That includes the ever-present fog that is either blanketing the whole area, or looming offshore, waiting to become the uninvited guest for dinner. Or it could be the snow storms that can last for days and strand people and communities, or the wind that at times threatens to hurl the whole rocky island into another dimension. The weather, like my home province, is unique and unpredictable. If you ever visit, which I hope you do, bring clothing for all four seasons. You might get that, all in one day.
Or you can visit Newfoundland by reading A Long Ways from Home, the new Sgt. Windflower Mystery. We’d be happy to have you. Maybe stay long enough for a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from the Mug-Up Café. That would be sun good, b’y.
Where to buy the books
All Sgt. Windflower books are available in Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada as well as at indie bookstores Sleuth of Baker Street (Toronto), Books on Beechwood (Ottawa), and Audrey’s Books (Edmonton). The series is available online at chapters.indigo.ca and on Amazon worldwide.