Over twenty years ago in June, my husband and I left our kids with his parents while we paddled the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit with my sister and brother-in-law.
116 kilometers — that’s 72 miles. 9 days. 7 portages.
Lakes and rivers. Paddling and portages. Wind and calm. Rain and snow.
Sore muscles. Fabulous food. Amazing wildlife.
So many memories came back to me this spring as I looked back through the photos of our trip and read through the journal the four of us (mostly me!) had kept of this trip. I was preparing to write the third Riverbend novella, Sweet Serenade, the story of two canoeing guides, and needed to immerse myself in those amazing days.
At first, I intended to send my characters to the Bowron Lakes. Then I debated fictionalizing the circuit and bringing it closer to the town of Riverbend. In the end, I settled for stealing a variety of tidbits and scenarios and letting the characters be as amazed and fearful as we were at times.
The capsizing canoe? Happened. The bear and moose fight? Happened.
We always meant to go on another multi-day trip and, this time, take our kids, but it never happened. Surgery, a move halfway across the province, a new career or two, buying a farm, and being diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease all interfered with that desire. We no longer own a canoe — a long story that involves a fire!
It was such a delight to relive those paddling adventures as I wrote Sweet Serenade. I dug out our copy of Song of the Paddle by Canadian canoeist, artist, environmentalist, and believer Bill Mason. I poured over techniques for running rapids and reminded myself of what the various watery obstacles were called.
I’m sure avid canoeists might find some errors in my descriptions and presentations, but hopefully none so large they’ll detract from the story. Because first and foremost, Sweet Serenade is a romantic story of two people who love the outdoors. Who find their joy and strength in nature, and who happen to call the fictional town of Riverbend home.
Sweet Serenade will release in July, but you can get it two weeks earlier by ordering the box set Splash! 9 Refreshing Romance Novellas Filled with Faith. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy all the water-themed stories my co-authors and friends have written, as well!