Lori Wolf-Heffner

Historical Fiction Author

A Multigenerational Series Based in Waterloo Region, by an Author from Waterloo Region


Between Worlds, a Young Adult Series Set in Waterloo Region

Juliana leads a normal teenage dancer’s life in Calgary: school during the day, dance in the evening and on weekends, and friends—especially Rachel—squished in to every spare moment she has. But when the family moves to Kitchener to live with Opa, who’s in the early stages of dementia, Juliana’s life turns upside down.

Lonely, Juliana searches for connection and finds its spark in the most unlikely place: a journal that belonged once to Elisabeth, Juliana’s European great-grandmother. Herself a teen in the wake of World War I, Elisabeth chronicled the aftermath of the war on her village and family.

Unfortunately, Elisabeth didn’t write in the journal; she drew pictures, and Opa is the only person alive now who can help Juliana decipher it. Can Juliana uncover enough before his memories disappear forever?

Between Worlds shares the journeys of two teens trying to navigate between the worlds of childhood and womanhood. Witness what fills them with anger, what opens their eyes, and what ultimately expands their hearts.

Landmarks in Waterloo Region

Juliana’s Home

And older couple dancing while others look on, at Bestival in Belmont Village, Kitchener, Ontario. Photo by Andrea Deering.
And older couple dancing while others look on, at Bestival in Belmont Village, Kitchener, Ontario. Photo by Andrea Deering.

Juliana and her family live on a street that’s bordered by Union, King, Westmount, and Glasgow. The house does exist, but I won’t give away the address here; others live there and that would invade their privacy. Although her school is fictional, it’s located where KCI is, and her aunt’s family also lives in the neighbourhood, though in a fictional house. Juliana’s dance studio is based on one in Waterloo, but only in layout, to make it easier to write the stories.

Because the first three books deal with Juliana’s move from Calgary to Kitchener, I’ve focused mostly on setting up her home and dance studio. In #4 What Friends Do, though, I begin to branch out, with two scenes that take place in a fictional café in Belmont Village. Belmont Village is on Belmont Avenue, which is lined with businesses on both sides of the street. North of Belmont Avenue is Westmount, and south of it is the neighbourhood Belmont, where Juliana lives. Belmont is undergoing a renewal process, so expect to read more about that as the series progresses.

The Waterloo Region Rubber Industry

As the series progresses, you’ll read more about the local rubber industry and its effects on our region. For my information there, I rely on Greg Mercer’s exposés in The Record. If you happen to know anyone older who used to work in those plants and would be willing to speak with me, I’d love to hear from them. My own grandfather worked at Uniroyal, but he died in the 80s, and I’d like to bring this aspect of Waterloo Region history to life.

Any Real Local People in the Books?

Aside from possibly quoting the odd local politician, all the characters in Juliana’s story are fictional. This gives me the freedom to create full characters without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings or invading their privacy.

Where to Buy Between Worlds

This series about young dancer Juliana and her great-grandmother Elisabeth is available in softcover, ebook format, and large print through all major national and international book retailers.

Indigo logo

Currently, #1 The Move, #2 The Distance, and #3 The First Step are on the shelves at all three local Indigo stores. Look for them in the teen section. (As of July 22, #4 What Friends Do has been ordered and will be in stores in 3 weeks. But you can buy it online beginning July 25.)

I’ve spoken with Mandy at Words Worth Books and they’ll be happy to order copies in for you. (Register your book club with them, and they’ll give you 20% off your book club’s selections. Conditions on their website.)

Special Price: Ebook Box Set

If you prefer ebooks to hardcopy, you can purchase the first three books (The Move, The Distance, The First Step) as a digital box set for only $9.99 from your favourite ebook retailer.

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