Friday, February 27, 2015

Get Lost in Historical Romance with Màiri Norris

From the wild, beautiful landscape of the moorlands of England's North Yorkshire to the rolling bluegrass pastures of Kentucky, one young woman's passion carries her from love's first bloom to a love everlasting.

On the brink of womanhood, Katherine Fairbanks glories in the sweet love of the boy next door. When her life is brutally ripped apart by tragedy, she believes she will never love again and seeks only peace for her life. But betrayal sweeps her across the sea and lands her in the hands of a man she dares not trust.

Thoroughbred breeder Jayce Langston has little interest in taking a wife. His time is consumed with the struggle to help his family recover from the devastations of America's Civil War. When a beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by thugs drops in a deep swoon at his feet as he leaves a New York club, Jayce is both captivated and intrigued. He returns with her to his Kentucky stud farm in hopes of learning her identity. 

Together, they must work against terrifying odds to secure a future where love triumphs over loss.


Mid-1860's Kentucky

    In the early hours of the night, the violent reverberations of thunder shook the house, waking Katherine from a sound sleep. Somewhere close, a loose shutter banged. Rain slammed against the windows as if trying to break through the fragile glass panes. The wind roared like a whole pack of banshees.
    Katherine hid herself, curled into a tight ball beneath her covers. She clasped her hands over her ears, trembling and whimpering as Abbey used to do. An eerie howl commenced and quickly escalated to a ghastly shriek. It was only the wind, but she buried herself deeper.
    It wasn’t the first time she’d done so since she’d been at Langston Hall. Storms came often to the area, though this one was the worst. Furious with herself for her childish fears, she nevertheless could not overcome them. The turbulent weather was a catalyst for memories still too painful to bear.
    She nearly leaped from the bed when, in the midst of the storm’s tumult, she felt herself caught up, blankets and all, into a powerful embrace. Strong hands pulled the covers from her face.
    From the darkness came Jayce’s deep, calm tones. “Don’t be frightened, Kate. Go back to sleep. I’m here.”
    He made himself comfortable on top of the bedclothes, his body wrapped around hers, offering warmth and the security of his arms.
    “Jayce!” Uncaring that he should not be there, she buried her face in the smooth hollow of his throat. Despite the raging elements, her trembling eased. She drowsed, and then slept.
    When Bess woke her to bright sunshine the next morning, there was no sign he’d been there. Had she dreamed his presence, and the comfort he gave?
    She dressed and hastened to the office. Jayce was at his desk, writing. She stopped in the doorway.     He looked up, and in his dark eyes glowed tenderness tinged with a gentle mirth.
    She sat at her own desk and picked up a pen. “Jayce? Thank you.”
    “It was very much my pleasure, Kate.”

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Meet Màiri

Màiri Norris is a USN vet who lives in Virginia with her USCG retiree husband and three cats, though her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland. She loves to read, travel, and make dollhouse miniatures when she's not busy writing. Màiri made up stories in her mind from childhood. Her mother taught her to read at age six, when she discovered a whole new universe to explore through books. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Chesapeake Romance Writers, Beau Monde and Clan Donald, USA.


E.E.: How often do you get lost in a story?
Màiri: as often as possible! I read constantly, both for fun and research. Historical romance is my favorite sub-genre, but I also enjoy the old sci-fi and western writers, mysteries (I'm a sucker for Donald Blain's "Murder, She Wrote" stories) and romantic suspense.

E.E.: What turns me off like nothing else?
Màiri: The one thing that will result in my setting aside a book and never returning to it is a H/H who for selfish reasons commits actions that put others, especially the one they claim to love, in jeopardy. True love is selfless, giving and if necessary, sacrificial.

E.E.: Is there a "blooper" in one of my stories?
Màiri: Lol, oh yes. Sometimes it seems impossible to prevent the occasional mistake, no matter how carefully we research. For instance, in my post-Conquest medieval, Rose of Hope, I call Wulfsinraed, the home of my heroine, a "burh" (loosely meaning a fortified village, a town set aside by the king for the purpose of defense). I didn't discover until shortly after I published Rose of Hope that while there were 33 royal burhs created by Alfred of Wessex, not one of them was in Essex, where my story is set. Eventually, I may republish the story and fix that small error. In the meantime, I'm allowing "creative license" to rule!

E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? What kind?
Màiri: I sometimes do, yes, if I can find music evocative of that particular story. When I was writing Viking Sword: A Fall of Yellow Fire - The Stranded One, I listened to the theme song to The History Channel's "Vikings" and to Wardruna, a Norwegian music group. For An Edwardian Christmas Tale: Loft At 22nd Street I listened to historic Scottish songs. I also love Adrian von Ziegler's Celtic and Medieval style music.

E.E.: If you were given a chance to travel to the past, where would you go, and why?
Màiri: Viking England (as long as I could come home again, alive and well, lol). I am utterly fascinated by the ancient Norse people and their culture. Life was so very difficult in that time, but they faced it with a singular courage and resilience. Incredible warriors, merchants and seamen, they were among the best of all three. But what draws me most to them was their curiosity. Yes, the promise of wealth did lead many among them to risk life and limb to travel to new places, but the desire to learn of different peoples and of new lands also sent them across the waves. I understand that sense, that longing for learning and adventure.

E.E.: Which already filmed movie represents your writing style?
Màiri: Hmmm. Interesting question. I think perhaps Frenchman's Creek with Joan Fontaine and Arturo de Cordova, with maybe a little of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings mixed in.

E.E.: What would we find in your heroine's purse?
Màiri: My heroine, Katherine Fairbanks, would have a book inside her purse, as she loves to read. She might also carry the usual things: a handkerchief, a bottle of smelling salts (for other ladies - she is no wilting violet), her keys, watch and comb, a little pocket money, and perhaps a small sewing packet with a needle, thread, scissors and thimble (to repair tears to those hems!)

One last question, this one for our readers…and to make it more interesting, I'll be giving away an e-copy of To Dream of Langston to two of our responders.

In a sense, most historical romance books are fairy tales. In light of that, what is your favorite among the old fairy tales (I think my favorite would have to be The Little Mermaid)?

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Mary Preston said...


I have always enjoyed BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. It can be quite a dark tale, but I do like a good redemption story.

Màiri Norris said...

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites, too, Mary. I loved the old story itself, the tv series and the Disney movie! Thanks for stopping by!

Màiri Norris said...

Thanks so much, E.E. for having me on GLIAS! It was fun. said...

I agree with you, Mary. A long time ago (about 1978) there was a made for T.V. movie starring George C. Scott and his wife, Trish Vandevere. It was beautifully done--a tale that put you into the medieval fantasy. There were a lot of gripes about how Scott was too old to play the part, but his gravelly voice was perfect for the Beast. Ms. Vandevere's portrayal of Beauty was perfect. She wanted nothing so much as to be allowed to leave the castle and return to her home...she thought. When she finally returned home she realized her great loss and fought hard to return to the enchanted castle and the Beast. When she finally reached the castle she found the Beast near death. It was one of the best played scenes I've ever had the pleasure to watch. Màiri, your wonderful stories are evocative of that beauty. You never fail to keep me on the edge of my seat with your hero and heroine's desperate plight and make me weep with the loss your heroine faces. I'm still recovering from having read the first part of Langston and haven't yet faced the rest of the book. Your others, however, I've read and devoured. You have a true storyteller's talent.

Beppie Harrison said...

Great interview, and you picked one of my favorite scenes for the excerpt. I particularly enjoyed the next-morning bit at the end. Lovely writing.

Linda said...

My favourite is Beauty & the Beast & of course Disney made it even more special. I love how the heroine redeems the hero, how unimportant physical beauty is & how love triumphs all.

Alanna Lucas said...

Great interview and I love the cover!

Collette Cameron said...

I love Beauty and the Beast!!

Màiri Norris said...

I'm blushing, Cate, but thank you so much! I urge you to finish To Dream of Langston, though. I think you'll find - what is it they call it today? "Closure".

Màiri Norris said...

That scene is one of my favorites, too, Beppie!

Màiri Norris said...

Beth Trissel's lovely daughter did the cover for me, Alanna (I'm sorry she is out of doing covers, now!)

Màiri Norris said...

Oh, and I'm so glad, Linda, that true love sees beauty as something beyond the physical, or I'd be in trouble, lol.

Màiri Norris said...

It seems Beauty and the Beast is a great favorite among many. Sacrifice and acceptance are such wonderful themes.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Mairi! and welcome to GLIAS and congratulations on the book. I love the excerpt!

Barbara Bettis said...

What a wonderful excerpt! I vote for Beauty and the Beast, as well. Cate, I think I recall that TV show with George C. Scott, but not enough to remember the scene you mention. Now I wish I had a way to view it again :)

Quilt Lady said...

This sound awesome, I live in KY so I really enjoy books set in KY.Also enjoy books with horses. I will have to look for this one. Entering under the name of Virginia.

Colleen C. said...

Love the book's cover! :)
Fairytales... love them... Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and The Beast are some of my favs! greenshamrock at cox dot net

E.E.Burke said...

Welcome to GLIAS Mairi! I'm delighted to be showcasing another writer of American historical romance. My favorite!

Speaking of Vikings (your time travel pick), my daughter plays video games and she started one that is based on Viking lore, and that's how she got me hooked on it. LOL.

Beauty and Beast is my favorite fairy tale, and I find myself weaving those themes into the books I write. Little Mermaid is awesome, too. Although the original ending is sad (as are many original fairy tales).

Thanks for being my guest today!

Màiri Norris said...

Glad you liked the excerpt, Vicki!

Màiri Norris said...

I was thinking the same thing, Barb, that I'd like to see it. I looked for it on Amazon but couldn't find it.

Màiri Norris said...

My husband and I took a visit to Kentucky, Quilt Lady, to the small town in northeastern KY that was my inspiration for the book. I must have taken a thousand photos, lol.

Màiri Norris said...

I love Sleeping Beauty, too, Colleen. Author Beth Trissel's lovely daughter did the cover for me.

Màiri Norris said...

I enjoyed it, E.E.! (...and I like most anything Viking). Thanks again for having me today!

bn100 said...


bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Anastasia Abboud said...

I agree with everyone else about the cover -- just beautiful! Loved the interview and look forward to checking out the book!

Quilt Lady said...

Sorry I forgot my email quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

I hope you enjoyed your trip, I live in the southern part of the state

Màiri Norris said...

Ah, a classic! Have you ever seen Gilligan's Island version of Cinderella? To me, it's a classic, too, lol. Thanks for stopping by.

Màiri Norris said...

Thanks, Anastasia! I hope you enjoy To Dream of Langston. It is the "book of my heart".

Patty Koontz said...

What a lovely post, ladies :) Congratulations Mairi! I loved reading To Dream of Langston, and I can see why it's your favorite :) And I too agree, the cover is stunning! I wish you much success with all your books! and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites too :) Congratulations again!!!

Màiri Norris said...

Thanks, Patty. Needless to say, I love hearing when someone enjoys one of my books!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Fantastic excerpt and post!! I enjoyed it!! Wishing you all the best!!

Màiri Norris said...

Hi Vonda! So glad you stopped by.