Friday, September 11, 2015

Get Lost in the Past with Mairi Norris

Today my guest is historical romance author Màiri Norris, a US Navy vet who lives in Virginia with her USCG retiree husband and three cats. She sets her stories in all eras from Viking to Edwardian.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to read, travel (her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland) and make dollhouse miniatures. 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.

Mairi has agreed to give one lucky winner a copy of her new medieval romance, For Love of the Rose, so do leave a comment and let us know your email.

She has graciously agreed to answer my questions, so here we go!
1.     How often to you get lost in a story?

Every day, for fun and research! I read before I sleep, and any other spare time I can find. Fave genres: historical romance, old sci-fi and western, mysteries and romantic suspense.

2.     What’s the first book you remember reading?

I can’t remember back that far, lol, but if had to choose, it would be Calico Captive. Based on the true story of a young girl in Colonial America taken captive during the French and Indian wars, it told of her life among the tribe that took her. They named her “Corn Tassel” for her white blonde hair.

3.     What’s your favorite cartoon character?

Hands down, Wile E. Coyote!

4.     In a story, what turns you off like nothing else?

A selfish hero/heroine who commits actions that put others, especially the one they claim to love, in jeopardy. True love is selfless, giving and sacrificial.

5.     What was the first story you remember writing?

Long ago, I wrote a story entirely in my head. It was about a young American girl with an unconventional upbringing who joined the French Resistance in WW2 as an explosives expert. Her nom de guerre was “Ghost”. The Nazis were after her and she fled to North Africa, where she masqueraded as a male and joined an American hit-and-run patrol fighting Rommel’s troops, but was captured by a German oberleutnant. They fell in love, but then she got rescued. They had to work out all the expected associated problems to find their HEA. I may put the story on paper, someday.

6.     What’s your favorite movie of all time?

A trilogy: Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s entire Hobbit series (from Silmarillion to Return of the King) is my all-time favorite book series. Seeing it come to life in the movies was like discovering magic is real. I cried like a baby when Frodo took ship for Valinor.

7.     Be honest, when you put yourself in the heroine’s role?

Well, an author has to “get inside a character’s head” to write from their POV, so I’d say, the short answer is ‘yes’.

8.     What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Without you, I might as well not bother to write. For me, writing is like the best English scone, but my fans are the Devonshire cream and lemon marmalade that make it exquisitely edible.

9.     If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?

Paleontologist. Interior designer/decorator. Or polyglot translator. Oh, shoot, if I had the chance to do it over, I’d be all three!

10.  What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Make dollhouse miniatures. That’s my hobby, and it relaxes me.

11.  What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?

I can’t imagine a better color than sky-blue.

12.  What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s basket?

Healing herbs and spices. Linen cloths (for cleansing, binding, etc.) Whatever potions, unguents, or other items she needs for the day.

13.  Which already filmed movie represents your writing style?

Fascinating 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.

He killed her beloved husband.

Or did he?

When former Saxon rebel Cynric of Wulfsinraed meets Ysabeau Maci, he knows he has found the woman of his dreams. But even as he begins his determined pursuit of the lovely Norman widow, his past abruptly returns to haunt him.

Two years earlier, in a raid by Saxon rebels, Ysabeau’s husband was killed by a warrior with hate-filled emerald eyes. Cynric’s moss-green gaze reminds her of that awful day. As she comes to know him, she cannot resist his gentle smile or the thrill of his touch, but the feelings he arouses are increasingly tinged with fear he may be the green-eyed warrior who destroyed her life.

Their uneasy relationship is further tested when Cynric’s best friend, Brunwulf of Blackbridge, who shares Cynric’s rebel past, flees to him for sanctuary with his betrothed, Heagyth of Jorvick. Hard on their heels is a troop of Norman warriors intent on capturing them to face the judgment of King William.

Ysabeau’s suspicions, Heagyth’s flight from Norman justice and Brunwulf’s involvement in the assassination of a powerful Norman bishop force Cynric’s hidden past into the open. The resulting conflict threatens to rip their world apart before they can build the new lives they covet.

Excerpt from For Love of the Rose, Book Two in Ballads of the Roses:

“You say your daughter needs new work for her hands, Sir Bernard," Cynric said. “Has she a special skill?”
“She was housekeeper for seven twelvemonths in the home of her lord. She is welcome to stay with us for as long as need be, but still I regret I know of no holding in need of one so capable as our Ysabeau.”
Cynric stopped and stared at the reeve, then remembered to close his mouth. No coincidence was this, but the intervention of the Fates. By the time Bernard turned back to see why he was no longer at his side, the smile he could not contain was wide. “I believe I may have the answer to your daughter’s need, Sir Bernard. ‘Tis a happy chance that Romleygh is currently in need of a housekeeper. Rather desperately so, I fear. Aye, ‘tis truth,” he said at the hopeful look on the reeve’s face. “My lord Vesli did task me with the search for a woman to fill the role once I came here. Methinks he would be most unhappy did I return without fulfilling his charge.”
Bernard grinned and slapped him on the shoulder. “I find this state of affairs most satisfactory. We will speak of this soon to Ysabeau. Does she agree, you have your new housekeeper.”
They resumed their unhurried walk toward the cottage and Bernard smiled. “Look there, ‘tis my daughter now. See, she speaks with the children.” His smile faded. “Alard runs away, anger in his stance.” He sighed. “Despair haunts my daughter’s heart. I love Ysabeau, Cynric. I want to see her whole again, and content. Do you be but kind to her, ‘twill be enough.”
Cynric barely registered the old man’s words. The woman watching her son stalk away was, in his eyes, the most enchanting female he had ever seen, even though unhappiness etched the flawless skin of her face. Like one of Gemma’s pink roses in full blossom she was, no child but a mature woman with comfortable, motherly curves that prompted feelings both carnal and compelling, among them a startling need to ease her pain. From within the depths of his soul surged the certain knowledge she was the one for whom he had waited all his life.
So taken aback was he, for no woman had ever made such an instant impact upon his senses, that he thought he must struggle to answer his companion, only to find the words came easily.
He spoke without taking his eyes off of her. “I doubt not, Sir Bernard, your request will be the easiest task given to me since my birth.”

Keep up with Mairi on her website, Facebook and Romancing the Eras. And see her book on Amazon.


  1. Thanks for joining me, Mairi... so good to have you here!

    1. I love being with GLIAS again, Regan. Thanks for having me!

  2. Great excerpt, Mairi! Sounds like a terrific book--I can't wait to get into it. Best of luck.

    1. Thanks, Barb! I hope you enjoy it - and thanks for stopping by.

  3. What a fabulous excerpt! Love the cover too.

    1. I love that cover, too, Collette! Thanks for coming by.

  4. What a great interview! I loved the excerpt. For Love of the Rose sounds wonderful. Best of luck with it.

  5. I love the comfort with which you manage to move through the centuries, Mairi! And of course I love your covers, too, particularly, for now, the one on For Love of the Rose.

    1. Thanks, Beppie! What a lovely thing to say. Glad you stopped by.

  6. It's always fun to get inside your "POV", Mairi. The cover of for The Love of the Rose is beautiful!

    1. I'm so glad you like the cover, Allie. It's by Dar Albert. She's a great cover artist!

  7. Love the cover and your excerpt :) can't wait to read this one!

    1. Thank you, Patty, and I hope you like it! Glad you stopped by to visit.

  8. sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com