Hi, Màiri, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about To Dream of Langston:
Babette, it’s great to be with you today. Tapadh leibh (“thank you” in Scots Gaelic) for this opportunity to visit with you. To Dream of Langston is the story of one woman’s love, her triumph over life’s most difficult challenges, and of her courage as she dares to follow her dream and reach for the desire of her heart.
Blurb: 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, young 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 thoroughbred stud farm in hopes of learning her identity.
Together, they must work against terrifying odds to secure a future where love triumphs over loss.
What inspired this story?
I wrote To Dream of Langston at a time of personal tragedy when I needed a way to deal with grief. Pouring all those pent up feelings into the life of the heroine was incredibly cathartic, but also added layers and depths of emotion to the story that would not have previously been possible.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
My WIP is a new historical romance entitled The Loft At 22nd Street, set in 1906 America, with a murder mystery sub-theme. I’m indulging my love of things Scottish by making my protagonists of Scottish descent. I’m excited about this newest book and am having a great deal of fun writing it. I hope to have it finished in time for Christmas, but if not, it will be my first release for the New Year.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share?
I just released my debut novel, To Dream of Langston, on September 30! It’s a dream come true.
What are your writing goals for this year?
To finish The Loft At 22nd Street. My first goal in 2014 will be to rewrite, and publish Rose of Hope, the first book in my series Ballads of the Rose, set in post-Conquest England.
How do you come up with ideas?
They usually find me, lol! The idea for The Loft At 22nd Street was triggered by a huge banner hung on the side of a new condo building in the downtown area of a nearby city. An icon on an ancient map inspired an upcoming Viking story.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The research. The sheer joy of putting on paper the “movie” I see playing out in my head.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I’m a true panster. When an idea hits, I mull it around for a while to see if it has potential. If it does, I just sit down and start writing and let my characters take it from there. I’ve learned to let them tell their story their way, though I admit sometimes we play tug-‘o-war, else they’ll get carried away. I, of course, never have that problem.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Setting my own hours, lol. After many years working on someone else’s time, it’s wonderful to be my own boss.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
The personal tragedy of my heroine, Katherine. It’s the hardest scene, but it’s incredibly powerful. Even now, years after I first wrote it, I am reminded never to take life for granted. It’s too precious.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
With difficulty, lol. I often research/write 10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, so I take breaks every two hours during the day to do a bit of housework, chat with family/friends, get a little exercise—whatever needs doing. At least one day during the week is reserved for special time with my husband.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Scotland. The Highlands. Inverness and Skye.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
Beef stroganoff. My recipe.
What do you like to read?
Historical romance. Sci-fi. I adore “Murder, She Wrote” mysteries.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
No. I need quiet to focus. However, at this moment, it’s not yet quite dawn, and I’m in my office in the sunroom, listening to the morning chorus of birdsong. Sweet music, indeed.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. My three adorable, exasperating cats.
2. Scouring antique shops for anything (affordable, lol) that catches my fancy.
3. Saltine crackers. Chocolate.
And now, Màiri has a question for you all: I enjoy building twelfth scale dollhouse miniatures. What’s your favorite hobby?
Katherine promptly wrapped her arms round Jamie’s waist. She trembled as if with a chill.
“I love you so much,” she said into his shirtfront.
It took a bit o’ doing, but he got his hand under her chin and lifted, surprised to find tears in her eyes. She pinched her bottom lip tightly between her teeth, but still it quivered.
“I love you, too. Forever and a day.”
A sudden thought caught him, a memory from the tales o’ the old days in the Highlands that his ma told afore the fire on winter eves. He caught his breath. Would she agree?
“Kate, I’ve an idea.” Excitement jogged his words like grasshoppers gone mad.
Sure of her attention, he said, “Would ye handfast wi’ me? Here, now?”
She blinked, and looked a bit dazed, as well she might. ’Twas a daft idea, but the more he thought on it, the more certain he was o’ its rightness.
“You want to handfast? But it’s not a legal ceremony.”
“Aye, sure, I ken. But it would bind us forever and a day. Would ye no’ like that?”
“I thought handfasting was for ‘a year and a day’.”
“Och, it depends on the time and place. But just between us, I’d rather we promise forever. What say ye?”
The glory o’ her smile had his heart thudding.
“I’d like it very much. Shall we do it up here, with the wind in our hair and the entire dale in our sight, or down by the pond, where we can hear the splash of the water.”
“Which do ye want?”
He laughed. “Weel, since it isnae legal and we’re doin’ it all helter-skelter like, I reck it willnae matter if we do it twice. It will just make it twice as bindin’. Give me the ribbon from yer hair.”
In no time, her braid was unraveled.
“Now give me yer hand.”
He spoke as he wrapped the ribbon—fiery copper to match the strands in her hair—around their wrists in a loose figure eight. “I, James MacCorkin, will take ye, Katherine Fairbanks, to my wedded wife, forever and a day, and thereby I plight my troth to ye.”
With the last word, he finished the binding. Her hand trembled within the warmth of his. He tightened his grip, thinking he could happily drown in the luminous joy infusing the blue depths o’ her eyes. The breeze freshened, playing with his hair but performing a dance o’ sheer glee with hers.
She spoke her vow and in the saying, he discerned the unswerving devotion o’ her soul.
“I, Katherine Fairbanks, will take thee, James MacCorkin, to my wedded husband, forever and a day, and thereby I plight to thee my troth.”
Jamie’s left hand slipped into his pocket. “It’s tradition for the handfasted couple to exchange gifts at this time. I…I brought this for ye, meanin’ to give it to ye this day. Now seems a verra appropriate time.”
He opened his fist. Upon his palm lay a golden circle, smooth and unadorned. “It’s no’ the ring I wanted for ye, but it was bought wi’ my own coin. I meant it for our betrothal, but now it seals our handfastin’, too. See ye, I had it engraved wi’ our given names on the inside o’ the band.”
He slid the band onto her finger. His gaze returned to her face, where sparkling tears veined cheeks glowing blush with the wind and the strength of her ardor.
“It’s just…so b-beautiful, my darling. The day is beautiful, and the ceremony and the ring, and you are beautiful! But I have no gift for you.”
She thinks me ‘beautiful’?
Jamie tried to convince himself the heat washing over his face was naught but too much sun. Still, a man could be called worse, even by the woman he loved.
“Ye’ve gifted me wi’ yerself, Kate, wi’ yer future and sweet love, and I need none greater. Besides, ye couldnae have known we’d be doin’ this. O’ course, I wouldnae fuss if ye gave me somethin’ later.”
She laughed, and he wiped away the traces o’ her tears. “There is one gift ye can give right now, my Kate.”
Standing as she was on the hill a little below him, she had to lift onto her toes to reach him. The kiss was gentle, sweet and as binding as their vows.
To Dream of Langston is available at: Amazon.com
Bio: Màiri is a USN vet who lives in the Hampton Roads metropolis of Virginia, though her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland. She loves to travel and has dreams of moving to Inverness with her Coast Guard retiree husband and three cats, and to that end is studying Scots Gaelic.
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 never looked back. She is now thrilled to be putting some of those stories into print.
She makes twelfth-scale [dollhouse] miniatures as a hobby when she is not busy writing.
She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Clan Donald, USA.
You can find Màiri at:
Goodreads: Màiri Norris