Author: Nancy Morse
Page count: 100
Award-winning author of traditionally published and indie historical and contemporary romance novels.
Tell us about your book:
This is a Native American contemporary romance about having the courage to trust in love.
How long did it take to write the book?
What inspired you to write the book?
I was inspired by an article I clipped from The Indian Trader many years ago about a little girl who was at the center of a custody battle between the white woman who adopted her years earlier and the Sioux Tribe. When the woman’s husband, a full-blooded Lakota, died, the tribe felt the child would have no tribal influence in her life and sued to regain custody. There was no follow-up article, and I always wondered how that issue was resolved, so I decided to write a book about it and give it my own resolution and, as with all romance novels, a happily-ever-after ending.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
My writing routine is simply to go with the flow. When the ideas and words are flowing, I can finish a chapter from first draft to final in a matter of hours, so I don’t feel pressured to adhere to a schedule. I often work on 2 books at the same time, so if the words aren’t flowing on one, I switch to the other. I research before I begin writing to get the flavor of the period and place, and then research as I go. For my historical novels I use information taken from journals and first-hand accounts. I like to unearth little-known tidbits from the historical record and weave them into my stories. My decades-long interest in Native American culture and history, particularly that of the Plains tribes, helped with my historical romance WHERE THE WILD WIND BLOWS and with this contemporary release.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Although I write about falling in love, I believe that having hope is the most important thing in life. You can live without love, but I can’t imagine living without the hope of finding love. I would like readers to come away with the belief that if you have hope, all things are possible.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Smashwords (distributed to B&N, Sony, Kobo, Apple, Diesel) http:/www.smashwords.com/b/257344
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My website http://www.nancymorse.com and you can follow me on Twitter @NancyMorse
Excerpt from book:
As they sped along the road leading back to the ranch, she struggled to keep her emotions under control. She hadn’t been alone with him since the afternoon in the barn when they had kissed. That evening dinner had been a tense affair, with Mary Beth chatting away while she had kept her eyes averted, not daring to look at him across the table. It was only because Mary Beth had wanted to spend a couple of nights with her grandmother that Kate was alone with him now. She felt her nervousness growing as the wind whipped the hair into her eyes. “Does it ever stop blowing?” she grumbled.
“The wind is a living force in and of itself,” he said. “It has a power capable of speaking to those who would hear it. Open your ears and listen to its voice. Watch its path and know it as the soul of a divine being sweeping across the land.”
“I never thought of it that way,” Kate muttered. Just as she never thought a man’s kiss could reduce her to liquid the way this man’s kiss had done. Just the thought of it sent the blood rushing through her veins and a heated blush to her cheeks.
“You have to be attentive,” Russ said. “The Great Spirit is everywhere, in all things, even in the wind, and we must be attentive to His presence.”
“It’s hard to be mystical where I come from,” Kate said.
“There’s nothing mystical about it. It’s a way of life. The idea of spirituality is simply to be in tune with everything around you.”
He spoke in a low, respectful voice. He appeared calmer, his fingers relaxed around the steering wheel, dark gaze caressing the scenery beyond the window.
“We teach our children to feel connected to nature and to see nature as a traditional part of their spirituality. If you’re attentive to nature, it will provide all the teachings you need.”
This was a side of Russell Night Horse she had not seen before, a glimpse into his Lakota nature, revealing a tenderness and a reverence she had never seen in Richard. She wondered how it was possible for the two men to be brothers and yet be so different. This man didn’t run from what he was but rather embraced it. But that did not mean he was invulnerable to betrayal. She’d seen it in his eyes when he told her about his ex-wife and heard it in his mother’s voice when she alluded to it.
“Your mother thinks you work too hard,” she said.
“She’s always telling me that.”
“Why do you?”
The only hint that she had touched a nerve was the faint whitening of his knuckles as he gripped the wheel tighter. “Work helps me forget.”
Kate let her head fall back against the seat, and murmured, “But do we ever really forget?”
“Are we talking now about me or about you?”
She turned her face toward the window as memories of Richard came back as hot and strong as the wind.
“Don’t blame yourself for what happened to him,” Russ said.
“I don’t. I just wish there was something I could have done to help him.”
“Yeah, well, some wishes aren’t meant to come true.” His voice held a trace of bitterness.
“Are we talking now about me or about you?” she asked.
He gave her a wry look at having his words echoed back at him.
Kate reached around behind her seat and pulled out her camera bag. “I hope you don’t mind if I take some pictures.”
“There’s a real pretty spot up ahead. We can stop there if you like.”
“No, that’s all right. I have what I need right here.” She removed the cap from the camera and snapped on a close-up lens.
“Hey, don’t point that thing at me,” he complained.
“Haven’t you taken enough pictures of me working the team?”
“I’ve been thinking. When I first met your brother, I was there to do a photo essay on modern-day warriors. You know, inner city Indian activists in the modern world. But what about the others? Men like yourself who didn’t leave the reservation but stayed to work on it and embrace the old ways along with the new?”
“Don’t make this about me,” he said.
“Why not? This place is about you. This way of life. You’re more of a modern-day warrior than any of those others. Now hold still and don’t talk.”
Disregarding his protest, she lifted the camera to her eye and began to snap away. The close-up lens caught the fine lines and details of his face, the way his thick lashes fluttered when he blinked, the muscles tensing at his jaw, eyes the color of the night blazing straight ahead.
He was uncomfortable being the object of her close scrutiny and relieved when she lowered the camera to her lap. “Those pictures on the wall back at your house, did you take them?”
She nodded. “I caught your brother in a rare moment. And it’s always fun taking pictures of Mary Beth. When I get back home, I’ll send you some.”
Too late she realized what she said and regretted it when he tried to hide his disappointment by turning his face away. She found his reaction confusing. Surely, he didn’t expect her to stay here forever. She spoke up quickly to break the sudden tension.
“When I look through the viewfinder of my camera, it’s as if nothing in the world exists except me and the subject.” She groaned inwardly, for she hadn’t meant it to sound so intimate, especially since the subject she’d just been looking at was him.
“You’re good,” he said.
“Thank you. Taking pictures makes me feel like I’m a part of it all, sort of like what you were saying. When I snap on a wide-angle lens and take a picture of the countryside, it’s as if I’m surrounded by it. Everything seems so much larger than life. Colors are sharper and clearer.”
“Do you take pictures only of beautiful things?” he asked.
“Ugliness is just as much a part of life. It’s about bringing reality into sharp focus.”
He slowed the pickup and stopped along the side of the road. “Those trees over there. What do you see?”
“A stand of pines.” She snapped on a wide-angle lens and looked through the viewfinder. “They’re growing tall into the sky toward heaven, but they’re also reaching out to each other. The small ones are growing right next to the big ones as if for protection. There’s a birch climbing up underneath a big pine. They’re not mean to one another. There’s no cruelty among them. They’re all just sharing the same space.” She moved the camera to a spot beyond the trees where the ground had been cleared. “What’s that?”
“The trees in that area were cut down for lumber to build houses.”
“Oh. I suppose the houses have to be built, but still, the bare spot is a wound on the land.” Her voice rang with sadness.
She snapped a few pictures of the trees and then lowered the camera. When she turned back to Russ, he was staring at her with an unfathomable look upon his face. Unnerved by his stare, Kate lowered her lashes and said shyly, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to go on like that.”
He steered the pickup back onto the road, not knowing what to say. He hadn’t expected her to see the trees the way he saw them, as a living, breathing family with the old protecting the young. Or for her to express sadness at the sacrifice of the trees for lumber. It was as though she were seeing the landscape through his eyes. She was so much more complicated than he imagined, like a riddle daring to be unraveled, and it only made him want her more than he already did.
Russ struggled to wipe his feelings from his face as a wild yearning seized him. He ached for the safety he might find in her arms and for the notion, however crazy it might be, that she would not break his fragile heart. Her scent drifted to him on the wind and he had to fight down a wave of desire so savage that his hands shook. What was it about this woman that had him going against his resolve to remain unaffected? Whenever he looked into her beautiful blue-gray eyes he fell deeper into a pit of longing. He’d been alone for so long he’d forgotten what it was like to be connected, not to the land in the Lakota way, but to one special woman the way a man needed to be.
This woman was his wife. But he didn’t want a wife in name only. He wanted a wife to share his life and his dreams, to fall asleep next to at night and wake up beside every morning. A wife who understood who and what he was–Lakota. He cast a quick glance at Kate who rode with her head back against the seat, brown hair tossed by the wind, eyes closed and her cheeks tinted pink by the sun. She was the kind of woman he had always hoped to find but never believed he would. She was smart and resourceful and beautiful”…and white. What were the chances a white woman would want someone like him? Were the betrayals they had both suffered enough to bridge the gap between her world and his? Despite their marriage ceremony, as brief and impersonal as it was, would she always be his brother’s wife? The thought lingered all the way home.