The fluttering of birds and wind whispering through the trees is quite simply a part of who Magi Nams is.
Her love of nature also inspired her debut novel, Braver Than You Know, written under the pen-name of Katie Ardea. Her very nom de plume was inspired by birds, as Ardea Herodias is the great blue heron, often seen in Manitoba where her novel is set.
“I wanted an intriguing plot with twists and turns and heart-pounding suspense that would create this delicious sense of uncertainty,” said Nams. “I always wanted to take a stab at fiction and I particularly wanted to write a love story.”
Braver Than You Know features rancher Lincoln Steele and his lover Kimberley Colter, a wildlife photographer battling a work-related trauma. Set in farmland on the slopes of Manitoba’s Turtle Mountain, the pair must overcome challenges including a love triangle and life-threatening situations.
Nams chose to set the story on Turtle Mountain because she and her husband, Dr. Vilis Nams of Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus, once lived in the area. Nams got to know the region intimately as her husband completed his doctoral research on the hunting habits of striped skunks.
“I love the natural world and wanted to make the setting come alive for readers, so they could experience it as though they were there,” Nams said in an earlier release. “And yes, my husband and I both got sprayed by skunks!”
Nams herself is a keen hiker and birder, who has previously written non-fiction. This includes an independently-published travel memoir titled ‘Cry of the Kiwi’, about a family adventure in New Zealand.
Her other works include articles written for the children’s magazine ‘Ranger Rick’ and various other essays broadcast on CBC radio.
Nams began writing Braver Than You Know in 2011, after attending a workshop hosted by the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. Over the next eight years, Nams “pecked away,” at her book before stepping up the pace in the last 18 months.
“I’m really pleased it’s out there,” Nams said of her book.
Originally from Alberta, Nams and her husband moved to Balmoral Mills, outside Tatamagouche, after the latter started working at Dal AC.
A book launch for Braver Than You Know will be held on Nov. 30 at Tatamagouche’s Fraser Cultural Centre, at 362 Main Street. It will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Braver Than You Know is available in print from Amazon, and as an e-book from Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.