Inspiration for the Book: Eye of the Beholder

inspiration for the book Today I thought I’d jump back in time to the first book that got me hooked on writing historical western romances.  Before I wrote it, I expected to go back to writing fantasy novels.  But this book is why I never ended up doing fantasy. 🙂  Once I wrote it, I knew my course had changed dramatically…and changed for the better.  It was also the book that fully launched me into self-publishing my work because I want to blend the sweet romance feel with the spicy content I preferred to read in romance novels.

eye of the beholder

I wrote this book because I wanted to do a mail-order bride story.  I thought the idea of a woman traveling West to marry a man she’d never met was a romantic notion.  Granted, in real life, it probably was more about necessity, but in romance, happy endings are guaranteed (which is why I love romance).

The Hero

Originally, I was going to do have Neil be the hero.  He was supposed to marry Mary and stand up for her when his brothers put her down because she was plain.  But when I got to the train station scene, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be more dramatic if he rejected her?”

So I went back and wrote in the scene where Dave Larson was at the mercantile and happened to find out Neil was on the way to meet his intended at the train station.

The Heroine

Why a plain one?  Because it seemed that every single heroine I’d been reading in romance novels were drop dead gorgeous, something I am definitely not.  So why not write about a woman who wasn’t perfect?  Everyone has a quality that makes them beautiful, even if they aren’t on the outside.

The Plot

I didn’t originally intend to include Cassie (who was beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside).  My original point of conflict was between Dave and his brothers.  But when I decided that Neil would reject Mary, I decided to give him the bride he wanted–super beautiful.  As the story progressed, the plot became more of a “What defines beauty?” theme.

Part of the book was wish fulfillment.  While I am happy in my marriage, there are some things I’m not crazy about, and I know my husband can say the same thing.  Sometimes books allow a writer to take a part of their lives they’re not crazy about and dream up a scenario where things are different.  In Dave was the ideal husband.

As a side note, I will add that no one is perfect.  We all have our strengths and our weaknesses.  In July, I’ll be married for fourteen years, and I’m happy.  But marriage has its ups and downs because people aren’t perfect.  That’s why romance is a fun genre to write.  You can have the perfect marriage with the happily ever after.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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12 Responses to Inspiration for the Book: Eye of the Beholder

  1. Eye of beholder was the first book of yours I read loved it I could relate to mary an dave was a true hero read. All your books now keep writing

  2. dorothypaula says:

    Dear Ruth, If I remember correctly, Eye of the Beholder was the first your books that I read. I loved it! And it’s the one that introduced me to all the others that have followed. You are right that no one is perfect, and no marriage is truly perfect either. If both parties have kind hearts and a true desire to make their marriage work, I like to say that happiness is earned according to the efforts expanded. In other words, you usually get back what you put into the marriage. And I agree that authors do live vicariously through our characters. I’ve been married 44 years, and though we have stuck together through thick and thin, there are many things we wish had improved. Most marriages are like that. If the love and the need are sincere, then, it’s all worth it.

    I look forward to Patty’s Gamble. I had read the older, shorter version and enjoyed it. You know my penchant for reading and writing romances where one character has to face obstacles to win the love of the other.

    Your new website is looking good. I may redo mine as well some time soon. Haven’t touched it in a while. My Pink Chameleon Issue #15 is due out in June, and I’ll be updating the titles of your books that I advertise on the home page.

    Lotsa Hugs, Dorothy Paula (I Dream of My Lady in Red) 🙂

    • At the time I first talked to you, I think I was in the process of changing the cover for Eye of the Beholder. I remember sitting at the park while the kids played during the summer and reading your stories on my Kindle. 🙂

      Before I got married, I heard that the real work started after marriage, and that’s proven to be very true.

      Congratulations on 44 years! When is your anniversary?

      Patty’s Gamble has changed drastically from what it used to be, but I think it’s changing for the better. *fingers crossed*

      I was due for a website change for a long time but held off because I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to be. It took a good kick in the pants by a friend to get going on it, and I drafted her into helping me. LOL

      That’s very kind of you to do that for me in My Pink Chameleon. What is the link?

  3. Amber Lee says:

    I love this book. I am actually rereading it now. I am in omaha and would love to meet you. Can u give me details?

    • Thanks, Amber. 😀 I’d love to meet you. Do you know where Springfield is? I’ll be doing a book signing with Janet Syas Nitsick this Saturday at the library from 10-12. The easiest way I know of how to get there is to go Interstate 80 West and take the 144th Street exit. Take a left and it takes you down to Springfield. There should be a Springfield sign before the Casey’s gas station on the left. That’s the turn you take. It’s Main Street. You go up a hill and pass a couple houses. The Methodist church is on the left. You keep going for two or three houses. Then the Springfield State Bank is on the right. Right after that is the library. If you’re able to come on Saturday, let me know. I’d love to give you some signed paperbacks of your choice for free. So if you can make it, let me know what books are your favorites of the ones I’ve done, and I’ll make sure to bring them to the library. I would love to meet you!

      • Amber Lee says:

        I will be there and I would love a copy of eye of the beholder and it’s sequel To have and to hold. Thank you so much:-)

        • I’m glad you can make it! It’ll be so fun to meet you. I’ll be with Janet. I think she plans on wearing her costume wedding dress. I’ll be the one in jeans. If you have trouble finding the library, I’ll bring my computer with me and will check my email. You can email me at

      • Amber Lee says:

        I’m going to be greedy and ask for His Redeeming Bride also. It took me a while to read because he was awful in the first book. You did a wonderful job of making me love this villain turned hero

        • Feel free to ask for as many as you want. 😀 I’m thrilled to meet you, and it’ll be my pleasure to give you the Nebraska series. If there are any others you really enjoy, I’ll be more than happy to add them. I did slip in The Mail Order Bride’s Deception since it’s my latest release. But if there are any others, please let me know.

  4. If I’m not mistaken, I think Eye of the Beholder was the first book of yours I read, or maybe the second (it might have been Loving Eliza). I loved the fact that she was plain, rejected, then accepted. I thought it was really sweet.

    What? Marriages aren’t perfect??? LOL. I’ve heard it said that romance novels are bad because it gives women expectations of men that are too high. But we aren’t that stupid. We know it’s fiction!

    • Yes, we do know it’s fiction. That’s why we love reading it. We also know fantasy novels and horror novels are fiction, too. I can’t recall anyone who thinks there’s a unicorn or fairy hanging out in their backyard just because they read about them in a book. Nor do I really believe a zombie is going to track me down while I’m in a store because it was in a book. It’s so funny what people think.

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