this is the way it was: book 1

For My People: Awacha Nay: Ennis, Heidi

Published in 2015

The year is 1790, in places where time mattered…

Askuwa’tu is just a normal teenager growing up along the mighty Nch’i-Wana or what we now call the Columbia River.

But Asku is also a chief’s son with the weight of adult expectations upon his young shoulders, especially a fear of the future for his people and those he loves. Through dreams and visions, Asku speaks with an ancestor chief, Saigwan. Saigwan brings Asku along through the life and death struggles of their people at the end of the last ice age some twelve thousand years before he was born. These visions are meant to prepare Asku for what lies ahead…not easy for a 15 year old.

Asku must follow his father up and down the river to build alliances with other tribes and to fight for survival against their enemies. Lucky for Asku, his two best friends help to see him through it all. But when Asku loves a girl of his own people but is pledged to another to strengthen these ties, he must choose who he will become.

And time is running out, change is coming to the river…


“A writer this coachable is one for readers to watch, and editors to treasure.

I think her characters are a bit better than those in the O’Gear books, on a par with Shuler’s. That’s the league I see Heidi playing in. And she has it set up masterfully for a sequel.” -JK Kelley

Newly published: Awacha Nay–For My People, by Heidi Ennis | The ‘Lancer (

“Ennis has done a good deal of anthropological research and supplies a glossary of terms and titles for readers confused by the immersion technique of her story proper, and that story is ultimately quite gripping and involving, the story of a world both alien and strangely familiar.” -Joanna Urquhart

For My People (Awacha Nay, Book 1) – Historical Novel Society

“Overall this was a delightful read. Any book really that can start to make me cry I think is a pretty powerful one, because that’s not an easy task. Interestingly enough the end of the book is probably my favourite part, because it gave me just a hint, a little flavour for what would come next in Asku’s life, and honestly I don’t know what I want more; Ennis to make a sequel or not, because I think leaving the ending hanging just a bit is a fantastic way to leave a story, because it lets you imagine the story from that point onward, making it a book that keeps on giving.” -Lilaina Osbourn

On Writing: Review for “For my People: Awacha Nay” by Heidi Ennis (