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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chatting with Nancy Naigle About Her First Novel Sweet Tea and Secrets

Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. Living on the cutting edge of technology in her day job, Nancy spends each night creating make-believe small town worlds filled with community, heart, and suspense. She hopes readers will accept her invitation to visit Adams Grove and will grow to care about the residents as much as she does. A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she and her husband of 16 years moved inland to quiet Southampton County. They now live in a log-sided home on a working goat farm with their two labs and more kids (the four-legged kind) than they keep count of, where they are living out their own small town love story.

After spending twenty years focusing on a career and helping my husband realize his dreams of a home in the country raising goats, in 2005 I got serious about my own dreams and drug out all those dusty partially finished stories and picked one to finish. It has been a long journey figuring out how to turn the story in my head into a craft-acceptable manuscript worthy of publication.

Tell us about the genre of your work.
 I write love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. They are light reads that all have happy endings.

Why did you choose this genre?

The genre chose me. I love small towns, and have a huge appreciation for the simple things in life. Friends, family and community are all pivotal in every one of my stories.

What are some of your books, stories that have been published? 

My first publication was a short story by the title of “Forever in My Heart” in the Be Mine, Valentine anthology released in January 2011.  My debut novel, Sweet Tea and Secrets, came out in May 2011.

BE MINE, VALENTINE anthology                ISBN: 9781935817451
SWEET TEA AND SECRETS                             ISBN: 9781935817543

Sweet Tea and Secrets on display at BOOK EXPO AMERICA at the Javits Center, NYC: BEA New Title Showcase and in their catalog.

Both are available in print and e-formats. They can be found at all your favorite e-tailers.

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

The short story in the anthology, Sweet Tea and Secrets, and Out of Focus are all set in a fictionalized town called Adams Grove. There’s actually a town called Adams Grove not far from me, but there’s nothing there. I have built it into a wonderful small town with a bustling Main Street.

The names of my characters are a lot more difficult. For some reason the heroines always come to me with a name when I come up with the story idea. The rest of the characters...not so much. Often, I change the names of the other characters as I get to know them better as the story progresses.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

 Jill Clemmons is the kind of gal I would want to be friends with. She has a glass half full outlook on things and she’s trusting. Of course, that gets her into some trouble, and there is nothing more disappointing than being led astray by someone you trust.

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

There is a bad guy in this book. He’s a shady one, too. We never expect bad guys to be handsome and charming, but this guy that will charm you right into his plan of the day.

What is your favorite thing about your book? 

Pearl Clemmons. She’s one of those tough old gals who doesn’t take no for an answer and has a lasting impact on everyone she meets. The book, Sweet Tea and Secrets, contains dozens of pearl-isms. I love that sassy gal and her award-winning chocolate pecan pie, unsolicited advice and all.

How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre? 

Well, I really do not think genre is what makes the writing different. I think you have to write the book of your heart and dig deep.

Why and when did you begin writing? 

I have always loved to make up stories. Putting them to paper gives them the longevity that my memory cannot.

What is your writing schedule? 

I live on a goat farm, work full-time as an SVP with Bank of America, which does require some travel, and I am active in my writing groups. I write every spare moment I can find. I usually spend a couple weeks a year hidden away at a time-share where I get uninterrupted marathon writing time. That’s my favorite way to write. I post big sheets of paper on the wall and map everything out. Oh, and lots of markers. I love markers!!

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

My women’s fiction, Out of Focus, will come out in November. It also has ties to Adams Grove. The cover is gorgeous, and I can’t wait until it comes out. One of the characters in that story is screaming for his own book. I am working on Cody Tuggle’s story now.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

Do not limit yourself to resources in your genre. I’ve found that by attending conferences and events for different genres I get a slightly different view and I think that makes me a stronger writer. Diversity inspires innovation so embrace every opportunity.

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Be patient. It can be so easy to get sucked into query mode and paralyze your progress. Keep writing. Every book will be better than your last. Books sell books.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I am a technical geek so I spend a lot of time online socializing, building websites, and digitizing commercial embroidery designs. When I’m not online you might find me playing helper to my husband around the farm, or beating my mom at Yahtzee or Scrabble! We love game night. 

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

I have had such a blessed life filled with so many things I am proud of that it is difficult to list them all. I try to live my life with others in mind. When it comes to my writing, if I get one note from someone who has read one of my books that says they felt happier because of the time they spent in my story ... that will be the ultimate “Made It” moment to me.

Stay up to date on releases, appearances and news on Nancy’s website:


Nancy Naigle said...

Hi Friends,
There's a 2nd edition and the cover is slightly different but the inside is all Sweet Tea and Secrets (ISBN: 978-0615511719)

It's been such a fun summer sharing this story with folks.

I'd love to chat with all of you, too.
Soooo.....when you read a book are you more likely to walk away remembering the:
Characters in the story
Something that tugged your heart?

I know! Right? That's a hard question. Pick one -- we'll chat!

Hugs and happy reading,

Unknown said...

For me the characters in the story grab me first. Pets with personality are another thing I'm likely to remember long after the story ends.

Grace Greene said...

I think it's so very true that the genres, settings and so on, choose us. In other words, whatever is 'true' in us resonates with what we write and it works. If it doesn't resonate, then it probably won't be as effective.

Nancy Naigle said...

I'm with you, Nara. Once I even caught myself thinking I needed to get a card for someone that was having a birthday and remembered they were a character in a book! Oopsy.

The dog in Jennie Crusie's Anyone But You is probably my all time fav ;)


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