Q&A With Nancy Naigle
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Q&A With Nancy Naigle
My latest Q&A is with USA Today Bestselling author of small town romance with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart, Nancy Naigle. Some of Nancy’s novels have been turned into movies for Hallmark Channel, and Hallmark Movies Movies & Mysteries, and her latest was THE SHELL COLLECTOR now streaming on FOX Nation.. One of her popular series is the Adam Grove novels.
Q: Nancy I was reading your bio and you were an SVP at Bank of America and juggling writing. Did you always wanted to be an author when you were a kid, or did you realize it while you were working at the bank?
A: I always loved to read, and going to the library was one of my favorite things to do as a kid. I grew up just one block from the library, so my brother and I were allowed to walk there. I never dreamed of becoming an author, although my mom says I was always making little booklets as a kid.
It wasn’t until the year I turned 40 work was kind of crazy, and I just wasn’t feeling like I was making a positive difference. I found myself searching for a way to do something good to kind of balance the scales. Whenever I got stressed, or things weren’t going my way, I’d lose myself in a novel. That always made me feel better, so I decided if I could write one book to help one gal through one bad day…that would be pretty awesome way to even the scales of my life.
So, I made a goal to write one book. It took years for me to get the craft of writing down, and a long time to get that book published, but from there things just zoomed right along. My first deal was a three-book deal with Montlake Romance. I was still working for the bank, loving my career and writing books on my vacations and weekends. It wasn’t until 2014 when I lost my husband to a short battle with lung cancer that I decided I wanted to write full time. Within six months of losing my husband, I had taken an early retirement, shut the door on my farm, moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and started writing full time.
I’ve never looked back. I’ve written over 40 books. I love writing, and I’m so grateful for the readers who make it possible for me to do this for a living.
Q: What was it like having Hallmark turn some of your work into movies? Did you have any say in the casting and the script writing?
A: It was a dream come true to have movies based on my novels. I’d always loved the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, and even the old commercials. They always made me cry, so having one of my books made into a movie was like the highest goal I could think of! I did go on set, but I had no say in the casting or script writing. The movies have all been absolutely wonderfully heart-warming stories. Now, that doesn’t mean they necessarily match the book. It’s mighty difficult to shove everything from a 90,000 word novel into a made-for-television movie that is a script of about 20,000 words! I understand now why the book is better. You get all that internal thought, the back story, so much that just doesn’t work in the media of film.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to see my work on television, and for the wonderful education it provided me, allowing me to stretch my wings to write a couple of screenplays too.
Q: What made you want to write small town romance with some suspense written in?
A: I have always had a thing for small towns. They just absolutely delight me. I can’t drive through a small town without wanting to stop and check out the old hardware store, the shops and mingle with the locals. That feeling of community is so special, and I love taking my readers to a place where they will feel welcome, safe and inspired. A little suspense just adds to the excitement.
Q: If you were to explore writing in different genres that weren’t romance, which genres would they be and why?
A: I did think I might write a thriller one day, and I tried. The last two books in the Adams Grove series (Mint Juleps and Justice, and Barbecue and Bad News) were my attempt at that. The books are great, but my happy place is in happier stories full of hope and community. I think if I wasn’t allowed to write romance or women’s fiction, I’d stisk to Cozy mystery. I’ve co-authored some and I had a lot of fun writing them. Regardless of what I write, it will always include a joyful ending. Readers can get the first book in the Seasoned Southern Sleuth Cozy Mystery Series, IN FOR A PENNY, free on all digital platforms. There are 5 cozy mysteries in all, and 2 connected short romances because Kelsey and I couldn’t bear for our wonderful Sheriff Teague Castro not to find love. Enjoy!
Q: Are your characters and places within your novels loosely taken from people you know and from North Carolina, or where you currently live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia? I’m always impressed that authors can create fictional worlds and people using bits of real places and people.
A: The towns I write are a mish-mash of real places I’ve visited all over the US. My goal is to create the most wonderful place I can imagine that you might want to spend time. The people are never based on people I know. I think it would be hard to write an interesting story based on someone, because you do have to put your characters in difficult situations to show their story arc or how they grow and change throughout the story. I could never do that to people I know. ☺
Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write great romance?
A: Be true to the story in your heart. Don’t chase trends, and don’t let people tell you there is a formula. There isn’t. Remember that no one can write the story that is in your heart. It’s your gift to share.
Q: What are you currently working on right now? Are you writing a new series, continuing a current one or writing a standalone novel?
A: All of the above! My newest series came out on 6/27! Book 1 in the new Chestnut Ridge series is And Then There Was You. It’s a story about a woman who gets conned out of everything she owns, except for a small cabin in the mountains where she retreats to heal and get back on her feet. You’d be surprised how often things like that really happen. The town of Chestnut Ridge turns out to be a healing place for her, and we get to see her recover from the deception, make new friends and find strength. I’m so excited about this town, and it is loosely based on the area where I live now in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I loved being able to integrate fun history from this area, like fairy stones, and share the breathtaking views with readers. I can’t believe I get to live in such a beautiful town, and the people are just as wonderful as the ones in my books! It’s like Hallmark – all day, every day. Book 2 in this series is already done. It’s title Christmas in Chestnut Ridge and will come out late September 2024.
I’m also working on a super-fun romantic comedy that will come out early next summer. The title is still a little up in the air, so stay tuned for more details later this year. Readers can keep up with me on my website at www.nancynaigle.com. I have a newsletter and I keep my event calendar up-to-date. It’s always so much fun to catch up with readers’ in-person.
I think everyone will be thrilled to know that I just signed the contract for the follow-up story to The Shell Collector. Y’all know that is the book of my heart. I’m taking folks back to Whelk’s Island in a novel titled Angel By The Sea and will come out in 2025.