Friday, June 17, 2011


It is our pleasure to have Nancy Naigle visit with us and talk about her book Sweet Tea and Secrets and her road to publication. Congratulations and thank you for joining us on our blog  It's such a pleasure to have you.
 Nancy, what was this journey like for you? What kept you going?

 This was one eye-opening experience for me. Let me explain. You see, by day I’m a Senior Vice President with Bank of America. I’m used to planning what I’m going to do to achieve success, then following that plan. That’s all fine and good except that the publishing business is not like any other I’ve ever worked in. It moves S-L-O-W and, at the same time with the advent of e-pubs, is changing in ways folks never imagined. But I’m no quitter. I have my pile of rejections, but I learned from each one and knew that every bad news email was one step closer to the “yes” I’d eventually get. I firmly believed that as long as I didn’t quit, I would be published. I think you have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. It was about six years from the point in time that I decided to really focus on getting published and my contract.

 And you believed in your character's story or you couldn't have kept going. Could you share a bit about your books and characters?

 I write love stories from the crossroad of small towns and suspense. My characters have flaws just like you and I. They’ll probably even feel familiar. The quirky characters are probably going to remind you of that crazy aunt or the black sheep brother of your best friend in college. Hopefully, they will tickle memories of people from your own past, and you’ll feel like you already know them.

 I grew up in a small town. Not sure I'd ever want to go back to everyone thinking they know everything about you.What inspired you to write about life in a small town?

 I was born and raised in Virginia Beach, but in 1994 my husband moved out of the city limits. We now live on a goat farm. I love how folks in small towns still borrow things. How they check on you when they hear you’ve had bad news. They stop by to see if you want to buy some of the homemade sausage their hunt club just made up. It’s sincere, and it fills my heart. So, I write about those things because they make me feel good. It’s where I want to escape when the technology and crazy pace of work get me all unraveled. I hope readers will find a similar escape or at least a feel good moment or two by reading my books.

Could you discuss the challenge of developing your characters to the point that readers want to cheer them on?

Yes. I can totally speak to this one. Sometimes I do too good of a job. I’ve actually had quite a little challenge with beta-readers about one of my characters in my book that will be out this fall. You’ll meet Cody Tuggle in OUT OF FOCUS. He’s a country-western singer and folks love him so much that a couple of them got mad when they realized he doesn’t end up the hero in that book. But, I can promise you that his big heart will be back in his own story soon after, and it’s even bigger and better than his pivotal role in Kasey Phillips’ life. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Let’s talk about writing a series. Your second book takes place in the same location as the first book. Which is more important in your books, character or plot? Did you outline the entire series before you wrote the first book?

The truth is I’d written another book titled AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT that will never see a bookshelf. But that’s okay because out of that book I did get some pretty awesome characters that are now showing up in SWEET TEA AND SECRETS and OUT OF FOCUS. Adams Grove just kind of built up around them. Now, it’s the town that drives the need for more characters, and that links to situations and well … it keeps me busy.

How did you get started in writing?

 I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Not the mechanics of writing, but making up the story. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I ditched school to go hang out at the airport. We sat in the terminal and made up stories about all the people coming and going. Oh yeah, we pretended we were on a layover from Australia (yes, we talked with Aussie accents) on our way to Hollywood. Yes. I have a little bit of a wild imagination.

What ignites your passion and galvanizes you to write?

Writing fulfills my creative spirit. I’m very technical and structured in my business life. Writing creates the balance I need to be healthy and happy.

What do you find most rewarding about your writing career?

 Meeting people who love the same books that I do. Most disappointing? Seeing really good writers become discouraged and give up their dream. I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. I know if they just stuck it out…it would happen. That breaks my heart every time.

If you could give writers one small piece of advice, what would it be?

Be patient. Don’t take too much advice. Do what feels right (or should it be write!) in your heart. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!

What tools do you think are invaluable for new writers?

 My favorite tool is one that I picked up from a comment that Barbara Delinsky made once on a blog. The J.I. Rodale “The Synonym Finder.” I keep it on the left top corner of my desk for two reasons. One, because it’s a great tool. Two, because it’s red and the left corner is the wealth spot of your desk. I figured it can’t hurt.

 I 've never heard of the wealth spot on your desk. I'm moving my Rolodex right now! What is something that you often see beginning writers doing wrong?

 Spending more time talking about writing than actually writing.


What is a little known fact about yourself?

 This will be my sixth year as master of ceremonies at the Virginia State Fair Meat Goat Show. It’s a two day event and lots of fun. I really enjoy watching the 4-Hers and FFA exhibitors reap the rewards of their hard work all year.

 Fantastic! What book are you reading right now?

 By the time this interview posts, this will have changed a hundred times. How about I respond to this question in the comments. Ya’ll can share what you’re reading in your comments, too.

If you could have a beer, coffee, or tea with a literary luminary living or dead, who would it be and why?

 Wow. This is the impossible question. I love talking to everybody. Preferably the alive folks ;) I don’t think I want dead people talking to me. How about a pick one per beverage.

A beer with Carl Hiassen. His books crack me up. Now, that guy can write some characters. If you haven’t read one of his books you are missing out. He seems to have had an interesting life and career. I think I’d enjoy having a beer with Carl.

Coffee with Jayne Ann Krentz because she’s from up there in the northwest near coffee land ;) Last year, I had the great honor of winning the Jeannie Gray Golden Friendship Award. I talked about how one of Jayne’s books inspired me in a really difficult time in my life. I’ve got shelves full of her books. She’s a wonderful storyteller. I remember feeling so stronger and more hopeful after reading one her books and thinking ... wow, I wish I could make someone feel this. I’m sure coffee with her would be like being swept away into a tale of its own.

And a cup of tea with Debbie Macomber. Harney & Sons Paris tea...because it’s my favorite. Debbie writes wonderful stories and she seems so down to earth. I listen to one of her RWA keynotes in my car over and over. She nearly brings me to tears when she talks about how she hoped for that first deal. I love her “value-add author” philosophy, too. Yes, tea with Debbie would be pretty darn awesome.

Finally, where can we find you on the web? On the contact page there is a spot to sign up for my e-updates. You can also find me on twitter @nancynaigle and on facebook.

Nancy, thank you so much for spending time with us. Readers, tell Nancy what you're reading right now.
And please do come back tomorrow for an excerpt of Sweet Tea and Secrets.


Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks so much for visiting our blog and talking about the writing life. Your book is such a joy and I'm sure others will like it as well.

Grace Greene said...

Nancy - It sounds like you've got just the right combination of talent and persistence. Good job on Sweet Tea & Secrets!

Leah St. James said...

I loved what you said, Nancy, about making up stories with your best friend. My best friend and I used to sit with a tape recorder and pretend we were network anchors (or reporters) and interview each other. We'd make up crazy names like Chuck Harvey and Hardly Reasonable (which I'm pretty sure was a play on Harry Reasoner...and now I'm really dating myself!). Occasionally I'd surface as Leah Lovely. It was so much fun, one of my best memories from childhood.

Nancy Naigle said...

Oh Miss Leah Lovely, I see we are cut from the same cloth :) I think making up stories is a sure sign of a great writing mind to be!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing that story. So much fun!

Nancy Naigle said...

Thanks for the warm welcome Ruby and Grace. I appreciate it!

Kimberly Walton said...

Nancy, thank you so much for the Q&A. It's wonderful to hear stories of writers that keep pushing forward and achieve their dream. It's a reminder to all of us to not let the rejections get us down.

Nancy Naigle said...

You are so right, Kimberly. Never give up on your dreams. :) No matter what...and if you need a me. Sometimes we need to just prop each other up along the way.

Hugs and happy writing,

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