By Jeff Salter
I had “met” the talented, bestselling author Nancy Naigle on Facebook, probably at a book event, but I did not encounter her until the summer of 2013 at Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together in Cincinnati. Sharing a table with the delightful and exuberant Tonya Kappes, Nancy was personable and lively and treated me like we were old friends. Back then we all knew Nancy variously as Author Girl, Farmer Girl, and Banker Girl, though I believe she’s since dropped at least one of those appellations.
One of several things which has impressed me about Nancy was how naturally and smoothly she seems able to share and collaborate with others. [You’ll learn more about that in the interview below.]
I was ecstatic that Nancy was able to take a few moments out of her very busy schedule of travel and writing to visit with me at 4F1H and pause long enough to chat with youse guys. On this particular Hound Day, Nancy will be in Chicago for Book Expo and BookCon — so be patient as she checks in throughout the day and responds when able.
USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a 76-acre farm. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home.
Hi Jeff, Thanks so much for thinking of me and having me over.
Hugs and happy reading,
- When did you start writing creatively and what type things did you first write about?
Nancy — I’ve always had a vivid imagination. My mom was a poet and songwriter for as far back as I can remember so I guess I kind of come by the writing bug honestly, but I never thought of writing seriously until I turned 40. I love a good love story with a twisty plot, so writing women’s fiction was a natural fit for me. I write what I love to read.
- I definitely get the feeling you love to travel. Can you explain that interest?
Nancy — In my previous career, I traveled on business often. It sounds so glamorous, but it’s not… you rarely get to enjoy the towns you’re in. It wasn’t until I lost my husband in 2014 that I began feeling a sense of urgency to see and embrace the beauty of America. So what you’ve been seeing, in my travels, has been me checking things off my bucket list and trying to balance my hard work with just as much play time. It’s been so inspiring to see new places and things, and I think it’s influencing my stories too.
- What’s it like to take a three-week road trip with Kelsey Browning? Who drives? Who decides where to stop? How do you select your destinations?
Nancy — Oh my gosh. I love this question. I have to tell you that so many people thought we’d never make it back from that three-week road trip still friends, but it was an absolute delight. We definitely are both strong personalities, but we didn’t clash one single time. Here’s the funny part. We drove over 3500 miles and hit 16 states…and yet neither one of us likes to drive. Ha ha. It’s true. So we split the driving pretty evenly. Okay…well except in the big cities and mountains. I drove Kelsey half-crazy on those roads and she took over.
We took turns driving and we didn’t drive more than four hours on any given day. We had a pretty good itinerary laid out ahead of time and Kelsey is a rock star about planning snacks and water to keep us from getting cranky.
We used the Little Free Library population to help us determine the route since one of our goals was to drop off 500 books along the way. It was so much fun that we’re already working on a 2017 tour. We’ll be sharing details about that at the end of the year. It’s going to be a blast. I can’t wait.
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
Nancy — Not really, but I do find that people don’t understand that it’s a job that has real responsibilities. The timelines and work that goes into marketing and promoting books is real.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
Nancy — I’m not good at the other things that interest me. I’m an awful singer and photographer… so although I’d admire those talents, they aren’t in my toolbox. I think I’ll stick to writing. If I weren’t writing, then I’d probably be marketing for someone else. I’ve won a couple of awards for my marketing efforts on my own stuff, and I do love that part of the equation.
- How would you describe the TYPE of fiction you write?
Nancy — Feel good fiction. I hope that readers turn that last page of any of my novels with a restored faith and hope in things to come.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
Nancy — Oh gosh, there’ve been quite a few, but I’ve got to say that one of the contacts I still hold so close and dear to my heart is a letter from a woman who said the last book her mother read before she passed away after a long battle with cancer was Sweet Tea and Secrets, and that her mother absolutely loved that book. I hope I added just a little bit of joy and contentment in her final days. An honor that I embrace and hold dear.
- I understand you also have a new novel coming out soon. Besides the blurb (herein) tell us something about that novel.
Nancy — I have three new books coming out between now and the end of the year. Sorry… I know y’all have been waiting nearly a year since my last release! All of these titles are up for pre-order now.
First up, book four of The Granny Series co-authored with Kelsey Browning, Under The Gun. That book will bring laughter and tears to our readers.
Then, on Aug 30th, the next Boot Creek novel, Every Yesterday. We’re back in that wonderful small town for a wedding where we meet Meghan, a woman who finds an unexpected partner who shows her how to leave yesterday behind to live for today—and tomorrow.
In October my very first Christmas novel comes out from St. Martin’s Press. It’s called Christmas Joy. I hope you’ll let me come back and talk about that one this Fall!
- Besides banking, what types of employment have you had during your working years?
Nancy — I was an IT Professional, managing software development and systems and database engineers. Yep… a total geek. Computers and books.
- Which job [or which PART of that job] did you most enjoy? And why?
Nancy — My favorite position was the few years as an SVP with Bank of America when I managed an 80-person software development team and offshore partners. I had the great privilege to work with the best of the best and being a part of their journeys, and helping to inspire and motivate them to meet their personal goals was so fulfilling.
- [If you don’t mind saying,] which job [or which PART of that job] was your least favorite? And why?
Nancy — That’s easy. My least favorite was laying off associates to offshore work. It was the right thing to do for the business model, but a very difficult personal decision.
- What is one writing question you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked? Then answer it here.
Nancy — I haven’t thought of it yet. Y’all always surprise me with great questions.
- What made you decide to team up with Kelsey for the Granny Series? Who takes the lead? Or… how do you divvy up the writing duties?
Nancy — Kelsey and I met at an RWA Conference in DC years back. We didn’t have any real contact after that since she was living abroad, but one day I’d posted on Facebook that I was headed to L.A. for my bank job, and she popped up and said she lived there. Turned out that I was going to be just a few miles from where she lived. We got together for dinner. When she heard I was headed to RT she offered to come along and we came up with the idea while we were in Chicago. That’s a whole post in itself. Kelsey and I’d love to tell all y’all the story. Stay tuned for the details. It’ll be up on our The Granny Series YouTube channel soon.
- You’ve teamed up with other authors – like the vivacious Tonya Kappes – for various things. How do those collaborations come about?
Nancy — I love collaborations. One of the things I used to do at the bank was lead innovation through my Six Sigma Black Belt role. True innovation is generally brought about by colliding things that come from different worlds. I believe that teaming up with other folks just makes for an even better experience. Tonya and I have so much fun doing events together. Our mentality about readers (we adore our readers and they are #1) is the same, and when we bring her Kentucky and my Virginia together… it just sparkles.
I’ve collaborated on many fronts. With rock star Pete Evick who owns Shining Sol Candle Company we have the Nancy Naigle collection of candles. I could have never done that alone. We also worked on his book, The Moments That Make Us, together. An awesome experience for us both.
There will be more collaborations, too.
- How do you picture your typical reading audience?
Nancy — Smiling. Hah hah. Hope they picture me the same way.
- What would you say (about your writing) to someone who’s trying to decide whether to buy one of your books?
Nancy — That people say they enjoy my books because they are wholesome reads with a positive note that can be shared with daughters, mothers and friends — transcending generations. I take pride in writing stories like that.
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
Nancy — I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing. Money and critics are not in my equation. Those things will come when you follow your heart. I believe and trust in that.
- [Unless it’s too soon to talk about Mr. Mike’s passing]… tell us how grief has affected your writing? How are you holding up?
Nancy — Thank you for asking about Mr. Mike, Jeff. I’m holding up. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have days that my heart absolutely breaks again and the tears just can’t be stopped, but they are out of love, not sorrow.
We had a romantic whirlwind, falling in love over and over again every single day for the years before marriage, and then were married for 20 years. I still miss him like crazy, but I hope that he’s proud of the way I’m handling finding my own life and moving forward.
Writing has been, without a doubt, my saving grace. I’ve poured myself into my work and I’m sure folks saw some of that in the book Life After Perfect. Cancer is certainly not the focus of that book, but there are people that have been touched by it or caregivers and I hope I treated that in a way that brought comfort after going though it.
When Mr. Mike was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, it was October. He was gone in January. That’s fast. I vowed that I wouldn’t waste a moment of my life, and I’d make every day count in a good way — sharing things that would bring joy to others, and make a difference that would far outlast my life. We just don’t know how many days we’ll have this gift of life. Each day is precious. I am thankful for every reader that has joined me on this journey. I am grateful for every day we have together on it.
When Hollywood A-listers swarm Bartell County for a celebrity funeral, Miss Lillian takes in a temporary houseguest. After all, Abby Ruth is away and her room is sitting empty. She’ll never be the wiser. But after the charming visitor leaves, Abby Ruth’s adored arsenal has also vamoosed.
Lil, Maggie, and Sera are in one hot mess trying to find the guns before Abby Ruth gets back. And when Abby Ruth divulges a heartbreaking secret, her friends are more determined than ever to catch the culprit themselves.
Only this time the gals have crossed the line into deeper, more dangerous territory than ever before. Will they recover Abby Ruth’s guns, or will they find themselves buried in a heap of trouble?
UNDER THE GUN — coming May 24.
Question from Nancy:
No matter what Nancy’s writing — a cozy granny series mystery, women’s fiction or romance — all roads lead back to a small town. When you think of small towns, what comes to mind?
Be sure to go “like” Nancy’s FB page:
[JLS # 279]