Sweet Tea And Secrets

Today I'd like to welcome Nancy Naigle. I met Nancy through a contest, and she's a true delight.
Have you always lived in a small town?

No. I was born and raised in Virginia Beach. Although, now that I think of it, back in the sixties my section of Virginia Beach was considered rural but not for long. My husband came from a small town and he loves wide open spaces. Our first farm was in Chesapeake. Even though we lived on a farm it was only a few miles to the grocery store or a nice mall. In fact, I could commute to my office in downtown Norfolk in about 30 minutes. When we bought this farm it was a big shift, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love the quiet and the sense of community that comes with it.

Love stories from the crossroads of small town and suspense is very catchy. Have you always wanted to write love stories? Thanks. I’m a hopeless romantic, so yes, I knew I’d write love stories. I came up with “Love stories from the crossroads of small town and suspense” as a way to describe what I write because romantic suspense conjures up a much darker story than the ones I write. I want my stories to be light reads that help folks slow down, take the time to recall a fond memory, or just get lost in the story to get a break from the fast lane and multi-tasking lives we all lead.

How did you know you were meant to write? I’ve always been a story teller. Not a liar...oh no, my Granddaddy lived with us growing up and he instilled the thought that everything is a test in honesty and that’s a test you never want to fail. A good lesson. BUT... I loved making up stories about people when we were on a road trip, sitting in the airport or shopping in the mall. It wasn’t until I started realizing how important books were to my life balance that I started getting really antsy to finish and publish my own stories. I remember reading a hard cover Jayne Ann Krentz book at a particularly low point in my life and being sad to turn that last page. I didn’t want to leave the new friends I’d made and I wanted to continue to celebrate their happy ever after. But reading that book made me feel better...hopeful. What a gift! I wanted to share that feeling and that’s when I started really working on writing for publication.

Do you have a special way to make your sweet tea? (I've discovered some of my friends don't know how to make good swee tea.) Oh yes! There is magic to good sweet tea. I have a link on my website to Pearl’s Sweet Tea recipe. Here’s the link à http://www.NancyNaigle.com/sweettea.htm

In my opinion, the trick is in bringing that water to rolling boil so the tea steeps just right. Like coffee, tea blends have a brewing temperature. Oh, and you have to add that sugar when the tea mix is hot – hot – hot so it sweetens into the liquid. You can’t add sugar to cold tea and make sweet tea....doesn’t work.....ever!

Tell us about your new story. Thanks for asking J My new story is Out of Focus. It’s about Kasey Phillips, a successful commercial photographer, who gets caught in a web of friendship and betrayal. When her husband is killed in a car accident, her son is missing from the wreckage. Her maternal instincts tell her that Jake is alive and friends rally to help reunite mother and son, but someone knows more than they are telling.

How long did it take you to write Out of Focus? It took me about six months to write that story. It did very well in contests right from the get go winning the:

1st Place :: Mainstream/Literary Category :: 2010 Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest
1st Place :: Mainstream Category :: CT-RWA The WRITE Stuff
2010 Finalist :: Single Title Category :: Silicon Valley RWA Gotcha! Contest
2010 Finalist :: Novel w Romantic Elements :: San Diego RWA SPRING INTO ROMANCE Contest

Following that incredible contest run, I spent time tweaking and tightening the story and then it sold. It was actually the first book I sold, even though it’s not the first that made it to the shelf.

Is this part of a series? Out of Focus has ties to the small town of Adams Grove, just like Sweet Tea and Secrets. There’s also another story but we’re working on changing that title so I’ll keep that under wraps for a while. As a piece of trivia, Sweet Tea and Secrets was originally titled Pearls of Wisdom. I love Pearl’s little Pearl-isms throughout the book. Words to live by.
Nancy, thank you for joining us today!