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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Let's Talk Christmas Books and Traditions: Author Interview with Nancy Naigle

How did you come up with the idea for your Christmas book?

I’ve written several now and I still have ideas for more thankfully. For this one, A Heartfelt Christmas Promise, the original inspiration was those adorable Budweiser commercials with the lost puppy. Remember those? I’m a dog lover anyway, but those commercials absolutely stole my heart. 

I couldn’t wait to find a way to integrate a sweet puppy, and a handsome horse trainer into a novel. Six years later, here we are. I’m so excited for readers to visit the small town of Fraser Hills, NC and get swept up into all that’s going on in that small town.

Could you give a short synopsis on the book for my readers?

Yes, it’s a sweet small-town holiday love story, perfectly fine for readers of all ages, so mommas, you can share this one with your teenage-daughter and her grandmother, too.

Vanessa Larkin was supposed to be spending Christmas in Paris, France on a business trip she hoped to enjoy as a working vacation. Instead, she’s been assigned to Fraser Hills, North Carolina—home of the Best Fruitcake in the USA—to convert her company’s property into warehouse space and shut down Porter’s, the fruitcake factory. Offering retirement packages and selling locals on new job opportunities may not spread holiday cheer, but Vanessa believes she’s helping secure the town’s future.

Mike Marshall’s family founded Porter’s. For decades, the factory served as the lifeblood of the community until his grandfather sold the business to a Chicago corporation. The sale cost the town its independence—and the Marshalls their family ties. A horse farmer, Mike was never involved with his grandfather’s company, but still felt Fraser Hills lost part of its identity. And as a widower raising a teenage daughter, he’s suffered enough losses in one lifetime. News of the factory’s closing means losing another piece of the town’s legacy.

Far from the skyscrapers and rapid pace of the city, Vanessa finds herself enjoying the easygoing rhythms of rural living. With Mike as her guide, she learns to appreciate the simple pleasures found in shared holiday festivities among friends. Fraser Hills is a town she is growing to love—and Mike is someone she is falling in love with. Now all Vanessa needs is a Christmas miracle to give her newfound friends and home a gift they’ll cherish for many New Years to come.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Oh gosh, there are so many! One of my favorites is hosting a cookie swap. It makes the daunting task of baking a huge and varied batch of cookies and treats for your family, fun and easy. Each participant makes six dozen of their favorite cookie or treat recipe. On the day of the swap everyone brings six dozen and goes home with an assortment of sixty cookies. A lot less work, and an evening of fun with the girls. What’s not to love?

I also still mail Christmas cards. Yes, it takes time, and stamps don’t make it nearly as economical as it once was, but there are some people that I want to be sure know they are on my mind through the holidays. Believe me, a little handwritten note goes a long way, and can mean so much more than a quick email. I treasure every Christmas card I receive.

What’s next? 
In the immediate future, Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy releases on 11/29 from Hallmark Publishing. It’s the third Evergreen novel featuring that old red truck I’ve written. I’m so honored to be the voice of the books that accompany those Hallmark Original movies.

On May 18, 2021,
The Shell Collector comes out. This novel has been in my heart for years. Shells with messages are showing up on Whelk’s Island, and they always seem to be the encouragement or confirmation for those that find them. The Shell Collector is up for preorder so order yours now. 

We’ll be doing a cover reveal as soon as we get past the buzz of the holidays so stay tuned. It’s a beautiful story set on the coast of North Carolina, described as a touching novel of love and loss, a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good. Don’t hesitate…treat yourself right now:

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given you’d like to share?
It’s so basic, but it bears repeating. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. You don’t have to write every day, or even every week. Find the process that what works for you. You might be the most organized writer around, or random as lightning bugs on a summer night, but it doesn’t matter as long as you continue to get words on the page and here’s the kicker…finish the book. Fourteen partial manuscripts are not going to get you anywhere. Dust off your favorite and get it over the finish line. GO!

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
Your voice is the only thing special you bring to the table. Don’t let anyone compromise that. As soon as I quit trying to write the way everyone told me I had to, I started selling. Trust your storytelling heart. The rest will take care of itself. In one word…BELIEVE.

Any last words or tips?

If you have a book in your heart…write it. Start today. If you wait for the perfect time, it’ll never come. Keep in mind at the very base of it all, if you wrote one simple page a day…just 250 words…you’d have a whole book at the end of the year. So what if you are short on time and it takes you three years. As long as you are making forward progress, you will meet that goal eventually. I know you can do it.

Are there any other books that you’d like to tell my readers about?

Yes, and it’s an amazing deal. On 12/1 along with ten other authors you’ll find a novelette from me in the Christmas Actually anthology. 11 brand new stories from 11 bestselling authors all for just 99c as long as you order before release date, so order today! Christmas Actually is available on all platforms. You’re going to love it. My story is called Mission: Merry Christmas and I think you’ll have fun with this Christmas story set in the Caribbean islands.

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A Heartfelt Christmas Promise
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