Carla Neggers and That Night on Thistle Lane

Today we are thrilled to have Carla Neggers with us! Carla is The New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels including her latest release, That Night on Thistle Lane.

CarlaNeggers_photo_200Welcome, Carla. We’re so glad you could spend time with us in the lair today. Your backlist is extensive (and impressive!) Has your writing changed over the years? Your writing routine?

I’ve always loved to write, starting when I was a kid climbing a tree with pad and pen. My favorite tree was a sugar maple at our family homestead on the western edge of Quabbin Reservoir in the stunningly beautiful Swift River Valley. Who knew then that this rich landscape and rich history would inspire me to create my very own fictional small town, Knights Bridge? That helps to explain my approach to writing. It’s always an adventure.

My writing routine has changed with my circumstances and other obligations. School, college, freelancing as a journalist, children of my own. Now I’m an empty-nester, and I’m enjoying the freedom to indulge my wanderlust and take writing retreats, especially to Ireland. Walking the Irish hills is good for the creative soul!

That Night of Thistle Lane book coverWe all know that writing doesn’t necessarily get easier, no matter how many books we’ve written! What’s the hardest thing about writing for you? What’s the most rewarding?

Hm. This might sound funny but the hardest thing about writing for me is finding a balance between all the things I love about what I do. It’s actually easier to figure out how to manage the parts I don’t like: just get ’em out of the way! With THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE, I had so much fun researching Hollywood gowns, fencing, goat’s milk soap…everything! I loved digging into the characters and making little Knights Bridge come to life. I also love meeting readers, chatting on social media, talking writing with my writer friends, hanging out with my agent and editor, haunting bookstores. Alas, there are only just so many hours in a day! It’s all rewarding. I’m so grateful to be able to do what I do.

Travel and research play a large part in your writing. What’s your most memorable trip? What’s the most interesting fact/research you discovered?

I do love to travel! Every trip’s memorable in some way. Whenever possible, I like to walk the ground my characters walk. I might have made up Knights Bridge but I grew up in the Swift River Valley and surrounding uplands. My trips to Ireland definitely stand out. On our first trip to the southwest Irish coast, I had no idea of setting a book there. None at all! Now Ireland plays a central role in my Sharpe & Donovan suspense series. In fact, most of DECLAN’S CROSS is set there. I’m always learning cool stuff as a writer. The *most* interesting tidbit, though? I can’t pinpoint just one but I can say I’m enjoying learning as much as possible about whiskey!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working on a book?

Traveling, cooking, gardening, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing — love ’em all, especially with family and friends. We recently went sledding; the whole gang. Life doesn’t get better than listening to a three-year-old squeal with delight!

 Is there anything special in your office or at your writing desk that inspires you?

Well. Right now there is that poster of Paris on my office wall. I’m just sayin’…

Could you tell us about That Night on Thistle Lane and your Swift River Valley series?

SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER and THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE, the first two books in my Swift River Valley series, bring best friends Dylan McCaffrey and Noah Kendrick — two very different men — to Knights Bridge, a small New England town on the edge of the vast Quabbin Reservoir. Knights Bridge is fictional but Quabbin is real. I grew up on the western edge of Quabbin. Our eighteenth-century house, a former carriage house, was almost razed when the reservoir was constructed, wiping four small, picturesque towns off the map. That was long before I was even born, but the incredible history and beauty of the Swift River Valley serve as a backdrop and inspiration for my very contemporary characters and their conflicts.

In THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE, Phoebe O’Dunn discovers a secret room in the library where she works. It’s filled with vintage Hollywood-style gowns. When she wears one to a Boston masquerade, she never expects to dance with a handsome swashbuckler. Finding out who he is and how the secret room came to be changes her life!

Tell us About your Library Contest, what a great idea!

Thanks! The “My Favorite Library Contest” gives people a chance to win $1000 for their favorite library as well as a collection of my books. All the details are on my website: If we select your entry (100 words or less telling me about your favorite library), you also receive books and a gift basket of some of my favorite New England goodies. Libraries have meant so much to me and I’ve heard from countless readers over the years who feel the same. The contest runs until April 1 but please enter today!

Carla is giving away a copy of THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE to one lucky commenter today! Thanks, Carla, and thanks so much for being with us today!



  • Jane says:

    I’m a huge fan of the Sharpe and Donovan series. I’m hoping we’ll see more Emma and Colin and maybe Mike will get his own book.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Carla

    This series sounds wonderful a secret room filled with beautiful ball gowns very inspiring. I must look these up and get them I do love finding new to me authors. I have heard lots of good things about your books
    I don’t go to libraries much these days but when I was young you could always find me at the local library of the school one I spent lots of time reading there. Your trips sound great as well one day I will get to travel I have been on a couple of cruises and so love them.

    Congrats on the release

    Have Fun

    • Beth Andrews says:

      Hi, Helen! Libraries are wonderful, aren’t they? My kids don’t like to go with me to our local one because I tend to lose track of time and don’t want to leave *g*

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Helen! Gotta say, I think you’ll LOVE Carla’s books. I do! I got to meet Carla at the Washington Romance Writer’s retreat and hear her give a talk too. *waving at Carla*

      I think I’ve read nearly everything she’s written, and enjoyed it all. Carla’s on Auto-buy for me!

    • I’ve only done one cruise but what an easy way to relax, read, see new places. The ship we were on had its own library. I hope you get a chance to be back on the sea soon. Thanks, Helen!

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations on the new book! Our library system is a good one that serves a lot of people and has some wonderful programs so I will check out your contest.

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Welcome, Carla! I loved That Night on Thistle Lane and can’t wait to read more stories in the Swift River Valley series *g*

    Could you tell us what other releases you have coming up in 2013?

    • Thanks, Beth! 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year. In June, BEWITCHING, one of my early contemporary romances, is being reissued along with HIS SECRET AGENDA by a certain Beth Andrews — do we love this cover or do we love this cover? Then comes ROCK POINT, my e-novella original, the paperback of HERON’S COVE and then DECLAN’S CROSS, #3 in my Sharpe & Donovan series.

  • Deb says:

    I think this sounds like a wonderful story! A secret room, full of vintage clothes and artifacts….what fun to play dress-up as an adult! A year ago, Ruth Circle at church had an afternoon tea (there were many lovely tables set) and my daughter and I were in the vintage fashion show. One of the outfits I was given to wear was a maternity outfit from the late 50s. Ha! I lifted the blouse to show the ladies the little lap pillow tucked into the waistband of the skirt. Some of the outfits from the 40s part of the show were so elegant, yet simple.

    I remember one of my first trips to the library was to check out Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I also need to mention that I spent quite a bit of time at the library while in college. Not much studying, more scoping guys. 😉

    Congratulations on the release, Carla!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Carla, it’s so great to have you in the Lair! I am a huge fan of many things you mentioned: Ireland, libraries, small towns and…well, okay, not whiskey, I’m afraid. But I am a fan of visiting distilleries. Did you visit any distilleries in Ireland? I have friends who have been on whiskey distillery vacations. Seriously!

    I am also a huge fan of series set in fictional towns. I can’t wait to read That Night On Thistle Lane and all the Swift River Valley books! 🙂

  • May says:

    What a great contest for the libraries around the world. 🙂 I have great memories of libraries…

    Congrats on your release!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hi Carla! *waving madly!* Welcome back to the Lair! I’m so glad Beth invited you back to visit with us. (Thanks, Beth!)

    I love all your books, so I’m sure Night on Thistle Lane will be no exception. Grins. Looking forward to reading it.

    And the library contest is a FABULOUS idea! I’m a huge, huge fan of libraries, probably because my dad was a director of county libraries for his entire career. Grins. I quite literally grew up in a library. I’ll be popping over to your website right away to sign up for that contest. Grins.

    Thanks for being with us today!

  • Susan Sey says:

    Hi, Carla–

    You’re making me want to travel. This is not good as my current lifestyle (elementary aged kids) and budget (again, elementary aged kids) do not permit much in the way of travel. Maybe I’ll console myself by planning a summer camping trip. (It’s -20 here in the midwest, if you include windchill which I usually don’t but the bus stop was bitter this morning.)

    Or maybe I’ll pick up one of your books & travel that way. 🙂 So much more comfortable than camping, though I do love my tent….

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • Oh, I hear you on kids and budgets, Susan! When our kids were little, we rented a little cottage in Maine every summer and explored the coast — so many great memories (not to mention fodder for my Sharpe & Donovan books!). We still visit Maine regularly but our cottage is no more, alas. Enjoy your tent! 🙂

    • Beth Andrews says:

      Susan, we’ve been hit with the cold, too, but luckily the lowest has been about -10 *g* Then it warmed up enough to rain for a few days and make a total mess and now it’s snowing again.

      Ahh…winter. I think we could all probably use a vacation!

  • Hi Carla – Welcome to the lair!

    Hey, pull up a barstool and we can chat about whisky. My next Victorian historical is set in Scotland with a distiller and required considerrable research on this subject (hick) 🙂

    FWIW – There’s a bourbon trail in Northern KY which features free tours at multiple distillers. Some use the Scottish stills but others use the Irish columnar still. The Irish and Scots used different grains, but the process is the same as bourbon whiskey.

    Love the sound of this series. Love secret rooms :-). Bouncing over to Amazon to check it out.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Donna, we do have to get Carla to take that Bourbon trail tour, don’t we?

      I’m friends with a few distillers, but have never done the entire trail. I hear it’s wonderful. I’d need a designated driver though, as they often give tastings. Hmmmm…maybe my husband would take us all in the van.

    • Sounds fun, Donna! Whiskey/whisky is endlessly fascinating. Good luck with your book!

    • Beth Andrews says:

      Donna, I would love to visit that whiskey trail someday. Maybe if we ever drive down to Nashville again to see That Boy of Mine *g* Would make for a very interesting trip 🙂

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Hi Carla, and welcome.

    I’ve always loved your writing and definitely need to pick up this series. There is something about a small town, where you fall in love with the secondary characters along the way, that takes me away like nothing else.

    I’ve never spent time in New England, and need to do that soon. Obviously, it’s embedded in your psyche and has affected what you write in marvelous ways! The way you describe the landscape–it just sounds stunning.

    • Beth Andrews says:

      There is something about a small town, where you fall in love with the secondary characters along the way, that takes me away like nothing else.

      Cassondra, that is so true with Carla’s Swift River Valley series! I think you’ll really enjoy the books *g*

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Oh, and I meant to say, what a wonderful idea on the library contest. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, and I give full credit to my mom, who read to me from the day I was born, to the library in my small town for the fact that I got an education and loved reading and books and then writing.

    • I know what you mean about small towns and libraries, Cassandra. I’ve lived in the city (Boston) but for the most part I’ve lived in small towns, and grew up in one. Hope you get to New England one day soon!

  • catslady says:

    I loved our huge, very old library when I was a child. Then I moved to an area that didn’t have one but then they got a book mobile which I took my children to every week. Eventually they built a tiny library that was further away and now they have another larger one but I’m afraid I’ve never been. I like my memories of that first, magical library of my youth.

    • Beth Andrews says:

      Catslady, the original library in our town was turned into a restaurant but every time I go there, I still feel as if I’m a child walking up those wide steps to pick out an armful of books!

  • kaelee says:

    I didn’t have a library where I grew up until I was around 10 years old. A group of ladies formed a committee and set up a library stocked with book donations. Every month or two a great big box of books would come in from the provincial traveling library. Those books would get snapped up.

    My first experience with a real library other than the one at university was in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I was newly married and could not afford to buy books. I read a lot of new to me series ~ Jalna, Horatio Hornblower, Miss Read, Father Brown and many more.

    Both my husband and I belong to the City of Calgary Library . It’s a great system. It’s also connected to libraries throughout the province so you can borrow books from lots of libraries.

    • Beth Andrews says:

      Kaelee, how wonderful of those ladies to set up a system where you could all borrow books!

      My local library is very small but I love that you can request a book from any library in Pennsylvania.

  • Quilt Lady says:

    Would love to read this book. It sounds really good.

  • pearl says:

    Congratulations on the wonderful release. Sounds unique and special. I always support libraries and they are so important and precious.

  • pearl says:

    An amazing book. thanks for introducing me to this story. Ever since I was young I had a library card. This was part of my growing up and independence since I rode my bike to take out books several times a week. I hope that libraries are always here for everyone to enjoy.

  • ellie says:

    I will be reading this book since it is intriguing. Your contest is wonderful and libraries should be appreciated.

  • diane says:

    Without a library I would be lost. I cannot imagine a city that has no neighborhood branches. We have a pretty good system which I benefit from very much.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    Thanks for reminding me of your contest, Carla. I had forgotten that I meant to send in an entry!
    I’m off now to your website!

    Pat C.

  • donnas says:

    Thanks for sharing!! Sounds like a wonderful series. And I really love the “My Favorite Library Contest” its awesome.

  • chey says:

    Hi Carla,
    I always enjoy your books. I can’t wait to read this one!

  • Diane Sallans says:

    I love a small town series – it so much fun to meet all the characters.
    I’m working on my entry for the Library contest – it’s a favorite local spot of mine and bring so much to all of us.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I always feel that is a writer is drawn to visit a country or place that chances are they will write about it too.

    I practically grew up in libraries. When I was a child the family would visit the local library each Saturday morning & fill up the car with books. Still a favorite place to visit. I could spend all day.

  • Lianne says:

    The book looks great, have just requested the first in this series at my local library