Carla Neggers and That Night on Thistle Lane
Posted by Beth Andrews Jan 31 2013, 4:00 am
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.
Welcome, 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!
We 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: www.carlaneggers.com. 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!