Interview with Nancy Naigle about her book, The Shell Collector:
Congratulations on your new novel, The Shell Collector! Let’s talk about it …
Alexis: Your new novel is categorized as “Friendship Fiction” on Amazon.com. What does that mean?
Nancy: The publisher selects three categories for each novel. I’m not entirely sure how they select them. In the case of The Shell Collector I think “friendship fiction” fits. This story features several really great friendships. The old woman, Maeve, who walks the beach collecting shells with the young widow and mother of two, Amanda. Amanda is reunited with her late husband’s best friend, Paul. Maeve and Tug, the owner of the diner, have a really special relationship too.
Alexis: What are the themes of this story?
Nancy: Love, friendship, trusting your journey, and sharing your gifts.
Alexis: Describe your heroine to me. What are Amanda Whittier’s hopes, dreams, fears, and strengths?
Nancy: She is focused on her children, and still trying unbraid herself from her past with her husband Jack.
Alexis: Describe your hero to me. What are Paul Grant’s greatest strengths, worst weaknesses, and quiet dreams?
Nancy: He is the kind of friend we all want. Genuine, kind, trustworthy and sincere.
Alexis: What kind of business did Amanda dream of starting? Why?
Nancy: She had dreamed of starting a business creating herbal salts. It was a perfect combination of her love for herbs and cooking, while giving her something she could do from home to still be with her young children.
Alexis: How is Amanda adjusting to life after her husband’s death?
Nancy: It’s been two years since her husband passed away, and she’s just moved to Whelks Island to try to get a fresh start.
Alexis: How did Paul Grant arrive in the area where Amanda lives? Does he like his new place?
Nancy: Paul Grant just opened his second location of Paws Town Square. It’s a unique business that repurposes Ghost Box buildings in tourist towns that enable families to kennel their dogs near the vacation site. But it’s more than just that. Paul also works to reunite retired military working dogs with their handlers, and helps veterans by offering the jobs in his corporation.
Alexis: Why does Paul enjoy working with military dogs? How does that help him and others?
Nancy: Paul Grant worked with military working dogs while enlisted in the Marines. When his best friend doesn’t make it back from his last deployment, Paul feels guilty and becomes reckless. He left the Marines out of necessity, and Paws Town Square is his healing path.
Alexis: Why does Paul believe that he’s not suited for romance?
Nancy: He once met the girl of his dreams, but she was already spoken for. Now Paul’s focus is solely on his business.
Alexis: Who is Maeve Lindsay? What role does she play in this story?
Nancy: Maeve is in her eighties. She grew up in Whelks Island and walks the beach every day, rain or shine, searching for shells and sea glass. She’s still very involved with the town. She doesn’t miss a town meeting, and works hard to help preserve this small town feel of the beach town.
Alexis: Why did you write this book?
Nancy: This story was inspired by a true story of a friend of the family who was once walking the beach with something heavy on her heart. She found a shell with a scripture written in it in the surf. It was the right message at the right time. That, coupled with the loss of my husband in 2014, had this story churning in my heart for several years. This is truly a book of my heart. I can’t wait for readers to grab a copy to join me in this beautiful setting with the colorful residents of Whelks Island.
Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about The Shell Collector?
Nancy: I hope readers will realize that friends can originate in unexpected places. The cross-generational friendship is really special. I hope they’ll also find themselves wanting to share small moments of joy with others.
Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I were not an author, I’d ____________________ because ______________________.
Nancy: If I were not an author, I’d definitely still be working in big business because that’s what I was good at. I never aspired to be an author. I was a senior vice president with Bank of America. My original goal was to write one book, to help one girl through one lousy day. That’s it. But my first book deal was for three books and I really loved writing them. My husband was diagnosed with cancer at the end of October 2013. He died on January 30th, 2014. I felt the need to shift the focus of my life. I took an early retirement at that time to write full-time. It’s truly been a blessing.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Nancy! Do you have closing comments?
Nancy: Thank you for letting me share a little inside information about The Shell Collector. This book is available in digital, trade paperback and audio formats. The audio book is narrated by Erin Cahill who starred as Kelly in the movie based on my novel The Secret Ingredient on Hallmark Channel. It’s a wonderful audio book. This book will also be available in hard cover large print on September 8. It’s available for preorder now.
Please stay in touch with me on my website www.NancyNaigle.com. You can subscribe to my newsletter there too to be the first to hear about books, movies, sales, events and contests. You can read the first chapter of the book at www.NancyNaigle.com/theshellcollector.
Hugs and happy reading!
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 contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career as an SVP for Bank of America and life on a seventy-six-acre goat farm.
Now enjoying an early retirement from the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, cooking, trail riding on her Palomino, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she now calls North Carolina home.
Best known for her small town stories set in Adams Grove, Sweet Tea and Secrets leads off this small town series. Stay tuned for news about the release of Porch Swings and Promises.
Nancy writes romance and women's fiction for Montlake Romance and St. Martin's Press. She enjoys the diversity of adding mysteries to her list of accomplishments through Crossroads Publishing House. She's also working on several projects with Hallmark. Watch for Nancy's novels Christmas Joy, Christmas in Evergreen and Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa on Hallmark Channel, and Hope at Christmas, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. New in 2020, The Secret Ingredient made its Hallmark Channel debut, and stay tuned for news about the movie based on Sand Dollar Cove.
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Book blurb for The Shell Collector:
“The Shell Collector is a beautiful story full of love, loss, and second chances.”
– #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
From USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle, The Shell Collector is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.
Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.
Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning—alone—through his work and role in the community.
Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.
Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.
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