Please join me in welcoming Nancy Naigle to the blog today to chat about her new novel, The Shell Collector!
NANCY NAIGLE is a USA Today bestselling author whose many contemporary romance novels include the Adams Grove, Boot Creek, and Christmas in Evergreen series. Several of her novels have been adapted to the television screen, airing on the Hallmark Channel and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, including the popular Christmas Joy and Hope at Christmas. Nancy makes her home in North Carolina.
THE SHELL COLLECTOR
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance / Beach Read
PUBLISHER: WaterBrook Press
RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2021
“A beautiful story full of love, loss, and second chances.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
A touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good, from USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle.
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.
Hi Nancy! Welcome back to the blog!
Nancy: Dogs. I have a chocolate lab named Dakota, and a 180-pound Pyrenean Mastiff who we call Large Sarge.
Carrie: oh wow! I hope you have a reasonably large home for all that dog haha. i love labs – and what else would you call a 180-pound Pyrenean Mastiff? LOL
Carrie: me too, but make mine a diet 🙂
Nancy: Today…the mountains, but I was born in Virginia Beach, so I love sand under my feet.
Carrie: The mountains are my happy place but I also love a mountainous/rocky coast – best of both worlds 🙂
Carrie: yes please!
Q: What’s your favorite junk food?
Nancy: Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Kreme-filled doughnuts.
Carrie: YUM! my fave donut, hands-down.
Q: What have you learned from writing?
Nancy: Besides all the cool useless trivia that I learn researching different places, occupations, and situations, I’d have to say I’m more patient because of the writing.
Nothing about writing is fast.
I came from a fast-paced, long-hours work environment. It was really hard for me to slow down and let the creativity happen. I was trying to force things to work, but now I let the stories come more organically—trusting that it will all come together. I can’t tell you how many times I reread what I’ve written the previous day and realize there’s something there I hadn’t even planned. I’m so thankful for those moments.
Carrie: that’s got to be so rewarding and encouraging when that happens!
Q: I gotta say – this book looks so good! What is the inspiration behind The Shell Collector?
Nancy: My cousin once shared a story from a family friend who found special shells along the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC, where she lived. Each one included a scripture written inside. She found more than half a dozen of those shells over the years. Each of the shells came to her when she needed it most. No one else ever mentioned finding one, which left her wondering how they came to her, and why. She treasured them, considering them gifts from her angels by the sea.
I loved the idea of those shells, and thought of it often; but never more than in 2014, when I lost my husband and my cousin within just weeks of each other. I could have used a boatload of those shells that year.
Instead of finding shells, the story of The Shell Collector took hold in my heart, and over the years it grew into a story not just about shells, but the people whose lives they touched and the friendships and love that grew because of them. A story of kindness, friendship, survival, and hope.
Carrie: very special! So thankful for those tender touches from God in my own life over the years
Q: Are any of the characters based on real people?
Nancy: Only one character in The Shell Collector was based on a real person, and that was a last minute addition actually. I remarried last year and one of the men that worked for my husband’s landscape and grading business was always begging me to put him in a book. The funny thing was he didn’t want me to put his name in the book, but wanted me to name the character Chase, because he’d always thought that was such a cool name. He died in a car accident during the editing of this book. I added a character named Chase to the story just for him. Not much of it made the final version, but I hope he’s smiling at the small mention.
Maeve wasn’t based on one real person, but I do think everyone should have a ‘Maeve’ in their life, and good friends they can count on. My ‘Maeve’ wasn’t an elderly woman or a widow, but she is a wonderful lady and little bits of her show up in lots of my favorite characters.
Carrie: that’s so sweet of you to add him in to the book – and i agree about everyone needing a ‘Maeve’ friend in their life
Q: How did you choose which messages to include in the shells? Is there one “shell message” that means more to you personally than the others?
Nancy: There were so many on my list that never made it into the book. I wanted to choose messages that would appeal to many people. I also wanted to keep them short so that it seemed realistic to the reader that it could fit on a shell. For example, one of the scriptures from the true-life experience had Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Gives you tingles, right? But I wondered how I could get all that written in a shell, so I decided to keep it simple and as realistic as possible.
My favorite shell quote from the book is the simplest one to read, and often the hardest to do. “Interrupt worry with gratitude.”
Carrie: wow! that’s a very profound quote.
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from The Shell Collector?
Nancy: If the reader has lived through this type of loss, I hope they find comfort and hope. If they haven’t, then I hope it encourages them to step up and be the ‘Maeve’ for someone else. Should they ever go through this type of grief and sorrow, I hope some of the comforting words in this story will give them strength and assurance to proceed with grace. Those feelings of loss never go away, but they do change. They lose the sharp edges and the weight. Unfortunately, there’s no recipe to make it through faster or easier. Everyone is different. Life is rarely predictable, if we’re doing it right.
Carrie: so true ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Nancy: Edits are underway on The Wedding Ranch for St. Martin’s Press, and I’m writing What Remains True for WaterBrook Press. Both are set in small towns with delightful characters that I’m really enjoying spending my days with. Keep an eye out for both of them in 2022.
WaterBrook Press is offering a print copy of The Shell Collector to one of my readers. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle?