Hi Carla! Thanks for stopping over at Night Owl Romance.
With your latest Swift River Valley, THE RIVER HOUSE publishing March 27, we thought it would be fun to let our Night Owls get to know the author behind this contemporary romance series set in a small New England town.
Did you live in a small New England town growing up, like event planner Felicity MacGregor, and her high school sweetheart/now successful entrepreneur Gabe Flanagan? Like them, when you graduated high school, were you eager to get away and experience the world? Did you leave a boyfriend behind? Where did you go?
I grew up in a small New England town much like fictional Knights Bridge. In fact, our family homestead is on the western edge of the Quabbin Reservoir. I left at eighteen for Boston University. The big city! Nah, I didn’t leave behind a boyfriend. I loved Boston and still do, but family get-togethers at “home” are still the best,
Your expert use of the senses is one writing skill that makes Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, come alive. Is this a conscious effort on your part?
Thank you! I love getting inside the heads—and hearts—of my characters and showing what they see, hear, feel, taste and/or smell. Felicity lives in Knights Bridge. Gabe grew up there but is just visiting. Their different sensibilities and backgrounds come through even in little things, such as sitting out on the deck at Felicity’s river house, on land once owned by Gabe’s family.
List six words that trigger the senses and take you back to your hometown.
Wild blueberries. Pine needles. Brook. Stone walls. Maple sap. Bonfire.
Where did you get the idea to have an entrepreneurial boot camp in Knights Bridge? Is this a new trend? Go to small towns for such enrichment retreats?
I’ve been gobbling up information on entrepreneurial boot camps of one sort or another. Reading, talking to people, listening to podcasts. It’s a perfect venture for Knights Bridge newcomers Dylan McCaffrey (Secrets of the Lost Summer) and Noah Kendrick (That Night on Thistle Lane). They ran a successful business and have a lot to offer—and so does little Knights Bridge.
Just the mention of one word in THE RIVER HOUSE—brownies—and the sexual tension spikes. Is this a literary device on your part, or did it just pop out of that marvelously creative mind of yours?
LOL! Can’t go wrong with brownies! Turns out they represent the falling out Felicity and Gabe had with each other a few years ago. It wasn’t about brownies, of course—I suspect we’ve all had that sort of disagreement, where what we’re arguing about really points to something deeper that we need to address.
One of the events Felicity caters in THE RIVER HOUSE is a party at the library celebrating a local author’s latest book in her children’s series featuring a character named Sherlock Badger. This book sounds so cute—by any chance is this a real series?
The Badgers of Middle Branch are the creation of a writer and illustrator who now lives in Knights Bridge in my series, not far from Felicity’s river house. I’ve often thought about trying my hand at writing one of the stories for real. You can read about Morwenna/Kylie in The Spring at Moss Hill.
In THE RIVER HOUSE, the weather is warm enough for Felicity and Gabe to take a couple of dips in their favorite swimming hole, but when we chatted about this book it was icy cold there in Vermont where you live. We’ve heard you’ll hike as long as the temperature is above freezing. Brrr. Are all New Englanders this hardy?
Well, these days I prefer at least double digits. If I waited for it to be above freezing, I wouldn’t get out in winter nearly often enough! We love to gripe about the weather in New England, but I see lots of people skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.
Night owl or early bird?
Early bird. I’ve been a lark forever! Helps when we scoot to Ireland.
What’s one thing you wish readers knew about you?
That I appreciate them more than I can express.
Will there be more Swift River Valley books? And what’s coming next from the pen (or keyboard) of Carla Neggers?
I’m writing Stone Bridges now, my next Swift River Valley book, and I just put the finishing touches on Impostor’s Lure, which debuts on August 21. It’s the next book in my Sharpe & Donovan suspense series featuring FBI art crimes expert Emma Sharpe and undercover agent Colin Donovan. And P.S.? THE RIVER HOUSE is my 75th published novel!
Thanks, Carla! It’s been fun getting to know you!
And I’ve enjoyed the warm welcome! (Waving hand at all you Night Owls!)