1. How did you come up with the title?
I was actually in New York, having dinner with my editor. She was asking me about the book, which I'd only just started, and I realized that a night on Thistle Lane is at the heart of the story. It hit me that had to be the title. I think that's the first time I've come up with a title while having wine with my editor!
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Most of all, I hope readers enjoy the story, and if there are aspects of it that resonate with them on different levels, that's great.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
Well, I have met a billionaire! Seriously, although the little town of Knights Bridge is fictional, the Swift River Valley is a real place. Four small towns were wiped off the map there in the 1920s and 1930s to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Everything had to go – people, homes, businesses, shops. Even graves were moved. I grew up on the western edge of Quabbin and its watershed. My mother still lives on our family homestead (she just broke her leg hanging bird feeders but is on the mend!).
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No, I wouldn't. The story is what it is, and I loved writing it. I can "see" Phoebe O'Dunn in her Edwardian gown and Noah Kendrick in his swashbuckler outfit at the masquerade ball in Boston!
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
April! I got sick with the stomach bug from hell (is there any other kind) and then, as I was getting back on my feet, had a dental emergency. So much for my May 1st deadline! Fortunately my editor was understanding and it all worked out. I can write anytime, anywhere, but sometimes we all just have to crawl under the covers for a bit!
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Like Phoebe O'Dunn, I have three sisters who mean the world to me. My sister Hilda raises goats and she and her daughter make goat's milk soap, which play a role in Phoebe's life and her relationship with her mother and sisters. That allowed me to learn more about this aspect of my sister's life. (She and her daughter are also both nurses!) Goat's milk soap is fabulous. I'm not sure how goats, Hollywood gowns and a high-tech California billionaire end up in the same story but it's a lot of fun.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always loved reading and storytelling. I grew up in the country, with six brothers and sisters and lots to do on the 18th century carriage house we moved into when I was seven. I'd go off by myself and climb a tree with a pad and pen. I had a favorite sugar maple. I had a number of writing getaways but my tree branch was my favorite.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can't name just one favorite author! I have so many, but I remember as a kid discovering Mary Stewart. That was the first time I had to read everything an author's written. I loved the atmosphere of her stories. When I meet other Mary Stewart fans, we often point to similar passages describing sunlight, sea, the specifics of the setting. Her work endures. She started writing before I was born and now my daughter is reading her, too.
9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm so excited about 2013! THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE comes out in late January, and in late May, Harlequin is reissuing BEWITCHING, one of my early (funny) romances. Then in July, I'll have my first e-novella original published, ROCK POINT, a prequel to my Sharpe & Donovan series. The story features Finian Bracken, the enigmatic Irish priest who appears in SAINT'S GATE and HERON'S COVE. He plays a role in DECLAN'S CROSS, too, the third book in the series, due out in late August. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to spending time with family and friends…and, of course, we'll be off to Ireland again! Nothing like hiking the Irish hills to relax and nurture the creative spirit.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I couldn't do what I do without the support of readers. Reading's one of my great pleasures and I just love being part of the world of books.
11. 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!
About the Book
Two strangers who meet at a costume ball work out the other’s identity only to be faced with an even greater mystery, in THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE, the second book in New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers’ Swift River Valley contemporary romance series.
When Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, librarian Phoebe O’Dunn uncovers a tiny room hidden in the attic of the town’s library, it is as if she is stepping into a time capsule. Not only is the mysterious space filled with perfect reproductions of dresses from famous films up through the 1960s, but it’s also overflowing with elaborate gowns from myriads of different historical eras.
So even though sensible, uneventful Phoebe had initially declined to attend a gala masquerade in Boston with her sister and friends, she thinks better of it at the last moment and decides to secretly attend dressed as a princess. Surely no one—not even her sister—will recognize Phoebe in an intricate Edwardian gown with a wig and mask? It’ll be Phoebe’s secret.
As soon as she enters the ball, Phoebe attracts the attention of a charming masked swashbuckler. The two strangers make an instant connection and all eyes are on the striking couple as they glide across the dance floor. However, while her gallant swashbuckler is distracted, Phoebe is forced to flee the ball before she is recognized. Once home, she scolds herself for being so reckless, hides the gowns and vows to keep her escapade a secret.
However, that proves difficult when Phoebe’s charismatic dance partner follows her back to Knights Bridge. It turns out the masked swashbuckler is Noah Kendrick, billionaire founder of high tech company NAK, Inc. Noah’s wealth has made him wary, especially of women. But the spark he felt with his princess was genuine and—even better—she has no ulterior motives. The only problem is now he has to find her.
After Phoebe meets Noah, she begins to suspect that he is her swashbuckler. However, she is too afraid to reveal herself to him. What will the reaction of this billionaire jet-setter be when he realizes that his feisty, exciting princess is actually a boring small-town librarian?
But events may force the dance partners to drop their masks and reveal their true identities. Noah is being followed by a mysterious stranger. This elusive man has been on Noah’s tail since San Diego, and when he appears in Knights Bridge, Phoebe is suddenly drawn into a situation that has her worrying for her family’s safety.
Prices/Formats: $7.99 paperback, $7.99 ebook
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers is always plotting her next adventure, whether in life or for one of her books. Her fertile imagination and curious nature make her ready for anything. These qualities sparked her love of reading as a child and continue to drive her passion for storytelling today.
With her trademark blend of action, adventure and down-to-earth, realistic characters caught up in extraordinary circumstances, her novels never fail to take her readers on an exciting journey.
Growing up in rural western Massachusetts, the third of seven children, Carla would grab a pad and pen and climb a tree to spin her stories. Just before she was born, her Dutch immigrant father and Southern-born mother had packed up the car with two kids and all their belongings and headed north to start a new life. They’d settled in an eighteenth-century carriage house on 90 acres and begun a long process of renovation.
After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, Carla studied music at Boston University and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in journalism. She enjoyed a brief stint as a freelance journalist, then turned to writing fiction full-time and now has more than 60 novels of romantic suspense and contemporary romance to her credit. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in more than 30 countries.
Travel and research play a large part in Carla’s writing. “It’s part of the fun of being a writer— you never know what will spark an idea. For example, I wasn’t thinking about writing on my first trip to Ireland. Then I stepped into the ruin of the cottage where my son-in-law’s great-grandfather was born…and I knew a story had started percolating. I just didn’t know what it was!”
Once a plot is hatched, the real research begins. Carla’s novels have taken her atop New England’s highest peaks, onto a shooting range with a police academy instructor and across the world as she scouts out locations and seeks the authenticity that imbues her novels.
The author’s greatest pleasure comes in those moments when she feels she’s gotten the story just right—when it all comes together on the pages of her book, exactly the way she’s envisioned the tale in her mind. Then, when readers connect with the story, her satisfaction is complete. “I love to hear from readers,” says the author. “When they tell me that a story resonated and they had a great time with it, I know I’ve done my job and done it well.”
A distinguished member of the writing community, Carla is a founder of the New England chapter of Romance Writers of America and has served on the boards of Novelists, Inc., and International Thriller Writers.
When she’s not working on her next book, Carla enjoys traveling, hiking and kayaking. She’s always planning the next trip and the next adventure—either of which just might inspire a new story.
Carla and her husband, Joe, are the parents of two grown children. They live in Vermont, not far from picturesque Quechee Gorge.
Links to connect with Carla:
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