Lesa - Nancy, I'm sure you don't need to be introduced to most of my readers, but I do have a few in Europe. Would you tell us about yourself?
Nancy - I’ve lived on Nantucket for thirty years, which is a bit of a surprise, since I grew up in Kansas and went to the University of Missouri at Kansas City. I have 2 fabulous children and 4 wonderful grandchildren and a husband who loves to read as much as I do. I’ve published 27 novels—27! And I’m only 31. How is that possible? I know I’m fortunate to do work I love. And I can do it in my pajamas, without combing my hair. I wake up, make coffee, start writing.
Lesa - Without spoilers, would you summarize The Guest Cottage?
Nancy - The Guest Cottage is about recovering from loss, finding your true self, and starting again. Sophie Anderson’s husband has just told her he wants a divorce. He loves his children, Jonah, 15, and Lacey, 10, but he’s too ambitious to spend time with them. Trevor Black has just been widowed, and is raising his four-year-old son Leo alone. Without knowing each other, Sophie and Trevor rent a house on Nantucket from cousins who don’t communicate, and they end up with their children in the same house. They both hope to heal during a Nantucket summer, and they get much more than they bargained for.
Lesa - I heard that your own life experiences led to the creation of this work. Can you tell us how?
Nancy - I was divorced with two small children when I came to Nantucket to visit a friend, and I met a wonderful man, Charley. It was love at first sight, but he’s six years younger than I am, so I was afraid it wouldn’t last. We married thirty years ago and so far, so great. I have several other friends, young and old, who met their husbands on Nantucket. It’s kind of magic that way.
Lesa - What authors have inspired you?
Nancy - Of course Louisa May Alcott, my heroine. Margaret Mitchell, whom people seem to have forgotten. Daphne du Maurier. Kathleen Winsor. Shirley Jackson. Sheila Ballantyne. Margaret Laurence. Charles Dickens. Virginia Woolf. Thomas Mann. Willa Cather. An endless list, really. When I read a good book, I want to go write.
Lesa - Can you tell us about the book you're working on now?
Nancy - Tentatively titled The Comforts of Home, my 2016 novel involves the large, fortunate Champion family on Nantucket and their secret problems. Dixie Hendricks, 29, has to decide whether to marry Archie Champion, whom she loves and who lives on Nantucket, or stay with her Kansas boyfriend Monty, where her parents live, where she feels at home. For the first time, I’m writing about the state where I grew up.
Lesa - What didn't I ask that you'd like to cover?
Nancy - I’m doing several talks and signings in the Massachusetts area and will post the dates on my website: www.nancythayer.com. And I’m on Facebook and love it.
Lesa - I'm a librarian, so I always end with the same question. Do you have a story you can tell about your relationship to libraries?
Nancy - As a child, I went with my siblings and mother to the local library every Saturday. We all stocked up on books for the week and returned home with our arms full, as happy as if we’d all won the lottery. I raised my children the same way. My daughter is raising her children the same way. The library is one of the centers of a happy life.
When I moved to Nantucket, I started a Friends of the Library group, and I served on our Nantucket Atheneum Board of Trustees for ten years. After living on an island with three lighthouses, I’ve decided that libraries are the lighthouses of the soul, always beaming steadily, guiding us toward information, knowledge, wisdom, pleasure, beauty, and hope.
Thank you, Nancy! What a beautiful ending, "Libraries are the lighthouses of the soul." Thank you.
The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer. Ballantine Books. 2015. ISBN 9780345545510 (hardcover), 321p.