Meow! I’m pleased to welcome NYT bestselling author BRENDA NOVAK to my blog!
Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. A New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of fifty novels, Brenda Novak has been nominated for a prestigious Rita Award three times and won The National Reader's Choice Award, the Bookbuyer's Best, the Bookseller's Best, the Writer Touch Reader Award, the Golden Quill, the Hold Medallion and the Award of Excellence, among others.
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five childrenthree girls and two boys. When shes not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes researchan online auction held on her Web site (www.brendanovak.com) every May. To date, she has raised over $2 million for this cause.
R: Welcome to the blog, Brenda! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
I caught my daycare providing drugging my little kids with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day while I worked as a loan officer (I had three of my five kids at the time), so I quit my job to stay home with them myself. Problem was, we were in dire straits with my husband’s business, and I had to figure out some way to help out financially. During this time, I was reading a really great book—A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. I remember how it carried me away from the stressful situation, and when I finished it, I thought, “I wonder if I could write a book?”
That’s where the idea started. I’ve since completed fifty stories, almost all of them full-length novels.
R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
I would say the books I read growing up made the most impact because those are the ones I still remember in such great detail—almost everything by Kathleen Woodiwiss. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, THE THORNBIRDS by Colleen McCullough, GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell, REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier, and BLOODLINES by Sidney Sheldon.
R: Tell us about your new release, COME HOME TO ME
This is a story about two star-crossed lovers who just weren’t ready for love when they first got involved with each other. Presley, the heroine, fell hard. But Aaron was still coping with his unconventional upbringing. When Presley gets pregnant, she knows better than to even tell Aaron. She leaves town instead, and tries to get her life together—and when she returns two years later, she’s changed a lot. She’s left her addictions behind and become a great mother, but she’s still sheltering her secret…
R: What was the inspiration for your “Whiskey Creek” series?
The TV series FRIENDS. This is my small-town version of that.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
This is a tough question. I like something different about each book, but I will probably have to say that WHEN SNOW FALLS was the most fun to write. I wasn’t expecting Dylan to walk on stage out of nowhere, but he did—and he took over the whole story. LOL
R: Tell us a little bit about your annual online auction, “for the cure”. How did that come about, and what, if any, other charities/causes are you passionate about?
When my son was diagnosed with diabetes at five years old, I wanted to do something to fight back. I was terrified about what this disease could do to him—and became familiar with the fact that diabetes affects almost every American family in one way or another. I was a young mother with a fledging writing career, so I kept telling myself that there would come a day when I would have the time and resources to do something to raise money. Then it occurred to me that I already had a good stream of traffic coming to my website, and that I could invite those people to join with me in trying to make a difference. That’s when I started my annual online auction for diabetes research. We are currently approaching our ten-year anniversary (it runs May 1 – 31st at http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com) and are looking forward to what I hope will be our biggest year yet. So far, we’ve raised over $2 million—which is far more than I ever dreamed I’d be able to raise. I am so grateful to all the readers, authors, publishing officials and advocates who have pitched in to help me.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
I was cautiously ecstatic when I got The Call. I had received one previous call that hadn’t ended in a contract—my agent at the time said she’d never seen a publisher express such interest and then turn away—so I was a bit less trusting the second time around. But HarperCollins did step up and buy my first book, OF NOBLE BIRTH, and it was thrilling.
I found my first agent simply by querying. Pamela Ahearn responded, we went through some revisions on the manuscript I’d submitted, and she ended up signing me shortly after that story finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart contest.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
I don’t have to have anything except a chair and a computer—although it helps if I can have some peace and quiet, too. LOL
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
I’d travel to medieval England simply because I’m so fascinated by that period in history—and how people lived. But I would only do that if I could get back! LOL
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
I think my romantic suspense title INSIDE would make a really great movie. It’s actually been optioned, so we’ll see if it ever hits the big screen. As the lead actor…maybe Charlie Hunnam? I’m super in love with him right now. LOL
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’m not sure…. Maybe that I bike 25 miles per day?
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
When I was seven months pregnant with my oldest son, we were really into mountain biking. We took a trip to Moab to do some of the trails they have there, and when I look back at that, I shake my head at my stupidity. I was riding with a big belly in front of me on the rim of a canyon that wasn’t six inches wide and was strewn with rocks—and I was riding hard and fast, trying to keep up with two men. I could so easily have hit something the wrong way and sailed off into the canyon. I would kill one of my kids if they ever did something so foolhardy. LOL
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I write about “real” people, meaning my characters are not perfect. That makes almost every book a redemption story because we all have to figure out who we really are and make changes to become who we want to be. I hope my stories give people hope that they can be as admirable as they want to be, and that true love really exists.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
I’m currently writing my next Whiskey Creek story—Book #7 in the series. It’s called THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS and will be released in November (Eve’s story). I’m also working on a thriller called HELL BENT that I haven’t yet submitted for publication. I want to finish it before I sell it, since I’m under so many other deadlines. After these projects, I’ll be doing a women’s fiction title for my current publisher that will come out in trade paper.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a pantser. I have to let the plot grow out of the characters, and it takes a few chapters for me to get to know the characters well enough to let that happen.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I love to travel, read, ride bikes, shop and spend time with my family.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
This is always an easy question for me. Believe. If you truly believe in yourself and your work, you will learn, practice, learn, practice, and keeping learning and practicing until you get that lucky break.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
Um…cat? LOL (Rocco – RIGHT ANSWER,MEOW!)
Beach or Pool?
Steak or salad?
asteak salad (ROCCO: Very diplomatic, meow!)
Favorite TV Series?
LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
Virgin Pina Colada (I don’t drink—Ha)
Hawaii or Alaska?
Alaska (I’m dying to see it)
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _Margaret Mitchell or maybe Gandhi__________________
If I had just one wish, it would be_that we could find a cure for diabetes________________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be __I’m happy just being me._____
Thanks Brenda, for a great interview! Folks, here are all the places you can find out more about Brenda!
And now…Brenda will give away the first three books in her Whiskey Creek series, autographed, and tucked inside a cute Brenda Novak mini-tote! Entering is simple – just leave a comment with your email address in our comments section! (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
Follow Brenda on FB at the address above
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!
Coming in April....Liz Mugavero, Rosie Genova and Harley Jane Kozak!
INCREDIBLE BLOGGING CAT