Name: Brenda Novak
Hometown: Vernal, UT
Current Residence: Sacramento, CA
Education: B Young University
Briefly: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than forty-five books. A three-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May on her website. Her youngest son has this disease. To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda is currently writing a long-running small-town contemporary series set in the fictional Gold Country town of Whiskey Creek.
Favorite Read: Gone With The Wind, Jane Eyre, The Thornbirds
Pet Peeves: Cruelty to the innocent.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be…a cosmologist.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’ll be continuing my Whiskey Creek series, which will have a total of 12 – 15 books.
Were you a romance novel fanatic when you were growing up?
Yes. I started with Kathleen Woodiwiss, and she is still one of my all-time faves.
From the Still Water to the Gun for Hire series, you are a series queen. How do you know when to stop a series and move on to something else?
It’s basically when there’s not more story. If the conflict is resolved, there’s nowhere to go with the stories and characters—I liken it to mining. When the seam runs out you have to mine elsewhere.
And, also, how does an author write a series-friendly first book?
It depends on how closely connected the books will be. If they are closely connected, an author has to be careful to introduce enough characters or conflict—or a way to get more in as the series progresses to carry several story lines.
Quite a number of your books have been on the best-seller lists. Nowadays, when you hit the best-seller list, does it still mean a lot?
When I first started out, it was my dream to hit The New York Times, so it still means as much as ever.
Your web presence is quite strong. From your website to the your Amazon author page.
I like interacting with my readers. Facebook is probably the easiest way. I also like having people sign up on my mailing list, of course, so that I can stay in touch with them.
When you write a historical novel like Through the Smoke, do you have a research process that you use?
I definitely do plenty of research, but I’m not sure I’d call it a “process.” I’m the type of writer who researches as she goes along so that I don’t get off on some tangent and never come out of the library. [Laughter]
In a past interview, you stated that Home to Whiskey Creek was inspired by a real-life criminal case you saw on TV. Any of your other books based on true events?
Definitely parts of certain stories are based on things I’ve seen or experienced. A Home Of Her Own, for instance, has several echoes from my own extended family—my grandfather’s second wife tried to murder him and was exactly as the woman described in the book.
A lot of people wonder how authors like you can write so many books, and never run out of ideas.
Sometimes I do run out of ideas. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to last very long. My brain is constantly searching for fresh ideas—in what I see on TV, in the movies, in other books, in conversation, in real life!
You’re an author with a cause and your cause is diabetes.
My youngest son has Type 1. He was diagnosed at 5 and is now 16. When I started my auction, I did it because I was dying to fight back, to do something to save my child from the ravages of this terrible disease, which affects every organ in the body. Thanks to the romance community and others, I’ve been fortunate to raise over $2 million so far. This next year, when it opens May 1st, we will be celebrating our big ten-year anniversary. Yay!! I’d love to encourage everyone to register, so that they can join the fun.
What is it about your books that has had fans follow your career and your new releases year after year?
I hope it’s because they resonate emotionally. That’s the whole point of reading, as far as I’m concerned. I try to build characters that my readers care about.
What should every author know about their craft?
I think every author should figure out her strengths and play into them.
When you launched your career, what plan did you put in motion to get readers?
I didn’t have a plan. I just hoped that those who picked up one of my books would enjoy it and come back for the next one.
Do you get writer’s block often? And how do you usually deal with it?
For me, writer’s block simply means I’ve taken a wrong turn in the story. It’s my subconscious getting in the way so I don’t waste a lot of time. When the muse dries up, I go back and try to figure out where the story begins to lose its emotional tension. When I find the “break” and start from there, the block goes away.