Jen: Today’s guest is the mega-busy and talented Brenda Novak. Brenda, will you share a short bio with us?
Brenda: New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has a brand new small-town contemporary series out. Come meet the long-time friends who have made Whiskey Creek the “Heart of Gold Country,” with WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, WHEN SUMMER COMES (RT Book Reviews’ Best Contemporary of 2012), and HOME TO WHISKEY CREEK. Brenda is a three-time Rita nominee. Her books have won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best and the Holt Medallion.
She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $2.1 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.
Jen: Aubrey wanted to share that it was hard for her to read Callie’s story since her father passed away from Hepatitis C. Did you have to do a lot of research into the condition? Why did you choose this condition to feature in your story?
Brenda: I’m so sorry for Aubrey. Losing a father to any condition is difficult, and I could see why it would touch a tender spot to read about it. I wanted to write about a woman who had only three or four months to live, but would look and act fairly healthy. One of my best friends from college suffered from non-alcoholic liver disease, so I saw how she got along–before and after her liver transplant. That gave me the backdrop I wanted to create a heroine who might take risks someone else might not take (like taking in a drifter, which is how she gets to know the love of her life).
Jen: Whiskey Creek was only supposed to be a trilogy, what made you expand the series? How many books do you have planned?
Brenda: It was actually planned as a long-running series from the beginning. I had at least six stories planned out when I sold the first three, and I have at least six more now.
Jen: How does one go about getting involved in your online auction for Diabetes that is held every May? What can readers do?
Brenda: It’s easy to get involved–all anyone has to do is contact me (there’s a contact link right on my website). We’re thrilled to have any and all support. I feel as if the success of the auction is based entirely on the fact that a whole community of good people support it–so many writers and readers and activists. This year we hit a new record when we raised $260,000, and I couldn’t be happier.
Jen: Will you tell us about your newest release and where the inspiration came from?
Brenda: HOME TO WHISKEY CREEK, which released on July 30th, was inspired by a true crime show I once watched. It involves Noah, one of the members of the clique that forms the backbone of the series, but it’s the heroine’s journey that I found particularly interesting. In high school, she was one of those people on the outside looking in, hoping to be accepted by the popular crowd—and that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time. After enduring a terrible incident at a high school graduation party, she moved away. But, years later, circumstances conspire to bring her back. Then she must face the past and the men responsible for it—men who have yet to be punished.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see in the starring roles?
Brenda: This is always a really tough question for me. I rarely watch TV and, although I love movies and do see a few, I’m not familiar with the stars that play the major roles. I’m afraid I don’t know who I’d peg for these characters. No one I know of matches the people in my imagination!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Brenda: I have a lot of exciting things going on. Not only to I have two more Whiskey Creek books coming out in the next year (in addition to HOME), I have a brand new historical, a gothic romantic suspense called THROUGH THE SMOKE that will be released October 15th. The packaging for this novel is so beautiful, and I love the way the story turned out. I can’t wait to see how my reader react!