Anniversary Celebration: Interview & Contest with Brenda Novak

Beautiful purple and gold fireworks in celebration of July 4th.

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!

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82 thoughts on “Anniversary Celebration: Interview & Contest with Brenda Novak

  1. laurie g says:

    thanks for the wonderful giveaway. i would love to win brenda’s books seeing as i haven’t read any of her works as yet

  2. Wonderful interview. Awesome giveaway too. Thank you Miss Brenda for sharing with us and thank you for the giveaway. I’d LOVE to read your books!

    Wanda Barefoot
    flghtlss1(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

  3. Jayme says:

    What a great interview. I will always be thankful to my mother in law for picking up one of your books, we are both now hooked.

  4. may says:

    I love romantic suspense too so I am looking forward to your new book in oct! Whiskey Creek sounds like a terrific series!

  5. Marcia says:

    Love give a ways. Some day will win one. Bug my librarian to order Brenda Novak books in audio. Still love books even if eyesight is failing. Good luck to all who enter.

    • Marcia, thanks so much for requesting my books at your library. That really helps. Often, it will get a librarian to put in a request. I’m sorry about your eyesight. Thank goodness there is audio.

  6. Michelle Harlan says:

    I discovered the Whiskey Creek series earlier this year & was hooked immediately. It’s such a fantastic series. I ordered Home to Whiskey Creek for my Kindle…just waiting for the kids to head back to school next week so I can catch up with it. Glad to hear that the series will continue & I just checked and saw that there’s going to be a Christmas story! Fan girl squee!!!!
    Through the Smoke sounds intriguing. Is it going to be a standalone, or part of a series?

    • Michelle, so glad you’re enjoying the series. There should be twelve (or more!) books in all.

      THROUGH THE SMOKE is a stand alone gothic historical. I’ll also be doing another new historical due out September 2014 called A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN.

  7. Alison B says:

    Just started reading the Whiskey Creek series and am living it. I spend way too much on the annual auction but since its for a good cause I don’t mind! Lol!!

    • Alison, thanks so much for your support of the auction. We could not have raised all the money we’ve raised (over $2 million now! woo hoo!) without you. Please come back next year for our big 10-year anniversary!

      And I’m very happy you’re enjoying Whiskey Creek.

  8. Marcy Cordova says:

    I just discovered your Whiskey Creek series last weekend, and the are good…perhaps TOO good! They’re the kind of books where you say “Just one more chapter” and end up reading until 2 in the morning. 🙂 I really love your characters, and your plot lines are so interesting. Thanks for being a fantastic author!

    • I really appreciate your kind words, Marcy. I’m enjoy writing this series, so it’s great to hear from enthusiasts. I just finished Presley and Aaron’s story. Now I’m working on Eve’s story. It’s tentatively titled HEART OF CHRISTMAS. 🙂

  9. Vilma Akins says:

    I just received Home to Whiskey Creek in the mail. I can’t wait to finish work today so I can settle down and dig deep into this book. I enjoy reading Brenda’s books and would love to win a tote with her books in it!

  10. Diana D says:

    I came to this series late but the books are so good it didn’t take me long to catch up! I have Home to Whiskey Creek on my Kindle but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Hoping to start it this weekend.

  11. KYLA WHITLEY says:

    Enjoyed the interview, Jen and Brenda. Sorry to hear about your Dad, Jen. I haven’t had the opportunity to read Brenda’s Whiskey Creek series. Plan to add to my very long TBR list. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  12. Christina says:

    I find it interesting that Novak chose Hep C as the disease in this book. I love this series and can’t wait to read this book.

    • Are you talking about the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that Callie was diagnosed with in WHEN SUMMER COMES, Christina? I had a friend go through exactly what she went through. That’s what inspired the story. And my friend is just as gorgeous and active ten years after her liver transplant as before. (I’m very happy to report that!)

  13. cindy r. says:

    Brenda, I love your books and the Whiskey Creek series just continues on in the same vein. I have always loved series books because you not only get to know and love the characters, but then you feel like you’re part of the whole imaginary town and residents with each progressive book. I also loved the interview today and would be ECSTATIC to win a bag of your books as I am now on a fixed income and it’s hard to buy books anymore.
    Thank so much for continuing to grace your fans with your amazing talent!

  14. Danielle says:

    Hi Brenda – what inspired you to have your auction? It’s such a great cause but there are so many out there…
    Thanks!

    • Danielle, I’ve been running my auction for nine years. I started it shortly after my youngest son was diagnosed with diabetes. I knew I wanted to do something to fight back, and being in the writing industry, I was lucky enough that many agents, editors, authors and readers supported me (and continue to do so–I’m so grateful!).

  15. Chris Bails says:

    Have heard great things about this series. I have on my To-Buy list. I have read several of Brenda’s books and always love them.
    Who are so of your favorite authors that you recommend to others? What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
    Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Chris, I’m a very eclectic reader. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips for romance (and Janet Evanovich). I like Ken Follet a great deal for suspense and historical fiction. I also like Philippa Gregory for historical (or a new find–Brenda Rickman Vantrease). I love true crime, and no one can beat Ann Rule.

  16. Jayne Jageler says:

    First off thank you for raising so much money for diabetes. It effects so many people. My father passed away from complications of having diabetes. I appreciate your efforts for helping such a worthy cause!
    I love your books. My very first book I read of yours was A HOME OF HER OWN. It was a wonderful story. It touched my heart because Lucky trying to be accepted by people in her past. I could relate to Lucky.
    Since that book I have become a huge fan of yours. Keep up with the wonderful stories. I love your writing style!

    • Jayne, my father also passed away from complications of diabetes. It affects far too many people. 🙁 I hope we can find a cure soon!

      Thanks for your kind words about my work. Lucky’s story was my personal favorite in the Dundee series. I’m not sure if you saw this on the Dear Reader page, but that book was based on my own family.

  17. Gretchen says:

    I enjoyed your interview and hearing about the Whiskey Creek series. I love reading books in a series so it sounds like I should start from the beginning and visit Whiskey Creek. I will be sure to check your website next May for your auction. I lost 2 grandparents to diabetes and have several students that are also diabetic. It is a cause very near and dear to my heart.

    • Gretchen, I love teachers. (And it sounds like you are one! ) Do you have an e-Reader? Right now you can get the prequel novella to this series for free simply by entering my vacation giveaway (it’s over in a week, though, so hurry). You can find it on my website. This is a novella, so it’s only about 130 pages. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, you could probably read that much on the computer. It would give you a feel for the series.

  18. Shari says:

    I have read all the Whiskey Creek. Love them all. Excited that many more are coming. I have been a fan of Brenda’s for years!

  19. Vicki Powell says:

    I just pre-ordered your Christmas @ Whiskey Creek book. Just got Home to Whiskey Creek and can’t wait to get started on it! Love the series so far! Would love to win autographed copies!

  20. judy says:

    Love all of your books. Just waiting for the Christmas one to come out. Could you please tell me what year you started writting.

    • Hi Judy! I started writing when I was pregnant with my fifth child. He’s now sixteen. Hard to believe I’ve been at it that long. I still feel new! LOL

    • Actually, that was the year I found RWA. I started when Alexa as a baby, so…more like 20 years. It took me five years to teach myself the craft and get that first book done, so sometimes I forget to count the “training” years.

  21. martha lawson says:

    I’ve not read the first three books in this series! I have read and LOVED Home to Whiskey Creek. I look forward to read the first three, they are on the wish list. Hopefully, I’ll get lucky and win them. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

    • Thanks, Martha. What brought you into the series? And, in case you don’t win, WHEN LIGHTING STRIKES, the first book in the series, is currently on sale for only $1.99 in digital (if you have an application on your computer or phone to read e-books or an e-reader).

  22. Marcy Shuler says:

    I really like your book covers. The one for Through The Smoke is beautiful.

    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

  23. Heidi Howard says:

    Thank you, Brenda! I have loved every book since Stop Me. I would love to win! And if I don’t, I’ll just load up my Kindle anyway!

  24. Brenda Wheeler says:

    Wonderful interview, thank y’all! Ms. Novak, how do you juggle it all? I get overwhelmed just by reading all the things authors like yourself take part in, not to mention family, home and all the day to day things that are there to take care of. It’s very impressive to read/hear about and my hats go off to y’all who are able to accomplish it! 🙂

    • Thanks, Brenda. I’m sure you pack your life full, too. 🙂 I’m not very good at juggling. That’s always been a challenge for me. But I’m a workaholic, so I just keep plowing along. LOL

      • Brenda Wheeler says:

        LOL! I use to but I’ve slowed down some or have tried to anyway. My composure and nerves would be shot to the heavens now…I always thought I’d be more mellow with age but I think it has backfired on me, lol! Thank you for your writing and spending time to answer questions. Thanks Jen, awesome interview! 😀

  25. Maria D. says:

    I have been loving the Whiskey Creek series and can’t wait for the next book – thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    • Maria, TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS will be out October 29th. I’m excited for October because I’ll actually have two books out that month. My historical, THROUGH THE SMOKE, releases October 15th. My new Whiskey Creek book will come out only two weeks later. Fun!

  26. Crystal B says:

    I found Brenda Novak a couple of years ago as a new to me author. She quickly became on of my very favorites to read. Thank you so much for the lovely interview. I love the Whiskey Creek series and look forward to reading more 🙂

  27. Erica M says:

    I have read the 4 books of your Whiskey Creek series. I loved all 4 of them, and I am patiently waiting for the Christmas novel to come out this year. My favorite book is When Snow Falls, because I love Dylan, how he basically takes care of his brothers, and how he essentially takes care of Cheyenne when they start dating, and after what happens. I just read Home to Whiskey Creek, and I loved it !

    • Erica, thanks for your support of my work!! I love Dylan, too. Did you see the Amos Auto Body T-shirts I’m selling on my website (just for cost)? They’re darling. I think my designer did a great job with his logo. You might be interested to know that I’m not done with the Amos Brothers. Aaron’s story is COME HOME TO ME, out next April!

  28. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for sharing Brenda and congrats on your series!!! What is the one thing that you have to have/do while writing?

    • Thanks for dropping by, Erin. The one thing I have to have while writing…I’d say peace and quiet. I can have my kids interrupt quite often, but I can’t have continuous conversation, the television going or even music. It busts up my concentration. 😉

  29. Nancy Phillips says:

    First saw you on Face Book a few weeks ago and entered your contest. Found your books at “Half Price” and started reading the Whisky Creel series and fell in love.
    I love them. Look forward to reading more of your books. Thanks.

  30. Irene Menard says:

    I saw you on Facebook, and read an excerpt of Home To Whiskey Creek. I had never read any of your books. I am very interested in reading this book and the previous books. Thank you for having the giveaway.

  31. darci says:

    How do you decide to “grow your characters” what makes your characters inspire you to develop them.

  32. Anne Casey says:

    I admire the way you incorporate hard topics, such as the rape into your stories. I look forward to seeing how the heroine deals with her past and how she manages to get past it. Do you find it hard to deal with these types of subjects?

  33. Anita H. says:

    Hi Brenda! Who are some other authors that you would like to collaborate with? Thanks for this fabulous giveaway!

  34. Ada says:

    Hello Brenda, just wanted to thank you for your great work with the diabetes auction. I want to know what is your favorite book that you’ve written and why it’s your favorite. Thanks!

  35. Jackie says:

    First, thanks so much for all you do to benefit the medical community!!!! That’s awesome, Brenda! I love how real your books are, and how you get inspired from things like TV shows! It’s always really neat to see how authors get their ideas.

  36. Thank you for stopping by today, Brenda. I enjoyed reading this. 🙂 Your books are wonderful. I really love the auction you do each year! It’s something I try to participate in by bidding when I am able. I would be beyond thrilled to be the lucky winner. Fingers crossed!

  37. Thank you for your help on diabetes research . My mother had it as well as some of my uncles and aunts. Education is so important.
    I look forward to Through the Smoke as I have not read a new gothic in years. I re-read some of the old ones I have in my library.

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