4.2.15 - 7 Minutes With... Brenda Novak

Ah, Brenda Novak. EVERYONE in the industry knows this name. Brenda is an icon – a brilliant author, a wonderful friend, and one of the biggest voices in the fight against Juvenile Diabetes. Every year, Brenda conducts a massive fundraising campaign to help combat the disease. Readers of this blog will be familiar with the Brenda Novak Auction – which I’ve been honored to participate in for several years. This year, though, Brenda’s massive fundraiser is in the form of box sets – because what could be better for a reader than stories: brand-new stories, never before seen – from their favorite authors? SWEET DREAMS (Thrillers), SWEET TALK (Romance) and SWEET SEDUCTION (Erotica) all go on sale May 1. 

I’m very lucky to call Brenda my friend, and I’m honored to be a part of SWEET DREAMS. I’ve admired her for a very long time – her writing, her professionalism, her career trajectory, her work ethic, her wicked sense of humor and her honesty, and of course, her altruism. I’m so excited to have a chance to let you get to know her a little better today, too. 

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Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” (only that’s not very good for writing because it makes me dance…) So…maybe “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.  That should be a good song to get started on another Whiskey Creek romance. ;-)

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

Hmm…since I’m not working on a Whiskey Creek novel, I’m going to have to change the music again. (Actually, I don’t write to music. I can’t help listening and responding to it instead of concentrating on what I’m creating on the computer.) Today I’m working on HANOVER HOUSE, the prequel to my new suspense series that will be coming out from St. Martin’s Press next year. It features Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist who studies serial killers at a revolutionary new medical health center/prison in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska. She’s determined to unlock the mysteries of the anti-social mind, even if it kills her—and being surrounded by murderers who feel no remorse means it just might do that.

What’s your latest book about?

THIS HEART OF MINE (just released) is part of my Whiskey Creek series, which follows a tight-knit group of friends (both male and female) who grew up together in California’s beautiful and quaint “Gold Country.” THIS HEART OF MINE is the 8th book and is a “second chance at love” story, which features a woman who’s just been released from prison and is anxious to get to know the son she wasn’t able to raise.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I write in the retreat off my bedroom with a laptop and no other tools.

What was your favorite book as a child?

JANE EYRE.

What’s your secret talent?

I’m not sure I have any secret talents. Oh! I know! I’m good at guessing things. I could probably get work at some fair guessing people’s weight and/or age. LOL

What book are you reading now?

SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?

Ken Follett is one of my idols (EYE OF THE NEEDLE is iconic to me). I definitely did the fan girl thing when I met him at Thrillerfest a few years ago. I got a picture, which was the screensaver on my phone for the next year at least. LOL

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Believe. If you believe in yourself and your dream, you’ll work as hard as you have to in order to make it come true.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

I back up and see what I’ve done wrong. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. When I come to a grinding halt, it’s usually because I’ve taken a wrong turn, so I have to figure out what I did wrong and fix it. Then I’m able to move forward again.

Are you creatively satisfied?

Absolutely. I love what I do. I love that I’ve been able to experiment on a wide range of stories from contemporary romance to suspense to historical romance to women’s fiction (my first trade paper book—THE SECRET SISTER—will be out this August).

What would you like to be remembered for?

Like a lot of people, my motto is, “Do no harm.” I would like to be remembered as a person with integrity who did all she could to make the world a better place.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

Beach or mountains? Tough choice! Probably mountains.

Coffee or tea? Hot chocolate.

Skydive or bungee jump? Bungee jump. I like the added security of that rope. LOL

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate for sure.

Winter or summer? Summer. I get cold WAY too easily.

Cake or pie? Both.

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

Pens or pencils? Pens.

Truth or dare? Truth.

Print or ebook? Both.

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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of fifty books. A four-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 Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.4 million. For more about Brenda, please visit www.brendanovak.com.

And here's a little more about Brenda's newest novel, THIS HEART OF MINE:

First love. Second chance?  

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next. 

Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming. 

Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both!

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JT Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.