**Author Peek** Interview with Brenda Novak

This Heart of Mine Front Final

**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with



Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.

I was born in Utah, raised in Arizona and have lived in California since I married my husband in 1984. I’ve been a full-time writer since I was first published (by HarperCollins) in 1999. That was fifty books ago, and yet I still love to get up and go to the computer each day. Beyond writing, I enjoy socializing with my five kids, mountain biking, hiking, traveling, shopping and reading. I also love to play with my daughter’s dog, Simba.

1. What genre(s) do you write and why?

I’m an eclectic reader. I love so many genres and sub-genres that it inspires all kinds of stories. So I guess you could say I’ve turned out to be an eclectic writer, too. I write contemporary small town romance, women’s fiction (my first trade paperback will be out this August—THE SECRET SISTER), romantic suspense (four new romantic suspense novels coming from St. Martin’s Press beginning with WHITEOUT in February 2016) and historical romance. I also have a series of straight historicals running around in my head that I’d like to write someday. But I think I’m juggling enough at the moment. 😉

2. If you were to choose one superpower, what would it be?

I’d freeze time and never grow old. Not only would I be able to avoid the aches and pains of old age, when it happens, I’d be able to stretch out a day for as long as I needed to.

3. Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing a book? What do you do to get “unstuck”?

There are definitely days when I get stuck, when my story seems to be turning to drivel or I can’t get it to hold any emotional tension. But that’s a good thing. That’s when I know something is wrong. I’ve taken the story where it wasn’t meant to go, for lack of a better way to describe it. Fortunately, there are ways to get myself “unstuck.” Experience has taught me to mentally step away from the manuscript and look at it from a macro perspective, always asking myself, “Where did I go wrong?”

I start from the beginning and check the story as a plumber might check a series of pipes for leaks. I feel my way along, testing the story to see if it’s still “holding water.” I read, consider, read, consider and read some more until I find the “break” or part that isn’t in harmony with my intuition. Maybe I’m forcing my characters to do something these types of characters would never do. Maybe I’m ascribing a certain trait or pathology to my villain that isn’t ringing true. Maybe I’ve veered too far away from my “core story.” It’s a bit of a hassle to go back, and definitely risks some unraveling and rewriting, but if I take the time to do this I always find the point that’s troubling my subconscious and interrupting my ability to proceed. Then I can fix it.

Sometimes my production will fall off not because the story isn’t working but because I’m too distracted to concentrate properly, or I’m emotionally exhausted. At these times, I need to “refill the well” by listening to music I find deeply stirring and emotional, or reading quotes or poems that resonate with me, or watching movies. The musical score from Les Miserables fires me up every time. Same with Phantom of the Opera. Or I watch my favorite movie, Last of the Mohicans. That emotional scene where the hero (played by Daniel-Day Lewis) is forced to leave the heroine (played by Madelyn Stowe) behind at the waterfall never fails to rejuvenate me. Taking a break to be with people helps, too. Laughter is a general cure all.

I’ve learned not to overreact when I run into a difficult patch, because panic only makes it more difficult to fight through it. Occasionally, all I need to do is sleep. Somehow, my subconscious continues to mull over the problem–and when I get up in the morning, the path is once again clear. Hallelujah!

4. What is your least favorite part of writing?

I’m honestly not sure I have a least favorite part. I absolutely love what I do. Maybe I’d have to say…revisions? I like them after I’m done with them, because they never fail to improve the story, and that’s always my goal. But they can be daunting if I’m behind or if I’m not sure how to accomplish various parts.

5. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Something from my new cookbook, LOVE THAT! BRENDA NOVAK’S EVERY OCCASION COOKBOOK (all the proceeds of which go to diabetes research). Maybe I’d do my Mexican Steak Dinner, since it’s a favorite of mine and very healthy!

6. What is your typical day like?

Work, work, work! LOL Now that my kids are all out of the house, I don’t have homework or sports to break up my day. I don’t even really cook anymore. So, as a workaholic, I just keep mowing through that to-do list. I get up and handle email, and then I start writing. I usually don’t get off my computer until my husband comes home around eight. Then we exercise and spend a little time together.

7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?

I love all three of those. What’s difficult for me is the RESOLUTION of a novel. I love building the conflict, but unraveling it can be a challenge because I don’t want it to sound too trite.

8. A penguin walks into your office, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?

“Hey, Chicka. Want to go get a burrito?” And he says this because I’ve been working all day and haven’t eaten. A burrito sounds delicious, even if I have to eat it with a penguin in a sombrero. (Hey, as long as he’s buyin’!)

9. If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?

I’d cure diabetes. My youngest son has Type 1, so I’ve been fighting for a cure for over a decade. (And thanks to all those who have so generously supported my efforts, I’ve managed to raise $2.4 million so far. Here’s hoping 2015 is another big year.)

10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

HANOVER HOUSE is the digital prequel to my new suspense series with St. Martin’s Press. On May 1st, it’ll come out in a box set with 12 other thriller writers—some of my favorite authors—and all the proceeds will go to diabetes research. Look for “Hanover House” in SWEET DREAMS (that’s the name of the collection).


Links to Brenda’s website, blog, books, etc.

Website: www.brendanovak.com


@Brenda_Novak (twitter)


Amazon Print Edition:


Barnes and Noble Print Edition:




BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Brenda, her release, and an excerpt from THIS HEART OF MINE on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!


Burst_08**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**:  Brenda is giving away an autographed copy of the first three Whiskey Creek novels, WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, WHEN SNOW FALLS, and WHEN SUMMER COMES in a cute little Brenda Novak mini-tote (US or Canada only; outside US or Canada, she’ll provide digital copies of the three books) to one lucky reader who comments on her *Author Peek* Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Don’t miss the chance to read these books! Thanks, Brenda, for sharing your stories with us!

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55 Responses to **Author Peek** Interview with Brenda Novak

  1. Kerry says:

    Great interview.
    I’ve followed Brenda on Facebook for a while now.
    Loved these questions and the answers given.

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Brenda, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I’m so excited about your new books. I’m with you! I would love to freeze time so I could get everything done…and then run off to grab some burritos! We’re fortunate to have the BEST Mexican restaurant five minutes away. 🙂

  3. Sonya says:

    Great interview! I love to read Ms. Novak’s books. I also appreciate all of her efforts to raise money for diabetes research as I have had type 1 for 30 years. Thanks for interviewing a wonderful writer using her talent to accomplish wonderful things!

  4. Brenda Novak says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Sonya! I can’t wait for a cure–for you, my son and all the others fighting this terrible disease.

    Karen, your father must’ve seen a lot of changes in diabetes care. Fortunately, we have better tools now. I feel even worse for people who were diagnosed in earlier years.

  5. Shari says:

    what a great interview, enjoyed it all. As you know, I love all of your books!

  6. Connie Lowrey says:

    I discovered Brenda Novak a few years ago, since then, I have read every book she has written. I personally think that she is the most down to earth, multi – talented person. She personally interacts with all of her Facebook fans, another reason why she is so successful.

  7. Karen DeBolt says:

    Great interview. This Heart of Mine is my favorite Whiskey Creek book. Her other novels are good reads also. The money she raises for Diabetes is another one of her good works.

  8. Janice says:

    I love all of Brenda’s books! She is a great author and an outstanding example of a truly great person! A true inspiration to all that know her.

  9. Kelli Jo Calvert says:

    I LOVE Brenda’s books!!!

  10. Heathercm2001 says:

    What a fun and unique interview. I loved the questions and the answers. It’s easy to overlook how much work goes into writing when reading one of Brenda’s books. She does it so well! 🙂

  11. shelly says:

    So nice learning about you and your family. I love your books and found the interview very interesting.
    Fifty books that is something and I am sure with all your other activities it is not easy to find time but your writing is great and I have introduced many of my friends to your books and they too love them.

    • Brenda Novak says:

      Shelly, there is nothing that can replace word of mouth, so thank you so much for telling your friends about my work. I love to write–and having wonderful people out there like you is what makes it worth all the effort.

  12. Linda Rimer-Como says:

    Fantastic interview! Love your books!

  13. Caryn Horn says:

    Love Brenda Novak’s books. Can’t seem to read them fast enough or often enough. Besides being an award winning writer she’s an incredible person who strongly supports diabetes research through her annual fundraiser. Can’t ask for much more than that from an author who is bound to become your favorite. I dare you to read just one of her wonderful books!

  14. Galinda Barefoot says:

    great interviews, I have enjoyed all of the books I have read by this author. Thanks for the chance to win.

  15. Katy says:

    I love Brenda Novak’s and I have read most of her books. She is such a down to earth good person. I love the questions you asked and her answers just give me more to love about her. My brother has diabetes and I love that she cares about that. I am definitely getting her new cookbook as eating healthy is on my bucket list… Thank you for interviewing her!!

    • Karen Docter says:

      I agree, Katy. I plan to pick up her cookbook, too. Be sure to come back on May 8th when she’ll share a recipe from her new cookbook on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s, my weekly Friday recipe blog. You can read all about her new cookbook then, too. 🙂

  16. Chris Brandstatter says:

    Hi Brenda

    You have a wonderful way with words. 🙂 I enjoy your books very much. My Father and most of the family had diabetes. His Father, Brother and Sister-in-law all died due to diabetes with cancer, too. So far altho my Dad does have diabetes, he manages it. He now has issues with dementia, so I keep track of his pills. And I try to keep myself diabetes-free!

    • Brenda Novak says:

      Chris, I’m so sorry to hear that so many members of your family have been (or are) affected by diabetes. It’s such a struggle, isn’t it? We’ll keep pushing for that cure!

  17. I have really enjoyed Brenda’s books and especially the Whiskey Creek series ones that I have read. Always a good emotional read (at the end of the day!) for me! I hope for many more in the future!

  18. laura baker says:

    phantom of the opera is one of my favorite scores to listen to! its the only broadway show i’ve been to, and i find the music inspiring and helps to get the creative juices flowing as well!! so glad we have that in common! 🙂 Love Brenda’s books, i have a pretty good collection of the whiskey creek series… that i will be adding to as well! thanks for sharing!

  19. Beth Lechman says:

    I follow Brenda on Facebook and her website both. Love to read her books. They never fail to pull me into the story. I think her answer to the Penguin in the Sombrero is pure Brenda. Enjoyed rading the interview. thanks for having her.

    • Karen Docter says:

      You’re welcome, Beth. I’m enjoying her visit this week, too. Be sure to come back Wednesday when she’s going to share an excerpt from her new book. 🙂

  20. Diane Blaser says:

    thank you for raising money for Diabetes! My mother-in-law died just 3 days shy of her 101st birthday from complications of her Diabetes and she was blind for several years beforehand. I miss her so much! I hope someday soon your efforts on behalf of your son will make juvenile diabetes disappear. Thank you for all you do Brenda! I love your books and I admire your hard work and dedication to teach and reach others who are affected!

    • Brenda Novak says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your mother, Diane. It’s hard to lose a parent at any age. I hope we’re able to cure diabetes soon, too! Thanks for your support!

  21. Kay Myers says:

    What a great interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I also have read all of Brenda’s books. She never fails to draw you in to the story, and make you want to read more and more. Brenda also cares about her fans and takes the time to meet each one.

  22. L Nichols says:

    Awesome interview! I love Brenda Novak’s down-to-earth writing style. The Whiskey Creek series is definitely on my “get to *this* year” list. 🙂

  23. Phyllis Banks says:

    Great interview. I love the Whisky Creek series and have read all Brenda’s books

  24. Mindy Brown says:

    Fantastic Interview… My first book by Brenda was part of the Stillwater Trilogy and I was completely hooked. I have read so many of her books and look forward to the new ones. Brenda’s latest Historical Romance “A Matter of Grave Concern” was so amazing I had trouble putting it down. The Whiskey Creek Series, like all of Brenda’s books, will have you begging for more after each story.

  25. bn100 says:

    informative interview

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