About Brenda Novak: New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A five-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 Silver Bullet. 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 $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit www.brendanovak.com.
Top Ten Things That Changed My Life
I’ve made a lot of “top ten” lists to celebrate the release of DISCOVERING YOU, which is Book #10 in my popular Whiskey Creek series, but this one is by far the most meaningful to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived long enough now to look back and see the various bends in the road—the important ones that may not have seemed so important at the time—that have changed me or my life in some way.
- Chasing a dream. I’m not sure I can overstate how important having a goal that matters to me–and fighting so hard for it–has been. The fact that I believed in myself enough to tackle a career in fiction (when, without so much as a college degree, I had nothing to indicate I might be successful at it) has made all the difference. I love what I do so much that I get excited when I think of going to work in the morning. The fulfillment this has provided has been a complete game-changer.
- Diabetes. The fact that my youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 5 put me in “fighting mother mode.” As a result, I’ve spent twelve years raising money for research–running online auctions and putting on other events. Although my efforts haven’t quite yet enabled me to protect my child from the ravages of this disease (as I wish), at least I know I’ve done everything I can for him and everyone else who fights the same battle. There is some peace in that.
- My mother. I’m sure everyone can point to their mother as someone who made a big difference (either for good or ill). My mother was extremely justice oriented and didn’t accept excuses, and I’m so glad for that. Not only did growing up with such a mother teach me to stand up and take responsibility for my actions, it taught me not to accept my own excuses. (Maybe I would’ve given up on something important, if I had).
- My husband. I’ve been married for thirty-two years and am so grateful I met my husband. He’s the epitome of a Big Thinker—the most optimistic person on the planet. He’s the one who eventually taught me to think beyond the traditional, to let go of what is “safe” and “sure” to reach for something better. I never would’ve written my first book without his influence.
- My editor. I met Paula Eykelhof at a small, regional conference for romance authors in Park City, Utah. I often wonder what might’ve happened in my career if I hadn’t attended that conference—and pitched a story to Paula. Although I’d sold one book to HarperCollins before we met, I was soon orphaned there (when Harper merged with Avon Books), which meant I lost my slot before the book was ever released. Paula is the one who has fostered my career. We’ve been together for 17 years and 50+ books so far.
- My agent. The way I met my current agent was unusual, to say the least. I don’t think he represents one other romance author. But I’m glad my best friend reached out to him on my behalf (even though it was without my permission! LOL). He came on board at a critical point in my career, when the romantic suspense market was contracting and so many other romantic suspense authors were being cut from their publishers’ lists (or having to move to a different publisher). He’s believed in me from the beginning and has never wavered. As a result, he’s been able to successfully guide me through those troubled waters.
- My children. Some people have difficulty making themselves do the things they should do each day. I have the opposite problem. I was taught to work, and work hard, and that’s what I do. I feel as if I’m being too easy on myself if I ever let down. My husband and children have given me something to love more than my work, something for which I’m willing to stop They have brought most of the fun I’ve known into my life.
- Daily exercise. This one probably seems silly. But…I honestly believe it belongs on this list. With how much I sit at a computer, I credit my determination to exercise with the reason I have enjoyed such good health. I grew up with a mother who has MS (and two sisters have also been diagnosed), so I have always been terrified of disease. I realize daily exercise doesn’t stop people from getting neurological disorders or many other ailments, but I feel as if I’m doing what I can to put the odds in my favor.
- Living in California. I’m not saying where I live is any better than where anyone else lives, just that taking my family away from where I grew up has proven to be important in shaping me into who I am. Having had less interaction with my parents and siblings—because we have lived so far apart—has forced me to figure out what I believe in, regardless of what they may believe in. It’s enabled me to get outside that “bubble” and view the world more objectively, instead of only through the lens of their
- The fictional characters I create. This one might seem crazy, too, but something happens when you do a lot of reading and writing: You begin to learn from fictional characters. It’s as if I’ve faced all the challenges my characters have faced—and figured out a way to overcome them or be happy in spite of them. We learn from putting ourselves in other peoples’ shoes and looking at the world through different viewpoints. I’m finding it doesn’t matter whether those people are real or fictional: It has the same effect.
What are the things that have changed your life? Do any of them mirror mine? Probably so, but I bet for different reasons. In order to be entered to win a Brenda Novak mini-tote with an autographed Whiskey Creek novel of your choice, leave a comment naming one thing that has made a major impact.
((**SO I CAN CONTACT A WINNER, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL** **U.S. WINNERS ONLY**))
Blurb: Can she ever trust another “bad boy”?
India Sommers once had the perfect family—until an ex-boyfriend broke in and shot her husband. Not only did that cost her the man she loved, a respected heart surgeon and the father of her child, but she also feels responsible. Charlie died because of the people she hung out with before she had the strength to change her life.
Just after moving to Whiskey Creek with her little girl, Cassia, to start over, she’s learned that her ex-boyfriend’s trial ended in a hung jury. He’s getting out of jail; he could try to find her again. And that’s not all that scares her. She’s extremely attracted to her next-door neighbor, but Rod Amos is the handsome “bad boy” type that’s given her so much trouble in the past. If she got involved with him, her in-laws would sue for custody of Cassia.
India has to keep her distance from Rod—but the more she gets to know him, the more difficult that becomes.
**Release date for “Discover You”: Tuesday, May 24th (today), so get your copy now!: