BIO: It was a horrible experience that jump-started New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Novak's career-- she caught her daycare teacher drugging her children to get them to sleep. Deciding she needed to work from home, she penned her first novel, and has been a sensation ever since. Other titles include: Trust Me, Watch Me, Stop Me, Dead Silence, Dead Giveaway, Dead Right, The Perfect Couple, The Perfect Murder, and The Perfect Liar. She also heads an annual fundraiser for diabetes research every May. Brenda resides in Sacramento, California with her husband and five children.
Thanks for being here again, Brenda. It’s a pleasure.
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I am a mother of five and I spend any of the time I am not at my computer with my family. I was born in Utah, raised in Arizona and have lived in California since I married in 1984. I have one cat, love to ride bicycles or jog, go to movies, read, shop and travel. I stay busy watching my children play various sports--for every season. I never thought that I would enjoy athletics so much, but watching their games has become one of my favorite activities.
#2- What was it like for you as a parent to hear a juvenile diabetes diagnosis for your son, and how did it affect the day-to-day routines in your life? Any advice for others in similar circumstances?
I was devastated. Diabetes changes everything about daily life. Blood sugars can shoot up or drop low so quickly one must always be on guard. Adjusting to my son's diagnosis (he was diagnosed at five years old) meant growing accustomed to pricking his finger 5-8 times per day to test his blood, giving him shots of insulin every morning and at every meal (as well as any other time he was too "high") and monitoring every morsel of food he put in his mouth. For eight years, I've been getting up in the middle of the night to test him, just to be sure his blood sugars are in a safe zone. Then he got a pump, and we needed to learn out to insert that (must be done every three days). Add to the testing, shots and pump insertion doctor appointments every three months which are all the way downtown, quarterly trips to the lap for full blood work (which have to be done while he's fasting) and afternoons spent at a diabetic clinic that last four hours and you can see how invasive this disease is. It can take over your life. And that's if everything goes perfectly. If everything doesn't go perfectly...it can get very bad indeed. :-(
My advice to other families would be to take it one day at a time. It's amazing what you can grow accustomed to. I also highly recommend keeping your child active. I believe sports have been a great thing for my son. And...I would love it if anyone else who was interested in fighting this disease got involved in my efforts to raise money. I run an annual online auction at my web site every May (in honor of Mother's Day). I started six years ago. This past May we passed $1 million as a cumulative total and are now shooting for $2 million. Folks can visit www.brendanovak.com to learn more about the auction. It's a lot of fun and you can register all year.
#3- If you could pick any book out on the market as "the book you wish you'd written," what book would that be and why?
If you're talking popular genre fiction--HEAVEN, TEXAS by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It's one of my all-time favorite books. Susan's characterization of Bobby Tom is the best I've ever seen. LOVED him as a hero. Also, the sexual tension sizzles!
But if I can include classics, I wish I would've written GONE WITH THE WIND. ;-) (If we’re wishing, right? LOL)
#4- There's an interesting story behind your idea for KILLER HEAT. Can you share that with us?
Not long ago I was invited to speak in front of a writer's group in Prescott, Arizona. Because I love Arizona, I accepted. I also agreed to stay with one of the group's members so they wouldn't have to put me up in a motel.
Once I arrived, I learned that this member didn't actually live in Prescott, where I'd be speaking. She lived in a place called Skull Valley. I didn't recognize the name so I had no idea it would be so remote. I was driven into the desert and sheltered in this wonderful woman's guesthouse, but she was a stranger to me and I arrived in the middle of the night, already disoriented as to where, exactly, I was. The main house, which I visited briefly, didn't feel very close to the guesthouse (probably because they had to drive me to it). That night the wind blew constantly, rattling the door on the screened porch. It sounded just like someone trying to break in. I lay awake listening and feeling very vulnerable because there was no phone service, internet--or even cellular coverage. I was completely cut off in a strange and lonely place. What would I do if something terrible were to happen to me? I didn't even know which directly to run should I need help--I could easily have ended up wandering lost in the desert.
Needless to say, that proved to be a very long night, especially when I began spinning a story in my head about the bones of several murdered women being found not far from where I was staying. I tried not to allow such ideas to flow, but the setting was just too perfect. A serial killer began to take shape in my mind...the serial killer in KILLER HEAT....
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
It was the school library that made books available to me as a child so I credit libraries with my love of reading. I remember when I was in fourth grade, I found a shelf of classics. Until that point, I thought I didn't like reading. But then....I fell into those books and went through all of them. I used to hide under the dining room table so my mother wouldn't see me and ask me to do something that would take me away from whatever story I was reading. JANE EYRE was my favorite, then GONE WITH THE WIND.
Now I love Debbie Macomber, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Elizabeth Gilbert, Linda Howard, Malcolm Gladwell, Ann Rule, Christine Feehan, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Mallery--too many to list!
#6- So what's next for you and your writing now that the Department 6 trilogy is out, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
Right now I am working on my 2011 BULLETPROOF Trilogy. Watch for INSIDE (7/11), IN SECONDS (9/11) and IN CLOSE (11/11). Visit www.brendanovak.com
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
That's it! Thanks again!