Tuesday, June 13, 2017

INTERVIEW and GUEST POST: BRENDA NOVAK

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Brenda Novak author of 
Finding Our Forever




Title: Finding Our Forever
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: Silver Spring
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: March 21, 2017
Buy: Amazon


New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes readers to the town of Silver Springs, where surprises wait around every corner!

The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in Aiyana, the ranch's owner, that she's really her daughter? Cora's not sure she can do that, not unless she's confident the news will be welcomed. And once she gets to know Elijah Turner, Aiyana's adopted son and ranch manager, that decision becomes even more difficult.

Although Elijah can't deny his deep attraction to Cora, he's always struggled with trust. Anyone with his past would, and there's something about the ranch's newest employee that isn't exactly as it seems. But if the feelings she awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, she might be just what he's long been waiting for.



INTERVIEW

Did writing about Cora Kelly, Aiyana and Elijah require a lot of research into birth mothers and adoption? 

Definitely! The story was actually inspired by a friend of mine, who has finally found her birthday mother (my friend is nearly 60) after a closed adoption at birth. Her story has been exciting, frustrating, heart-wrenching, just like Cora’s. She shared it with me as she was going through it. That’s what made me want to write about a woman who was also looking for her mother. Also, I did a lot of research online.

What is your favourite part about writing Contemporary Romance books?


I love the emotional honesty. They are stories that are so easy to identify with because the characters are often facing problems any one of us could face.


Do you have any traditions you enjoy during early Spring?

My birthday is in the spring (and everyone else’s in the family, besides my oldest daughter, is in the fall, all bunched together). I make my birthday last the whole month of May! Ha! (My family has often remarked on this.)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I caught my daycare provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep all day while I worked as a loan officer. Once I realized what was going on, I quit my job to stay home with them myself. Problem was…I wasn’t working because I wanted to. I still needed to contribute financially. I had three of my five kids then, and I had no idea how I was going to help earn a living while taking care of them at the same time, but my sister sent me KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. It was a wonderful book, one that really swept me away. When I finished it, I remember thinking, “I wonder if I could write a book.” I started OF NOBLE BIRTH the next day and have never looked back.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I have deadlines every four months. If I was really pressed, I could probably do one in three, but not book after book.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I’m always on the hunt for new character names. I listen when I meet people, pick up on certain names my children mention or other people mention around me. I’ve even gone online and looked up lists of the most popular names in America. My former assistant gave me a character naming book which has been helpful, too!

How many books have you written? Do you have a favourite?

I’ve written 61 so far. I have quite a few favorites—usually for different reasons—but if I had to pick only one, I’d have to say THIS HEART OF MINE. That book is really emotional for me, and yet it just poured out. It’s the easiest book I’ve ever written.

What book are you reading right now?

Sandra Brown’s STING. I have an online book group in which I select a fellow author to highlight in the months when I don’t have a release of my own. I’ll be going to Arlington, TX to interview Sandra live next week! I can’t wait. I love her work!

What are your current projects?

I’m currently finishing the fourth book in my Silver Springs series (comes out in November). Then I’ll be starting the third book in my Evelyn Talbot series, which is geared more toward suspense than straight contemporary romance.

What advice do you have for writers?

I can boil it down to just one word. Believe. It’s that simple. If you truly believe in yourself and your talent, you will be motivated to actually sit down and write the book instead of only dreaming about it. You will be driven to seek out any help you may need (research or craft-related) to make it the best you can create. You will follow through with marketing ideas until you sell it (or self-publish it), and you won’t give up if you don’t immediately reach your goals. Belief drives the entire engine—especially through the rough spots.


GUEST POST

Love Lessons Learned: 
Real life romance lessons learned from the book.
Do you write from experience?

Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question! LOL, It’s almost always said with a wink and a smile so that I understand the asker is talking about the sex scenes.

My response? Usually something along the lines of…“Since I write as much about murder as anything else, I hope not!” To me it’s only logical that if I can use my imagination to stalk and kill someone (fictionally, of course), I can use the same approach when it comes to a bedroom scene. But maybe the basis for this question is really more about the romance genre and some of the myths or out-dated stereotypes attached to it, such as:

Romance novels are all about sex. 
This couldn’t be more wrong. Romance novels are no more about sex than mystery novels are about murder. In a mystery, it’s solving the puzzle that readers like. In a romance novel, it’s watching two people figure out a way to forge a lasting relationship despite all the obstacles keeping them apart. It’s about the HAPPILY EVER AFTER--not the sex.

Romance novels are all the same. 
Romance novels are no more “the same” or “written according to a formula” than mystery novels or thriller novels. There are certain conventions readers expect in each genre, but it’s the journey to that happy ending that readers enjoy in romance, and every journey is different. Now that the romance genre has grown and developed to the point that authors are mixing genres, there is more variety than ever (i.e. paranormal romance, romantic suspense, comedy and thriller, erotica, inspirational, and—the most recent addition—urban fantasy).

Reading romance novels is something to be ashamed of, a guilty pleasure. 
Why feel guilty about jumping into a good story when you need to relax or have to wait for hours at a doctor’s office? Some of the most touching fan mail I ever receive goes something like this: “I want to thank you for writing (whichever book they’ve been reading). Your characters enveloped me in their world when I needed it most. I’ve never been through a worse time than the past year. I’ve been (fill in the blank with--going through a divorce, watching my mother die, getting chemotherapy treatments, learning to walk again after a terrible accident), and it brought me joy when I needed it most. Please keep writing.” These people make me proud of what I do.

Anyone can write a romance. 
Writing romance isn’t easy, especially in this crowded market. It is, however, the genre that sells the best by FAR. (According to Publisher’s Weekly in the latest article I could find, romance outsold every other genre by at least 30%.)

The people who read romance lack healthy sex lives and thus must live vicariously through fictional characters. 
An Info Trends study commissioned by Romance Writers of America revealed the heart of the genre’s readership is women aged 31 – 49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.


I enjoy a lot of genres, have always been an eclectic reader, but romance will always be my favourite. Why? Because romance novels promote happiness and hope and act as a testament to the age-old theme that love conquers all. I believe the Beatles got it right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader's Choice, the Bookseller's Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking--she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

Brenda's Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/BrendaNovakAuthor

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