I’ve known NYT bestselling author Brenda Novak a long time. Not only is she one of the first authors I ever met, she is also one of the most generous. I love Brenda’s voice, her stories, her talent, and her comittment to the finding a cure for Type I diabetes. I’ve participated in her auctions for years–donating items–as well as bidding like crazy, winning some amazing items from dinners with a favorite author, to business lunches with publishing executives, to hard to find signed editions.
But Brenda isn’t here to talk about her auction. She’s here because she has a brand new book hitting store shelves today! I LOVE Brenda’s Whiskey Creek series, and am thrilled that the newest novel in the series, When Summer Comes, is available now! Without further ado, here is Brenda Novak !
Hello to all of Jane’s readers and friends, and welcome to Whiskey Creek—the Heart of Gold Country!
I’m really, really enjoying writing this new series—mostly because the group of friends that form the backbone of it feels so real to me. When I started WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, I had no idea how long I wanted the series to be, or what any of the subsequent books would be about. But then, as I became more familiar with the characters that form the backbone of these books, so many people and businesses began to populate my head I knew I had the beginning of what could be a long-running series. And it all came from watching my oldest son (high school age) and his group of friends. His clique is a large one that includes both boys and girls, none of whom are romantically involved with each other (and they never have been). It’s just that they’ve known each other since kindergarten—have gone through all their school years together—so they’re very close. They call their group The Family and support each other in everything (for instance, when one of the girls didn’t get invited to prom, one of the boys took her so that she’d get to go). I’d never really seen anything like it before, where there was so much genuine friendship and a complete lack of cattiness and jealousy. This group fascinated me enough that I wanted to write about a similar network of friends, put them in a small town and jump ten years into the future to see where they’d be in their relationships.
Now that my son has graduated, his group may eventually fade away. But my group will always be as close as family. They get together at Black Gold Coffee (a fictional coffeehouse) every Friday morning and their love and support of each other plays a key role in all the novels.
Another element that’s making these novels so enjoyable to write is the setting. Whiskey Creek is fictional, but it’s modeled after other towns in the Sierra Nevada Foothills that were founded during the gold rush. I don’t live very far from these places—places like Angel’s Camp, Coloma, Jackson and Sutter Creek. My husband and I love to go visit them. We shop in the old mercantile, pan for gold, tour a defunct gold mine or stay at one of the Victorian Bed & Breakfasts. I love the historic architecture and how nothing there seems to have changed. I’ve been so taken with building my gold rush town, that I’ve actually created logos for some of the businesses. Fans of the series can purchase (at brendanovak.com) a Black Gold Coffee mug, for instance, or an Amos Auto Body T-shirt. And I’ll be adding new products to the Whiskey Creek store as the series goes along. It’s just one more way to enjoy your stay!
Whenever I create a series, I have several people ask me which story is my favorite. In this case, it’s too hard for me to pick—too much like asking me to name a favorite among my five children—but I do have at least one favorite thing about each. I love the redemption theme of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, the deep emotional underpinnings of WHEN SNOW FALLS and the triumph—for both the hero and heroine—in WHEN SUMMER COMES.
Thanks for joining us today, Brenda! Readers, do visit Brenda’s website for more great information about her books and events. I’m also giving away three prize packages that include Brenda’s When Lightning Strikes, a $5 Starbucks drink card, a signed copy of my novel, Odd Mom Out, and JP reader goodies. The Brenda Novak contest runs through Friday February 1st, and I’ll announce the three winners on Sat morning, February 2nd. How to win? Tell me if you have a favorite small town somewhere that you like to visit, and if so, what makes that town special to you. Good luck to all and I can’t wait to hear where you love to go!