Interview with Brenda Novak, author of The Secret Sister

05 Aug 2015

Editor’s Note: Brenda Novak books are near and dear to us. We’ve stuffed so many of her books in our beach bags over the years, anxious to dive into the sweet scenes and poignant moments. We’re so excited to chat with Brenda Novak and talk about her new book, The Secret Sister. This new book isn’t part of her Whiskey Creek series – it’s a standalone.

Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Secret Sister.
The idea for THE SECRET SISTER was born one night while I was watching a DATELINE episode about a sister and a brother who got together as adults and began talking about some distant memories they both shared. They remembered playing with another child while they were growing up. They felt that child might have been a sibling, but their mother claimed there was no other member of the family. Because their memories were so similar, they could no longer believe her and decided to find out for themselves. What they discovered was shocking. That really got my imagination going, made me want to write a story about a sister and a brother who discover something from the past that confirms they did indeed have a sibling, despite what their controlling mother says.

As you can tell, this book has a compelling mystery, but it also has a heartwarming romance between Maisey Lazarow and the man she first lost her virginity to at sixteen.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I’d probably tell myself not to worry about everything. I grew up a straight A student who was always looking out for any sharp edges. My mother was highly religious, a constant worrier and a very sober minded person, so it made me uptight, too. It wasn’t until I married my husband, who worries about nothing, that I found a happy medium where I can enjoy life while still being careful not to create my own problems.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

NIGHTINGALE by Kristan Hannah, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, several Sandra Brown titles, including her latest and UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN.

Where is your happy place? Why does it bring you joy?

My happy place is with my husband–no matter where he is. There is something about just being with him that makes me content. Other than that, I’d have to say my home. I love being in my own space and being free to work.

Who are your literary heroes? Why do they inspire you?

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Daphne du Maurier, Kathleen Windsor and Kathleen Woodiwiss. These are the authors of the books I read when I was young, and they captured my imagination so completely they taught me the power of a good story.

What’s rocking your world this month?

My son, who has been on a 2-year Mormon mission to Japan, is coming home on the 14th. I haven’t been able to see him or talk to him since he left (except twice a year–Christmas and Mother’s Day), and I can’t wait to throw my arms around him.

What’s your favorite line from The Secret Sister?

“Secrets don’t remain secrets forever.”

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I do. I love motivational quotes, and this one has always held great meaning for me:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Brenda Novak is the author of the new book The Secret Sister.

Connect with Brenda
Author Website

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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.