Brenda Novak is the author of the new novel One Perfect Summer. Her many other books include Before We Were Strangers. She lives in Sacramento, California.
Q: You note that the idea for One Perfect Summer was inspired by people close to you who found new relatives through genetic testing. How did you come up with the ideas for your characters Serenity, Lorelei, and Reagan?
A: Sometimes I'm inspired by something I've seen or heard; sometimes I pull what I'm writing out of the well of my imagination.
After hearing about so many people finding relatives they never would've known about if not for having their DNA tested, I wanted to explore what it would be like for three women to learn they are sisters--even though, in their minds, it's somewhat of an impossibility, at least until they learn the secret of their connection.
Q: The novel is set in Lake Tahoe. How important is setting to you in your writing?
A: To me, setting is like another character in the story.
In this book the setting is particularly important because it gives the characters the chance to get away from their regular lives and focus on the mystery of their connection. It also gives the reader that sense of escape that is so appealing in a summer beach read--it's a vacation without ever leaving the house!
Q: As someone who's written more than 60 novels, how do you remain so prolific?
A: I love what I do, love bringing stories to life. I guess it's like that saying, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." That's how I feel about my career. I'm blessed to be able to do it.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from this story?
A: I write primarily to entertain. The most gratifying emails/letters I get usually mention something about how one of my books carried the reader away during a difficult time and gave her a much-needed respite.
So I'm mostly hoping readers will enjoy watching Serenity, Lorelei and Reagan get to know each other, grow close and discover how they're genetically connected. To me, solving that kind of mystery is always fun; I look for those kinds of shows on TV.
I also hope that readers will take away the fact that sometimes shocking and upsetting things happen--but there is almost always a silver lining. For these three characters, it's how important they become to each other.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I just finished my next women's fiction novel, The Bookstore on the Beach, which will be out next April and just might be a personal favorite of mine. We finished the back cover copy just this week:
How do you start a new chapter of your life when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?
Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.
Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I run a very active and fun book group on Facebook where I feature other authors in the months that I don't have a release. We have game nights, virtual parties, giveaways and more.
I'd like to invite anyone who loves to read and interact with other like-minded individuals to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/brendanovaksbookgroup/.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb