Friday, August 13, 2010

Fan Girl Moment: Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak is coming to the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in October as one of the keynote speakers. She is a best selling author of romantic suspense and has several trilogies to her credit. She has also run an annual online auction to benefit juvenile diabetes (which affects her son). The auction has raised over one million dollars since she started it in 2005.

I have read four books by her – all of them back to back to back to back. The first was the first in a trilogy that I want to revisit, each book featuring one of three friends who run a company that seeks to help victims of violent crime. The last three was the Stillwater trilogy about a family in a small town in Mississippi who have spent the last 20 years covering up the murder of their stepfather/husband.

I got the books in the Stillwater trilogy from the library. From the first page – in fact the first paragraph - you know that this man was killed (accidentally and very much in self defense) by his stepdaughter. What follows are three books that had me sneaking reads in the middle of my work day. When I finished the 2nd and the hold I had on the 3rd from the library hadn’t been filed, I quite literally thought I was going to lose my mind. For the better part of an afternoon I tried to find it from any local bookstore and to my immense relief the book came in to the library the following day.

Novak knows how to wield a mystery. Sure, in the Stillwater trilogy, the reader knows the big “who done it” but knowing more than the outsiders in the book who are trying to solve a mystery can have more suspense than not. Knowing from the first page who killed the “good” reverend had me settled in to see just what the heck she was going to fill 200+ pages with, let alone 2 other books. The characters in her books are very much relatable and have flaws that at times make you not want to cheer for them. In fact the heroine in the first book, Grace, had me so annoyed with her for the first half if it were any other book I think I would have stopped reading it. The settings become characters and add to the flavor of the small town who combine to solve a mystery that will destroy a family. Novak writes suspense the way that I can only dream and to say that I am so not worthy and need to just stick to my little historical westerns is an understatement.

She’s recently got a new triology coming out – the first was released this month (White Heat) with the remaining two in September and October. When the sign up for the book fair came through that she’ll be signing all three at the ECWC book fair, I turned into a 5 year old on Christmas morning. There are only a handful of authors to whom I think I’d ever approach with awe and the nerves I imagine I’d feel if I were to ever meet George Clooney. In the first weekend of October, Brenda Novak will be one of them.


Sheila said...

I think we all have those moments. Getting Douglas Adams' autograph was like that for me. He was my hero, the person I wanted to be when I grew up.

We're lucky in Denver, in that we have the Tattered Cover Bookstore, where they frequently bring in authors for book signings. So I don't always have to wait for conventions/conferences to meet authors!