Brenda Novak

It was a shocking experience that jumpstarted Brenda Novak’s career as a bestselling author: She caught her day-care provider drugging her children with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day. That was when Ms. Novak decided she needed to quit her job as a loan officer and help make a living from home.

“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,” she says. But she sold that book, and the rest is history. Her novels have made the New York Times, USA Today, and Borders/Waldenbooks bestseller lists and won many awards, including two Rita nominations, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Book Seller’s Best, and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Ms. Novak and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children: three girls and two boys. When Ms. Novak is not spending time with her family or writing, she is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an online auction held on her website every May—in which she has raised over $1 million to date.

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