Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spotlight Author with Brenda Novak

Here in Central California, the weather is starting to cool off. Whew! I guess I can’t really complain. We have had a very mild summer. Just the same I am looking forward to cuddling up in my jammies with my favorite blanky and a good book! Speaking of good books… Brenda Novak here on my blog today. It is a great honor to have her here! She has three amazing new titles, WHITE HEAT, BODY HEAT, AND KILLER HEAT. So take a few minutes to kick back and learn about her and her three hot new titles!

Tell us a little bit about your latest release/s…

I have a new trilogy out now--WHITE HEAT, BODY HEAT and KILLER HEAT. Each book stands alone but they all revolve around a private security company called Department 6 and the retired special forces, private investigators and police officers who make their living working as “hired guns.” These men and women face some diverse and unusual circumstances—and some very frightening challenges. So get ready to head to the beach, sit back and enjoy the ride.

In WHITE HEAT, Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop, two members of Department 6, are hired to infiltrate a dangerous cult that has recently settled in the former ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members of this cult worship at the feet—and in the bed--of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff. But with one woman claiming to have been stoned, and another missing, Wycliff might be more of a devil than the prophet he claims to be…. In BODY HEAT, Police Chief Sophia St. Claire finds herself out of her investigative league when someone starts shooting people at pointblank range and leaving them to rot in the desert sun just outside her small town. Help arrives in the form of California’s Department 6 Roderick Guerrero. But as the half-breed bastard of a wealthy local rancher, he has a history he can’t get past--a history that includes Sophia St. Claire. In KILLER HEAT, the remains of seven women have been discovered in Skull Valley, Arizona. It’s up to Jonah Young, from Department 6, to assist the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department in solving these murders. But he doesn’t anticipate the complications that arise when he’s forced to work with an old flame. Then everything grows more complicated—and far too personal. They quickly zero in on the most likely suspect, but betting on the wrong man might be the last thing they ever do….
What are you working on now?

I’m working on three new romantic suspense titles that will be out next summer/fall—July, September and October. They’re called INSIDE, IN SECONDS and IN CLOSE. I’ve finished Book 1 and am now in the middle of Book 2.
What makes your writing unique?

The believability of the characters and the level of emotion, at least that’s what I’m told. It’s tough to judge myself objectively. LOL

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

I’m definitely a pantser. I can’t plot out my stories beforehand or I grow bored with them. I have to be surprised right along with the reader or the tension that makes a good page-turner just seeps right out of the story.
What is the hardest part about your job?

I love being a writer. That makes coming to work each day a joy and a blessing, but finding time to get fit everything in is very tough. There’s so much more to being an author than just writing. You have to get out and promote, which typically means you accept speaking invitations and travel. You maintain a web site. You plan promotional campaigns and write articles, etc. It’s a lot of work and can be very rewarding, but the juggling act itself is a challenge.
How many books do you have under your writing belt?

Believe it or not, I always lose track of this. I had to go in and count what’s on my bookshelf (I have a bookshelf where I keep one copy of each book as a milestone marker). I’m currently at 35, including the Christmas novella that will come out in November. J Can you give us an idea of how long a completed manuscript takes you from start to finish? I have three big books and one novella due each year. That means I have to write a 450 page (average) manuscript in four months.

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

My best advice is to join a good writing organization like Romance Writers of America. They have so much to offer an aspiring writer—access to agents and editors, market information, a monthly magazine with craft tips and other information, an annual conference, national contest, etc. I believe finding RWA shortened the time it took me to get published by several years.

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s life.

I think every writer’s life is different because every creative process is different, but I run the work aspect of my life like any other business. I get my kids off to school, and then I head to the computer. I spend several hours following up on fan mail, blog posts, interviews, promotion ideas, updating my Facebook/MySpace and Web site pages, going over back cover copy with my editor, turning in art fact sheets for cover design, doing revisions on manuscripts that have already been turned in to my publisher, etc. Then I settle in to write ten pages per day on my current work-in-progress. I rarely get that many finished, but that’s my goal. Once my kids get out of school, I’m a regular mom, unless they’re at other activities, and then I return to the computer to try and get more done. I don’t stay up late and write because that would only wipe out the next day. LOL
There is an organization that is close to your heart. Can you tell us about it… what you do to help out and why you spend so much of your time donating to it?

Each year, during the entire month of May, I run an annual online auction for diabetes research at my web site ( In the six years I’ve been doing this, we’ve managed to raise almost $1.1 million. My youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (insulin-dependent) when he was just five. Now he’s thirteen, and I’m determined to do all I can to help find a cure for this terrible disease. It affects SO many people, and it’s not a mystery. I believe, with enough focus and resources, we can beat it. Many of the items offered in the auction are exciting to readers and writers. Many big name authors, such as Catherine Coulter, Diana Gabaldon and Barry Eisler donate their time to have lunch with an auction winner. Others donate other items they put on the auction block. Nora Roberts donates a stay in her Bed & Breakfast, Cherry Adair donates a week-long stay in her fabulous guest house, Sandra Brown always donates a big basket of goodies. Many authors donate Advanced Reading Copies of a new release so that those who bid can have the chance to be the first to read it. On the writer side, we have many, many opportunities to get in front of those agents and editors who are most influential. There’s even promotional opportunities for published authors. Besides the reader/writer stuff, we have jewelry, trips & stays, celebrity items, antique jewelry and so much more. Last year we had 2,400 items!

Thank you, Brenda for stopping by my blog. This has been a wonderful opportunity. Where can we find out more about you and your books? Or you can follow my fan page on Facebook by “liking”:!/pages/Author-Brenda-Novak/120794854630624?ref=ts

Thank you friends for stopping by. See you next week.




Sheri Humphreys said...

Brenda, what a wonderful thing you're doing with your work support Diabetes research! And your auction items sound like a dream come true for any aspiring author. What a wonderful combo--I'll be sure to stop by your website next May. Sheri

Brenda Novak said...

Fabulous, Sheri! So glad to hear it. You can hop over and register now so that you get the notices of what's coming up, etc. ;-)

I'm thrilled with how well it's gone. I'm currently doing a cookbook for families who deal with diabetes. I'm excited about the way it's turning out, but it won't be on the market until 2012.

Donna O'Brien said...

Hey Brenda! Great interview and I will attest to the fact that RWA does offer great benefits...such as having authors like you give awesome workshops at National Conference. Saw you in SF and you were very generous with your time and helpful in the midst of that crazy schedule. LOL I have also supported your Diabetes auction....our children are everything. Keep on writing and thanks for the inspiration. :)

Great job as always Micole!!



Sheri Humphreys said...

Brenda, I just went to the auction site and registered. I'm going to tell everyone about this! I'm even more impressed now that I see how much money you've raised! Sheri

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Donna--

Thanks so much for your kind words. I love to interact with other writers. It gets me excited about writing again. What we do can be so solitary that those conferences are really important to me. I'll be speaking at the Emerald City Conference here in less than two weeks. Can't wait!

Thanks for supporting the auction. Every single bid, every bit of word of mouth--it all helps!

Brenda Novak said...

Sheri, thanks so much for getting involved. We've raised over $1 million dollars. Isn't that great? I'm so excited. I never dreamed we'd be able to raise so much. Now we're shooting for $2 million!