Robin Dricoll email me, please so Brenda can send *your copy of HANOVER HOUSE to you girl!!!!! Thank you for commenting. Congrats on getting picked by Random.org!
*Robin has 48 hours to contact me before I choose another winner. Thank you all for visiting, and a special thank you to Brenda!! 😀
I’m thrilled beyond belief, truly, to be able to welcome one of my favorite-of-all-times authors to the Ranch today! Have you ever read the “Perfect”suspense trilogy? In case that hint isn’t enough, I’ll shout share who…
Please welcome the lovely and uber-talented bestselling author and all around wonderful woman, MS. BRENDA NOVAK to the Round Pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oy. Was that as loud as it sounded in my head? I think I spooked Sonny and Apple. Sorry, my horse darlins. Now to get the Chihuahuas to shush so I can think. 😆
So, a couple of weeks ago I happened across a Twitter notice in my email that Brenda Novak was following me. What? My favorite writer, Brenda Novak? Me? Doubting Thomasina that I am, I checked and, sure enough, it really was her. Did I mention I’m a HUGE fan? 😀
I’ve admired her writing—and live vicariously through her as a suspense writer (since I can’t write the genre to save my life, and she does it so splendidly)—for a very long time. After fangirl faded, I turned strictly Ranch owner (well, maybe still a little fangirlish) and invited Brenda to join me in the Round Pen and she graciously agreed. What a wonderful treat, I tell ya, folks! I’m all fangirl again here. She’s sharing her newest release, the one I just grabbed, here today with all of you, too! I’ll let her tell you all about HANOVER HOUSE as part of our visit today. (For convenience’s sake, I hyperlinked her name above directly to this book for you to check out, along with all her other books. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. 😉 )
We tried to keep this short, but Brenda agreed to let me interview her, and I came up with some things to ask her about.
So, Brenda, you are a NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author multiple times over, with many, many books in various genres; historical, contemporary and, my favorite, your suspense. First off, congratulations on your exciting achievements. But—
1) When you first realized you were a success—something we all dream of, but are secretly afraid might actually happen—how did you handle it in the beginning and move forward?
I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I’ve decided I’m a success. Like most people, once I hit one goal, another one appears right behind it, so my career is more of a journey than a destination. That’s why I think it’s so imperative to enjoy the process. Success to me isn’t necessarily hitting the big lists (although that’s always nice!). It’s turning out work I’m proud of—and having my readers be excited about each new story.
I think all authors need your perspective. That’s a great way to look at success!
2) Not all books are easy to write. Some stories are what one author refers to as pineapple babies—they hurt coming out. Which of your works or genre gave you the most difficult time, either with the writing or editing, and how did you get through it?
The most difficult book I’ve ever written was probably A BABY OF HER OWN. I was still a relatively new writer and, when I finished the story, I could tell something was wrong with it, but I wasn’t experienced enough to identify what needed to be changed. I turned it in, hoping for the best. I’ll never forget meeting with my editor at the RWA conference (which was coming up). She told me that I had a subplot in the book that was warring with the main story–and overtaking it. Fortunately, she was so kind about the way she shared this news that it didn’t crush my confidence. As I flew home, I was trying to figure out how to solve the problem. Taking out that subplot would mean losing 25% – 30% of the book. I wasn’t eager to do that. In the end, I knew that was the right path, however. I made myself remove that subplot, focused on the main story and finished that book. Then I used the subplot to start a new story that was related to the first. So that mistake actually spawned my first series! If I hadn’t screwed up in that way, and if my editor hadn’t been sharp enough to catch it, I probably never would’ve written the Dundee series. I would’ve continued writing stand-alone novels. As you can imagine, I’m now very happy that I had to go through that exercise! The Dundee books are some of my readers’ favorites.
How awesome for you to get an editor to walk you through that at such an early stage of your career.
3) I keep Dr. Pepper (or coffee) at hand, and chocolate when times get rough, listen to music and I have a little stuffed Captain Jack Sparrow doll that cheers me on in that swooningly sexy voice only Johnny Depp can master…ok, maybe that’s just in my head. What is your go-to ‘thing’ while writing, if anything?
I don’t keep anything on hand (other than some trail mix since I don’t like to interrupt my work to eat), but there are certain things I do to kick-start my muse, or to remind me of how much I love what I do. Usually, if I want to be inspired, I listen to the soundtrack for LES MIS or PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Or I watch LAST OF THE MOHICANS. There’s just something about those works that really get my imagination going. Also, reading a really good book will get me excited to create again.
While writing my current release I was forced (by my heroine) to listen to an Opera CD while working. Apparently Viv liked Opera. Who knew? 🙂
4) Where do you draw from for the intensely deep, emotional impact your books all seem to be packed with?
I’m not sure where that comes from, to be honest. I think I’ve always been a student of human behavior, so I have a pretty good grasp on human motivation. That definitely helps. And I tend to like big, dramatic books, movies and music. I think those preferences just bleed into my work. (And thank you for the compliment. I want my books to resonate emotionally, so this is really great to hear. :))
They definitely resonate with me, so you’re welcome!
5) Since I began writing I hear that we should celebrate each finished manuscript, each sale, etc. What do you do to celebrate new accomplishments? Following that, what do you do for fun when not working on a book?
I don’t really do anything to celebrate. I think I’ve been in the business too long to worry about those rewards! LOL Finishing seems to be reward enough. I do love the relief, the letdown of the pressure, however. When I finish a book, especially if I’m really proud of it, I feel as if I’m walking on air for the next couple of weeks. That emotional high is a wonderful thing! As far as what I do for fun, I love to travel, read, shop, play volleyball, ride bikes and just hang out with my adult kids.
*Sigh* I still grab cheesecake and wine to pat my own back. LOL
6) I love that you’re not just a writer, but an advocate of a great cause. Can you tell us about the juvenile diabetes auction you created, why you did it and how/where can we get involved in the cure for this awful disease?
My youngest son has Type 1. He was diagnosed at just five years old. I’ll never forget hearing the list of side-effects he will likely suffer in his lifetime. That made me want to fight back, to do everything possible to protect my child. So I started Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which I ran for ten years. Then, a year ago, I shut down the auction and changed up my fundraising efforts by procuring a digital boxed set containing stories from some of today’s most popular authors, which I sold to raise money. So far, with everything combined, I’ve managed to raise $2.5 million (thanks to the generosity of all those who have been so good to support me), and I hope to keep adding to that total. Keep an eye on my website for next year’s boxed set! Anyone who’d like to get involved or learn more can visit www.brendanovakforthecure.org.
I can only imagine the heartbreak of learning your little one is ill, and those are both extremely wonderful causes you’ve created. $2.5 million? That is incredible, and amazing to hear of the generosity of others. I hope putting this out will help bring that number up even more for juvenile diabetes research.
Now for a sneak peek at Hanover House and the eerie cover, which I love!
Welcome to Hanover House…
Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has established a research facility in remote Alaska where she studies serial killers. She’s determined to solve the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. But dealing with so many twisted killers means she has to be careful. Terrible things could happen if only one thing goes wrong…
Here’s an excerpt:
To hide the fear that slithered, snake-like, just below her skin, making the hair on her arms stand up, Evelyn paced across one end of the small, concrete cell, pretending to be absorbed in her notes. It’d taken a few days, but she was back at San Quentin, and they were bringing Hugo Evanski to meet with her. Only this time she was prepared for anything he might do—and so were they. The warden had told her Evanski would be escorted by two correctional officers instead of one, and he wouldn’t be allowed to get out of control again.
When he didn’t appear as soon as she’d expected, however, she set her notes aside and leaned on the desk to haul in a deep breath. She’d only been released from the hospital two days ago, still had a bandage covering her stitches and a black eye to show for that earlier incident—embarrassing proof that she’d allowed herself to be hurt by someone she’d known was dangerous. There was no excuse for that, especially because her detractors wouldn’t hesitate to use what Hugo had done to undermine her efforts, if word ever got out. She had to be careful about what showed up in the press, couldn’t allow Hugo Evanski to jeopardize a program that was still in its infancy and needed time and support in order to grow.
A clang signaled she’d soon have company. She snatched up her notepad so that no one would be able to tell that her hands were shaking. Although she told herself the same thing wouldn’t happen twice, no amount of self-talk could overcome the emotional response that welled up whenever the slightest sound, smell or other trigger reminded her of what Jasper Moore had done twenty years ago. And Hugo’s attack definitely reminded her of Jasper. Just about any violence did.
She watched as the heavy metal door slid open and two hulk-like correctional officers walked their charge into the room. They tried to seat him in the steel chair bolted to the floor, probably so that he couldn’t launch himself at her again, and, when he stiffened instead of bending, forced him into it.
“Sit your ass down,” one of the guards growled.
Hugo gave his chains a rebellious jerk but eventually complied, lifting his nose in the air and smiling at her as if he was too preoccupied with and delighted by what he’d done to her face to be bothered by correctional officers who were determined to show him they were in charge. “Looks like you’ve had an accident,” he said to her.
She fingered the tender spot near her temple. “It’s nothing. Someone of your reputation…I would’ve expected you to be able to do a lot more than simply knock me into a table.”
When the two officers on either side of him barked out a laugh, obviously surprised by her response, the smile disappeared from Hugo’s clean-shaven face. “Maybe it won’t go quite so well for you the next time.”
Hanover House- http://brendanovak.com/books/posts/hanover-house/
You are an inspiration to so many with your fundraising and your writing. I’ll definitely check out the link and the boxed set! Thank you so much for hanging out on the. I hope you’ll visit again.
Welcome visitors. Leave a comment to Brenda for the chance to win an ecopy of Brenda’s Hanover House only here on the Ranch!! 😀