Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jack Snags a New York Times Author in Fabulous Interview With Captain Jack Sparrow

JACK: *spreading arms wide and grinning hugely* Welcome pirates to another Fabulous Interview with the Fabulous Captain Jack Sparrow. Today, I have with me none other than the New York Times bestseller, Brenda Novak!

BRENDA: Hello, Jack, I’m so excited to meet you.

JACK: *hastening over and kissing her hand, making googly eyes* I’m excited to see you too, my sweet. Perhaps I can show you how excited I am later, in my cabin?

HELLIE: Jack! I’m right here behind the camera!

JACK: You’re invited too, luv. *whispers behind his hand to Brenda* Don’t worry. I’ll send her on an errand so we won’t be interrupted.

BRENDA: *pointing* You do know she’s still recording.

JACK: *smiling at the camera* Let’s get to the questions, shall we? Brenda, luv, please have a seat here on my interview couch where I lay all my new authors…I mean, where all my guests spill…er…maybe you should sit on my lap?

BRENDA: That might actually be a nice place to conduct an interview. *Blushing* Er…did I say that out loud? I meant…of course I would never even consider it.

JACK: *soulful look* That is a shame. If you should ever consider-- *dodges an empty rum bottle, gets hold of himself* Yes, yes, quite right, I should stick to what I’m good at. Talking to women. *draws out cards from his jacket* Please tell us about your pirate story, Of Noble Birth.

HELLIE: Jack! What have I told you about that question?

JACK: What, what? I didn’t ask a question. I said, please tell us about your pirate story. If you’ll notice that was a gentle command. *smiles smokily* And as you can imagine, Brenda, I’m skilled at giving gentle commands in other places on this ship. My cabin for instance….

BRENDA: I have imagined plenty with you, Jack (sly grin).

JACK: Really? I should like to hear about what you've imagined. *ducks, tackling Brenda as another bottle just misses him, rights himself; Brenda looks a bit breathless* All right, if you insist, we’ll talk about your books. I’m a patient man. I know how to woo. So this pirate story—which I’m devilishly thrilled about, there is a DEARTH of pirate stories to be had nowadays, it’s all dukes-dukes-dukes all the time—tell the truth: you were inspired by me, right? Tell me what do you look for in a hero like me?

BRENDA: Nathaniel is almost as sexy as you (could anyone be equal?) *Jack shakes his head "No"*, but he goes a wee bit lighter on the rum. He’s too busy waging a war of revenge against his hated fater and kidnapping the beautiful Alexandra to lose an ounce of focus. His father is a duke, you see (any good historical has to have a duke in there somewhere, right?) and a very powerful man—no one to mess with. But Nathaniel has VERY good reason….

JACK: All of us men have very good reasons. *roguish look at camera* Most of them dealing with pain of death. *silence; Jack clears throat* Every handsome, roguish hero needs a beautiful heroine. I assume you base all your heroines on you, Ms. Novak? *kisses the back of Brenda’s hand* Intelligent, witty, beautiful, and sexy?

BRENDA: Alexandra is a poor seamstress Nathaniel mistakenly believes is his half-sister. Imagine his consternation at being attracted to his charge!

JACK: Yes, I can imagine the consternation. I was attracted to Hellie's sister once and it was a nightmare when she found out. Will you be writing any more pirate books? And if not, what other books do you have available to keep up with your fans’ demands?

BRENDA: I hope to write more pirate books some day, but I have several other types coming out before then. First, I have the romantic suspense books published by MIRA. INSIDE just came out. IN SECONDS will be out August 30th and IN CLOSE will hit bookstores on October 25th. November 1st will see the publication of my next historical. It’s called THE BASTARD and is set in the late 1700’s. Sadly, there are no pirates (but plenty of the aristocracy—including the hero who is the bastard of a marquise).

JACK: And sadly, I have a close affiliation with the term "bastard" so it's just as well. *shuffles cards* This next question is the Writer’s Inspiration Corner. What’s your Call Story, and what piece of advice would you give other writers?

BRENDA: Whoa, Jack, that’s been some time now. Not to date myself, but I’ve been published since November 1999 and have written more than 40 books. So you’re going back some. THE CALL to me refers to the day I hit The New York Times. Hitting the list had been a dream of mine from the very beginning. When my agent delivered the news I just about fainted. She said, “Are you sitting down?” I said, “No.” She said, “I think you’d better sit down.”  What made it shocking was that this was the second week the book had been out. Usually, if you’re going to hit it happens in the first week. So her call was completely unexpected—and all the more memorable because of it.

As far as advice...dream big and then BELIEVE. If you believe you can achieve your dreams you'll do whatever it takes.


JACK: You are a fine wine, Brenda, never fear. Our last question is a little author color—the pirates would like to know: 1) Name something on your nightstand right now; 2) Favorite place to go on a rainy day; 3) Men in Kilts or Men with Babies; 4) Favorite takeout; and 5) Last book you read that you loved.

BRENDA: Sadly, a pair of reading glasses. My vision is suddenly not what it has always been before (due to age! Yikes! I hope you like older women <G>). My favorite place to go on a rainy day? To bed with my husband to watch a movie marathon. I prefer men in kilts to men with babies any day of the week (I’d probably run away from any man with a baby, at this point—but I don’t see you toting one around.) My favorite take-out is Thai food, and the last book I read that I loved was Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ latest.

JACK: I love older women, but I don't love husbands. They're very cranky. So I won't be joining you for any movie marathons. Brenda, thank you for being a guest on our ship. It was lovely to have you. *whispers* And later….

BRENDA: She’s still recording, Jack.

JACK: Right-o, and I was just saying you are welcome back any time, any time at all. Is there anything else you’d like to say or ask the crew?

BRENDA: *Whispering* Where did you say your cabin was again? ;-)

JACK: *grinning and throwing hands wide* And that's all we have time for today, crew! I hate to leave you to entertain amongst yourselves, but I did promise Ms. Novak a private tour. In the meantime, feel free to discuss the challenges in writing in both a historical voice and a contemporary one? Would you do it, or do you do it? What authors do you think are best at both worlds? And finally, if you received a phone call telling you you just made the NYT's list, who is the first person you would tell, what would you do? Once I've shown Ms. Novak block, I'm sure she'll be glad to field some questions. Ask away!


Scapegoat said...

I don't think I could ever write a historical - I love to read them but I could see myself so excited about the research that I might never actually put pen to paper!

Victoria Dahl does fantastic writing in both and each has a slightly different feel to the voice.

Hmm...not if, WHEN we make the NYT list! :)

Of course I'd tell the hubby and then of course the pirates! I'm thinking it would also call for a fabulous pair of shoes or a new handbag.

Hellion said...

Hi Scape, I have the same problem with historical research. *LOL*

And I love your attitude!--WHEN *LOL*

Yes, definitely shoes are a must! :)

2nd Chance said...

So nice to have you aboard, Brenda! And my! How excited Jack is! I'm the ship's bartender, if you have a favorite drink, do let me know.

Oh, those glasses...sigh.

Do I read anyone who writes both contemp and historical? I ... don't think so. Now, I have read paranormal and historical and it is interesting! I like to think it's the two sides of an author...the follow the rules and then make the rules stuff... Jennifer Ashley comes to mind when it comes to both those worlds.

And Scape is so right! Look at when we reach that best sellers list! Who would I tell...? Okay, I know I should say my husband, but I'd probably call the Bo'sun, to be honest. The DH would be thrilled for me but Terrio would know exactly why. He'd just know I was excited and ride that...which would be nice, but Terrio would scream with me!

I want to scream with Terrio! ;-)

Marnee said...

Welcome aboard, Brenda!!

I think that writing both sounds fun. Right now I'm writing a historical. But I'd love to have a little more freedom with the language. So I'll never say never. Just not right now.

Lisa Kleypas does both well, as does Teresa Medeiros and Christina Dodd. Pamela Clare too.

Who would I tell first? My hubby. He's the one who's got to put up with my distraction and my chatter about treason and courtesans. And my mom. Because she's been urging me to write since I was a middle school kid.

Donna said...

Great interview, and welcome, Brenda. Hope you like the "tour" Jack gives you. LOL

I write contemporary and historical, and I like being able to write both. I started writing historical, and then the market started to wane, as it does, so I decided to give contemps a try. And of course, THAT market started to wane. . .LOL

It's fun being able to go back and forth, depending on my mood.

And let's imagine ALL the pirates on the bestseller list at once. Whole lotta screamin' going on!

Bosun said...

Welcome aboard, Ms. Novak!!! I'm so excited to have you with us. And let me take this chance to say thank you for the auction you do every spring. That must be an enormous undertaking and it gives us all a chance at amazing items while helping a much deserved cause.

I write contemp and would love to also write historicals, but in direct contrast to my fellow pirates, I hate doing that kind of research. I'd stress about the clothing and the cravat and the proper vehicles and get too frustrated to get anywhere. LOL! I've dabbled in a little historical work before and been told I have a voice for it. Maybe someday I'll learn to embrace research and give it a try.

The bestseller call would have to be a conference call because I couldn't pick just one person to call first. LOL! Okay, that's not true. My kiddo would be first. But then I'd have to get Hellie and Chance on the line at the same time. Chance's comment is making me all sniffly. You bet I'll scream when that day comes!

And I love Donna's idea of an all pirate list!

Hellion said...

I write contemporary, but I have a few scraps of historical ideas I've written on. I think I do decently in Voice for both genres, but it's the research that kills me in the historical. I get obsessed about research and end up changing stuff every five minutes or adding something new, or switching the year to fit some other historical thing I need. So I finally just stopped because a) you can't just move things around to fit your story "need"--you need to work with what is; b) I'm clearly more interested in the history than the story and won't allow for any creative license whatsoever.

I love Jude Deveraux's and Julie Garwood's voices for historical and contemporary.

Bestseller call--hmmm. I'd probably call Deerhunter first, leave a hysterical message he probably wouldn't understand due to the gibberishness of the voice. Then I'd need to call all my pirates and other friends who've been so supportive of my writing all this time. Maybe I'd send out a mass email to them asking them to lunch at a certain time, then I'd walk in wearing a shirt that says: GUESS WHAT? I'm a NYT Bestseller Author!

And when they didn't notice right away, I'd say, "Do you like my shirt?" And then it would be a crazy bunch of screaming and crying, and we'd probably get kicked out the restaurant.

Brenda Novak said...

Good morning, Hellions! Great to be here. Thanks for the warm welcome.

I'm having a blast writing both genres. IN SECONDS, the second book in my Bulletproof Trilogy just came out this week, so part of my day is spent promoting that and writing my next contemp. And the other part of the day is spent getting my next historical ready to be published on November 1st. It's called THE BASTARD and has an AMAZING cover. Check it out at my web site: (under Coming Soon).

I'll never forget the day my agent called to tell me I'd hit the NYT. It was June 8, 1998 . Keep writing and you'll get there, too. And then it becomes a battle to get on the list again, and more often and for longer... I never ends. LOL

Woke up to a nice surprise. INSIDE, the first in my romance trilogy that's coming out was just reviewed by All About Romance. They gave me a B+, which isn't a bad score. ;-)

Brenda Novak said...

2nd Chance, does this pirate ship serve more than rum and ale? LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Scapegoat, I really like the historical research, too. My historicals are a bit different--not so much about polite society (although that is one aspect) but about what it was really like to live in those days (a bit gritty). In THE BASTARD, a lovely French refugee stows away on a frigate while England is at war. You can imagine what she goes through (but the man she finds--Lieutenant la la! LOL).

Brenda Novak said...

Donna, I hear you. Romantic suspense was so hot, and then it fell off by 12%. Hopefully, it's already making a comeback!

Brenda Novak said...

Marnee, those are all great authors. I've asked a few fabulous historical authors for a cover blurb, so we'll see how that works out. Fingers crossed.

Brenda Novak said...


Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm excited to be here. And you're very welcome for the auction. It's been so gratifying lately to hear all the stories of writers getting agents or sales through the auction. It took a couple of years for the seeds to sprout but now we have a lot of great stories. I hope you'll keep coming back. Each year we try to make it better and better!

Hellion said...

Brenda! I'm so glad the link worked this time!

I swear, guys, every time I gave Brenda the link to the ship and would tell her her blog had posted, she'd come over here and the blog was gone or the link would do a 404 Error. It was so embarrassing!

Brenda Novak said...


Jude Devereaux was one of the first romance authors I ever read. She inspired me to write myself because I enjoyed her work so much.

Hellion said...

Jude Devereaux was one of the first romance authors I ever read. She inspired me to write myself because I enjoyed her work so much.

Me, too! My friends used to make fun of me in high school because practically every book I read or had on me was a Jude Deveraux.

Nina Paules said...

Hi Brenda! Wonderful interview. What a vivid portal of Capt'n Jack Sparrow. I love the pirate-rogue, but every time he saunters forth, arms beckoning, I wonder... does he... I mean... is he as... well... never mind. Enjoy your tour. ;-)

All the best with Of Noble Birth.

:-) Nina

P.S.: To any historical romance lover who hasn't had the pleasure of OF Noble Birth, it's a fab read.

Bosun said...

A grittier historical? I love the sound of that. The rompy Regencies can be fun, but a little more variety is lovely. And gritty sounds good as variety goes.

That is one thing about the success of your auction. These days all I can afford to do is read the descriptions longingly. But someday I'll be able to compete!

Bosun said...

I just saw that this book is only $2.99 right now in digital. Go forth and download!

Janga said...

I can't believe there's a Brenda Novak novel I haven't read. I must remedy this situation right away.

Discussions of NYT bestsellerdom always make me remember Nora Roberts's comment about her reaction to her arrival at that exalted status--that whatever came afterward, she could now have NYT bestseller on her tombstone. LOL

To the list of stellar authors who have written successfully in both historical and contemporary voice, I'll add Mary Jo Putney, who has books in both subgenres on my all-time favorites list.

Donna said...

Brenda, I hope romantic suspense doesn't go away -- it's what I usually read, whether I'm writing contemp or historical. I think it's also a great way to learn about how to keep the tension ramped up, no matter what we write. There's always plenty of suspense in romantic suspense!

2nd Chance said...

Brenda - Me bar has everything ya could think of. Though, course, the favorite be rum. Kraken Rum ta be precise, but I also gots a blender, ice and can whip up margaritas, or anythin' fancy under the sun!

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Nina. So glad you liked OF NOBLE BIRTH. Did you read it recently? Or was this when it was originally released?

THE BASTARD, my next historical, has never been released so it will be fun to see the reaction.

Brenda Novak said...

Bo'sun--I agree. The rompy regencies are a blast, but I also like other types of historicals.

And I'll have a virgin margarita (since I don't drink but love that sale around the rim).

Brenda Novak said...

Hellion, I remember reading one of her books all night on a bus to Utah one time. It kept me entertained right up until we pulled in the station (not that I'd ever recommend a 16 hour bus ride--LOL).

Brenda Novak said...

I agree, Donna. I don't think it's going anywhere for good. I just think that with the downturn in the economy, some of it's loyal readers have opted for cheerier stories (a la contemporary romance set in various small towns). A good crime story will always be in vogue, if you as me.

Brenda Novak said...

Yes, only $2.99! That's the price of an ap. LOL Check it out.

Janga, Mary Jo Putney is a wonderful author as well as a wonderful writer. Good addition to the list.

And I appreciate the support you've given me! :-)

Quantum said...

Hi Brenda. Great to have you aboard.

Afraid I haven't read any of your books as yet but I love the covers!

Which of your suspense books would you consider to be your Magnum Opus or haven't you written it yet?

That's the one I want to take on holiday!

Likewise which of your superromance books are you most proud of?

That's the one I want to read when I get home from my vacation!

I often wonder how an author feels after completing the Magnum Opus. By definition it's the best that you can achieve so the road forwards must be down hill. Maybe Harper Lee liked the view from the top after completing 'To kill a mocking bird' and didn't write another book.

I would love to know where you see yourself in the book landscape. *smile*