Dreaming With Brenda Novak

We're happy to have Brenda Novak as our special guest today at Fierce Romance! She's giving away an autographed copy of her new print book, IN CLOSE, and she's also giving away an ebook copy of THE BASTARD (excerpt below) to commenters! Welcome, Brenda!

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has four novels coming out this year. Three romantic suspense titles--INSIDE, IN SECONDS, & IN CLOSE—published by MIRA Books will be available wherever books are sold. THE BASTARD, a historical romance, will be available for Kindle and POD November 1st. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $1.3 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life. 


I hit The New York Times when I least expected it. I had a million things on my mind (I have five kids so that sort of gives you a clue as to why!) but hitting the list wasn't one of them. So when my agent called, my thoughts didn't immediately reach for the possibility. I could tell by her level of excitement that something significant had happened, but I still didn't clue in. The call went like this:

"Hi, Kim. How are you?"

"Good. And you?"

I told her I was good, too. Then she said, "You're about to be a lot better."

At this I caught my breath. "Why do you say that?" I asked tentatively.

"You just hit The New York Times!" she screamed.

I felt my jaw drop as I scrambled to figure out HOW this most amazing thing--something I'd wanted since I wrote my first manuscript--had happened out of the blue. TRUST ME had come out three weeks earlier. STOP ME wouldn't be out for another week. Typically, if you're going to hit a list, you do it the first week of a book's release.

Scarcely willing to believe her, I asked, "With what book?"

She laughed. "TRUST ME hit #20, which means it made the print list."

And there it was. My moment in time. The dream I'd been working so hard to achieve since I'd sold my first book--almost a decade earlier to the day--had just become a reality.

Since then, I've thought a lot about dreams and the power they have in our lives. Why are they important to us? What difference do they really make? How long do we dare hang on to a dream before we give it up?

Anais Nin said, "The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle."

I felt like I had caught up with my dream and experienced my miracle. But I was excited for another reason. As a New York Times Bestselling Author I would have a bigger platform from which to attain my OTHER big dream, a dream that also required the support of a lot of people. Dom Helder Camara was right when he said, "When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality."

Fortunately, I'd been dreaming with others since starting my annual online auction for diabetes research in May of 2005. My goal? To raise $1 million for diabetes research. My youngest son suffers with this disease. Since the day he was diagnosed, I've felt a relentless need to fight back, to take a stand against what's happening to him and millions of others, but at first I didn't know how. It took me two years of wracking my brain-- "How can I do this?" --before the answer came. Not only do I have five kids, I write three books a year, and I had just suffered a financial setback with the collapse of my husband's business. Even raising a thousand dollars seemed out of reach.

Then the idea I'd been searching for hit me-beautiful in its simplicity. I was just returning from a silent auction at my son’s school. I remember pulling to the side of the road, looking at my husband and saying, "I've got it. I've finally got it!"

My idea? To utilize the Web site traffic I'd already established via my writing to start an online auction. But I didn't want those who shopped to be doing it solely out of public virtue. Public virtue is amazing. I admire nothing more. But I've learned that self-interest is far more reliable. So I wanted to give everyone who participated a personal reason to shop, and I decided I could do that by offering fabulous opportunities for published authors, aspiring writers and devoted readers.

And it worked. A year ago, I had another moment when I caught up with a long-cherished dream. Thanks to all those who have supported my efforts, Brenda Novak's Sixth Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research broke the $1 million mark--and the seventh last May added another $303,000 to the total.

But I'm not done dreaming. When I first started writing, I was doing historicals. I sold OF NOBLE BIRTH to HarperCollins (it was released in November 1999). But then Harper bought Avon and my editor lost her job in the transition. That meant I lost my slot, too--the contract I was expecting for my next two historicals would not be coming. Fortunately, I had already sold to Harlequin, so I simply segued into writing contemporaries, but I never lost my love for historicals or my hope that one day I’d be able to return to them. Recently, I acquired the rights to OF NOBLE BIRTH, so I was able to make that available again. And November 1st saw the publication of THE BASTARD, my second historical romance, which has never been published before.

What dreams have you had? How do you plan to make them come true? Which ones have already been realized?


“Shall I let Lord St. Ives know that you are ready?” Agatha’s solemn eyes met Jeannette’s reflection.
Jeannette nodded. She had no choice. She felt like a fox cornered by baying hounds. It didn’t help that those hounds were the urging of her own conscience. 
The maid closed the door as she left, leaving Jeannette to wait and to pace, her mouth so dry she could scarcely swallow. Tears burned behind her eyes and, despite the fire, her hands remained as stiff and cold as a cadaver’s. At least her family’s future was now secure, she told herself. Everything was decided, done. The trade had been made when she and the baron exchanged vows. She had only to finish her part of the bargain.
A heavy hand pounded on the door, nearly causing Jeannette to collapse in a heap on the floor. She’d heard no tread and felt completely unprepared to meet her husband, regardless of Agatha’s ministrations.
How could she be such a coward? she wondered, feeling ashamed. Would she shrink from her duty to those she loved?
Entrez,” she said, steadying her voice.
The door burst open, but it wasn’t St. Ives. It was her younger brother Henri, and his face was as pale as her own.
Jeannette dragged the heavy counterpane from the baron’s bed and used it to cover herself. “What are you doing here? What is the meaning of this?”
Henri didn’t seem to notice what she was or wasn’t wearing. “Jeannette, thank God I have arrived in time. Come with me. We must leave at once.”
“But I cannot--”
“Hush! They were talking about you. The baron is not the man we thought he was. He—he has plans to dishonor you.” He made an effort to compose himself, but couldn’t quite manage it. “Never mind.” He gestured as if he could sweep the confusion away that easily. “The details are too ugly. Come away!”
Jeannette stiffened in surprise. “I understand that you are worried about me, Henri, but Maman and Papa were strangers when they married and--”
“This is different.” His lip trembled as he pushed her toward the door.
“But I am not dressed!”
For the first time, Henri seemed to realize she was dragging the counterpane. His face grew red, but he remained steadfast in his purpose. “There is no time to delay. I heard them...outside...placing wagers…” 
“On what? Henri, do not frighten me.”
His chin jutted out in defiance. “You have no need to worry. I am your brother. I will not let anything happen to you.”
Grabbing his slender shoulders, Jeannette gave him a gentle shake. “Stop this. I am a married woman now. I have no choice but to stay here. You know that as well as I do.”
“Listen to me!” He gripped her elbow as though he’d drag her away if he had to. “I have learned the baron cannot father a child.” His whispered words came in a torrent. “He is bringing others to your bed, to acquire an heir any way he can. And the men he has chosen are eager for the opportunity, even placing wagers on whose seed will take in your belly!”
At this announcement, all the strength threatened to leave Jeannette’s limbs. Was that what Richard Manville had meant? Why Sir Thomas had fairly salivated at the touch of her? Were they anticipating a turn in her bed?
She knew the baron had been married before, that the late baroness had borne him no children….
“Come, vite!” Henry pulled harder, but she wrenched away.
“No! You must go back down and act as if nothing has happened. Detain St. Ives, if possible, while I leave on my own.”
“But Maman and Papa...we should all go!”
Jeannette’s heart sank. How she wished that were possible. But St. Ives would never sit idly by and allow her parents to take her from Hawthorne House. His standing and reputation would be ruined. And he could easily stop them. He had power here in England, knew everyone. “Think, Henri! I belong to the baron now. And we are refugees, paupers! All he has to do is deny our accusations and follow through with his plan. Who would stop him, except Papa? And I will not have Papa dueling over me.”
“But you cannot go alone. Who will protect you? A woman on her own is not safe!”
“I can take care of myself. You know I can. But you must promise me something.”
Agitated and still eager to grab her and leave, he shifted on his feet. “Yes, anything!”
“Do not breathe a word of this to anyone, even Papa, until I am well away.”
Warring emotions revealed themselves in the look on his face, but he finally sighed and nodded. “Where will you go?”
“To London, of course. Our cousin Darby will help me, I am sure, if only I can get to him. After I am off, tell Mama and Papa where I have gone and then the three of you can meet me at Lord Darby’s in two weeks.”
“But how will you travel so far? You have no money!”
“I will manage. Just do as I say!”
“What choice do I have?” he asked, his bravado crumbling.
“Exactly. Now go, so I can change.” She hugged him, a close, poignant embrace, then half-shoved him out the door, frantic now lest the baron appear.
Au revoir,” he murmured softly, his somber face looking years older than his age.
The Bastard copyright 2011 Brenda Novak

Please visit
Brenda's website
Brenda on Facebook


Linda Andrews said...

Reading your story made me laugh. I first learned of your books after participating in the diabetes auction. I enjoyed the excerpt and am glad you're writing historicals, they're my favorite:-).
I don't think I've achieved any of my writing dreams, but there's always tomorrow. And today isn't so bad.

Sarah Hoss said...

I have always enjoyed reading your books and I can't wait to read the new ones. And having Sam Bond on the cover of The Bastard makes it even more appealing!!!

I enjoyed meeting you at the NJ writers conference. SO friendly and pretty! Your class was very informative.

Congratulations on nitting the NY Times list! You deserve it!

derekd said...

Brenda & Vonda thanks for the interview. I have to confess, I only recently heard about your work. The Bastard is on my TBR list.

I applaud your efforts to fund diabetes research Brenda. I served on the JDF board here in KC for a few years, and that is a cause that has always been close to my heart.

Congrats on your success, and good luck with In Close.

Anita Clenney said...

Brenda, you are an inspiration to writers everywhere. Your books are wonderful and your dream to make a difference with this disease are remarkable. I loved the excerpt.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving Brenda. Not fair, you made me cry because I am SO proud of what you've done for childhood diabetes. I have my baby quilt ready for this next auction. :) You are awesome!!

I have accomplished several dreams, but in regards to writing it was my dream to write a story. I now have accomplished that four times over. Now I just have to send them out. I have one I am working on the synopsis for (nightmare) and then the blurb. Once that is done, it is outta here. I write historicals so you know which of your stories I love the most. Of Noble Birth was the first of your stories I read and I've read it several times since. I love it and wish you lots of luck with many sales because I know readers will get caught up in your story and, like me, not be able to put it down until they have finished reading it.

Hugs to you!!

Beth said...

I can honestly say I've never read any of your books. But this one..wow. It makes me want to grab my nook and look for it! I love the excerpt and am grabbing my nook to look for this book!

A.W. McQueen said...

Brenda Novak, once again you inspire me. One of my dreams came true meeting you at the NJRWA Conference a few weeks ago.

I said it yesterday on another blog that your workshop was inspiring but what I did not say to you was that you moved me to tears.

Just like you did again today. My uncle and my mother had diabetes. I lost my uncle when he fell into a diabetic coma, my mom I lost from complication due to a surgical procedure. She simply could not heal.

I have watched in horror what this disease did to my family, the fear that I might one day suffer from the same fate is ever prevalent.

My ultimate dream is that when I eventually become a published writer, that what I write will always encourage others to pursue their dreams, no matter what they may be.

Brenda said...

I like your positive attitude, Linda. Achieving your writing goals can be tough, but that's what makes them so worthy. Thank you so much for participating in my auction--and thank you for supporting my writing. I wish you the best of luck with your own stories.

Brenda said...

Thank you so much, Sarah. Wow, everyone knows Sam. I'm going to have to Google him to see what else he's done. I didn't know that was the cover model until I did another blog.

It was great meeting you in NJ, too. So glad you enjoyed the class.

Brenda said...

Derekd, so glad you're willing to try THE BASTARD. Thanks for the support.

Diabetes affects SO many people. I can't wait for a cure. Someday...

Brenda said...

Thank you, Anita. I appreciate your nice comments. We're ramping up for the next auction already. The T-shirts sales are going great, too. If you haven't checked it out, visit www.brendanovakforthecure.org. They're awesome!

Brenda said...

Paisley you have always been so sweet and such a fabulous support. I love your quilts. The auction wouldn't be the same without them. THANK YOU!

And I'm excited you liked OF NOBLE BIRTH. Maybe you'll like THE BASTARD, too.

Good luck with that darn synopsis!

Brenda said...

Thanks, Beth--but I'm afraid it's not available at B&N yet. I'm new to this indie thing and have a lot of work to do (I've been on deadline with my next book and promoting IN CLOSE, my new RS that just came out). But OF NOBLE BIRTH is available at B&N. Give that a try and see if you like it.

Brenda said...

Lizzie, what a beautiful message. Thank you for your kindness and support. I feel the same about diabetes. Those people who are complacent will soon realize that if they are not affected by diabetes now...they soon will be. It's becoming a terrible epidemic.

Someday, I pray we will have a cure.

Brenda said...

I think I might have forgotten to tell folks where they can sign up for the auction. It would be smartest to do it now so they get the updates as they come out:


Click on Auction. Click on register. Then you're good to go!

A.W. McQueen said...

Just about to do my donation and I just saw the LIKE to vote you on Dancing with the Stars! LOL

Your daughter is so sweet. I definitely hit LIKE on your page.

Patricia said...

Great interview! It's so nice to know that dreams can be realized, especially when you don't really focus solely on them, you just let the universe do it's job. Good things come to good people.

My dream - to be able to live without working a 9-5 M-F job. Since I was 17 years old I have always worked and I'm getting tired of it. I was the sole bread earner for the past 3 years (my husband sells real estate - ugh!) and I have a lot of stress trying to make ends meet. (He's working now as a bartender - yay!) So my goal is to have someone support me for my golden years.

My writing dreams, those are secondary. They're there, but I know it'll happen when it's supposed to.

Brenda said...

Thanks, Lizzie. I made the mistake of mentioning how fun it would be to get on DWS and she ran with it. I don't think they've ever had a writer. It would be great if Nora would do it, don't you think?

Brenda said...

Sounds like you've worked hard, Patricia. I hope your golden years are splendid.

I'm feeling a bit fatigued myself. LOL

Brenda said...

Sounds like you've worked hard, Patricia. I hope your golden years are splendid.

I'm feeling a bit fatigued myself. LOL

Natasha Moore said...

So glad you could join us at Fierce Romance! What a great post! I have a picture on my wall with the words "Nothing Happens Without a Dream." So glad you've reached and surpassed your donation goal and that you're finally seeing the release of another historical :)

Carly Carson said...

Blogger ate my comment and I'd hate to have it appear twice. So let me say congrats on all your releases! The diabetes auction was a brilliant idea, worth stopping on the side of the road for. I think your historicals look interesting.

Greta said...

Hi, Brenda.

I don't know what a cure for diabetes will look like, but I hope we find it soon! Thanks for all your work on the auction.

Na said...

Reading about your dreams and seeing how they have come true is so inspiring. I realize that when it comes to dreams I also have to try and take that first step. If I don't how else would I know what can happen. :)

Brenda said...

Thanks, Natasha. I'm really excited to be writing both genres. Fingers crossed readers will embrace it.

Brenda said...

Thanks, Greta. I'd take a device the automatically tests the blood. That would make life a lot easier and avoid so many of the tragic side-effects of diabetes.

Brenda said...

Exactly, Na. You will miss every shot you don't take. Keep at it!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Brenda, I admire you soooo much both for your excellent writing and the work you've done for diabetes. You deserve all your success and more! Keep your great books coming and I'll keep buying and reading them--although winning one would be great, too. ;-)

Diabetes is not unusual in my family but I am determined I won't develop it. I hope I'm right.

My dream of being published was replaced by keeping my books before readers. I'm not even close to as successful as you, but I enjoy writing and having readers tell me they enjoyed my books.

Bless you and yours, Caroline