Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brenda Novak's Here. Squee!

Today, the Prairie Chicks are totally thrilled to welcome New York Times best selling suspense author, Brenda Novak.

Brenda, my first encounter with your books was when I read your Harlequin SuperRomance book Sanctuary. The fear, fascination and satisfaction that came from reading Sanctuary put you on my autobuy list. I also remember closing the back cover of your latest book in the Dundee, Idaho series and bemoaning the fact I’d have to wait months for the next release. I’d love to continue talking about your books, but today you’re here for a very special purpose so let’s talk about the auction and then we’ll see what the readers have to say.

This is your 5th Annual Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research. What sparked your idea to hold that first auction and how did you go about getting donations and organizing it?

When my son was diagnosed with diabetes at five years old, I was familiar enough with the disease to know that he would require constant care, and that he'd have to take many injections a day. I was not aware that he'd have to prick his finger just as many times a day, and I had no idea of the terrible side effects that go hand-in-hand with this dreaded disease. Once I learned, I just couldn't settle for that kind of a future for my son, so I decided to fight back. I just wasn't sure how to go about it at first--not until I attended a silent auction at our local elementary school. There, I saw just how difficult it was to get a large number of people in one place--and then it occurred to me that I could do something similar at my Web site, where I could take advantage of the traffic I'd already established there and wouldn't face the same strictures--as many people who wanted to participate could do so and they wouldn't have to show up at any specific time and place. I decided to hold my auction every May, in honor of Mother's Day and to have it last the whole month. Then I turned to my friends, fellow authors, diabetes enthusiasts, and publishing contacts to see if they'd support me in this endeavor and, being the wonderful people they are, they supported me from the beginning by donating various items for the auction block.

Did you have a timeline in mind from the start or has the auction’s growth and expansion in such a short amount of time been a surprise to you?

I had no timeline in mind and have been absolutely astounded by the auction's success. I ran it the first time just to see if it would work. I raised $34,000 that year, which sounded like a lot to me, so I dug in and worked even harder to grow it bigger the next year. The second year, I raised almost double that amount, and in Year 3 I nearly doubled the amount raised in Year 2. In Year 4 (last year), I raised $252,300, so you can see the amazing growth. In 2009, I'm hoping to break $300,000.

Your website says the funds raised in 2009 will be split between the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami. Do you change every year, and how do you choose?

This year the funds will be going to the Diabetes Research Institute, simply because I think they're our best bet for a cure. They're doing some amazing things there. If you'd like to read more about them, please visit their Web site at http://www.diabetesresearch.org/

Your current interest is with the Juvenile branch of this disease. Do you see that changing as your son grows into adulthood?

I don't see that changing because he will always have Type 1. Type 1 is different from Type 2. You don't get it by being sedentary and overweight and eating the wrong foods, and you can't avoid it by losing weight and changing your diet. Your pancreas has no insulin-producing cells (a trigger, usually a virus, causes your body's immune system to turn on itself), so you must take insulin daily for the rest of your life. But the research we fund will help everyone who suffers from diabetes, regardless of type, because so many Type 2 diabetics become insulin-dependent and suffer the same side effects.

How do you decide if a donation is suitable? Or, do you accept all offerings? Have you ever turned down a donation?

I accept most offerings. The only things I turn down are used items but I've even made a few exceptions there (if the item has good value and is in great condition). This auction is really a grassroots effort, a coming together of so many generous individuals. I'm grateful for whatever anyone is willing to give.

What single item has raised the most money since the auction began in 2005?

The editor/agent reads consistently raise the most money. While many go for a great price, there have been some pricey ones. One editor read went for $6,000.

What item(s) usually receive the most bids?

Again, it's usually the agent/editor reads or the items that can be used to advance a career. It's easier to justify spending money for that reason--and it's tax deductible, too! LOL

What is the most unusual or unique item you’ve ever listed?

I think that would have to be from this year. NYTimes Bestselling Author Steve Berry has generously donated a very unique item--a chapter of his original manuscript of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, Autographed.

If you were bidding in this year’s auction, what would be your ‘must have’ item?

I would bid on the Lunch with Diana Gabaldon and the Lunch with Janet Evanovich. I would also bid on the quilt by NYTimes Bestselling Author Anne Stuart. :-) I'd also try to win the bookstore in miniature created by Anna Stewart. Pictures don't do this item justice. It is so cute. The auction is a readers and writers paradise, so there's a lot more I want, but I'll stop there. LOL

Have you used an auction setting in any of your books based on the experience and knowledge you now have of the event?

I used the motivation I felt to fight back via the auction in my Last Stand books. The heroines of the first three books meet at a victim's support group (they've all been victimized in one way or another in the past) and come together to form a victim's charity as a way to fight back. I channeled my drive right into those stories. LOL

With the auction starting tomorrow, and your inboxes overloaded with mail (I know because I got the automatic response for one of them), I can't begin to imagine how hectic today is for you, which makes your visit here all the more precious. You are a gracious lady who deserves being on the New York Times best sellers list. Thank you for making time to visit Prairie Chicks Write Romance.

Brenda is picking one lucky person to win a tote full of her books as well as a $25 gift certificate to her online Diabetes Auction. Just leave a comment and Brenda will put your name in for the prize.

Don't miss NYTimes Bestselling Author Brenda Novak's 5th Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research, where you'll meet and greet with your favorite authors and find gift baskets, autographed books, trips & stays, jewelry, quilts, opportunities for aspiring writers and more. Help Brenda make a difference to her son and others. Visit http://www.brendanovak.com/ and register today. The first 500 to register will receive a free copy of TRUST ME, Book 1 in Brenda's popular Last Stand series.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Although Brenda Novak’s newest release, THE PERFECT COUPLE isn’t available until August, you can pre-order it now and Amazon will ship it as soon as it is released.
Brenda’s books are also available a month ahead of the release date at http://www.eharlequin.com/.
And, her books are available in eBook format here as well as at Amazon.
You can visit Brenda Novak at http://www.brendanovak.com/.

85 comments:

Helena said...

Welcome to Prairie Chicks, Brenda. I have looked forward to your visit with great anticipation. As Anita said, we appreciate that you have taken the time to tell us about your important fundraiser. I hope the promotion we have been able to do for your event will result in a greater profile in Canada, especially on the prairies. And more money raised, of course.

I know that the people who have many irons in the fire seem to be able to accomplish more than those who are less busy. Still, I'm curious about your strategy for reserving time in your very busy schedule for writing.

Thanks for the time you've given us!

Helena

Beth C said...

Hi, Brenda! I applaud all your tremendous efforts with the auction. I love donating items and shopping there every year, knowing the money is going to a great cause.
Congratulations also on all the tremendous success in contests of late (especially your Rita nomination!) Most deserving!
Take care, Beth Cornelison

Penn said...

I love looking at the items. There are so many interesting things. I've never had enough money to win yet, but I'll be coming by!

Penn

Diana Cosby said...

Brenda,
Thank you so much for your tremendous stories and heart. I sincerely appreciate the positive difference and inspiration you give to so many lives. Congratulations on your RITA nomination - well deserved. May your life continued to be blessed.
*Hugs*

Diana Cosby
www.dianacosby.com

Silver James said...

Brenda, I don't think there are enough superlatives in the thesaurus to sing your praises! (Hey, give me a break - I haven't had coffee yet! LOL) Seriously, This auction has grown leaps and bounds all because of your drive and caring concern. I hope the state of the economy doesn't put a dent in donations! Here's hoping you break $300,000 this year. I'll be in there bidding like crazy! There are some wonderful gifts, critiques, once in a lifetime goodies...*drool*Three cheers to you and the publishing community (especially the romance branch) for being so willing to get involved!

FYI, every time I take a break in my revisions (the dang MS should go back to my editor today *crosses fingers*), I hop over to the auction site and add MORE to my wish list. LOL Thanks for dropping by today. You are an awesome lady and I hope to meet you in person some day and tell you that face-to-face. (Yes, those meets with you, your editor and/or your agent are WAY up there on my wish list!)

Missy Tippens said...

Brenda, I knew you had been doing the auction for several years, but I had no idea how the proceeds had grown so quickly!! You're doing amazing work.

Linda Ford said...

Brenda,
I'm in awe of the work you do on this auction and so impressed with the way the writing community gets behind it. And it's a lot of fun. Thanks for doing this.

Linda

Liza said...

Brenda, thanks for all you do with your auction to help raise money for diabetes. I've already looked at some of the items up for bid and know I'll be bidding on several.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Good morning everyone, thanks for visiting with us today.

I tested my feet at last year's auction and bid on a handful of items but didn't pursue them until it was too late. This year I'll keep a closer watch on those items I really want.

I especially like the One-Day Auctions because they're fast and you find out within a 24 hr period if you've won anything. I've checked them over and marvel at the wide range of items, including agent proposals in the list.

May is an exciting month!

Captain Hook said...

A friend of mine on Critique Circle mentioned the auction to me last year (the first time I'd heard of it). Unfortunately, it was at a time in my life where bidding on any of the items was completely out of the questions. Instead, I just pored over the items for bid and daydreamed :)

This year, my circumstances haven't really changed, so I still can't help by bidding on items, but I still hold out hope that one day I will be able to.

Brenda, this is an amazing thing you do each year. I hope you do break the $300,000 mark.

sheandeen said...

Brenda, this auction is such an amazing thing you are doing for Diabetes research and education.

EllenToo said...

There's an old saying that "people with the least amount of time accomplish the most" and that really applies here. I hope that you are able to raise the $300,000 you are aiming for. It is for such a great cause.

Alannah Lynne said...

OMG! I have intentionally not gone to the auction site yet because there are always so many fantastic things that I make myself crazy trying to decide what I really want (because no way could I actually afford to win all the things I want!) LOL

Lunch with Janet Evanovich!!! How cool would that be?!? OK...I'm off to see the list.

Brenda, I'm amazed at how you have the time and energy to do everything you do. I've been involved with charity auctions before, I have an idea of the time they take and you're truly an amazing woman to be able to keep up with all of this and still write and still raise your family!!!

I hope you meet your goal, and then some!!! Best of luck this month!

Karen said...

Thank you, Brenda, for joing us here at Prairie Chicks Write Romance. We're delighted to have you.

My father was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life and while he was able to combat it by making lifestyle changes, it was still a shock. Thanks for all the effort you put into raising funds for Diabetes research. I'm looking forward to my first attempt at bidding at an online auction.

Anonymous said...

Reading about your son reminded me of a student I had who found out she had diabetes the year she was in my class. It was a tough year of transition but she made it through and is doing great. I hope the auction exceeds your goal for this year. Money for research is so important. All the best.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Just thought I'd mention for those of you who don't have a google account, Brenda needs to know your name before she can enter you in her prize package.

So, if you don't have a google account, please add your name and maybe even your email address to your comment.

Thanks for visiting.

Captain Hook said...

Oops! Sorry, Anita.

Brenda, I'm Sarah (do you need the whole name?) Mallon and my email is capthook616@gmail.com

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Brenda, thank you for stopping by and sharing some time with the Chicks!

The sheer variety of items up for auction is fantastic. Definitely something to satisfy nearly every taste. If I were farther along in my wip, I think I'd be slavering over a handful of those.

I noticed on your site that last year also included a prize package for the person who bid on the most items, regardless of whether they won. I think that's a great addition, to allow people the chance to win something even if they can't shell out the big bucks for it.

Hayley

ban said...

Brenda, I'm amazed by your efforts and drive. I pray you will far surpass your goal of $300,000. I am not familiar with your books but seeing what a caring person you are, I plan to go out and read one.
ps: I know I'm late in making this offer but I see you've got jewelry up for auction - may I donate a few things for next years auction ? I'd love to help too !

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Capt'n Hook - I kind of meant the comments coming from 'anonymous', but it's sure nice to finally know your name, since you're a regular visitor here. In future, can we call you Sarah, or do you prefer Capt'n Hook?

Captain Hook said...

I pretty much answer to anything - even "Mom" from other kids than my own :)

Brenda Novak said...

Okay, this is pretty funny. I've been posting on this blog but don't see any of my comments. And now I realize that I did it on the blog for a previous day. LOL I'm so sorry. You were probably wondering where the heck I was, and I was feeling as if I'd jumped into a conversation that didn't include me (because I had!).

Brenda Novak said...

So now I'll start over again here. LOL Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm happy to have finally arrived in the right place!

Brenda Novak said...

I really appreciate your efforts to help me publicize the auction, Helena. I think it's going to be another banner year and can hardly wait for it to open tomorrow. I have a book due, but I can't concentrate on that! LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Beth, you've been a stalwart in supporting me year after year. Thank you, and thanks to all my donors. I could not do this without them and am eternally grateful.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Penn--That's why I started doing a few raffles. For $20 you can get the chance to win some amazing packages. Have you taken a look at those?

Also, I'm starting something new that should be wildly popular. They're $1 Buy it Now items. I'll randomly post these throughout the auction month, in no particular category. If you're the first to find this special item, you get to buy it for a buck. Some of these will be really valuable, too--including some reads from editors and agents. So keep your eye out and visit the auction often. You never know what you might find!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Anita--I like those One Day Auctions, too. They sort of change things up. And now the $1 Buy it Now items will do the same. I can't tell you what those items are (I want them to be a surprise) but definitely look for them.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Diana--Thanks for the Rita kudos. You're another stalwart who has been a generous contributor to my fundraiser. Bless you!

Janet C. said...

Wow, great to see so many people here already this morning. Welcome to those new to The Prairies!

And welcome to Brenda - it's wonderful that you are guest blogging here with us today, especially with your busy schedule. I am amazed at the amount you do - and the auction is incredible. I lurked last year, didn't bid - this year, I'm bidding. It's going to be hard to pick and choose, all of the items are great.

I hope you get a chance to answer some questions - particularly Helena's about your strategy for writing when your real life is so very hectic. And - have any of your books been suggested for movies? A great romantic suspense like you write would make a wonderful movie.

To add to Anita's suggestion - those that don't have Google Account - you can choose 'Name/URL' and a drop down box will appear - type in your name (you don't need a URL) then click publish comment. Your name will appear at the top of your comment. That gives us a name to throw out there if you win. I hope Anonymous returns to leave her name :)

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Silver--What a nice post. Thank you so much! I'm not sure how the auction has grown to such proportions, and so fast. I only know that when my son was diagnosed I put a lot of prayer into what I could do and I feel as if it was inspiration when this idea occurred to me. I've been guided throughout and blessed with friends and associates who have blown me away with their level of support. I really feel as if I can't take much of the credit--except that I am determined (and angry that diabetes is hurting so many people, including my son).

Brenda Novak said...

By the way, Silver, I hope you win one of those meet and greets. My agent, Kim Whalen, and my editor, Paula Eykelhof, are both amazing individuals. I feel really blessed to have them on my team.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Missy--It's been crazy. The auction has essentially doubled every year. I'm not sure whether the economy will thwart that this year or not, but I'm hoping we show significant growth if not by 100%.

Brenda Novak said...

You've very welcome, Linda. The writing community is amazing. I don't know of another community that would have embraced this so readily. :-) Even other diabetics haven't gotten behind me the way writers have.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Liza--So glad you'll be back. I want the auction to be a fun experience for every one who takes part.

Janet C. said...

Jumped over to read your comments, Brenda - fabulous parallel with American Idol. I'm a huge Adam fan and love how he brings 'difference' to the stage and his presentation every week.

Brenda Novak said...

Captain Hook, don't give up! I've started the $1 Buy it Now items for people who are in your situation. I'll be posting some amazing items you can buy for $1 on the spot. They'll be added over the month in a random fashion and in no particular category, so you have to search, but it should be fun--like an Easter Egg Hunt.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks Ellen and Sheandeen. And Alannah, I wish I was eligible to bid on that Lunch with Janet. I think that's pretty cool. There's also a lunch with Diana Gabaldon. She's an amazing person. There's so much. You really need to get started early. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Ban--I would LOVE to have you help with the auction next year. And it's not too late if you'd like to add something to this year's auction. Just email me, and we'll work out the details. I love jewelry and so do the auction shoppers!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Karen--I'm sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis. Make sure he really stays on top of it. My own father had Type 2 and died at 64 of a diabetes-related heart attack. :-(

Brenda Novak said...

Anonymous--The transition is hard, especially for teenage girls. My son was young enough that he didn't fight it when we put him on the pump. Now that he's used to it, I think he'll stick with it, and it makes life so much easier. Girls more often tend to want to hide the fact that they have diabetes. They feel as if wearing a pump announces to the world that they're in some way defective. It's a hard disease--even emotionally.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Hayley--Yes, the prize package is back. Almost every year, the winner has been someone who's wound up spending about $200. And the prize package is worth well over a thousand. It's all about getting in early and knowing how to play the game. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Janet--Pretty funny that I was inserting myself on the wrong day, eh? I love Adam, too. His performance is the only one I'll watch over and over. My kids tease me.

Brenda Novak said...

Time management is a challenge for everyone, I think. I'm a workaholic, so taking time off is actually a greater challenge for me. I think that's why God gave me five kids, so I'd have to learn to juggle and pace myself and keep my priorities in order. I have to admit, my life has gotten easier as my children have grown older. I have five really great kids. But back to time management. I find that the most important thing to do is to do the thing you want done most (even if it's the hardest and the one you'd rather procrastinate) first. If you roll out of bed and made that happen, you feel better about the whole day.

Now that my youngest is twelve, I can treat my writing like a regular job. I get up and get my kids off to school, then I come out to my office and get to work. I spend about half my time on the auction and the other half writing. This year, I've had two assistants to help me get the auction ready (it's grown far too big for one person to handle on her own). Between the three of us, we've managed--but I couldn't have done it without them. For those of you who haven't "met" my assistant, her name is Anna Stewart, and she's amazing. Jeannie Ruesch has also been a great help. She's the genious behind all the computer-related stuff and has figure out how to automate.

So I guess the short answer on how I get everything done is to prioritize and to go back to it after each interruption.

Jana Richards said...

Welcome to the Prairie Chicks, Brenda. We are very honoured to have you here.

My family has been touched by diabetes and I know what a devasting disease it can be. Thank you for all your work in raising funds to find a cure.

Jana

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Brenda, you mentioned Jeannie Ruesch as being the one who takes care of all your computer-related stuff.

This would be an excellent time to say how much the Chicks appreciated Jeannie's help to personalize the banner announcing your visit here. Enthusiastic for our request, she showed terrific patience with a technology-challenged person (moi).

Hope Chastain said...

Lovely interview, and I'm glad you're doing so much to fight such a terrible disease. We've lost friends to it, have family with it, and keep on praying for a cure! Way to go and keep up the good work!

hope_chastain at yahoo dot com

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Jana--Thanks for your note. Diabetes is SO prevalent. I'm with you--praying for a cure.

Deb H (scuba girl) said...

hi Brenda
Blessings on you for your wonderful effort to help with finding better ways to deal with diabetes. My half brother has type one and it's been an adventure watching him adjust his lifestyle appropriately. He was one who lived in denial for a good while until he found his wife. Now, he's got a wonderful son and a little daughter on the way (due in June). He says they are the reason he works hard on doing things right - he wants to be a part of their lives for a long time.

I will have to check out the auction and look for the inexpensive items to bid or buy since my budget is limited at this time. Thanks so much for making it so easy for people to contribute!!!

Deb H
nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Hope--I've heard some real horror stories. Sounds like you're intimately familiar with the way this disease works.

Brenda Novak said...

Jeannie Ruesch is awesome. She does great work, and she's beautiful and sweet to boot!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Deb--I've seen that happen a lot, where a diabetic won't get serious about caring for himself/herself until they're married. Then they put that extra effort in. I'm worried about my son because he's so cavalier about it all. I'm hoping as he grows older he'll be more conscientious--but I'm also hoping there won't be too much damage by then. Glad to hear your half brother is managing so well. That's very optimistic!

Chiron said...

Hi Brenda!

One of the things that strikes me the most about this incredible auction is just how much GOOD authors, agents, editors, and readers can do for the world.

Musicians have held benefit concerts for eons. I still remember the first Band-Aid video on MTV and the first Live-Aid concert.

You've created an amazing platform utilizing the internet in a way that I'd never seen before. This auction gives so many people a chance to contribute. Thanks and Congrats! I hope you surpass your goal again this year.

Now I must go check the auction site!

Smiles,
Chiron O'Keefe
www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

KatherineT said...

Hi Brenda!

I adore your auction .. I've participated the last three years, though the one year I was out bid!... I've already marked quite a few items on this year's auction

This is a tremendous thing you do ... not only are you benefiting the JDA but you are promoting authors, aspiring and established

wishing this year's auction record success!

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks Chiron. I had no idea how big this would get when I started it, but I'm infinitely grateful for the help and support I have received. The writing community is such a generous one, and this is a disease that affects many of them (or their loved ones).

Glad you're off to make your wish list!

Brenda Novak said...

KatherineT, I think you put your finger on the auction's magic. It's got something in it for everyone--those who donate get the promotion value, those who win the items get the opportunities or something they desire, and the charity gets the money. Really, it's only the agents and editors who don't really have something to be gained, and even then they might find a real gem in the manuscript they receive, you know? We've had one person sell from auction reads, and we've had two get good agents.

This is like that cliche: "Success is when hard work meets opportunity." (Actually, I can't remember how it goes, but that's close. LOL)

Karen said...

Just popping back to say that Anonymous is my sister, Janet A. who commented then promptly left for Vegas. But I know she'd love to be entered in the draw.

Chelle Sandell said...

One of my RWA sisters has diabetes and has had a difficult life because of the complications. This is an amazing auction for a very worthy cause! The quality and quantity of editor/agent/author critiques is amazing! I still have the site bookmarked and tested my link this morning. I hope that something stays within my price range but in a way...not. That just means you've made more money for the charity;) Best of luck in exceeding your goal!!

Chelle Sandell said...

I forgot to encourage everyone who has a blog to link to the auction site:) Maybe that will help increase the traffic...a little goes a long way!

Captain Hook said...

I did, Chelle. I also emailed all my friends and asked them to do the same. A few of them are now following the Chicks because of this.

linda margaret said...

Brenda

As a physician I see the ravages of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes almost daily. You have done a very wonderful thing with your action. keep up the very good work.

Linda

Anita Mae Draper said...

Brenda, I don’t want to detract from the spirit of your interview, but is it okay if we talk about your books?

- Did you have an agent when you wrote Superromances(HSR) for Harlequin?

- Have you included Suspense in every book you’ve written, or only the ones I’ve read? :0

- How did you make the transition from HSR’s to NewYorkTimes Bestselling suspense author? Was it easy because MIRA is part of the Harlequin umbrella? Or did you have to convince an editor/agent you were ready for the 'Big Time'?

Let me know if I'm hogging the limelight here but as a writer whose dream it is to be a Harlequin author, I'm really curious about your writing journey.

patsy said...

Hi Brenda
Thank you for doing such a great job in raising awareness where Diabetes. How is your son doing with it these days? Im sure that you will reach your goal too. Plus I love reading your books too. Good luck with the RITA Awards too.
I will go over and look at all the goodies too.
patsy

Brenda Novak said...

Chelle, the complications are a nightmare. I hold my breath every time I take my son to the eye doctor. I'm so afraid he'll get retinopathy. And then there's the higher incidence of being allergic to wheat, the fatty liver, the nerve damage. Yikes!

Brenda Novak said...

Linda Margaret--I bet you see some scary stuff. We just attended a diabetes function and met a young attractive woman who'd just had her foot amputated and had gone blind in the past year. Heartbreaking...

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Anita--Of course we can talk about my books! :-) I love writing and I'm excited to have three new books coming out this summer. I'm also willing to answer any questions you guys might have.

- Did you have an agent when you wrote Superromances(HSR) for Harlequin? I had an agent when I sold my first Super to Harlequin and even for a few afterward. I let her go because it was kind of pointless. The contract is basically boilerplate. I went unagented for a long time. Then, when I started doing the suspense titles, I figured it was time to get an agent who might be able to affect my contract, and it was definitely a good move.

- Have you included Suspense in every book you’ve written, or only the ones I’ve read? :0 Hmm...I've only included suspense in the bigger books and maybe two of the Supers--DEAR MAGGIE and SANCTUARY. If there are suspense elements in the others, they're very "backseat" to the romance.

- How did you make the transition from HSR’s to NewYorkTimes Bestselling suspense author? Was it easy because MIRA is part of the Harlequin umbrella? Or did you have to convince an editor/agent you were ready for the 'Big Time'?Actually, I wrote a bigger suspense book and turned it in as one of my Supers. I was hopeful that my editor would see it for what it was and like it enough to want to see it published as a single title. And that's exactly what happened. The book was called TAKING THE HEAT (still one of my personal favorites). She passed it around Harlequin and everyone loved it. I started getting e-mails from people in marketing who'd read it, which was very exciting and flattering. After that book came out, I simply asked if I would be allowed to do more, and they said, "Of course!" They contracted me for two more--COLD FEET and EVERY WAKING MOMENT. HQN came into existence about the time that EVERY WAKING MOMENT was coming out, so they folded it into that line. Shortly afterward, they moved me to MIRA, and I've been writing the suspense titles every since.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Patsy--My son's blood sugar numbers haven't been what they need to be. He's going through a phase where he wants to pretend he doesn't have it. He's trying to skip testing whenever possible, and I have to force the issue. He's also insisting on eating whatever he wants. I've heard that teens go through this, but it's very scary for a mother (and dangerous for him).

Brenda Novak said...

Chelle, don't forget those $1 Buy it Now items. You might get an agent or editor read that way. :-)

chey said...

Diabetes research is such a great cause! Maybe someone will come up with a non-invasive blood sugar monitoring system soon. I hope you meet or exceed your goal this year.

Elaine said...

I enjoyed the interview, Brenda. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to visit us up here in Canada.

Good luck with the auction, I hope you exceed your goal.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Brenda - ever since you told us about the $1 Buy it Now items I've been rarin' to go because I love a good treasure hunt. I am so glad the auction starts tomorrow.

Wait - or did I read it starts at midnight tonight?

Fellow Chicks and Sask Rom Writers - you know that writing blitz we're starting tomorrow? Yeah, well I hereby give notice - if I haven't sent in my nightly writing summary, I'm probably crusing Brenda's auction. I suppose you could try to send me an IM nudge...

Chelle Sandell said...

I about died when you posted that, Brenda! I plan on getting up early every morning when hubby goes to work so I can check out the specials...um, I mean work on my WIP;)

Hayley E. Lavik said...

I'm really thrilled to see such a fantastic turn-out for the Chicks today. I came back to check in, and 71 comments! Wow!

Janet C. said...

It's great, isn't it? Love seeing all these people over on The Prairies :)

Anita - are you blitzing with us? I don't see your goal over on the private blog. And perusing the auction doesn't count as a writing goal.

Thanks to Sarah (Captain Hook) and Alannah Lynne for plugging Brenda's visit on your own blogs. We appreciate that.

Anita Mae Draper said...

I haven't had a chance to get over there what with all my computer probs...

But yes, I'm blitzing. I haven't been writing for 3 weeks and it's driving me batty. I need to finish revisions on a couple wips/contest entries.

With reminds me... Brenda, how long does it take you to write a book working on the schedule you mentioned earlier?

Do you spend daily time on social networks?

Do you tweet? Do you want followers? What's your twitter address?

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

Hi Brenda,

My brother-in-law died of Type 2 diabetes complications at 61, so I applaud your efforts in fund-raising for diabetes research.

I'm going to be looking up your books. Thanks for the interesting blog, and your auction.

Brenda Novak said...

Chey, I'd be happy if only they could come up with that much. Pricking his finger 5-7 times a day just kills me. The shots and pump insertions I can take. It's the testing that's hard.

Brenda Novak said...

Anita--I'll tell you guys a little secret. I probably won't post a $1 Buy it Now tomorrow. I'll be too busy putting out fires as the auction gets started, but I will start posting them the first week, so keep an eye out.

Brenda Novak said...

With reminds me... Brenda, how long does it take you to write a book working on the schedule you mentioned earlier?These days I have four months to write my romantic suspense books and three to write the Supers--not that I've been able to write a Super in a while. I just haven't been able to fit it in. Since we started doing the three big books back-to-back, that's about all I can produce in a year, although I did manage to do an novella for Christmas this year and have one planned for next, as well.

Do you spend daily time on social networks? I have a Facebook and MySpace page, but I don't do nearly as much with them as I probably should. There just isn't enough time in the day. I used to belong to a group blog, and thought it was really fun, but I had to let it go. I finally realized that you just can't do it all, you know?

Do you tweet? Do you want followers? What's your twitter address?Twitter is something I haven't picked up yet. I heard a statistic that said people usually only last for one month (before they start falling off your list). I figured I didn't want to invest too much time if they wouldn't last. LOL I've really decided to spend my time providing contact and cool things exclusively to my fan club. So sign up on my mailing list, if you're interested. I have some great things planned for when THE PERFECT COUPLE comes out this summer.

Brenda Novak said...

Leslie-Anne, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. It's heartbreaking what some people go through.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Well, it's after midnight here in Sask, so this special day has come to a close.

Brenda, I know I speak for all the Chicks when I say how special we felt today with you in our midst.

Thank you so much for sharing your day with us. You are now officially an Honorary Prairie Chick. :)

Showers of blessings on you, your family, and the auction. Oh yeah - on your writing, too. :)

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Anita. I had a wonderful time.

And now for the winner: Captain Hook

Please email me with your shipping info!

Janet C. said...

Congratulations, Sarah - what a prize package and it went to one of our faithful readers whose been with us since the beginning :)

And thanks to Anita for hosting today - and bringing Brenda Novak to The Prairies. It's been an awesome day :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Woo hoo, Sarah. That's fantastic!

Please contact Brenda at www.brendanovak.com and put 'Prairie Chick Prize Winner' in the title.

I'll just caution you that it may get kicked back these first few days/first week of the auction so you may want to wait a bit.

Let me know if there's a problem, Sarah and congrats, again.

Jolene said...

Hi Brenda,
Wow auction time again.. i have been bidding this morning. My want list this year is the years worth of books from Kensington..what a treat that would be. My dream bid of course would be a trip but hubbys deployed for at least a year so no luck on that front this year.. but i will be buying something..haha. what a wonderful thing you do for this cause and i hope this year is a huge success.

Karen said...

Hi Jolene,

Thanks for stopping by the Chicks and supporting Brenda's efforts.