Brenda Novak is a New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author and we are absolutely thrilled to have her today to speak about her new Romantic Suspense series called Bulletproof! As many of you know, I have been on a Romantic Suspense rampage, devouring several books in this sub-genre. And let me tell you, Ms. Novak’s Bulletproof series is one of the best! If you’d like more information on Brenda Novak, please visit her website here.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff! Thank you so much Brenda for taking the time out of your schedule to chat with us. Let’s talk about your books first. You have a new romantic suspense series called Bulletproof. What sparked the idea for this series? How did the Bulletproof series come to be?
INSIDE, the first book in the series, was inspired by Prison Break. Although I rarely watch TV, my daughter she insisted on showing me Prison Break (it was over at the time so we watched it on DVD). “You’ll love it,” she said, and she was right. I found the characterization, plotting, acting and dialogue to be fantastic. I was so captivated, in fact, that I rented every season and watched the whole thing. But, when it was all over, I decided that there was one thing about Prison Break I would’ve done differently, and that was the romance between the two lead characters. The writers took a very minimalist approach and yet, for me, it was the most interesting part of the whole show. So I decided to write my own story set against the gritty back-drop and high stakes of prison life.
You pay a great amount of attention to detail, making INSIDE as realistic as possible. How much research went into the making of INSIDE?
A great deal of research went into the story because I really wanted it to feel authentic. For those who don’t know, I run an annual online auction for diabetes research at my web site every May. In that auction, I offer everything from jewelry, to Coach purses to trips and stays to meetings with your favorite author. I also offer a great many things for writers, and some of those involve the opportunity to do research with a professional in various fields. I purchased the opportunity to talk with Sergeant David Doglietti, an investigative officer at Soledad Prison from my annual online auction, and that turned out to be so fortuitous. “Dog,” as he is called, is an amazing and generous person. Not only did he answer my endless questions about the inner workings of a prison and gang life, he gave me a day-long tour through the prison and read my manuscript to check it for accuracy. How cool is that?
Virgil is my favourite character of Inside! To you, what makes a hero desirable?
I love Virgil, too. He’s so wounded and yet so admirable. I think a hero who has really been tried and tested and yet rebounds and refuses to knuckle under to loss or discouragement is desirable. Of course, Virgil’s hot, too, so that helps. LOL
What can readers expect in your newest release, IN SECONDS?
IN SECONDS is Virgil’s sister’s story. She’s gone into the witness protection program and has started over in a quiet little town in Montana—only to have the gang they escaped in INSIDE find her.
How about we chat about your writing process a little bit? When writing an ongoing series, do you plot before hand or just follow where the story takes you?
I’m definitely a pantser. I can’t plot too much ahead of time or I get bored with the story. It makes me feel as if I’ve already told it. Or I march down the list of things I want to have happen without really bringing them to life. It’s tough to explain all the ways an outline gets me into trouble. It’s probably easiest to say that I need to be as surprised by what happens as my reader. That’s what keeps me interested and turning out my best stories.
How do you maintain a balance between the suspense aspect of the story and the romance?
This is always a struggle. One aspect sometimes wants to overwhelm the other, but if you give yourself a great romantic conflict to work with AND a great suspense conflict, it helps keep things going and pretty evenly balanced.
Fun questions! If you could collaborate with another author(s), who would you choose and why?
I would love to work with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She’s so great at creating appealing characters—is one of my favorite authors.
You’ve got about five seconds to grab TWO books from your bookshelf to read, what two books do you snatch?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ HEAVEN, TEXAS and Ken Follett’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE.
Complete this sentence: One fun thing about me that people might not know is…
I’m shy. I don’t come off that way, but…it’s true! LOL
Thank you so much for chatting with us today! We really appreciate it! And Maidens, be sure to check out In Seconds, which comes out tomorrow (August 30)!