Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
March 16, 2007

Q.    Who is Brenda Novak?

A.   A mother of five, a passionate advocate and fundraiser for those who suffer from diabetes, an author who enjoys creating evocative, highly-emotional stories.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write the novel DEAD GIVEAWAY?

A.   I wanted to explore the question: Is it ever okay to do the wrong thing for the right reason? As you know, Clay Montgomery has certainly walked on the wrong side of the law—is still walking on the wrong side of the law. Which makes it pretty tough to get together with a police officer. I also wanted to explore how this deep, dark secret would affect a character as strong and as uncompromising as Clay.

Q.    How did you come about Clay and Allie’s characters?

A.   I like a lot of conflict in my stories, and I couldn't think of two characters who would be more at odds than one who is hiding from the law and one who is trying to uphold it. I wanted Clay to be the ultimate protector, and I wanted Allie to be honest and straightforward, but also to question what she might automatically believe is "right," to learn to temper justice with mercy.

Q.    Why were the Vincellis’ so bent on accusing Clay of murdering Reverend Barker?

A.   They want someone to be punished for the loss of their loved one, who was also a prominent figure in this small town, and they honestly believe that Clay is to blame (and that he's getting away with it).

Q.    Why did you choose Stillwater, Mississippi as the place of residences for the characters?

A.   I wanted a setting where the town was small and the minds of the people living in it were even smaller. That describes Stillwater--and yet, I think the people in the town grow and develop and show their good side at times, too.

Q.    DEAD GIVEAWAY is the second book of your Stillwater Trilogy, would you give the readers a brief synopsis and the title of the first book in this trilogy?

A.   The first book is DEAD SILENCE. In DEAD SILENCE, there’s a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse. Grace Montgomery, the heroine, knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Too bad it isn’t that easy. Grace left the town of Stillwater nearly two decades ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t—so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater. A number of local residents suspect the truth; some are even determined to reveal it. But Grace can’t let that happen. Because the truth will ruin her and everyone she loves.

Q.    What is the name of the third book in this Trilogy and when will it be released?

A.   DEAD RIGHT - August 1, 2007

Q.    How long have you been writing?

A.   I've been writing since 1994, but it took me five years to finish my first book, which I sold to HarperCollins. OF NOBLE BIRTH was a historical romance published in November 1999. After that, my editor at Harper was let go (when Harper acquired Avon), and I lost my slot. Fortunately, I'd sold a Superromance to Harlequin that same year, which came out in February of 2000. I've had about three books published per year ever since.

Q.    How many books have you written?

A.   DEAD GIVEAWAY is #23.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading DEAD GIVEAWAY?

A.   I'd like to make readers think about the strength it requires to overcome some of the challenges that Clay, Grace and Madeline (and the rest of the family) have faced and to celebrate with them as they eventually conquer their demons. Seeing characters conquer is very motivating and uplifting!