Brenda Novak – Examining Some Myths

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!


If I Had A Dollar…


Do you write from experience?

 Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question! LOL It’s almost always said with a The Secrets She Keptwink and a smile so that I understand the asker is talking about the sex scenes.

 My response? Usually something along the lines of…“Since I write as much about murder as anything else, I hope not!” To me it’s only logical that if I can use my imagination to stalk and kill someone (fictionally, of course), I can use the same approach when it comes to a bedroom scene. But maybe the basis for this question is really more about the romance genre and some of the myths or out-dated stereotypes attached to it, such as:

 1.     Romance novels are all about sex. This couldn’t be more wrong. Romance novels are no more about sex than mystery novels are about murder. In a mystery, it’s solving the puzzle that readers like. In a romance novel, it’s watching two people figure out a way to forge a lasting relationship despite all the obstacles keeping them apart. It’s about the HAPPILY EVER AFTER–not the sex.

2.     Romance novels are all the same. Romance novels are no more “the same” or “written according to a formula” than mystery novels or thriller novels. There are certain conventions readers expect in each genre, but it’s the journey to that happy ending that readers enjoy in romance, and every journey is different. Now that the romance genre has grown and developed to the point that authors are mixing genres, there is more variety than ever (i.e. paranormal romance, romantic suspense, comedy and thriller, erotica, inspirational, andDiscovering_You_Cover-2—the most recent addition—urban fantasy).

3.     Reading romance novels is something to be ashamed of, a guilty pleasure. Why feel guilty about jumping into a good story when you need to relax or have to wait for hours at a doctor’s office? Some of the most touching fan mail I ever receive goes something like this: “I want to thank you for writing (whichever book they’ve been reading). Your characters enveloped me in their world when I needed it most. I’ve never been through a worse time than the past year. I’ve been (fill in the blank with–going through a divorce, watching my mother die, getting chemotherapy treatments, learning to walk again after a terrible accident), and it brought me joy when I needed it most. Please keep writing.” These people make me proud of what I do.

4.     Anyone can write a romance. Writing romance isn’t easy, especially in this crowded of market. It is, however, the genre that sells the best by FAR. According to Publisher’s Weekly in the latest article I could find,

Pre-Order Brenda's Novella Anthology to raise money for diabetes - Check out those authors!

Pre-Order Brenda’s Novella Anthology to raise money for diabetes – Check out those authors! (Only $7.99 right now – cover image links to Amazon.)

romance outsold every other genre by at least 30% in 2014. 

5.     The people who read romance lack healthy sex lives and thus must live vicariously through fictional characters. An Info Trends study commissioned by Romance Writers of America revealed the heart of the genre’s readership is women aged 31 – 49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.

 I enjoy a lot of genres, have always been an eclectic reader, but romance will always be my favorite. Why? Because romance novels promote happiness and hope and act as a testament to the age-old theme that love conquers all. I believe the Beatles got it right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”

Brenda Novak recommends: 

My favorite authors include:

Janet Evanovich   –   (at Amazon)

Susan Elizabeth Phillips  – (at Amazon)

Sandra Brown  –  (at Amazon)

But you’ve probably heard of all three.

One I’ve just recently fallen in love with is Julie Anne Long  –  –  (at Amazon)  I picked up HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON and enjoyed every minute of it. It was a fast, light, fun read, and her voice reminded me a bit of Janet’s and Susan’s mixed together. 

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.IMG_0522

My husband and I just took an Alaskan cruise. Usually, on big trips like this one, we include our kids (we have 5!). We’ve done Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii as a big family. But we did Alaska all on our own, and it was very romantic–almost like a second honeymoon. The vastness and the incredible beauty of Alaska had a profound impact on me. Not only did it make me grateful for the earth on which we live, it gave me time to reflect on how much my husband has always meant to me. Here we are in front of the Northwestern Glacier (on a side trip we took to tour the fjords out of Seward).

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

 This would have to be my best friend. He’s a single gay man who’s a decade younger and lives across the country from me (someone I met him through my annual online auction for diabetes research, which I ran for ten years), so it probably wouldn’t appear as if we have a great deal in common at first glance. But we bonded over our love for the romance genre (he was an aspiring writer at the time but has since published). We talk about the books and authors we love at least three times a week, along with what’s happening in our careers and the industry.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

The musical score for LAST OF THE MOHICANS absolutely says ROMANCE. That’s probably my favorite movie, one I tend to watch if my muse ever runs dry. It never fails to me excited again about two people falling in love.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

My favorite book–from the time I was ten years old–has been JANE EYRE, so I’d have to say Jane and Mr. Rochester. But I have so many! Must I only name one? What about Jamie and Claire (from OUTLANDER), Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), Meggie Cleary and Father Ralph (from THE THORNBIRDS) and Gracie Snow and Bobby Tom Denton (from HEAVEN, TEXAS)? I could go on and on…. LOL

 Tell us about your dream date. 

Way back in the beginning! We’re still happy together, 60 books later.

My dream dates are almost always road trips. My husband and I love to drive off into the wild blue yonder and go explore some random place–maybe the ghost towns of Arizona or the mining towns of Nevada. We typically look for a little “mom and pop” style diner and have lunch or dinner there, and stay over at a B&B. While he drives us home, I usually read my latest book to him. He’s heard every one (and I’ve now written nearly 60) and always gives me great feedback. 

Brenda Novak is generously giving away autographed copies of THE SECRET SISTER & THE SECRETS SHE KEPT (in trade paperback) to one domestic winner, and both of these books in digital for one international winner.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 15, 2016. Good luck! 

***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading

BrendaNew York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A five-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Silver Bullet.

She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million.

Learn more:     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Buy Brenda Novak’s books:

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*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

  • Thank you for this great, humorous post about stereotypes! You are a new author for me, but I’ll fill the void as soon as I can.

  • suepeace

    (I’m not entering the drawing, I have both of these books!) I love Brenda’s books and that she writes contemporary, suspense and historical! Nice to read a little more about you, Brenda 🙂

  • Carol Opalinski

    I love all your books and recently reread several of the Dundee, Idaho books, but my absolute favorite is This Heart of Mine in your Whiskey Creek series.

  • Brenda McCaw

    I have enjoyed all your books that I have read. I am still working my way through the Whiskey Creek series. Looking forward to reading The Secret Sister (again) and The Secrets She Kept up here in CANADA.

  • Jami Birnbaum

    I loved Secret Sister and am (patiently) waiting for my copy of The Secrets She Kept to come in to the library.

  • Linda Henderson

    I read all kinds of genres too but romance is by far my favorite. I read a lot of contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense.

  • Sue G.

    We are thinking of going on an Alaskan cruise in 2018. Our friends are going and asked if we’d want to join them. It does look like a lot of fun!

    My hubby and I do the road trips too! He loves finding the “Largest Rocking Chair”, “Largest Wind Chime”, etc…we did these last two on our last trip!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Enjoyed your post, thank you for contributing.

  • catslady

    This is a genre I really enjoy and I’ve enjoyed her stories before – would love this.

  • Pamby50

    #5 in your post is so true. I’ve been reading romance for 40 yrs and next month I will celebrate my 35th wedding anniversary. Love your books and pre-ordered the novella anthology. Great cause.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Ack, The Thorn Birds! That book killed me! LOL. Thanks for the post & pictures!

  • Meghan Stith

    My dream dates are always road trips as well. My boyfriend and I tend to go on one once a month! Our last one was to Palm Springs to participate in Antiques Roadshow!

  • mariannewestrich

    My favorite times are when my husband and I drive off for a weekend with no agenda. Just a destination and a lot of fun to be had!

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    There’s not much I can say that you haven’t heard before. I love your books. Your post proved to me how well you know romance readers. I love how much you support the diabetes cause, especially Type 1 – Juvenille. I already follow you everywhere. Thank you Brenda!! <3

  • donnas

    So so true. And it is all you need, romance comes in all forms. And there is nothing like getting though the tears and smiles and ending up with the HEA.

  • Ellen

    What a wonderful post…Elizabeth and Darcy are one of my favorites, as well as Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Thanks for sharing.

  • Molly

    Elizabeth and Darcy are one of my favorites too and I loved the post

  • rebecca moe

    I love the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack! I used to play it in the background on repeat when I had papers to write for school…and only got a little distracted thinking about what was going on in the movie at such-and-such part of it…

    I may have to do a re-watch now. Thanks for posting!

  • Mary McCoy

    Love your books, Brenda!