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For week ended November 14, 1999 Posted 14 Nov 1999

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Romancing mom: Between taking care of five kids, Brenda Novak writes passionately about love

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Romancing mom: Between taking care of five kids, Brenda Novak writes passionately about love
Sacramento CA Bee 8Nov99 P2
By Dixie Reid: Bee Staff Writer

Brenda Novak, married mother of five, devout Mormon, and two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's contest for unpublished authors, has just published her first of many romance novels, "Of Noble Birth." Public reaction to her lusty tale of a beautiful, runaway seamstress and a handsome pirate with a disfigured arm brought her comments from a man at church who said, "I didn't know you wrote those kinds of books."

The book reads something like this. "His tongue gently parted her lips, and she opened herself to him like a flower yawning before the sun. The heat of his body warmed her skin, yet burned within her." And this: "Alexandra closed her eyes at the sound of his voice. It was thick with desire, deep, throaty. She felt his mouth upon the swell of her cleavage.."

Novak defends her romantic prose and claims that it stays within the bounds of good taste and the Mormon code. "Our people are very strict and I do want to be careful," she says. "I espouse Mormon beliefs, and I write within my own conscience. My characters are moral. Some people may think romance novels are about sex, but they're not. They're about love and family and positive, uplifting things."

Working from her master bedroom so her teenage daughter Ashley can have her own room, Novak begins her writing day at 5 a.m. Her husband Ted is up at 4:40 a.m. to teach a 6:20 early-morning seminary class at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has a goal to complete 10 pages a day. "It's like we're moving at Mach 1 with our hair on fire," she says. "I get obsessed about writing. I fight for every minute on the computer. It's my private joy."

Novak has been described as a wunderkind. Before "Of Noble Birth" went on Harper's presses, she had a contract with Harlequin Super Romance to write three contemporary books. Harlequin will deliver "Expectations" in February, an untitled book next October and another in the spring of 200l. Novak also has a sale pending with Avon Books.

"That's almost as good as winning," Novak says. "An agent stepped up...and said, 'I want to market you.' Harper's offer came after it finaled the second time."

Harlequin editor, Paula Eykelhof, said, "I think Brenda has a real future. She's a natural storyteller. Her (characters) and their behavior and feelings have a realness about them. She has a good, clear writing style and is extremely professional, motivated and ambitious. I think you will see her rise. Things are moving fast for her."

Novak was born in Vernal, Utah and spent most of her childhood in Murray, Utah and Chandler, Arizona. She went to BYU on an academic scholarship and there she met Ted Novak. They eventually travelled to California to seek their fortune. "Everything we owned was in a Porsche 914," she said.

Seven years ago Novak began writing after an upsetting experience. "We caught our day-care provider giving my kids Tylenol and cough syrup to get them to sleep," Novak said. "That frightened me, and I quit work and decided to stay home. I prayed hard to find something I could do at home."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information