Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcome guest blogger, Brenda Novak!

Below is Brenda's official bio but I just wanted to add that we are so pleased to have as our guest today, Brenda Novak. She is an amazing author and so giving of her time and her expertise. She is an inspiration!

NYTimes Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer—THE PERFECT COUPLE, THE PERFECT LIAR and THE PERFECT MURDER, the first of which came out just this week! She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $770,000. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

I just recently attended the PAN (Published Author Network) Retreat at the RWA National Conference in Washington DC , where the opening speaker asked: What do you do when you get stuck? She was talking about what writers can do to break through a creative wall. We were supposed to turn to our neighbors and give them all our good ideas and they, in turn, would give us theirs. I happened to be sitting next to fabulous author Sharon Sala, who immediately turned to me and said, “When I get stuck, I watch that movie… Oh, what’s the name? You know, the one with the waterfall—” And this is where I jumped in. “Last of the Mohicans!” I nearly shouted. “That’s my all-time favorite movie and serves as an endless source of inspiration for me, too!” We laughed, amazed that we’d both fixate on the same movie when there are so many out there (and such an old one, at that). But that’s exactly what a good movie does for me--it inspires me. One problem I’m running into lately, however, is that I’m getting tougher and tougher to please. I can hardly sit through a mediocre movie.

Recently, I rented DOUBT. I watched it with relish, thinking it was really good. But just a few days ago, I heard my husband tell my children that it was terrible. I had to wonder whether we’d seen the same movie! LOL I mean, it might not have been super “commercial” and, in my opinion, could’ve used a bigger, more intricate plot, but there were certainly some surprises in there. It was well-done and thought-provoking, at the least, not “terrible.” But maybe I enjoyed this movie so much because the theme of it holds such fascination for me, which is apparent in most of my books. It basically dealt with the old wrestle between justice and mercy, and it was a little frustrating that they didn’t make it clear whether the priest was, indeed, guilty. I suppose the makers of the movie would argue that whether or not he was guilty didn’t really matter. Even if he was taking advantage of his position, he was being “good” to the boy and the boy desperately needed someone. This made it an interesting study of facets. Anyway, if anyone else has seen this movie, I’d love to hear your opinion. Did you think the priest was guilty? Or did you think the nun too strict and inflexible? She certainly wasn’t much of a nurturer.

I know a lot of people probably want to talk about the new Harry Potter movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but my children were disappointed. They felt it lacked the character development of the earlier films. I don’t plan to see it until I read the book (I just haven’t had time to delve into it yet). Another movie I’d liked to see is the new Johnny Depp flick. I find it interesting that I’m such a big Johnny Depp fan, when most of his movies are “B” movies for me (except CHOCOLAT, which is an all-time favorite—maybe because it deals with the same themes as DOUBT--LOL). Tom Cruise is the one who usually picks roles that I love. Like LAST OF THE MOHICANS, A FEW GOOD MEN is a movie that really gets my creative juices flowing. But then, so is THE LAST SAMURAI, TOP GUN and RAIN MAN.

What’s your favorite movie? And do you find yourself gravitating to similar themes? Do you think this relates to your “core” story, as Jayne Ann Krentz would put it?



Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh, I loved Chocolat! It has possibly my favorite sappy scene ever, where she looks out the window and is temped by the tempestuous winds - then closes the window as if to say "everything I need is right here." That, and Johnny Depp fixing the screen door. I suppose there's probably something around here he could fix. :)

Thanks for visiting us, Brenda!

Martha Flynn said...

I didn't know I had a core story until I saw Wicked and the two protagonists sing "For Good" and reminisce how they've changed each other. Now that song goes through my head whenever I write. I hope they make it a movie one day!

And now that you've brought up LOTM I feel compelled to write, "I will find youuuuuuu!"

Unknown said...

One of my absolute favorite movies is National Treasure. It's got everything, action, adventure, buddy relationship, romance, history, a bad guy (Sean Bean plays such an amazing bad man :) ) a moral. However, I don't usually watch movies when I'm stuck. I do research or...clean my office. :)

Unknown said...

My husband and I both enjoyed "Doubt," we're both character-study geeks, and I never mind if there are traces of the play left in the movie that gets made from it.

I think they left the priest's guilt unanswered on purpose -- no point in letting the audience off the hook. Which most people hate in a movie.

I think Depp does some movies for love, and others for money. He said recently that he'd love to play Carol Channing, so I suspect there must be an element of challenge in all the roles...Finding Neverland is one of my faves, and the upcomping (possibly!) The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will be my next fave of his.

Watching movies doesn't get me unstuck--I'm a recovering screenwriter. However, reading anything by Hammett, Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Michael Chabon, or J.S. Foer can really get me going. Or my new favorite mystery writers (bay area ladies, you know who you are!!!), of course!

I couldn't tell you one favorite movie, there are too many and each is fabulous in its own way. I can tell you that I've seen 2001, Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, House of Games, The Verdict, Lawrence of Arabia, The Black Stallion, Brick, and a few dozen similar films more times than I can count. And I fell asleep in the first Star Wars, which I guess makes me a space alien or a very old person :)

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Ladies--

So sorry to drop in late. Somehow this fell off my schedule. Thanks to a Google alert, I found it. LOL

Sophie--I love that scene where he's fixing the door, too.

Brenda Novak said...

Martha--I've never seen WICKED. Sounds like I should rent it.

Brenda Novak said...

Lisa--I didn't realize NATIONAL TREASURE was such a good movie. I should've sat down and taken a look the last time the kids were watching it. I've never been a hugh Cage fan, which is probably why I've never given it a chance. I'll have to rethink that now that it has received such a high recommendation (see what the power of word of mouth can do? LOL).

Brenda Novak said...

Hey, Hard Boiled--If you fell asleep in the STAR WARS that was produced fourth but was actually first in sequence, I'm right there with you. The first three they released were amazing. The next three were boring, in my opinion. I'm not the biggest sci-fi fan in the world to begin with. Maybe that's why.