Message From The Author

Author's Message

Something to Bragg About!

By Angela Martenez

I woke up one day and realized that I didn't want to be living the way I was for the rest of my life" explains bestselling author Brenda Joyce of her recent decision to give up the luxury condo and hip restaurants that had defined her life in New York City. Shedding a Gotham-gorgeous lifestyle for a mountain paradise in Colorado, Joyce followed her heart to the peace and serenity she'd been craving. "People think I'm a glamour queen, but that's the least part of who I am," declares the native New Yorker and single mother. Brenda's books span an impressive range of styles, from the traditional historical romance of her now-legendary Bragg family saga to critically-acclaimed contemporary suspense. For this seemingly tireless author of more than 20 novels over the past 14 years, the road to spiritual renewal and creative inspiration is best traveled by mountain bikeor hiking boot or snowshoe. "An active life recharges me," proclaims Joyce with enthusiasm.

The fuel has clearly been put to good use, judging from this spring's back-to-back release of three new titles in the DEADLY seriesJoyce's much-anticipated revival of her wildly popular and super-sexy Bragg familyfollowed soon after by the July release of her next contemporary title, THE CHASE. While this is an unusual move for any author, Joyce has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She began writing contemporaries in the early '90s in order to develop more complex plots and characters, much to the despair of legions of Bragg fans who have been crying out for another fix of their beloved heroes ever since. "[In the bigger books], you can deal with real issues and that makes it very rewarding." Though this Romantic Times Career Achievement Award-winner never intentionally said goodbye to the lovable clan that had propelled her early career, her writing muse led her elsewhere.

But good things come to those who wait and, after years of clamoring fanmail as well as a bolt of inspiration during a hike in the Rockies, Joyce has returned to her romantic roots with a bangand a Bragg. "I've grown so much as a writer, I can finally write what I really want!" And fortunately for Bragg fans, what she really wants is to create an extended mystery series set in turn-of-the-century New York and featuring our favorite family of hunks (she will also continue to work on longer, contemporary books).

The Bragg renaissance began with the release of Deadly Love (Jan. '01) and introduced the irresistible Rick Bragg as the stalwart newly-appointed Gotham police commissioner. The series' unstoppable heroine is one Francesca Cahill,
a bewitching, compassionate, yet rebellious young woman from one of the city's most prestigious and powerful families. Francesca's strengthand frequent downfalllies in her refusal to give up on helping those in need or using her uncommon intelligence to solve mysteries. Consequently, Francesca finds herself entangled in Rick's dangerous workand his extraordinary charm.

But Francesca is no damsel-in-distress. As Joyce is quick to emphasize, "The hero saves the day, but the heroine saves herself." It's Francesca's determination to make her own choices that make the DEADLY books so appealingand full of intrigue. The second book in the series, DEADLY PLEASURE (March '02), finds Francesca embroiled in another mystery as well as the object of an unexpectedand deliciously roguishsuitor's affections.

Joyce has envisioned the DEADLY series as a combination of the juiciest elements of suspense and historical romance spiced up with soap opera's tradition of ending on a cliffhanger. So while each book guarantees a resolution to the mystery at hand, it is the twists and turns in Francesca's love life, the unfolding Bragg family drama and a unique cast of characters which creates a thread throughout the seriesand it's sure to have readers drooling for each new installment. The author plans to release two DEADLY books per yearwith éèhopes for occasional single-titles expanding the adventures of secondary characters that could only be sketched in the series. All this in addition to a yearly contemporary release ensures that, whatever their preference, Joyce's readers will always have something to look forward to.

The DEADLY series will give fans of the early Bragg books ample opportunity to relish this captivating tribe of heart-stopping heroes. But it's Joyce's capable hand as a writer that will prove the ultimate satisfaction. Having developed her craft through such a broad range of books, the author has gained a versatility and taste for the unpredictable that infuses the DEADLY series with a host of fresh, engaging characters and compelling storylines. "I can go back to my romantic rootsbe as romantic as I want to be and really have fun," Joyce says happily. It's the element of play that has Joyce most excited about this new chapter in her life, both professionally and personally, while readers will surely reap the rewards.

The question among Bragg fans remains, though, as to whether Joyce's current definition of "fun" translates into the kinds of steamy love scenes for which she became known during the early family chronicles. "[The DEADLY books] are sexier than the bigger books, but only as far as is credible for the time." Meaning? "The characters will do what they have to do I don't manipulate them to do what I want." Indeed, it is the integrity of her characters that has become one of Joyce's most-appreciated strengths as a writer. Considering the combination of hopelessly-enchanting Bragg progeny, a spirited heroine like Francesca Cahill and colorful secondary characters, all within the vibrant world of early 20-century New York, every book in the DEADLY series promises sparks, suspense and sheer enjoyment.

DEADLY PLEASURE, the next title in the DEADLY series will be released in March, followed by DEADLY AFFAIRS in April and DEADLY DESIRE in May. Look for Joyce's next contemporary novel, THE CHASE, in July 2002. To learn more, visit www.brendajoyce.com.


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