Janet Evanovich has three books to be released this year. She's a very hard working author who not only enjoys taking readers into her created worlds but also loves to entertain them with laughter and a plethora of interesting characters. As you can imagine, she's a very busy lady. Right now, she is in the midst of a tour meeting fans and signing books. Despite her very busy schedule, she made time to chat a bit and answer some questions for me.
Janet has written sixteen numbered and four between the numbers books in the Stephanie Plum series, which have consistently, topped the New York Times Bestsellers list. Although we didn't discuss this, it is well known her contract with St. Martin's press is up for renewal. Many have heard the news that Janet's son, Peter Evanovich, is negotiating the sale of her next four books, for $50 million-12.5 million per book and quite a chunk of change. It will be interesting to see if Janet stays with St. Martin's where she reigns as one of their top authors, or finds another publishing home.
I know many of you love her Stephanie plum books and have favorite characters in those books. I'm sure many are also excited to see the casting of One For The Money, Janet's first Stephanie Plum book. My understanding is that Katherine Heigl has accepted the role as Stephanie and Sherri Shepherd has been cast as Lula (I LOVE Sherri!). Shooting begins next week in Pittsburgh, PA, according to Variety .
Janet says she "sold the movie rights to One For the Money in 1993, and has no involvement or influence in the making of the movie...casting, directing, the script, editing, etc."
I have to say I read my first Janet Evanovich when she wrote under the name of Steffie Hall, Hero At Large and Wife For Hire. I enjoyed her Bantam Loveswept Novels. Janet made me laugh with her humorous take on love and I loved her heroes-like Ivan, for instance.
You did such a great job with romance why did you change genres?
I wrote series romance for five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery/suspense genre.
Then you created Stephanie Plum?
I spent two years retooling-drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn't go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.
Janet, like many successful, productive authors, puts in an eight hours day writing, researching, dealing with her career, and is a dedicated writer. Plus she takes time to answer pesky questions from people like me.
But when asked what her workday is really like, she answers with her trademark sense of humor:
I drag myself out of bed around six, shove myself into the clothes lying on the floor and plod down the road after the dog. I eat a boring breakfast of skim milk, orange juice and healthy cereal because when I wake up I always think I'm Christie Brinkley and it seems like something Christie would do.
Then I shuffle into the office I share with a really rude parrot. The dog follows after me and flops onto his bed to take a nap. (Next time around I want to be my dog.) I stare at the computer screen for about four hours, sometimes actually typing some sentences. I chew gum and drink green tea to keep myself from falling out of my chair in a catatonic stupor.
At noon I'm suddenly filled with energy and rush to the refrigerator, hoping a pineapple upside-down cake with lots of whipped cream has mysteriously appeared. Finding none, I make a tuna or peanut butter and olive sandwich. I go back to my office. I stare at the computer screen some more. When nothing appears on the screen I drive down to the local store and buy a bag of Cheez Doodles.
I eat the Cheez Doodles and manage to actually write several pages. When I'm done with the Doodles and pages I wander out of my office looking for someone to whine at because I just made myself fat. (I'm only Christie Brinkley in the morning. In the afternoon I'm Roseanne.) I alternate typing and whining for the rest of the afternoon until about five when I emerge from my office, once again hoping for the pineapple cake.
In case you didn't know, Cheez Doodles is her secret vice and I'm thinking Pineapple upside down cake is pretty high on the list as well. :-)
I know you're publishing three books this year. That's a lot of work, both in terms of writing and promotion. Do you work on them sequentially or simultaneously?
I only ever write one book at a time.
What's easiest (or hardest) for you-dialogue, plot, character, or something else?
Plot and transition are probably the hardest. I know the characters so well that dialogue is a bit easier.
You have a long running series, how do you keep it fresh this far into a series?
Hard work, birthday cake, and wine.
In a series, there's not much of a character arc for the main character, otherwise the series would be over. Yet there seems to be some subtle changes in Stephanie. Do you have a long term "series arc" in mind for her? Are there major changes in store for Stephanie in the next book?
I suppose there are always subtle changes from time to time, but until the final book I really don't envision much in the way of changes for Stephanie. She'll always get into hot water and not be terribly good at her job.
Are Joe and Stephanie ever going to have a fight bad enough that she has a real fling with Ranger?
Ah, million dollar question. I'll never tell.
Is there a real Joe Morelli and Ranger?
How did you come up with the idea for the Hobbits in Sizzling Sixteen?
Hobbits and Mooner seemed as natural together as breathing.
What's coming out next for you? Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Troublemaker, a graphic novel based on the characters from Metro Girl and Motor Mouth, that I wrote with my daughter, Alex, is coming out on July 20.
After that the first book in the new Diesel series, Wicked Appetite, comes out on September 14, 2010.
Then part two of Troublemaker will be in stores in November.
A very busy year for you. I'm looking forward to Wicked Appetite. Again, thank you for taking the time out your busy schedule to visit with us a bit.