Thanks to Janet Evanovich, I write humorous mysteries. (At least I hope they're funny.) About seven years ago, I was having no luck getting my embarrassingly autobiographical "fiction" published, and I needed something to distract me. A friend suggested I read One for the Money. Couldn't put it down. What a person likes to read is personal, but I consider that book one of the top ten best mysteries ever written. It hit all the right notes--suspense, humor, sex, food. When I found out there were more in the series, I devoured them. When I was at the end, and she wasn't writing fast enough, I decided to try my hand at it, and so, the Murder-by-Month series was born.
So yeah. She's one of my idols. And on a whim, I recently emailed her and asked if she would agree to a brief interview, made up of five questions only a Stephanie Plum geek could love. Imagine my surprise when she graciously answered them! Here is the interview:
JESS: You are famous for your dedication to your fans, touring when it is no longer a career necessity. What keeps you going back on the road?
JANET: It's a way of staying in touch with my readers. And I love room service.
JESS: Ha! That room service never seems to find me in the basement of the Motel 8, but it's probably for the best. I don't know what they'd bring, but I'm pretty sure it'd have a hair in it. OK, next question. Tess Gerritsen tells a story of having one of the big dogs reviewing her first book. The review said, essentially, "This book will only appeal to readers who move their lips." Do you have any mortifying interview/review anecdotes that could make us mere mortal writers feel better about ourselves?
JANET: First, let me say that I've been known to move my lips while reading. Second, stop reading the reviews and interviews and use that time to improve a couple sentences in chapter three. Third, just about everything I do is mortifying ...it's a way of life.
JESS: Hallelujah! Back in your pre-published days, you wrote a few novels that would be categorized as literary, or mainstream, fiction. Ever think about dusting those off, revising them using your hard-won writing skills, and publishing them?
JANET: Nope. They wouldn't meet reader expectation in their present form and the editing would be so time consuming it wouldn't be cost effective.
JESS: And I certainly don't want to pull you away from creating more Stephanie Plum adventures! OK, Mark Twain once said, "I prefer having written to writing." (He also said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society," but that's beside the point). How about for you? Do you enjoy the act of writing, or is it still a challenge, albeit a grand one?
JANET: I prefer writing to having written. I love the process, the isolation, the unique world I go into every morning. Once the book is off my desk it belongs to someone else. The only really good part to having written is that someone sends me a check which allows me to go on writing.
JESS: That is a nice perk! OK, here's the big one, the one many of your fans are dying to know. If you were single and Joe Morelli and Ranger both came to life, whom would you choose? (Morelli would come with a lifetime supply of Cheetos; Ranger w/limitless grocery store birthday cake with crusty buttercream frosting.)
JANET: That's an easy one ...birthday cake.
Ha ha! Thank you to the lovely, ever-funny, and talented Janet Evanovich for her time! In celebration of funny mysteries everywhere, I'm sending out a free copy of August Moon to the three people who write the the best (as judged by me, using entirely arbitrary and shifting criteria) comment to this post. Here's some prompts: Whose your favorite character in the Stephanie Plum novels? Who do you think is the best actor to play Stephanie Plum, Grandma Mazur, Ranger, Joe Morelli, Lulu, Vinnie, etc. in a movie version of the series? Would you pick the Cheetos or the birthday cake? What writer(s) inspire you?
Happy fall, and thanks for reading!