Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Janet Evanovich Interview, by Jess Lourey

oneforthemoneyThanks 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 tojanet evanovich improve a couple sentences in chapter three. Third, just about everything I do is mortifying'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!


Julia Buckley said...

I know Janet would pick Ranger, but I'm a Joe Morelli fan. He's sexy, smart and loyal, and Ranger is a loose cannon (although so is Stephanie).

I also like Lula, though. She's one tough woman. And, if I can believe the Plum books, everyone in New Jersey carries a gun. Another reason I'll never go there. :)

Thanks for the fun interview!

CandaceCalvert said...

I'm a Morelli fan, too. However IMO no one can compete with Rex the hamster. I'm sure he's got a teeny Glock hidden somewhere in that soup can. . . ooh, gotta love a Bad Boy rodent.

Thanks for the interview, Janet and Jess!

Kim Smith said...

Jess, what a fabulous opportunity to get to know my idol (yeah, she is mine too!) better. I think there should be an American Novel Idol show, so those of us who wannabe like Janet can audition.

Anyway, I would LOVE to see
Queen Latifah play Lulu. God how funny would she be?????

Of course, Eddie Murphy could do a great Lulu too :) just check him out in his movie Norbit !

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Why can't I have my Cheetos and birthday cake, too?

Felicia Donovan said...

This is an honor. I've had several people compare my zany Black Widows to Ms. Evanovich's characters. What I love most is that in most bookstores, "Donovan" tends to sit right above "Evanovich" thereby causing those with bad backs to perhaps gaze a bit higher...

Any plans for a TV series? Anybody want to take a stab at who would play Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger?

Gina said...

When I am reading the Plum books I always picture Sandra Bullock as Stephanie, Vin Diesel as Ranger, and Aidan Quinn as Morelli.

Jessica Lourey said...

Nice, Gina. That's a great casting list. Since the role of Ranger would require Vin Diesel to mostly not speak, I think he could pull it off, and of course Sandra Bullock was MADE to play Stephanie. And Aidan Quinn--never would have thought of that one, but it's perfect! And Kim, Queen Latifah as LULU is EXCELLENT! That would be a movie to see.

G.M. Malliet said...

Jess - I'd rather know where Janet gets her wardrobe. I saw her on a panel at MWA a couple of years ago. She was wearing bright colors and she was stunning.

Terri Thayer said...

If I was Janet Evanovich, I'd give alternate answers. One interview, it'd be Morelli, the next one, Ranger. Of course if I was Janet, I'd be on the beach somewhere, drinking Mai Tais. Of course, too much of that, and I'd be back to being an unpublished author. It's hard being Janet!

Keith Raffel said...

This blog is getting too noirish for me!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say, great interview!

Felicia Donovan said...

Sandra Bullock as Stephanie Plum. Of course, a perfect match!

Dana Fredsti said...

Excellent interview, with the kind of questions I would expect from you, Jess Lourey! I was thinking Queen Latifah for Lulu and see no need to deviate from that opinion. I have to say while I never thought of any of the three actors Gina listed, I pretty much love her picks. And yeah, as long as Vin Diesel doesn't have to do much in the way of talking, he'd be able to handle Ranger. Yo. Babe.

Anonymous said...

Janet Evanovich inspires me, too, and it's hard to find a writer as funny as she is in those first books in the Stephanie Plum series. Who else (besides the authors here) writes really funny mysteries?

Terri Thayer said...

I notice our male Inksters are werry, werry quiet. No one man enough to answer the Morelli/Ranger question?

Come on guys, who's it going to be?

Jessica Lourey said...

Good one, Terri! :)

Anonymous said...

I love chocolate so that makes Ranger the top choice for me - he would be harder to live with but he is super sexy, has a sense of humor, more intelligent - the only problem is what to do when he disappears for a long time.

Next to Stephanie, Lulu is my favorite character & I agree that Queen Latifah would be perfect in the movie role. The hardest to cast would be Rex - his addition to the stories was brilliant.

The books with Diesel appeal to me too. How can we convince the movie moguls that a Plum movie will be a winner? Perhaps a clip made for You Tube so that they will be impressed by the millions of hits that it would generate.

Neil Plakcy said...

Great casting choices, and a really fun interview.

My money's on Morelli. Guess I just have a thing for cops :)

Jessica Lourey said...

I pronounce Kim Smith, Gina, and Helen K. the winners of the contest! If the three of you email me your addresses (send to, I will send you your prize.

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting! Great fun. :)

Deborah Sharp said...

Oh, "our'' Jess is a wonder! Can't believe she snagged such a big fish for an interview on our Midnight Ink authors' blog ... and, even better, she was JUST as funny as the queen of humorous mysteries.
PS: to the commenter looking for OTHER funny mysteries, check out Midnight Ink's stable of great writers (and maybe even my own ''Mama Does Time?'')
Cheers, Jess. Great job!

Busmeister said...

I know I'm not the only guy who reads Stephanie Plum because Rex did get one vote, but my favorite character is the indefatigable Big Blue.

I will never forget his introduction in 2FTD: A powder blue 1953 Buick with a white top, it looked like a beluga whale.

I, too, am writing a humorous cozy about a transit busdriver who solves mysteries by piecing together bits of conversations that he overhears while driving (and we hear everything).

Jessica Lourey said...

That sounds like a great concept, Busmeister! Do you have a website where we can go to find out more?

(And nice shout-out to Big Blue!)

Busmeister said...
This comment has been removed by the author.