Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More laughs, less drama in new Janet Evanovich book

From Canada CTV --

More laughs, less drama in new Janet Evanovich book --

By: Constance Droganes --
June 28, 2009 --

There's a lot that bestselling author Janet Evanovich can tell you about her fans, particularly when it comes to her famous heroine Stephanie Plum.

"They're very divided and extremely vocal, especially about the men in Stephanie's life," the 66-year-old American author says with a laugh.

"One camp loves Morelli and the on-off relationship he shares with Stephanie. Others root for Ranger, the more dangerous of the two men. Some just want Stephanie to stay single," she smiles. "Lucky for me these characters have registered so deeply with my readers"

Indeed they have.

Go on to any blog devoted to Evanovich and you'll find tons of impassioned, opinionated, loyal entries from fans who talk about her characters like they're close friends.

That quality has defined Evanovich's Plum series ever since it launched in 1994.

Her first book, "One for the Money," was credited with creating a new romantic-adventure hybrid in the publishing business.

The debut book was named a New York Times notable book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1994 and a USAToday Best Bet.

"One for the Money" also scored a $1-million deal with Columbia TriStar, which purchased the rights to the book.

Inspired by Robert De Niro and the movie "Midnight Run," Evanovich's bounty hunter heroine came equipped with plenty of quirky twists to captivate readers.

Stephanie packs a gun. She loves lingerie. She lives for junk food, especially peanut butter sandwiches slathered with chips, pickles or any other kind of artery-clogging, waist-widening crap she can gobble up.

"I've written 15 books now and all along I've felt that Stephanie was the kind of woman real people understood," Evanovich told CTV.ca during her press stop for her latest Plum entry, "Finger Lickin' Fifteen."

"Sure she gets into trouble. Yes, she has a more outrageous life than the average person. But at her very core Stephanie's just like you. When she's out on some big adventure or dealing with a rocky romance you're right there with her, rooting for her all the way," says Evanovich.

Gal pals take on serious crime

In "Finger Lickin' Fifteen" Stephanie and her boisterous office gal pals set out to solve a crime, which begins with the loudmouth, chicken-loving Lula seeing a man get decapitated.

From Stephanie's barbecue-cooking granny (who longs to have a sexy agent code name like "Hot Vagina") to the dangerous Ranger and exasperating Morelli, Evanovich works it from start to finish, giving Plum fans a fun, breezy new read.

"I learned a lot doing the promos for this book," says Evanovich, who launched her career in her 30s but saw no real success until she hit 43.

Working under a pseudonym for a romance fiction company, Evanovich learned her craft in those early years, perfecting her dialogue so that Stephanie's short, snappy zingers fly at you faster than she can run in heels.

"My mother was so embarrassed when I started," says Evanovich. "Those first romance books I wrote usually had four big sex scenes. I got pretty good at describing what went on," she says with a laugh.

Yet when Evanovich hit the New York Times bestseller list, the Jersey author and wife of a machinist had the last laugh.

"I cried when that happened because I clawed my way onto that list. It was tangible proof to my family and all those people that helped me that I had made it," she says.

Since then, Evanovich has churned out a Plum book each year. Some have been critical hits. Others not so much.

With no plans of slowing down or disappointing her fans, Evanovich says she can promise readers one thing in the future. More laughs.

"Before people used to tell me they loved the action in these books. Now they tell me it's the humour in these books that makes their day," says Evanovich.

"It may not sound like much. But we live in very tough times right now. If I can help people take their mind off their troubles I'll be happy."

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