Quickie with Janet Evanovich
On her Stephanie Plum Series

(September 18, 1998)

Janet Evanovich is an immensely popular author who began writing romances under the name of Steffie Hall in 1987. She began to write for the Loveswept line under her own name the following year, and soon attracted the attention of readers looking for humorous romances. In 1994, Janet made the switch from romance to the mainstream with One for the Money, the first in her Stephanie Plum series. So far, four titles have been released in this series, with the most recent, Four to Score, released earlier this summer in hardcover. (In order, the series is comprised of One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, and Four to Score.)

Most intriguing about Evanovich is that she is a rare breed of romance author who has left the genre and yet not alienated her many romance fans. Indeed, she seems to have brought a great deal of what is good in the romance genre into her mainstream writing, including a strong heroine and wonderful wit.

Lorna Jean, editor for the This 'N' That feature at All About Romance, has gotten to know Janet over the past couple of years. She spent some time with her recently, and here is the Q&A from their discussion.

Lorna Jean: You started by writing romance. What made you decide to write romance initially and what made you switch from romance to suspense?

Janet Evanovich: I originally started writing the great American novel. Did three of those. Sold none. After ten years of being unpublished someone suggested I try romance. I'd never read a romance novel, but I tried a bunch and found out I liked them! I sold the second one I wrote. But halfway through my romance career I began to realize I wasn't in exactly the right place. I was having a hard time getting enough pages out of sheer relationship. I realized I liked writing action scenes and never felt totally comfortable with the long romantic passages. My first thought was to write romantic adventure. Something along the lines of Romancing the Stone. But I couldn't secure a contract for that. So eventually I gave up with the women's fiction editors and made the jump to crime.



Lorna: Why did it take so long for Joe and Stephanie to get together, not until this new book, Four For The Dough, and what do see in the future for them - marriage, kids?

Janet: When I started the series I never intended Stephanie and Joe to get together. I like the fun of the chase, and I like the sexual tension that comes from keeping them apart. As the series progressed this started to feel unnatural, and so about a third of the way through the writing of Four I decided it was time for them to do it. I don't want to give away secrets about future books. . .except to say that I don't want to turn this into a romance series. I like that it's a mix of adventure and mystery and sexual chase.



Lorna: If the characters process naturally as readers want where do you see the Plum series going in the future?

Janet: In future books, Stephanie will get to be a better bounty hunter (never a great one). Maybe she'll even try other jobs. Joe will always be there, as will Grandma Mazur and the rest of the gang. And Ranger might complicate things. . .just for the fun of it!



Lorna: The other characters in this series are capable of a book of their own. Will that happen in the future?

Janet: I think it would be fun to squeeze a single title in once in awhile. Something totally different from the series.



Lorna: You've made such an impact on romance readers with your Stephanie Plum series. Many romance authors who leave the genre end up alienating their old readership, but you didn't. Why do you think you are different?

Janet: I think I didn't alienate my romance readers because it's obvious I love and respect them. I might poke fun at my own shortcomings as a romance author but I would never trash the genre. I'm proud of the romance elements in my books, and I'm still a big romance fan.



Lorna: Take us through the chronology of your switch from romance to suspense.

Janet: When I left romance I actually created a hybrid. I took those things that I loved about romance and felt I did well and squashed them into a mystery/adventure storyline. Also the hero/heroine formula of Joe and Stephanie is straight out of a regency. Joe is a bad boy hero. And Stephanie is an original heroine.

Find links to Janet Evanovich reviews after our Desert Isle Keeper Review of the fifth book in this series, High Five