Welcome to another special edition of The Author’s Voice. As you can probably tell from the picture, today I have the pleasure of having interviewed Janet Evanovich. Before I get to that, I have a little story to tell.
It all started last Christmas. I gave my wife, Sue, a Sony E-reader. I know what you are thinking, an e-reader? Aren’t you writer types against that? Well, yes and no, but that is an argument for another time. Suffice it to say, Sue is an electronic gizmo nut.
Well, long story short, after a year of puttering around with the downloadable books, Sue accumulated a fair-sized “library” (And no, I won’t ever call it that. On an e-reader, it’s just a list). Part of that library was a new author, at least new to Sue and I.
Being a member of a large writing community, I have the opportunity to rub elbows with writers ranging from beginners to published veterans. As a result I get to see the writing process from its roots all the way to its leaves. It’s a place I never imagined myself to be and yet here I am.
So, after hearing my wife giggle her way through 18 books, on a whim I contacted the source of my wife’s reading amusement, Janet Evanovich. My idea was to see if Janet had bookmarks I could have her autograph as a Christmas present for Sue. Afterall, the only thing writers like more than writing is talking about writing to other writers.
To my surprise, I got an answer back almost right away. Ok, it wasn’t Janet herself replying, but her assistant Ken. Ken was more than helpful, he was personable and polite. In the end, I had a nice surprise for Sue to go with the actual hard copies of One For the Money and Two for the Show that I ordered from Blue Heron Books.
Wait, it gets better. Ken agreed to pass on a few questions to Janet. After much consideration and some valuable input from Sue and Vicky Graham, I managed to come up with six questions. Janet was kind enough to reply and I got the e-mail yesterday. So after much jumping around and Sue grinning like a maniac, here it is in true The Author`s Voice style.
First off, I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this, Janet. Mind the coffee. The Author’s Voice is currently not a high budget production. Well actually, more of a no budget production, but hopefully that will change the longer we stick around.
Anyways, enough of me, we’re here to talk about you.
Janet, were you the class clown?
No. I was much too shy. That’s one of the reasons I like Stephanie Plum. She says all the stuff I wanted to say.
(From my wife Sue and her friend Vicky) Both Joe and Ranger are super sexy males (their words, not mine), are they representative of men that have been in your life?
I wish. All kidding aside, my husband Pete’s pretty great.
Having your book made into a movie had to have been super exciting, but was it hard when they left parts of the book out of the movie and did you have much input in that process?
It was very exciting to see it on the big screen. As you may know, I sold the movie rights nearly 20 years ago and had no input at all. Books and movies are totally different animals. A theatrical movie script is about a hundred pages long and the average novel goes over 300. If you included every scene from a book, that movie would be over 5 hours long. They have to cut somewhere. Best you can hope for is that a movie captures the plot and the spirit of the book. In this case, they did a good job of both.
Ken says you write eight hours a day. Is this something you’ve always done or have you honed your discipline over time and piles of novels?
In the early days, when my kids were young, I had to get the housework done, the meals prepared and the kids schlepped around. I wrote mostly while the kids were at school. As soon as they were older, I sort of settled into my seven-day-a-week schedule. When I’m on deadline, I work a lot longer than eight hours.
As I mentioned earlier, I am part of a large writer’s community in Ontario, the WCDR. Some of the members are published, most not. Do you have any words of encouragement or of caution to help us through the minefield that is modern-day publishing?
Get an agent. Most publishers these days won’t even look at an unsolicited manuscript. The agent search can be a long, tough haul, but it’s well worth the effort. Write clear, concise query letters. I have some guidelines for writers on my website.
And finally, is there an actual recipe for the pineapple upside down cake?
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
Unsweetened pineapple slices
Melt the butter in a nine-inch pie plate. Dump brown sugar into the plate and mash with a fork until it’s all mixed with the melted butter and covers the bottom of the plate. Arrange pineapple slices on bottom of plate in single layer. Mix eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder and pineapple juice by hand in a small bowl until smooth. Pour mixture over pineapple slices. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a pick comes out clean (maybe 30-45 min.) Remove cake from oven and set on rack for a couple of minutes. Put cake plate over the hot cake in the pie plate and CAREFULLY but quickly turn the pie plate upside down. Remove pie plate and let cake cool to room temperature. Pineapple slices should be on top! (If you let the cake cool in the pie plate you’ll NEVER get it out). When cool, spread lots of globs of whipped cream on it…the real stuff, none of that fake stuff in a can!
Eat too much.
Well, you heard it here first, the infamous Pineapple Upside Down cake. Now if you`ll excuse me, I`m hungry, thanks Janet…
Seriously, what an absolute pleasure it was dealing with Janet. If you are reading this Janet, which I hope you will, I wish you continued success. I know for a fact that as long as Stephanie Plum has adventures, we`ll be there to enjoy them. Although, Sue and Vicky wonder how Stephanie would react to being pregnant…
To find out more about Janet, visit her site www.evanovich.com.
And, of course, buy her books. Explosive Eighteen, being the latest in the Stephanie Plum series.
If you want to catch up, or become a new fan, slip on down to your local bookstore (Blue Heron Books, if you are in Durham region, Ontario) and order them.
This is The Author’s Voice saying good-day, and in the spirit of Grandma Mazur, keep your pen on the page because “the Weather Channel doesn’t have enough action”.