By Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 08, 2022
At 78, bestselling author Janet Evanovich isn't slowing down anytime soon. Her latest book, The Recovery Agent, is coming out March 22 and available for preorder. It kicks off a new series about professional treasure hunter Gabriela Rose."I probably enjoyed writing this one more than any other," Evanovich says of the book, which finds Gabriela traversing jungles in Peru and Costa Rica. "She's my Indiana Jones."
I make lots of mistakes. I try hard not to make the same mistake more than three or four times.
After having her kids, Evanovich chose to stay home and care for them full time. She started writing novels in her thirties and even studied improv to hone the art of dialogue. For ten years, she attempted to write the "great American novel," but couldn't get anyone to publish her three manuscripts from that time. She received enough rejections to fill a large cardboard box, which she later set on fire.
Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth.
When an acquaintance recommended she try the genre, Evanovich read a few romances and fell in love (ha ha). She churned out two manuscripts, but still struggled to find a publisher and decided to give up on being a author. Two months after signing with a temp agency to make ends meet, she received an offer to buy her first book for $2,000, which struck her as "an astounding sum." These early novels, like Hero at Large, Foul Play, and Full House, were initially published under the pen name Steffie Hall.
My professional aspirations were simple. I wanted to be an intergalactic princess.
Early in her writing career, Evanovich decided that she wanted to tweak her style to include more adventure and humor. The 1988 Robert De Niro action comedy film, Midnight Run, inspired her Stephanie Plum series starter, One For the Money, about a woman who decides to become a bounty hunter after losing her job as a lingerie buyer. To become acquainted with the demands of the career, Evanovich spent a great deal of time shadowing bond enforcement agents. The feisty, funny Stephanie Plum was declared by the Washington Post to be a heroine who "comes roaring in like a blast of fresh air." Evanovich has said she modeled the character after herself in some ways. Like Plum, she is irreverent and doesn't take herself too seriously. That, and they both love Cheetos!
I hate mornings. They start so early.
Evanovich starts every morning at 5 am and puts in a solid eight hours every day. The hard work pays off; her books typically debut as number one on the NYT Bestseller List. She is a prolific author publishing at least one novel a year and has put out several other series (many co-written) besides Stephanie Plum. Those include:
I'd be nothing without my family. When I was a struggling writer, nobody said go get a job. They've always been supportive.
It's a family affair in Janet Evanovich's literary factory. Her son, Peter, has put in time as her agent and financial specialist; daughter, Alex, has served as her social media maven; and husband, Pete, has worked as her business manager. All three are the primary editors of her novels and she has co-written books with both her children, like Troublemaker with Alex and The Big Kahuna with Peter. And the book business has clearly benefited the whole family. When Janet got her million-dollar movie payout for One For the Money starring Katherine Heigl, she used the money to pay off her kids' school loans and repair the roof of her house.
Evanovich's winning combination of adventure, mystery, humor, and romance has propelled her success as one of the top authors in her field. We're looking forward to getting to know her new jet-setting heroine in the Gabriela Rose series.
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.