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I’m a total workaholic, so I love that Naples lets me take one-hour vacations.Is Stephanie Plum Really Janet Evanovich?

Janet evanovich appears on the new york times bestseller list so often that she could take up residence there. She instead chooses to live in Naples, a place that feeds her writing habit so that she can keep her millions of fans happy. The self-proclaimed workaholic has had a lot to celebrate lately. Her first movie, One for the Money, hit theaters in January. The movie, based on the first book in her Stephanie Plum series, has had a lot of attention with Katherine Heigl in the starring role. In November 2011, Evanovich released book 18 of the series, Explosive 18, which quickly rose to No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. In January, she released a collaborative novel, Love in a Nutshell. With her busy book release schedule, the author doesn’t take much time off. While her fans celebrated her success at the turn of the year, Evanovich was busy working at her MacBook Pro producing her next bestselling book, Wicked Business, which will be released in June. Evanovich recently shared some of her time, and secrets, with us.


Gulfshore Life: You tell fans that you spend a lot of time in Florida. What is it that you love about Southwest Florida?

Janet Evanovich: We actually live here full time now. I’m a total workaholic, so I love that Naples lets me take one-hour vacations. I can ride my bike to the beach, or I can take my golf cart into town and have a margarita at Tommy Bahama.


GL: After this many years of writing about Stephanie Plum, how do you keep finding fresh ideas? 

Evanovich: I read the papers, watch television, eavesdrop on people in restaurants, and I’m always amazed at the crazy crimes people commit.


One for the MoneyGL: The film One for the Money was released in January. What was it like to see your characters come to life?

Evanovich: I actually had an early screening so I got to see it before it hit the theaters. I was very nervous when the opening credits rolled, but once the movie started I found myself totally absorbed and enjoying it like a fan and not the
series creator.


GL: Is Katherine Heigl anything like the Stephanie that you see when writing? 

Evanovich: Heigl, in her curly dark hair and Jersey attitude, is a perfect Stephanie.


GL: Most book lovers will always say, “The movie was good but I loved the book.” How did you feel that One for the Money played out on the big screen?

Evanovich: I thought it was a wonderful adaptation. A movie can never contain all the details found in a book, but I thought they did a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of the series.


GL: Explosive 18 hit the shelves in November. Any idea what Stephanie will be up to in book 19? Do you usually know where the story is going to go next when you end a book?

Evanovich: I always know where the relationships between the characters are headed, but I don’t usually have a sense of the next crime line. Right now I’m writing the next installment in the Diesel/Lizzy Tucker series (Wicked Business), so I haven’t given a lot of thought to Plum 19.


GL: You have some extremely colorful and funny characters. Where do you find your material for these personalities like Grandma Mazur and Lula?

Evanovich: Most of my characters are composites of friends and relatives. Grandma Mazur is a combination of my Aunt Lena and my Grandma Fanny. Lula is entirely fictional. Lula is Stephanie on steroids.


GL: If you could be one of your characters, which one would it be? Why?

Evanovich: I’d be Stephanie. She can eat anything and everything and she never gains weight.


GL: Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Typewriter or computer? Journal or mass of sticky notes?

Evanovich: I write on a MacBook Pro. I start with a simple plot outline. Not a lot of details. Just a general direction and some motivation ideas. After I have the outline I start at page one and just keep going until I’m done. I write about five pages a day and I make notes in a steno pad when I go to bed, so I have ideas when I wake up in the morning.

GL: What do you do when you get stuck?

Evanovich: Have a glass of wine and eat Cheez Doodles.


GL: Love in a Nutshell went on sale in January. What was it like to team up with award-winning author Dorien Kelly on this novel?

Evanovich: I’m not really a collaborative person, so working with a co-author is a little like wearing someone else’s underpants. Having now shared that awkward moment with you, I should say it’s worth the effort because it gives my fans a new and slightly different reading experience.


More than Plum: Evanovich might be known for her bounty-hunter alter ego, but she’s published several books outside the series, including a new co-authored book with Dorien Kelly.GL: You’ve been on The New York Times bestseller list numerous times and have millions of fans who adore your books. Of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite?

Evanovich: I really like the new Diesel/Lizzy Tucker series. I loved Wicked Appetite, and I’m enjoying writing Wicked Business.


GL: Everyone is going to ask so who is the big, friendly St. Bernard in your photograph?

Evanovich: That was our beloved Barnaby. He was my daughter’s dog and he passed a couple years ago, but he lives on in our hearts and my book covers.


GL: Do you ever include scenes from Southwest Florida in your books. Do you think you may in the future?

Evanovich: Metro Girl and Motor Mouth were books that took place in Miami and had Southwest Florida visitations. I have no plans to bring Stephanie to Florida. I think she’s more an Atlantis kind of girl.

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