Showing posts with label Janet Evanovich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janet Evanovich. Show all posts

25 October 2016

How to Kick @ss: Janet Evanovich

by Melissa Yi

Who debuts at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, handles up to 3000 fans at her signings, and sustains three million hits on her website per month?
Yep. The one, the only Janet Evanovich.
Here are six tips from her singular career:

1. You can be a late bloomer.

Janet’s first book was published in her early forties. In a BookPage interview, she said, "In that respect, I think I'm a great role model for my children. I have shown them that you are never to old to try something new.”
Isn’t that terrific? Usually, you hear about how you’re over the hill if you haven’t started creating masterpieces by age six, like Mozart.

2. But figure out your weaknesses, and improve on them.

In an interview with Island Packet, Janet said that because she was trained as an artist instead of a writer, her dialogue “was very stiff and boring. But I had a friend who was doing acting classes, so I joined one of the improv classes that she was doing. What we do as writers is very similar to what actors do.”

3. Learn the writing business

In Mystery Scene, Janet recommends
a) Romance Writers of America. Even if you don’t write a romance, she says RWA is “a very nurturing organization for establishing peers, for learning skills, for getting market information.”
b) Sisters in Crime
c) Publishers Weekly “to see what’s going on. You want to look at the bestseller lists and see what people are reading and enjoying, and see if you can stay in front of the curve.”
She says that learning the business helped her figure out that her timing was perfect. “I came in on top of the wave…right behind the crest of the wave—Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky—and I rode that in. And I think that’s important when you’re starting out to understand where the market is going and see if you can look to the future, see if you’re riding a wave—if a wave exists.”

4. Work hard.

She told BookPage, “I’m just a boring workaholic. I motivate myself to write by spending the money I make before it comes in.”
In Janet’s book, How I write, she describes this schedule:

 Weekdays: 05:15-14:00 Write
14:00: Business (phone calls, mail, publicity, website work with daughter etc.)
1-2 hours of exercise “in the middle of the day”

Write in the morning only
Afternoon/evening: fun

On a book deadline: writing 24/7

Mystery Scene

5. Love your fans.

As she told Mystery Scene, “I didn’t want to be an author in an ivory tower. Maybe it’s the mother in me, but I think of my readers as an extended family.”
Her website has contests and polls every month, and readers can submit photos of their pets.
Because so many people come to her signings, they can get bracelets so they don’t have to wait in line for hours, and she makes the signings an event, “because if somebody is going to be driving for four or five hours to come see me, we should have something interesting for them to see. For a couple of cities, we brought in a live band, and this year in New York, I dragged a friend of mine, Lance Storm the wrestler, onstage with me to take his shirt off and read Joe Morelli, and because you can’t have a WWE wrestler without a slut, my daughter volunteered to be the slut of the night.”

6. Team up to make the best work possible.

Janet involves her whole family in her business. She told the Island Packet,“My son (Peter) is my agent. He's very detail oriented. My daughter (Alex) interfaces with my publisher and handles all the online stuff and social media. My husband, Pete, manages all aspects of the business and tries to keep me on time. It's great.”
Janet talked to Forbes about pairing up with popular authors like Lee Goldberg, Charlotte Hughes, Dorien Kelly, and Leanne Banks, so she can offer more books for her readers. “I like being able to provide consistent and frequent literary choices for my fans. Since I can barely write two books a year the best solution seems to be co-author projects. My goal isn’t to get another writer to clone me …it’s more to produce a book that shares my vision of positive, fun entertainment.”

22 March 2016

Dynamic Duos - Part Two

by Barb Goffman and Sherry Harris

Songwriter Paul Simon may be an island, but for many authors we know, writing works better when people work together. Whether it comes from an editor or a critique group, feedback and brainstorming can be a hugely important part of writing. They also can be an important part of sleuthing. Characters usually need feedback as they try to figure out whodunit, which is one reason why the sidekick character is so prevalent in crime fiction.

Yesterday on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog, author Sherry Harris and I discussed dynamic duos in the writing process and how we've worked together. We also talked about dynamic duos in fiction, including my character Job and his unusual sidekick, God, from my story "The Lord is My Shamus" (available in my collection, Don't Get Mad, Get Even). Sound interesting? Pop on over to the other blog by clicking here. But then come back, because now we're going to wade into Sherry's fictional duos and then discuss some of our personal favorites by other authors.

Sherry, in your books, your main character, amateur sleuth Sarah Winston, has two friends who serve as her partner, but they both play very different roles. Can you talk a little about Carol and Stella?

Sherry: Sarah has known Carol for twenty years. They met right after Sarah met her now ex-husband, and they bonded as military wives. Fast forward to the present, and they've ended up living in the same town, Ellington, Massachusetts. Carol is invested in Sarah and her complicated relationship with her ex. She likes going to yard sales with Sarah, and Sarah knows that Carol will always be on her side. It's this long-time friendship that has prompted Sarah to step in when Carol is accused of murder (The Longest Yard Sale), and it's why the two work so well together when Sarah needs to think things through. And Carol's the kind of friend who tosses her car keys to Sarah without hesitation when Sarah's running away in All Murders Final! (coming out from Kensington on April 26th).

Stella is a new friend and Sarah's landlady. She isn't judgmental, listens, and is thoughtful with her answers. Since Stella is also single, she's usually up for a last-minute adventure, whether it's going to a karaoke bar or heading out in the middle of a blizzard. Because Stella is a new friend, Sarah sometimes feels more comfortable doing things with her that she'd never do with Carol, simply because their friendship is built on different interests. As you pointed out recently, Barb, the three of them have never hung out together--that might be something for a future book.

Do you have a favorite duo in a series, Barb?

Barb: There are so many great ones, but a duo that jumps immediately to mind is Stephanie Plum and her friend Lula in Janet Evanovich's seminal series about a New Jersey bounty hunter. Lula is always up for anything (especially going through the drive-through at Cluck-in-a-Bucket). If
The book that started it all
Stephanie needs to go on a stakeout, Lula's there to serve as a second pair of eyes. If Stephanie needs to find and capture someone who skipped court, Lula's there to help with the takedown. And if Stephanie needs to eat a snack, Lula is definitely there to eat the leftovers, and then some. Having a fearless friend when you're a bounty hunter is awesome. And having a friend who's a hoot is great when you're the star of your own series--readers love humor. What about you, Sherry? Is there a duo that stands out to you?

Sherry: I love Stephanie and Lula too. Another interesting duo is in Chris Grabenstein's John Ceepak mysteries. (Chris, if you are out there, please, I'm begging you, write more!) (Barb here: Me too!) The duo in this series is John Ceepak and Danny Boyle. John is a West Point grad and military
The first John Ceepak mystery
veteran with a strict moral code that he won't deviate from. Danny is a part-time cop, part-time party boy. Their relationship starts out with John as the mentor, and Danny idolizes him. But Danny brings something to the relationship too--smarts and a zest for life. They both approach the world very differently, but ultimately they learn from each other.

Barb and I both love the relationship in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mysteries. Here is a completely different way to approach a duo from our first two examples. Barb, what makes them work?

Barb: Chemistry. It's one of those rare things that's hard to teach how to do, but wow, does Julia Spencer-Fleming do it well. These two characters are so wonderful together. They start out as friends, a sexual tension grows over the series, and then as their lives change, their relationship changes and grows. (I'm being vague because I don't want to ruin things for anyone who hasn't read the series yet. Go forth and buy all the books right now. You won't be disappointed.) Russ is the local police chief. Clare is an Episcopal priest. They're fun characters to spend time with--not
We love this book!
preachy. They both care about people and their town and are willing to stick their necks out for others, and for each other.

Sherry, am I missing anything?

Sherry: I love that Clare was an army helicopter pilot before she became a priest. It adds another layer of depth to her character. Also that Russ is married--that dynamic--priest and married police chief--is brilliant. I wish I could think of something as interesting and pull it off like Julia does. The first book in the series, In the Bleak Midwinter, has one of the best opening lines ever written.

It's amazing to us how different each of these examples are, yet how well they all work. Readers, do you have a favorite fictional duo?