Son, daughter help her to run family business
Millions of readers have made Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series a huge success and it was one of these fans who chose the title of her new book, Lean Mean Thirteen.
“We realized readers were much better at choosing titles than I am,” she says.
The author began holding book-naming contests when the fifth book in the series, High Five, was ready to be published. She now receives 70,000 suggested titles from fans through her website and the mail.
“We narrow it down to 20 to 30 titles and then pick one out of a hat,” she says. “What’s interesting is the title we choose isn’t always the most popular. But I like this one.”
In Lean Mean Thirteen, Stephanie Plum, a New Jersey bounty hunter who works for her cousin’s bail bonds agency, falls under police suspicion after her ex-husband Dickie Orr goes missing.
Along with the two leading men in her life, cop Joe Morelli and security expert Ranger, Stephanie must figure out the truth behind Dickie’s disappearance.
“She has more of a sense of responsibility than bravery,” Evanovich says of her protagonist. “She knows she has limitations. It’s one of the things that makes the series popular. We can all identify with her.”
Fans of Stephanie Plum shouldn’t expect her to make a permanent commitment to either Joe Morelli or Ranger, the two men who continually vie for her affections.
“I don’t have any plans for her to settle down. I like the tension there,” Evanovich says. “The fun part about the romance is the chase, and I don’t want to turn this into a romance novel. That’s the hardest part of the book to write — the relationship with Stephanie and the two men.”
Although Evanovich spent years living in New Jersey, which happens to be the setting of the Plum books, she now lives in New Hampshire with her husband.
Her two grown children work for the family business, Evanovich Inc., which deals solely with their mother’s writing career.
Her daughter Alex is the webmaster for Evanovich’s website and also tours with her.
Her son Peter manages her finances, handles the legal work and also edits her manuscripts before they are sent to the publisher.
“They are really responsible for my success,” she says. “I couldn’t buy that kind of talent.”
Even though the family owns a house in Florida as well, Evanovich says they always seem to be in the same place at the same time.
“We’re like a little herd,” she says. “We move around together.”