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Plum Loco

Our Q&A with Janet Evanovich focuses on how her inaugural Stephanie Plum novel made it into movie theaters...albeit 17 years after publication.

Posted December 12, 2011 by Kevin C. Shelly

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Janet Evanovich
Courtesy of public relations.

Katherine Heigl and Daniel Sunjata
Bounty hunters Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) and Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) load for adventure in the movie of Evanovich’s One For The Money.
Courtesy of Lionsgate/Ron Batzdorff.

Janet Evanovich’s inaugural Stephanie Plum novel, One for the Money, makes its way into movie theaters on January 27—some 17 years after publication. The book—part adventure, part crime mystery, part modern romance—began a powerhouse publishing franchise that routinely places its titles on best-seller lists. Evanovich’s latest book in the numbered series, Explosive Eighteen, debuted in November. A New Jersey native, Evanovich’s Plum novels are firmly anchored in the Garden State—although the author now resides in New Hampshire. The Plum character lives near her kooky extended family in the Chambersburg section of Trenton. In the upcoming film, she’s played by Katherine Heigl, who heads a cast that includes Jason O’Mara (as police sergeant Joe Morelli), Daniel Sunjata (as a bounty hunter known as Ranger) and screen legend Debbie Reynolds (as Plum’s cockeyed grandmother). Evanovich hopes more movies follow.

One for the Money was optioned years ago. So what took Hollywood so long to believe in Stephanie Plum?

They tell me they had a hard time getting a script they liked.

While you no longer live in New Jersey, all your characters do. How does being a native Jersey girl influence your writing?

My characters swear a lot and eat Tastykakes and Taylor Pork Roll.

Why Trenton as the setting for the series?

Trenton has a lot of good crime and a river for dumping bodies.

The movie was shot in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, not New Jersey. How’d that work?

They tell me parts of Pittsburgh look like Jersey.  Hell, what do I know?

What made Chambersburg the right setting for Stephanie Plum’s quirky family?

I really write about Chambersburg 60 years ago when it was a nice Catholic Italian neighborhood and very small town.

Are Ranger and Morelli based on real Jersey guys?

Aren’t all Jersey guys like Ranger and Morelli?

What do you think of their casting?

I’ll tell you after I see the movie.

Did you have control or input over casting or script? 


Stephanie Plum is a klutzy, curly-haired brunette and on the small side. Katherine Heigl is none of those. How’d she become Stephanie?

Stephanie is actually 5 foot 7.  Heigl is 5 foot 9.  And Heigl dyed her hair.

Will there be more movies if this one, based on your first Stephanie Plum book, succeeds?


Have you seen a finished version of the movie? If so, what’s your reaction?

Haven’t seen it.  I declined a preview.  I’m waiting to see it with everyone else.

When you write about New Jersey locations, do you write from a map or from memory?

Both.  And I make stuff up—mostly for legal purposes.

Do you ever return to New Jersey just to replenish your Jersey attitude?

I return to Jersey because I love Jersey...especially the Shore.  No matter how hard I try I can’t get rid of my Jersey attitude.  Only kidding—I’m proud of my Jersey attitude.

Do you write crime stories with lots of romance elements or romances with lots of crime action?

I write adventure stories with some sex, some pizza and lots of laughs.

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The Sex

Why do you have less sex in your books between Stephanie in Joe? Do you think in the movie will have that sexy feeling to it?

Posted by: Walkita White, sacramento,CA | Jan 16, 2012 22:56:06 PM |

Another Plum Novel?

Are you going to write a 19th novel for the Stephanie Plum series???

Posted by: Rae Bott, Eureka, CA | Feb 13, 2012 22:55:47 PM |

another book

I was wondering if there was going to be another book to tell us who she picks

Posted by: Stephanie vulgamore , cheney | Feb 22, 2012 05:09:41 AM |

Will there be more?

Can we look forward to more adventerous fun in the form of another Stephanie plum novel?

Posted by: Megan marsh, Cedarkey, FL | Jun 24, 2012 20:49:49 PM |

More Please....

I LOVE this series and have gotten at least 10 other people addicted to it... I am dying to know if there will be more?????

...P.S. The movie DID NOT do the books justice.. the cast was all wrong, although Katherine did a decent Stephanie.

Posted by: Meagan McPheeters, San Rafael | Jul 09, 2012 06:26:46 AM |


I apologize for the terrible grammar from before, but more importantly I see there is a Stephanie Plum "Notorious Nineteen" Mystery solved!!!

Posted by: Meagan McPheeters, San Rafael | Jul 09, 2012 06:31:46 AM |

I loved the movie it was so good and I think Katherine did a fantastic job is there going to be another movie? the series is my favorite books to read I’ve read them all and I’m starting to reread them

Posted by: kodi, Hooper Utah | Apr 21, 2013 13:50:42 PM |

book 20

Are you going to write more books on Stephanie Plum I love all of them I have them all

Posted by: Mary Willingham, Somerville Ala | Jun 19, 2013 07:08:54 AM |

Big Fan!

I love your book’s!!! My parents think I should become a writer but I don’t know. They said that I read so much that if I put my mind to it I can make a book. I don’t know if I can. I need a expert to help me and I know you are one because I have read up to Fearless Fourteen, A Stephanie Plum Novel. I found out about the series because I watched the movie. I wanted to know if there was another movie. when I looked it up I found that there were books. I decided I’m going to read them. I loved them but was very sad when I found out there is not going to be a "Two For The Dough" movie. I just wanted to know what you think?

P.S. I love your books!!! I hope you do more besides top 21.

Posted by: Skyler Black, George West, TX | Jul 27, 2014 03:33:37 AM |

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