Janet Evanovich


Over the last three decades, millions of people around the world have enjoyed a series of novels about a fictional amateur bounty hunter from New Jersey named Stephanie Plum.

Stephanie is the creation of writer Janet Evanovich. In the 1980s, she was a stay-at-home mom, but when her kids were nearing the age at which they would be leaving for college, she decided to try something new — like, writing.

She started out as a romance writer, and achieved considerable success in that genre.

But after several years, she realized that what she liked best about writing was the action sequences in her books, and their humor.

So in 1994, Evanovich wrote her first mystery, a book called One For the Money . It introduced Stephanie Plum and her offbeat circle of friends and family.

It was an almost instant hit, and gave rise to a series that continues to this day. There are now 30 books in the Stephanie Plum series.

And this is where it all began. So here now, from 1994, my interview with the newly published Janet Evanovich.

Janet Evanovich celebrated her 80th birthady in April. Her most recent Stephanie Plum book, the 30th in the series, was published this year.

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Salman Rushdie

Indian-born author Salman Rushdie was building a solid literary reputation in the 1980s. His novels won several prestigious awards.

But it was his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, that earned him not accolades, but I death sentence, pronounced by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Rushdie spent the next several years essentially in hiding, with constant death threats hanging over him.

Gradually, however, he re-emerged in public, and by 2002 was again going on author tours. That’s when I first met him, as we talked about his non-fiction book Step Across This Line.

So here now from 2002 Salman Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie is 76 now/.

One year ago this weekend Rushdie was attacked on stage at a lecture in New York. He was seriously injured. His attacker was arrested and charged with attempted murder. The government of Iran has denied any involvement.

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Thomas Keneally

Tom Keneally has written dozens of books in his career, spanning from the 1960s.

But the one book with which you may be most familiar is his prize-winning 1982 book called Schindler’s Ark. It was later renamed Schindler’s List, and that’s what the movie was based on.

Keneally is one of Australia’s most prolific, and most honored, authors.

He has also been a playwright, lecturer, and even actor.

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing him half a dozen times over the years, including our talk in 1995 about his novel A River Town.

So here now, from 1995, Thomas Keneally.

Thomas Keneally will be 88 this fall. His last book was published in 2019.

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Helen Gurley Brown

Photo by Kingkongphoto

What is it about growing older? That seems to really freak some people out?

Yes, you can talk the good talk about growing old gracefully at all that. But some people just don’t want to grow old.

Or, at least, feel like they are growing old.

Such was the case with the long time editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.

After all, she had built her reputation from the 1960s on the idea of being youthful and sexy and vibrant.

But, facing up to chronological reality, in 1993, Brown wrote a book called The late show. And that’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1993, 71-year-old Helen Gurley Brown.

Helen Gurley Brown died in 2012. She was 90.

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E Lynn Harris

Our recognition of Pride Month continues, with a look back at an interview with one of the most prominent African American and LGBTQ authors of contemporary literature.

E. Lynn Harris quit his job as a computer salesman in 1990 to begin a full-time writing career. His first novel, invisible life, won widespread acclaim. He followed up with Just As I Am, and that was when I firstmet and interviewed him. We subsequently had several interviews.

In fact, over the next two decades, Harris had 10 consecutive New York times. Best-selling books.

So here now, from 1995, E Lynn Harris.

E Lynn Harris died in 2009. He was 54.

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Candace Bushnell

25 years ago this week a new series premiered on HBO. It was based on the cloumns written by a journalist named Candace Bushnell. She called it Sex And The City.

Bushnell had a lifelong ambition to be a successful novelist. So when I met her, in 2003, she had actually just written her first novel. The heroine of the book Trading Up was a young woman, not unlike the characters we met in Sex And The City.

And much like Sex And The City, the characters in Trading Up must ask difficult questions.

So here now, from 2003, Candace Bushnell.

Candace Bushnell is now 64, and lives in New York.

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Ron McLarty

A funny thing happened on the way to Ron McLarty’s career as a famous novelist.

He became a very successful actor first .

If you’re a fan of TV series such as Law & Order, The Practice, Judging Amy, or Spenser for Hire, you’ll recognize Ron McLarty.9. Often cast as a police detective or a judge, McLarty has had a long and successful career as a character actor.

But when I met him in 2005, it was on the occasion of his first published novel, The Memory of Running. And it turns out that’s what he wanted to do all along.

So here now, from 2005, Ron McLarty

Ron McLarty died in 2022 at the age of 74.

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Linda Fairstein

As they say on a popular TV show, sexually based crimes are considered especially heinous.

That’s why, in the 1980s prosecutor Linda Fairstein was instrumental in helping establish the first sex crimes unit in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. It later inspired the TV series “Law & Order Special Victims Unit.”.

In the1990s, Fairstein diversified her talents, writing a series of bestselling crime novels whose main character was a sex crimes prosecutor named Alexandra Cooper.

I first met Linda Fairstein in 1996, upon publication of her very first Alex Cooper novel, a book called Final Jeopardy.

So here now, from 1996, Linda Fairstein .

Linda Fairstein celebrated her 76th birthday last week. She has not written an Alex Cooper book since 2019, when she became the center of controversy after the Netflix series “when They See US” revealed some dark information about the Central Park jogger case that she prosecuted in the 1980s.

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Stephen Kuusisto

Photo by Anni Vartola

Let’s face it, most of us take our vision for granted. Even if we have to wear glasses or contacts, we just look at the world and see things.

But what if you were born without that ability? What would life be like as a blind person?

Poet and professor Stephen Kuusisto was born in 1955, and has essentially been blind since birth. And he has become one of the country’s leading advocates for the blind and visually disabled community.

I met him in 1998 when he wrote his memoir, a book called Planet of The Blind.

So here now, from 1998, Stephen Kuusisto.

Stephen Kuusisto is 68 now, and still a strong advocate for those with visual disabilities.

Amy Tan

Sunday is Mother’s Day. So today, my conversation with an author who called upon her mother’s life experiences to craft one of America’s best loved novels of the late 20th century.

Amy Tan’s parents emigrated to the US from China. And they brought with them not only their own personal histories, of course, but centuries of Chinese history and wisdom.

It was against that backdrop that Tan wrote her 1989 best-selling novel, The Joy Luck Club.

And as you’ll hear in a few minutes, Tan’s writing tapped into a consciousness that even her own mother was startled by.

The first time I interviewed Amy Tan was in 1990, when the paperbackedition of The Joy Luck Club had just been published .

So here now, from 1990, novelist Amy Tan.

Amy Tan is 71 now. She is frequently listed as among the most important and influential American authors of her time.

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