Janet Evanovich Leaves Trenton, NJ, and Takes Lee Goldberg with Her in New Book Collaboration (UPDATED)

Author and TV producer Lee Goldberg (Monk series) and bestselling author Janet Evanovich (most famous for her Stephanie Plum series) met at a book signing about 18 years ago and have remained pals and of like minds ever since.

They got together about a year ago, started talking books and realized they both wanted to write the same one. The result is The Heist, which they hope will be the first of a new series of books.

"It's pure fun and something that Janet and I would read and we hope that enthusiasm comes through on the page," Goldberg says.

Kate O'Hare is a dedicated FBI agent, completely sure of herself in the performance of her 18-hour-a-day duties. Crafty Nick Fox serves the role of hunk, nemesis and sometime partner.

The biggest difference? Unlike her Stephanie Plum series which is firmly grounded in Trenton, New Jersey, Heist gives Evanovich the chance to stretch her horizons as her characters travel the world.

"Not that New Jersey (Stephanie Plum's home) isn't exotic!" Evanovich declares. "But sometimes it's good to get away."

Goldberg writes the first draft, incorporating all his extensive travel knowledge and then Evanovich polishes it off, she says. She's worked with other authors before, most notably Charlotte Hughes on several romance novels, but this is the first time she's worked with a man and she thinks it's a real plus that the book has both a male and female point of view.

Most fans know that Evanovich started with romance novels and then left the genre before turning to mysteries. Often romance writers are paid less, but that's not why she moved on, Evanovich says.

"I was sort of kicked out. I'd reached a point where I just couldn't satisfy my editors. I was having a hard time, little adventure stories and mysteries kept sneaking into my work." She also ran into an editor "who was not excited about the humor in my stories."

Goldberg says there's a real difference between Kate O'Hare and Stephanie Plum. "This character couldn't be further from Stephanie Plum. She knows exactly what she's doing with her life She has no self doubt about her ability to take on four guys with guns. "

As for the Nick Fox character, Goldberg says: "He lives for the chase. He's really good at what he does. The greedy, the selfish, the guys who want more, more, more; he takes down people who deserve it. But what he's doing is still a crime."

You'll have a chance to meet both Evanovich and Greenberg on June 20 when they come to a book signing sponsored by Murder By the Book, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Houston - Greenway Plaza, Greenway Ballroom, 6 Greenway Plaza East. You may purchase your ticket in-person at Murder by the Book (2342 Bissonnet Street), over the phone (713-524-8597), or online at A $35 event ticket gets you a book and a place in line. Doors open 6:30 p.m.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing