Monday, June 24, 2013

Mixing It Up with Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Today's guest post is from the fabulous Kim Hammond

What do you get when you cross Stephanie Plum and Mr. Monk? THE HEIST, a book by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, two very successful authors. After being friends for many years, they decided over beer and pizza that they liked the idea of working together. As Evanovich described it to CBS news:

"We were...going over our bucket list of writing projects we never got to do and it turns out we both wanted the same thing."

The writers corresponded via email and the phone on their drafts with Evanovich doing the final polish on the book. 

THE HEIST tells the story of a cat-and-mouse game between a former Navy SEAL and the conman she can't stop thinking about. FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job. Her boss thinks she is dedicated and ambitious and her friends think she’s obsessed. While Kate has made a name for herself for the past five years the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants, in more ways than she should.

Nicolas Fox is a con man who runs elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. Just when it seems that he has been captured for good, he surprises everyone and convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.
  (You can read the first chapter here.)

The book was released on June 18, 2013 and the two authors strode into the Barnes & Noble at Crocker Park, outside of Cleveland, Ohio to rowdy cheers. Since this was such a big event you had to check in and get a number. I had pink #35. Not too bad I thought, until the man said I was the fourth color in line. There were 234 people ahead of me. Ouch.

I trudged to the designated “pink” standing section to take my spot, while mentally calculating how much time I had on my meter. We were on the first floor and the signing was taking place on the 2nd floor. I could see a line of people running around the entire perimeter of the second floor, guided by special green balloons flying high and made just for the occasion, saying "THE HEIST”.

Fortunately my group got to stand near the cards and journals so most of us milled around, shopping of course. Before you ask, yes, I did purchase a few things too. I think this might have been B&N’s secret plot to sell more this evening.

Thirty minutes later a cheery barista from the on-sight cafĂ© brought over a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, gratis. Brilliant again B&N. While time ticked by you could hear snippets of conversation. People trading favorite Monk episodes and Stephanie Plum moments.  There was very little grumbling and we excitedly watched the signing taking place above us.

I was fortunate to have met Evanovich 7 years earlier at Sleuthfest in Florida. It was a small venue so I was actually able to chat with her and get a few books signed. But I had never met Goldberg and Monk is one of my favorite shows. My sister’s also a huge fan and she mailed me a few of her Monk books from Denver so that I could get them signed for her.

We got the high sign from our “pink handler” that we could head up the escalator and there were cheers and smiles all around. Unfortunately the next book section was Biography so we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves. After about 40 minutes we were in the home stretch. Sticky notes were handed out so you could write down your name for personalization and we were told to have the book(s) open to the correct page and ready. The pressure was enormous, no room for error. They wanted to get the authors done at a decent time so there wasn’t a lot of lingering. But you could still take pictures and there was no limit on the number of books to get singed (I had five). 

Three hours after I arrived I had my booty and was heading to my car with meter time to spare. Hats off to B&N for a smooth signing under pressure. They had called in extra employees from other stores for crowd control and were efficient and orderly. 

In case you live under a rock and don’t know who these authors are: Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Stephanie Plum series.  Lee Goldberg is the best-selling author of the Monk series, as well as a screenwriter and producer. He has served as a board member for the Mystery Writers of America has earned two Edgar Award nominations for his television writing and was the 2012 recipient of the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic.


  1. What a fun night and the book sounds great. Thanks for a great post.

  2. What a terrific blog post!! You should enter those photos in our HEIST PHOTO contest. You could win another signed book.

  3. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for getting my books signed! I'm printing that photo of Lee and putting it in as a bookmark!