Posts tagged with: Janet Evanovich

Please welcome….Dorien Kelly!

It’s a fun day today in the Lair! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming my friend Dorien Kelly! Dorien was first published in 2002, and has nineteen novels and novellas in print both in the US and around the world. She was a Golden Heart winner, and a RITA finalist. She’s won the Booksellers’ Best, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Aspen Gold Award. She’s the past-President of Romance Writers of America. It’s been a pleasure to get to know her through our activities in RWA, and I’m thrilled to help her launch her latest book, Love In a Nutshell, written with New York Times Best-selling author Janet Evanovich!

Welcome Dorien!

Dorien: Thanks for having me here!

Jeanne: Dorien, we love call stories here in the Lair. I know you’ve been published for years, but I’d love to hear your original call story, and too, I’m sure everyone would love to hear what it was like to get The Call on working with Janet Evanovich!

Dorien: Oh, my first call – I’ll never forget that. It was May 3, 2001, and wonderful editor Jennifer Tam called me from Harlequin to offer to buy my very first book. About a week earlier, I had sworn to my family that I would no longer cry at the dinner table over rejections and endless silences from publishers. I planned to stop writing and take up golf. Jen’s call came just in time because I’ve never been fond of that sport.

Jeanne: Snork! Well, you never forget your first. And much as I enjoy an occasional round of golf, I’m much happier that you got that call. Love your books!

Dorien: Thank you! And now for the Tale of Janet… I was at the RWA conference in Washington DC, where Janet was the opening speaker. I was feeling a bit off that morning, so I sat at a fairly empty table toward the back of the crowd instead of joining my fellow RWA board members up at the front. Janet was asked if there was something she currently wasn’t doing that she’d like to do. She said she wanted to resume writing romance novels with a co-author. Then she added, “Who knows? I could end up working with someone in this room.”

The hair on my arms rose. I felt shaky. This was destiny! As soon as I left the room, I wrote an e-mail to my agent saying I wanted to apply. Twenty minutes later I came down with the flu. So was it destiny? Maybe. But it was definitely the flu.

Jeanne: Ugh! What a terrible time for you. And in that hotel too….gotta say it, bless your heart ’cause that had to be awful.

Dorien: Yes, it’s was one of those “worst moments.” However, good things did come to pass. So, fast-forward several weeks to when I was finally feeling better: After reading some of my prior work, Janet called and we chatted. She was charming and concise. I babbled. At least I think I did. The whole call is pretty hazy. I remember telling her I planned to have a couple glasses of wine as soon as I got off the phone. (In my defense, it was at least after noon.) Janet must have forgiven me for my nervousness because I got a call from my agent not much later. Janet wanted to work with me.

Jeanne: Totally cool! And did you….

Dorien: Yes, I did have a couple of glasses of wine.

Jeanne: I’m so glad! We never run out of wine here in the Lair, thanks to our excellent staff. Paolo? Would you bring us a nice breakfast cocktail to start, maybe a Mimosa? Grins. See what I mean? Cheers!

*Ahem* Okay, back to the matter at hand. BTW, I have to say that I LOL at the tagline they put up on Amazon for Love in a Nutshell

“Number One Bestselling Author Janet Evanovich teams up with Award-winning Author Dorien Kelly to deliver a sparkling novel of small-town antics, secretive sabotage, and lots and lots of beer”!


Of course, the beer is hero Matt Culhane’s own brew, from his Depot Brewing Company, in small-town Keene’s Harbor, Michigan. Heroine Kate Appleton is coming on board at the brewery after being fired twice in a short space of time, and none of them her fault! An amused Matt decides to hire her on to catch a saboteur.  Kate’s no sleuth, but she agrees, mostly to get revenge for getting fired from the bar for serving some of the sabotaged beer! Mostly, however, she takes the job because she needs the money. Matt’s agreed to pay her a bonus if she catches the crook. That bonus means she could make enough money to jump-start her own dream of turning the creaky, critter-ridden family summer home into a bed and breakfast.

However, the story really IS about beer!

Dorien, this is SUCH a fun story, while still having some wonderful, edge of your seat suspense as well. Well done to you both, Dorien and Janet!

BB’s, you can read an excerpt here:

And see the trailer here:

Jeanne: So Dorien, who came up with the brewery?

Dorien: Janet thought a microbrewery would be a fun idea. I knew less than zero about beer, but I’m a research freak so I was game to give it a try. I went to beer tastings and took lots of notes, some of which made no sense by the end of the night. I interviewed brewers, checked out their equipment (no, Jeanne, not that equipment!), and learned what I like and don’t like about beer. In my universe, hoppy beer = evil. I’m not allergic to it like my heroine, Kate, but while I loooove the scent of high-hops beers, I hate the taste. Ew. Just. Ew.

Jeanne: Considering I think this about ALL beer, I’m right there with you, m’dearie! Hahah! I love that you did all that reasearch though. Fascinating. Now I know who to call if I need beer notes. (As opposed to beer nuts! Ha!) Seriously, it sounds like it was a romp to research and write.

Now what about the Inn? Are you a fan of B&B lodging? Have you stayed in some that you particularly liked? Were any of them a model for what Kate wants to do?  (That’s Cedar Crest B&B in Asheville, NC, one of my favs!)

Dorien: Good question! I’ve stayed in a lot of B&Bs. The most unusual was a former boys’ boarding school in Sligo, Ireland. There was no running water, which added to the vaguely prison-like feeling of the old place. Lots of creaks and groans and ghostly footsteps in the night, too.

Jeanne: Sounds suitably spooky and cool. We have a number of fans of Ireland here in the Lair, so you’ll have to give us the name of that one. (But if the no-running-water thing is constant, I ain’t staying there…just sayin’!)  Any other favorites, perhaps WITH running water? Grins. 

Dorien: Oh, yes.  My favorite was a house built by a landscape architect in Hilo, Hawaii. The gardens, as one would expect, were incredible. The music of the coqui frogs at night sealed the deal. If I get back to Hilo, I’m staying there again!

None of these were models for Kate’s house, though. Hers is a combo of many old homes along the shore of Lake Michigan. In my neck of the woods, we build ‘em big and wooden and full of places for critters to sneak in.

Jeanne: I do love old wooden, board and batten houses like that. I’ve helped restore one like you’re describing, and have empathy for what Kate’s up against! And critters…ugh.  I couldn’t bring myself to put critter-fest up, so I found this cute pic, knowing how much you too love dogs!  Ha!

On another note, a little birdy told me that you have some big news about a certain list! Care to share?

Dorien: Yes, some very fun news! Nutshell debuted at #2 on the New York Times Hardcover Bestseller list! Needless to say, Janet and I are thrilled! I’m hoping that we’ve given Nutshell’s readers some laughs, some love, and a break from the craziness that daily life can be. 

Jeanne: Whoa! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now you’re BOTH New York Times Bestselling authors! WOOT!!! This is so COOL!

Okay, Banditas and buddies! Dorien has some questions for you:

Have you ever stayed at a B&B? What did you think, is it for you? 

Would you ever want to be an innkeeper?

Beer or Wine?

And if you’re a beer connoisseur, what’s your favorite?

Have you ever brewed beer or made wine?

Do tell!  And one lucky commenter today will win an autographed copy of LOVE IN A NUTSHELL!

The Book or the Film?

by Anna Sugden

There has been a lot of controversy lately with the new Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’ (where do they get these titles?!). For those of you unaware of the issues troubling Bond fans, it’s all to do with the last two (Daniel Craig) movies.

You see, they go back to the beginning and tell the story of how Bond developed into the character we know today. The purists believe that this is the only way to see Bond and that this is as close to the James Bond of the Ian Fleming books as we’ve seen, since George Lazenby. Film fans, meanwhile, are horrified that some of the classic Bond-isms eg ‘Martini, shaken not stirred’ and Q, are missing from these films. It doesn’t matter (much *g*) who plays Bond, but the Bond-isms have to be there.

All of which got me thinking about the problems with turning books into films.

Think of the controversy about the Harry Potter films. Though it’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that turning an 800-plus page tome into a two hour film is just the teensiest bit tricky, die-hard fans get quite upset that chunks of the story have had to be left out. They don’t see why it’s a problem to capture all the depth of characterisation and complexity of plot, without seeing that the end result would be a major bum-numbing epic!

They had the same problem with Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

Similarly, the recent version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (once you’ve got over the horror of anyone other than Colin Firth playing Mr Darcy!) raised hackles by straying from the well-known and much-loved story.

That’s not to say that any of these films is bad – they’re just not ‘as good’ as the book. Personally, I think they’re very entertaining and enjoy them for what they are … but that’s just me (except for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – which I didn’t like!)

You only need to speak with authors like Lisa Gardner about the adapatations of their books to know how they feel about what was done with their beloved stories.

On the other side of the coin, are the movies that are better (in the viewer’s mind) than the book. The one that stands out most for me, is ‘Practical Magic’ (starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and the drool-worthy Goran Visnij and Aidan Quinn). While Alice Hoffman’s book is very good, the film has much more charm.

And then, there are the multitude of TV adaptations (Thank you, BBC) and movies that are really good translations of the printed word to the screen. The Colin Firth version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘A Town Like Alice’ (the Bryan Brown TV series) and Inspector Morse are just a few examples.

I’ve seen a number of debates about potential movies made from popular series. Who would play Eve Dallas and Roarke (pause to drool) if they made the JD Robb ‘… In Death’ series into movies? What about Ranger, Joe Morelli and Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s series? It’s a brave director and producer who take on such feats – because you know you going to irritate a bunch of people no matter what you do!

I know that the fabulous Robert Crais has sworn not to allow his books to be made into movies or TV series, because he wants the reader to have their own interpretation of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike – not one fashioned by Hollywood.

So, what do you think? Do you like books being converted to films? Which do you think have been done well and which badly? Have you read a book which inspired a film and been disappointed? Does it matter if book and film don’t match exactly? Are there books you would love to see turned into movies? We all dream of our books being optioned, but how would you feel if the only recognisable element was the title?!

And who would play the yummy scrummy Roarke? Or Ranger?