Hi! My name is Stephanie Evanovich and I have a confession to make.
Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be an actor. Okay, that’s not entirely true. At first I wanted to be a singer, but in my teenage years I started smoking. It didn’t take long for me to realize I had started sounding more like Bobcat Goldthwait than Celine Dion, so I scrapped the crooning. It would be years until I finally figured out that what I should have scrapped was the smoking. Can I get a rebel yell?
For decades I studied and practiced the craft, trying to pay my dues. I took classes; I did more cheesy community theater productions than I can count. I did some low-budget films—I don’t think I even remember the titles. I was also an extra on Fletch Lives. If you look really closely at the end, you can see a blurry head in a blue choir robe peeking through a door as they wheel a body past. The look I was going for was horror; the assistant director actually told me to keep doing it for all the takes, so I’d like to think I made an impression. But my real claim to fame is that there are probably enough head shots of me in garbage cans to shut down a local landfill.
And since I’m being completely honest, there were long stretches of time when the priority was entertaining my two sons, who (coincidentally) were also my best audience. If they didn’t have to go and grow up on me, I’d still be happily doing it. But I knew that if I raised them right, eventually they would venture out into the world on their own and I would have to have something to replace that tremendous void.
I started writing to amuse myself and my friends, but still held on to the acting dream. It was actually the release of the movie The Wrestler that finally put a pile driver to it. I found out a good deal of it was filmed in Asbury Park, New Jersey—literally a half mile from my house. It was then that it dawned on me, like waking up out of a sleeper hold: if I can’t find my way onto a set as an extra in a movie about a washed-up wrestler that is being filmed a stone’s throw from my front door, maybe I don’t have the right connections. I won’t even bother going into detail about the funk that followed.
Luckily, I have some very supportive friends who also happen to be writers and creative types in general. They encouraged and motivated me to write the novel Big Girl Panties. I can’t help but see symmetry in it all: whether I’m singing, acting, or writing, maybe what I really want to do is entertain. I just took the scenic route to my medium.
I consider it a privilege to have this opportunity to try to entertain you. In fact, I’ve been waiting for it most of my life.
The Story Behind The Sweet Spot
Dorothea Benton Frank, bestselling author of The Hurricane Sisters, interviews Stephanie Evanovich
Dottie: I just want to congratulate you on the success of your debut, Big Girl Panties. And you’re following that up a year later with a new novel that I’m sure will keep people talking.
Stephanie: Thanks, Dottie! It’s been a really fun year. I’m looking forward to the July eighth release of The Sweet Spot. I can’t wait to get back out there and talk to readers about it. And congrats on your new release—The Hurricane Sisters. It’s the book I think I’ll be taking with me when I travel, if I can wait that long to read it.
Dottie: The romantic duo in The Sweet Spot, Chase and Amanda Walker, were sidekicks in Big Girl Panties—did fans specifically ask for you to bring them back for a star turn?
Stephanie: After Big Girl Panties hit the streets and I started getting feedback, it was pretty clear that some readers really took to them. They nearly stole the show! And I’m positively thrilled by that. They may be my favorite couple.
Dottie: Chase Walker is a superstar baseball player and a lot of the tension in the novel comes from Amanda trying to decide if she wants to be a superstar’s girlfriend. I know you’re a sports fan. Were you excited to have a pro athlete as your hero?
Stephanie: Excited is a bit of an understatement. It was more like crazy-over-the-moon psyched. There’s just something about athletes . . . yum.
Dottie: There’s some genuinely fun, spicy scenes in this book. How do readers react when you turn up the heat?
Stephanie: When I went out on the road with Big Girl Panties and met readers, fun seemed to be the order of the day. Throw some spice in there and it’s a recipe for delicious hotness—at least I’m hoping that’s the case.
The Sweet Spot
July 8, 2014
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At heart, Chase is a monogamist who likes strong women, despite his playboy image. Amanda is exactly the type he’s been looking to settle down with, but she won’t say yes easily. From daily visits to the restaurant to extravagant flower arrangements, Chase will stop at nothing to persuade her to go out with him—and he finally succeeds!
For Amanda their romance is all too good to be true, and something has got to give. Can Chase really be this perfect? And then she discovers that squeaky-clean Chase Walker has a spicy little kink. While readers of Big Girl Panties will remember it quite well, Chase’s fans have no idea that off the field, he likes to indulge in a little passionate spanking from time to time.
To her surprise, Amanda discovers a naughty side she never knew she had. But then, thanks to a tabloid, their secret comes to light and becomes the nation’s favorite water-cooler gossip. Will Amanda give up a little bit of her single-girl freedom for true love with a twist? Or will the pressure of Chase’s stardom spell doom for this sexy couple?
The Sweet Spot
© 2014 Stephanie Evanovich
It was a top down kind of day. The sky was blue, with a few passing clouds and just a hint of breeze indicating that winter was waving its final good-bye. It hinted at summer just around the corner. The sun was bright and warm, encouraging buds to blossom into fragrant glorious flowers. The very atmosphere spoke of all the things possible as the earth renewed itself after a cold east coast hibernation. It was just too tempting. Amanda never put the top down anymore, not since the first summer she had the Chrysler Sebring anyway. She’d always wanted a convertible. At least fate had been kind enough to wait until August two years ago to sport around before a wasp tangled itself in her hair at 40 miles an hour on her way to opening day at the Cold Creek. It ended up stinging her hand, her neck and inadvertently, her front bumper and an unsuspecting fire hydrant. She spent the night she had meticulously been planning for months moping in an ER room with a slight concussion and a burn from the airbag. It had been air conditioning whenever she was in the car from then on. But when she walked out the front door that late April afternoon and was greeted with that first you-know-you-don’t-need-a-jacket day, she was willing to take the risk. Today felt different. And wasps would still be drowsy. Amanda watched ducks and geese and squirrels roaming in pairs as she drove past Maxwell Place Park, looking actually love struck, ready to extend their respective species. People on the streets were smiling as they hustled about their day, others were acting flirty. It was nothing short of spring fever, and she couldn’t help but catch it. At a stop light, she titled her face up towards the sun to let it shine on her for a moment as she offered up a quick prayer of thankfulness for this beautiful day, her wonderful life and all the possibilities that came with it. Maybe she’d do some flirting herself. She turned up the radio and began to bounce to the music. Yeah, it was a top down kind of day.
And then there was the seagull that flew overhead.
Amanda watched it all go down from the rearview mirror as she checked her make-up after pulling into The Cold Creek Grill’s small parking lot. The white and green gloppy goo fell perfectly onto the right side of her head, a stark contrast to her long black waves. She stared at it for a few moments as the reality and the poop sunk in.
“That didn’t just happen.”
Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl from Asbury Park who began writing fiction while waiting for her cues during countless community theater projects. She attended New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts and acted in several improvisational troupes and a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had, raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she’s an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.
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