"When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in La La Land. La La Land is like an out-of-body experience --while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I'd pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I'd go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena's lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the murky shadows of my slightly looney imagination.
After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.
Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about ...well never mind, you get the picture.
I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.
Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.
With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.
I spent two years retooling --drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn't go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.
In '95 my husband and I moved to New Hampshire. We bought a big 'ol house on the side of a hill, not far from Dartmouth College. I have a nice view of the Connecticut River valley from my office window and there's a couple acres of land around the house. It's a good place to write a book ... and would be even better if we just had a decent mall. You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can't take Jersey out of the girl.
When we moved to New Hampshire we realized there was more to this writing stuff than just writing, so we formed a family business, Evanovich, Inc. My son, Peter, a Dartmouth College graduate, assumed responsibility for everything financial. He's the guy who pulls his hair out at tax time and cracks his knuckles when the stock market dips. In '96 my daughter Alex, a film and photography school graduate, came on board and created the website. We get about four and a half million hits a month on the site and Alex does it all ... the graphics, the mail, the comics, the store, the online advertising and the newsletter. Both Peter and Alex work full-time for Evanovich, Inc. I'm their only client. My husband, Pete, has his doctorate in mathematics from Rutgers University and now manages all aspects of the business and tries to keep me on time (a thankless, impossible job!) ... plus he does a little golfing and skiing.
It turns out I'm a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles. I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur."
Charlotte Hughes was raised in the South, the oldest and only daughter of three children. Her love of reading began in second grade when she read “Charlotte’s Web,” and she went on to become a devoted Nancy Drew fan. In college, she majored in communications and quickly found her voice in works by Southern authors like Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Katherine Anne Porter. Her favorite book, which she claims to have read several times, is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
Charlotte was introduced to romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss and early Danielle Steel books. She was in her late twenties, and a new mother, when she began writing seriously, trying her hand at short stories and, finally, category romances. Although she collected numerous rejections on her first book, her second book, “Too Many Husbands,” was snatched up by Bantam Books and published as a Loveswept in 1987. The book quickly hit the #1 spot on Waldenbooks. Charlotte went on to write almost 30 books for the line before it closed. Since that time, she has written romantic comedy, a “soft” horror anthology, and romantic suspense. After co-authoring the very popular Full House series with Janet Evanovich, Charlotte decided to start her own series about a female clinical psychologist and her crazy family, friends, and patients. The first book, “What Looks Like Crazy,” will hit bookstores in late February, 2008.
With 40 books under her belt, Charlotte is best known for her “gut-busting” comedy. Although she has won a number of awards, her biggest thrill is hearing from readers who claimed her books helped them get through a very difficult time in their lives. “I’ve received letters from cancer patients and those who have lost loved ones who told me they were able to laugh through their darkest moments because of my books. Those letters mean more to me than awards and bestseller lists.” Her comedy, she claims extends into her personal life. She trained her nieces and nephews at an early age to call her Beautiful Aunt Charlotte.
Charlotte first fell in love with historic Beaufort, SC, while vacationing on one of the Sea Islands when her two sons were less than three years old. Finally, in 1992, the family relocated to the area, and Charlotte has been there ever since. The coastal town, having escaped the destruction of the Civil War, boasts more than 100 antebellum homes and churches, and is a tourist hot-spot and home to author Pat Conroy. “I find being surrounded by water, salt marshes, and enormous moss-draped live oaks calming,” Charlotte says. “I can’t imagine living any place else.” She admits to being a homebody who keeps a low profile. Only a couple of her neighbors know she’s a bestselling author.
With her sons grown, Charlotte shares her lowcountry home with two Dachshunds whom she lovingly refers to as Dumb and Dumber, as well as Yorkie named Sassy who rules the roost. “It’s like having three toddlers in the house,” she says, “but where else do you get that kind of unconditional love?”