Careers: Late Bloomer

After years of frustration, Janet Evanovich is on a roll with a best-selling series of crime novels

For a successful author--and she is a very successful author--Janet Evanovich, 59, has many unfashionable tastes. She loved her years as a stay-at-home mom, in an era when feminist, have-it-all ideals reigned. She adores romance novels, though many women read them only with the curtains drawn. She is addicted to junk food, never mind that tofu is de rigeur.

Remnants of her blue-collar childhood? Maybe. But Evanovich can well afford to be out of the loop, since her eight crime novels--the first of which she published when she was 51--have made her a top national seller in the genre. In its...

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