Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor? - Jolene Perry

You guys are really lucky because today we have the uber talented Jolene Perry! And uber talented is way more talented then very talented. 

Angie: Jo, do you have on your Mr. Rogers sweater? Are you ready for some questions?

Jolene: To be totally honest and probably somewhere WAY into TMI land - I'm still in bed and wearing a t-shirt I will probably slide a bra under and wear that today.

I DO, however, have a Mr. Rogers sweater (black and blue stripes today - a mens small) that I totally plan on sliding over my slept-in t-shirt. (Helps cover up the "sleep wrinkles")

I know, I know. I'm high class.

Angie: Oh, that is high class. I'm dressed in real clothes today, but they may or may not be exactly what I wore yesterday. The world will never know :)

Jolene: My jeans will def be the ones I wore yesterday. I have a thing with over-priced jeans, which means that I usually only have two or three pairs at a time . . .

Hatcher's Pass
Angie: Nice! Now, I don't know if everyone knows this but you live in Alaska! I'm a sucker for gorgeous settings. Does living someone so beautiful ever influence your writing?

Jolene: It totally does, and it provides a nice backdrop, too :D
(Kelley Vitollo and I are working on a collab that takes place up here right now)
I live near Hatcher's Pass (worth a google image search) and have a fab view of the mountains from all the windows on the back of our house. Also, yesterday I was in my chair against the window when a moose walked like 5 feet away. Very cool.

Angie: That is cool. I'm totally jealous!!!

Okay, here is something I've always wanted to know. You churn out stories faster than anyone I know (Jolene can do 50k a month in the blink of an eye :). So two questions--where do you get your ideas, and when do you find time to write?

Jolene: My ideas come from EVERYWHERE. I honestly have a harder time STOPPING them from coming. I reach pause points in books more because I'm not sure which idea to go with.

My idea for Night Sky came while I was sitting in the Taco Bell drive through. An idea for a current project came from the front page of a Time magazine. Another story came from a case my husband prosecuted. MOST of the time they hit me when I'm trying to sleep. So, yeah. Everywhere.

As for time . . . Three mornings a week when BOTH kids are in school. At night. MOST of what I do during the day with kids around is my online stuff and crits for other people. I'll get to a certain point and then I do something with my kids or a "chore" and then I'm back at my computer.

I'm pretty much obsessed. That, and I don't watch TV. OK. I watch a TINY bit of TV. But right now I can't remember the last show I picked out and watched - I'm just usually in the same room as my family and whatever THEY want to watch when they're in front of the TV (not often) - with my computer on my lap.

Angie: Well, now I have to read Night Sky and see what it has to do with Taco Bell :) I know your agent just sold it to a publisher. When does it come out?

Jolene: March 1st :D

Mike (husband) and I were talking about 80s movies in the Taco Bell drive through, and we brought up Pretty in Pink, and I still think Duckie should have gotten the girl. So I started the book with Jameson (my MC) losing the girl friend that he's loved (but never told her he loved) to another guy. And we jump off from there. I think Jameson is VERY close to being my favorite character I've ever written.

Angie: That is SOOO cool! I can't wait to read it (I'm a Duckie fan). I loved your first book, The Next Door Boys. I can't wait for this next one! 

So here is a question I want to know the answer to...You've gone in both directions, you've had your first book published by a small publisher without and agent, and you also have an agent that has sold some of your stories. What is the difference and do you prefer one over the other?

Jolene: MY OPINION (of course)
I don't care how big or small the publisher is, having an agent is SO nice, but it HAS to be the right agent for you, or you'd be better off going it alone.

Going alone is not a bad option - there are a lot of great publishers out there who take manuscripts from un-agented authors, and probably all agents sell books to publishers who take both agented and un-agented authors.

I'd shy away from publishers who prefer that you DON'T have an agent . . . that would seem shady to me.

Angie: Oh, that is good advice. I haven't heard that before. I think deciding to try and go on unagented is a hard decision for lots of writers.

How about a few fun questions? What is your best physical feature? And don't say eyes. Eyes are a cop out!

Jolene: Eyes are a TOTAL copout, lol.
I have nice, tiny feet. Maybe it's why I like shoes so much :D
(I hover between a 6.5 and a 7)

Angie: LOL! I have small feet too! 5 or 6, but I can NEVER find shoes because my feet are wide. My sister says they are square hobbit feet. She is so nice to me :)

Jolene: Yeah, sisters are a pain.
I remind mine all the time that she's SEVEN years older than me :D

Angie: Nice, playing the age card. That always works.  Next fun question :) What color do you think best describes your personality? And why?

Jolene: Orange for my enthusiasm (because you can't be sad around orange), and grey cause I just LOVE grey - it can be soft, it can be hard, it can be warm, cold. Grey can be anything and I love that.

Angie: Oooo! That is great! I'm kind of a color junkie, so I love this answer. You are spot on :)

Okay, I can't let you go without a pageant question (Hehehe, this is SO fun!) -- Since you write contemporary YA, this questions should be right up your alley. What do you think is the biggest problem facing young adults today, and what are some ways we can help them with it?

Jolene: Simply not thinking they're worth more than they are.

I think so many teens have no idea how incredible they are, how much potential they have, how temporary all the crap they're wading through is. Because at that age, everything is HUGE, and it needs to be! It prepares you for the things in life that ARE actually huge. But I wish more than anything that I could have given my high-school self some perspective.

How to help?

Wish for world peace, lol - that's my "pageant" answer.
I think just showing them how much bigger the world is than they are, how much there is out there to do and to experience and that if they want to, they can be a part of incredible things. Big or small, if you're doing good things, you're making the world a better place.
(Was that last bit pageant-y enough?)

Angie: *Clapping. Clapping* 9.5 and you look stunning in that soft gray evening gown! Thanks Jo! You were fantastic today. Fun answers.

 One thing I just love about you is how you can't help but infuse everything you write with your personality! It's so refreshing :) So YOU!

Jolene: Yeah, I really fall on my face when I try to be someone else, LOL.
If I'm gonna crash and burn, I might as well land in the mud as me... even in my stunning grey gown ;-O
THANKS Angie!! This was fun :D

Angie: LOL! Thanks Jolene :)

Jolene and I are kind of long winded when we get together (so sorry for the long post :)  If you want a great story you can buy Jolene’s first book The Next Door Boys right now. Night Sky comes out March 1, 2012 and Knee Deep comes out May 1, 2012.


Kelley said...

Great interview ladies! I love Jolene. It was nice to sit down with you guys and listen in on your chat :) Can't wait to read Night Sky!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I heard that Duckie was supposed to get the girl in the original script, but apparently Molly Ringwald argued against it; she said that her character only viewed Duckie as a friend. But I always liked Duckie too, and I'm glad that at least he found someone nice in the movie, even if it wasn't the one he originally wanted.
Hatcher's Pass looks beautiful, and it looks like it would be a really peaceful place to write. As someone who lives in the city and is much more likely to look out the window and see nothing but a view of my neighbors' apartments, I'm envious.

Cassie Mae said...

This is fab! Jolene is so amazing and I didn't mind reading your long-winded conversation! I actually added in my own commentary, lol.

Ignore me... I'm strange. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Was that long? So interesting I didn't notice. :)

Kyra Lennon said...

That was fun! I always enjoy hearing anything Jolene has to say! :D

RachelMaryBean said...

Jolene, I loved your answer to the 'pageant' question! It's spot on. I work with teens and I am always surprised when they don't realize how awesome they are.

Ruth Josse said...

Ladies, that was awesome! Jolene has such a fun personality and it totally comes out in whatever she does. So excited for her next books!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

You two are hilarious! Thanks for the awesome interview! :D

Kim said...

OH, I loved this! And I like your new blog lay-out, very nice.
I am attempting to write YA, and will definitely check Jolene's books out :)

Gwen said...

Dear lords a speed writer. I wish I had that type of skill.

Jess Stork said...

That's an impressive writing schedule, how she finds time to fit it all in. I live in mortal fear of the day I get kids... all my writing friends tell me I won't have time for writing then. But you ma'am have given me hope.

Laura Josephsen said...

What a fun interview! :D

Angela Brown said...

This was a wonderful post. I loved getting to be a part of your chat, ladies.

Leigh Covington said...

You girls are so fun together. What a fabulous interview! I love it!

And I am always totally in awe over how fast Jolene can pump out a book! Amazing! I can't wait to read the new ones! :)

Jolene Perry said...

That was the funnest interview EVAH!!!


Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

My publisher didn't require an agent and I don't think they are shady. They just have their way of doing business. For the record...Alaska looks really cold. But there is beauty in cold I guess.

Tara Tyler said...

what a friendly interview =)
nice to get to know jolene!

Jolene Perry said...

Michael -
Just wanted to clarify - MOST publishers don't require an agent, and they're awesome!! Both publishers I've worked with don't require an agent. My point was that you should be worried if your pub house is relieved when you don't have an agent. That's all. AND that's just my opinion.

Also - the Hatcher's Pass pic makes me happy - the far grey buildings are the old mine, and the spot we most often visit :-D

i'm erin. said...

Great interview! I love Jolene. She's pretty super awesome and it's amazing she's from Alaska. I think I would become certifiable if I lived there, but go Jolene!

Emily R. King said...

Fun interview, ladies! Jolene, your drive and enthusiasm for writing inspire me.
Thanks for having her, Angie. You could be the next Diane Sawyer! ; )

Meredith said...

Such a fun interview! I went to Alaska when I was about eight, and it's still one of my fave trips ever. It's sooo beautiful up there. :)

Dan Verner said...

Neat interview! So, Jolene, you are just being interviewed all over the net! ;^) Way to go!

Sarah Pearson said...

Not long enough! I love Jolene, and I'm so happy for the good things that are happening to her right now :-)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Two of my favoritest people letting me eavesdrop on their intelligent conversation. Brava! Brava!

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