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 . . .
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?
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.