Interview: Jolene Perry

Occasionally, we here at the Imaginary Friends blog get the chance to interview an author. Some of you may remember the previous interviews. Both of them. If so, please be assured that this interview is NOTHING LIKE the previous interviews.

Okay, so it's actually pretty similar, but there's one big difference:  This time, we have a REAL AUTHOR!

Jolene's Book

Jolene B. Perry is the author of uncounted millions of books, one of which will be available in PRINT on October 8th. It's called The Next Door Boys. Jolene also has a fabulous blog. (But don't go there yet! You might not come back!) She lives in Wasilla, ALASKA, which pretty much proves that she's crazy.

And if that's not proof enough, on to the interview!

First, Jolene, what would you like me to call you in the interview to mark where your answers start? I could use your initials, JP or JBP; your name, Jolene or Jo or even Joe, just to confuse people; or something completely arbitrary like a ^, or #,...or $&@#. You know, whatever you want. Jol, Jole, Jolly P. 

I will regret doing this later - BUT my nickname in elementary school from the girls I did 4-H with (yep) called me Joleenie Weenie Fettuccine. So, you COULD shorten my answers to JWF. Also, when I was in high school I did show jumping (had an amazing horse that stood at 17'2" - he was awesome) my nickname there was Lean Mean Jumping Machine Jolene - so, you know, the abbreviation would be a bit longer LMJMJ.
Jolene (who has cool shoes, apparently)

Okay, JWF, now for some questions.


(BS? Where did you get that? My initials? That doesn't seem fair.)

BS: Are you still working on all those books?

JWF: No. Not THOSE, books. The other ones. The new ones. The old ones are collecting dust at 24,000 words, the new ones will be collecting dust at 24,000ish words any day now.

BS: When will I be able to walk into a bookstore and buy them?

JWF: Uh . . . the dust covered ones?? YEARS. The Next Door Boys?? In your neck of the woods in October - HA! Hopefully my mainstream sometime the very end of 2012, or maybe 2013, you know, if we all live past December.

BS: What are they about?

JWF: Uh, so, there's this girl . . . and she meets this . . . umm, boy . . . and I think that she's going to have some sort of problem you know? Something that will make her NOT like the boy . . . yeah . . . and the guy? He just got burned, and so he's not ready for a relationship, and then . . . well, I'm not sure, but there's bound to be an amount of kissing, and probably, but not definitely a happy end, or something like that . . .

BS: Are you friends with Sarah Palin? Why don't you just ghost write a book for her?

JWF: Because I might strangle her first?? So, there's that. Her husband goes snowmachining at their cabin in Petersville, so believe it or not, that's the only place I've ever seen them - two and a half hours north of the town we both live in. Though - she's never here anymore. Oh. And no one can see Russia from here, aside from Google Earth.

BS: How much money do writers like you make?

JWF: Oh, you're going to get excited about this. Ready?? I figure that I'll make just over a dollar a book for The Next Door Boys. This type of fiction usually sells between 500-1000 copies. There's exceptions, of course, but that's the norm. I get my FIRST royalty check seven months after the release date of the book. So, that'll be say, May 2012. When I get that check, I'll hop down in my newly purchased coach-fare ticket, to do a book signing in your area, in hopes that it pays for my rental car. Pretty sweet, huh?

BS: I'll mark my calendar! Where do you get your ideas?

One of my favorite books I got the idea for while Mike and I were talking about old eighties movies in the Taco Bell drive-through. It turned into one of my FAVORITE books - Night Sky, which comes out later this year. (smooth selling my new book, right?) I wanted a book that STARTED with a bad ending, to see what happens after the guy plans a night with his best friend, who he's been in love with, and she ends up with the other guy. You know, like Duckie in Pretty In Pink (who totally should have gotten the girl). I got one idea while thinking how one thing could have totally changed my high school experience (Want To Be). I wrote a book after hearing Breakeven by the Script (Knee Deep, goes on sub next week :) So, yeah. from my life, but twisted. From songs, and from the Taco Bell drive-through. I could give you a list as big as my project list, but that would be boring to everyone but me. 

BS: What's the greatest thing about being a writer?

JWF: I love the escape I get from books, but being a writer you get to immerse yourself in the story in a whole different way. It appeals to my creative side, and to the side of me that loves precision, order and math. Though - I'd argue that the higher up in math you get, the more creativity you're allowed in solving problems. I know, I know - I used to be a math teacher, what can I say?

BS: How long does it take to write a book?

JWF: Depends drastically. I wrote the first draft of The Next Door Boys in two weeks. BUT spent months overhauling it. I wrote the first draft of Joy (at publishers being read hopefully sometime this century) in 8 days, and the MS has only been tweaked since then. I started another project a year and half ago that's sitting at 24,000 words (a third of the way done) and I have no idea how long it'll take me to get back to it. Right now I'm bouncing between three projects (not recommended) so it'll be hard to say how long it takes. Also, I probably took this question WAY too seriously.
One month to first draft.
Read to Mike.
Two weeks of pretending it doesn't exist.
Go over it. 
Send to Heather who works for shoes (she's a reader not a writer, and helps me make sure the story all ties in)
Go over with her corrections.
Let it sit.
Read again.
Send to another reader.
Go over.
Let it sit.
Read again. Pretend that each page is the ONLY page the editor will see. SO HORRIBLE AND TEDIOUS.
Send to my agent :D

BS: Do you still ride horses?

JWF: I have access. I have people who would LOVE for me to ride their horses because they know who I am. Okay, that just made me sound snobby. Several things stop me. 1. I need a place for my kids to go while I ride, and right now, I use that time for writing. 2. It's expensive, I'd get sucked in quick and we just can't afford it. 3. I can never own a horse again, because I have really expensive taste in horses, and it just isn't going to happen. Also, when your hobby costs that much, you end up doing JUST that when you have spare time, and there are a million other things I like to do - climbing, mountain biking, hiking, rafting, chasing my kids around the museum, hanging at my parents cabin (no roads there, snowmachine only) so, no. No riding. I might change that next year when Jack goes to Kindergarten, and ride once a week or so. I miss the jumping bad.

Thanks for stopping by Jolene! Have a safe trip back to Alaska!

(I'm gonna have to think of harder questions next time.)


  1. Jolene, I used to be a math teacher, too! (Well, sort of. The only official teaching I ever did was a year as a computer teacher, but my degree was in math.) And how cool that you've jumped horses! Have you ever used that in a book?

    Thanks for the interview, Jolene and Ben! And congratulations on the publication of THE NEXT YEAR BOYS!

  2. Wow -it took THOSE pictures exactly ONE day to come back and haunt me, lol.


    Yeah, I always thought that if I rode, it would go in a book. Not yet. I did meet this cutie boy of 16 year old (I mean this in a totally non-creepy way) who jumps horses this summer, and thought it would be fun to base a book around a guy who rides. Who knows . . .

  3. Great interview. Loved the questions. You guys are so funny!

  4. "And no one can see Russia from here, aside from Google Earth." <<LOVE this!! You're so flippin rad, Jolene. Hilariously fab interview!

  5. Hilarious interview, loved it! Jolene's awesomely crazy.

  6. Jo,
    I hear from my confidential informant that Alaska has, like, one fast food drive-through, namely, Taco Bell. Imagine what you could write about if you had, say, a Carls Jr or Burger King, or even a Jack-in-the-Box. Wow! The dust would probably, you know, move a little off that one manuscript.

    Ben, totally awesome interview. Way to pry those intimate questions out of your authors.

  7. My wife rocks! Now I know that this must look wierd because I look like Jolene, but I'm not! I'm her husband and since I don't have my own website or avatar or whatever, whenever I leave a comment I look like her. (This is because I'm using her computer! That's right. She's busy giving our son like the umpteenth thing he's asking for instead of going to bed and I ganked her computer for a minute:)

    Anyway, awesome site Ben, she said I'd love it and thanks for interviewing her. I got a kick out of it and from her writing. Although, between you and me, I'm a little worried that the killed off husband in the first book she wrote was based on me!? :)

  8. Ben - I have re-confiscated my computer.

    i did not kill off my husband in my first book.

    And. . . I guess that's really all I have to say.

  9. Hi Mike! Yeah, I did a double take on that first sentence. If anything mysterious happens to you, we'll really wonder.

  10. Oh. Great. I'm already being implicated in a crime that I didn't even commit in a book!!! lol


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