This week we are so elated to have Jolene Perry with us today.
Jolene is not only awesome, but a very talented writer. She lives in Alaska with her two children and her husband. Jolene plays the guitar, takes pictures, and loves to hike. She doesn’t like rivers, but loves the ocean almost as much as she loves to write.
Jolene, we were so excited to hear about your new book, LOVE BLIND, which is coming out on May 10th. Can you tell us a little about your book?
This book is about two unlikely friends who bond over a list of fears. I wrote Hailey, a loud, outgoing girl who plays in a girl band and is going blind. Christa wrote Kyle, a painfully shy guy who manages the sound for the high school radio station. Hailey meets Kyle, and almost immediately talks him into doing a fear list with her.
You co-wrote this book with C. Desir. How is it to work with another writer?
The WRITING part is so much more fun. The editing gets really tricky with two people. It’s balancing what I want, what she wants, and what our editor wants that gets difficult.
Having a niece with hearing loss, I was excited to see someone write a book with a character that is struggling with a major loss as well. Your main character, Hailey, is a musician with degenerative blindness. Was it hard to write this point of view?
YES. Major research. I based Hailey off of a young woman I live near, so I could use her issues as Hailey’s issues. That simplified my process for Hailey a great deal, but it still required a TON of research and of course, only a twentieth of that went into the book.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
A real life story of Christa’s that didn’t have a good ending. And the idea that when we’re in high school, we don’t always see the amazing person in front of us for who they really are.
So tell us, why did you start writing?
I have always written, but never thought I could write a whole book. I actually wrote my first novel by accident. I wrote a scene, and then the scene that came after, and then the one before, and when I reached 100 pages, I knew it would be a novel. After that, I was hooked.
Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?
I take a break, but never longer than a week. And I get discouraged at one or several points during the writing/editing of each and every book. Sometimes I’ll write a short romance novella (I do those as Jolene Betty Perry), and they help me remember how I love to write. Writing and publishing is always full of ups and downs, and pushing through those is key to staying in the game.
What is your favorite writing snack (if you have one)?
Apple slices, dark chocolate, and Pellegrino.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Forcing myself away from my book long enough to really SEE it. Also, looking at what I’ve written, and knowing it’s not good enough, or that I didn’t tell the story I wanted in the right way.
What is the easiest part about writing?
The first draft.
What is your writing routine like (every writer always asks)?
It varies, honestly, but my most often used routine is: 1. Do a mindless chore while thinking about what comes next. 2. Set a timer, sit down and write w/o going online until the timer goes off (30-45 minutes). If I want to keep writing, I do. If I’m ready for a break, I’ll write a few lines in all caps about what comes next, do a mindless chore or workout (moving your body is key), and then set another timer.
If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?
That I don’t like rivers because I nearly drowned in one. Twice.
What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?
FIND PEOPLE. You will need writerly friends. NEED.
Are you working on anything new?
ALWAYS. So many things. I have two novellas in anthologies as Jolene Betty Perry (LDS and clean romance) coming out this spring – A Timeless Romance Collection: Road Trip, and Curl Up With A Cowboy. I also have another Almost a Fairytale novella coming out called Part of Your World, which is Ariel’s story, only flipped…
As Jolene Perry (my YA, nationally published self), I have Love Blind (May 2016),, and A Forever Thing (October 2016). A Forever Thing is a mix of friendship and first love, it’s my Addams Family meets a John Hughes movie, and I love it.
Thank you so much Jolene!!
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