I grew up with the kind of dad who used a lighter to detect possible gas leaks in gas lines. A dad who said things like, “They let electricians do it! Of course you can wire your house!”
Because of this line of thinking, and my mother’s ENDLESS patience and support, I competitively show-jumped, I went to college, I became a teacher, I tried new things. Every year. At least one. Because of this dad, I drew plans for a house, because hey, they let architects do it! And then twice (because much like childbirth, you forget the pain) we built two houses starting with the plans, all the way to the final bits of paint on the walls. And there is nothing like building your own home.
But when it came to thing that I wanted to do more than anything else, that thing that felt so unattainable, I put off trying. I put it off by switching away from an English major in college. By keeping only a moderate journal. By quashing the idea as soon as it formed.
And then blogging became a thing. A big thing. Everyone had a blog! Even stay at home mom’s like me! And it was a struggle learning to stay home with the same single, small person every day after herding classrooms of middle and high school students. So I began to blog. The first ones were clunky, but they got better, more succinct. The writing came easier. Sharing small stories about our day became easier. That brilliant part of storytelling where some tidbit from the beginning, comes back around in the end… That got easier too.
So, one day I’m playing my guitar (guitarists do it!) and I had this idea for a story. We were feeling particularly broke at the time (student loans – almost everyone does it!) and driving up the road when I mentioned having this idea for a scene or story, and my husband said, “Why don’t you write that down? Just for fun?”
He had no idea what he would start with those few words.
I’ve been seriously writing close to ten years, worked with five publishers, done literary internships, switched agents, seen a few successes and many failures. Over thirty novels later, I’ve written a few stories.
Jolene has written young adult titles for Entangled/Macmillan, Albert Whitman Teen, and Simon Pulse. She is represented by Jane Dystel (and sometimes Sharon Pelletier) of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management.
Jolene is a member of SCBWI. She also runs her own blog that features some of her most popular classes at writing conferences HERE. She belongs to the LDStorymakers Author’s Guild and was the Chair of the 2018 Storymakers Conference.
She recently moved from Alaska to Colorado with her husband, two children, two dogs, and cat. She now never wants to move again.
Jolene grew up in South-central Alaska. She’s lived in Anchorage, near the Alyeska ski resort, on a cabin on an island on a lake, and then in a boring old house.
Jolene kissed a boy on her high school graduation night. One she’d wanted to kiss for a long time. They got married two years later, have built two homes together, survived military deployments, law school, student loan debt, and two children.
Jolene plays the guitar, takes pictures, and loves to hike. She doesn’t like rivers, but loves the ocean. She loves to fly, but gets motion sick. She’s spent months sailing in the caribbean–two trips that were both dreams come true.
She taught high school French when she was only a few years older than her students, and then taught middle school math with her degree in political science and French.
She spends grocery money on designer fabric, shoes, and books.
Jolene cannot express how many times she wished she could write a whole novel. And now she has. Many times. Life is good.
You can reach Jolene at jolenebperry at gmail