Character Interview: Jean (In Polyester Pajamas by Catherine Dougherty)

Welcome, Jean, from Catherine Dougherty’s novels, In Polyester Pajamas and In Woolen Bikinis. 

1. How did you first meet your writer?
I met Catherine about 10 years ago when, after introducing myself in her mind, I became the main character of in Polyester PajamasShe wanted someone with a negative attitude who was completely self-centered–that was me!
2. Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
No, most novels feature younger women as main characters and I don’t recall one with realtors in it. I’m sure there are some, I just haven’t read them. So, it was quite a surprise to be chosen as the main character for this women’s fiction novel.
3. Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
I have many favorite scenes. The hold up at the lakehouse, the special moments with my mom, and, of course, the pajama party with Rosie are just some of them.  The lakehouse is exciting, the scenes with my mom are touching (and tear jerking), and the pajama party is where Rosie and I share our deepest, darkest secrets and become best friends.
4. Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
She had no idea about the scene at the lakehouse. Both Rosie and I created it as Catherine was writing. We ran wild in a few other places too. It never involved much convincing for her to go along with us; she thinks the best parts in the story are when we took control and told her what to do.
5. What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Shopping and eating are always fun and Rosie and I have a new venture that keeps us busy. I Skype often with my kids and a very special friend from Cleveland. Oh, and I’m always on the lookout for a good looking man. Always!!!
6. If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
I would revise the second chapter a bit. It makes me sound so horrible and I’m really not that bad . . . hmmm, or am I?
7. Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I love and lust after my soon-to-be ex-husband, Bob, and I dearly love my two sons, mother, and soulmate Jacob. I despise Justin–don’t get me started there! As for Rosie, I love her, too, and I couldn’t live without her, but sometimes I want to strangle her.
8. Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
Yeah, I’d love to embark on another business venture–a private detective agency maybe. I have a few other aspirations to fulfill beforehand, but my author knows all about those.
9. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d spend the entire day in bed with my soon-to-be ex-husband Bob, garden with my soulmate Jacob, or hang out with my best friend Rosie.

10. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?
Most people don’t like me at first. They think I’m a self-centered bitch (and I am). But once they get to know me, they might see my better qualities and come to like me. I’m not that bad of a person, just a little rough around the edges.

11. What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
The worst thing that happened was refusing to speak with my mom for over two years because of a stupid disagreement. It was entirely my fault and I lost those years with her and can never get them back. I learned by going through it, though–how to love unconditionally, how to forgive others and myself, and how not to hold grudges or try to control the lives of others. I’ve also realized how short life could be and how someone I love dearly can be here one day and gone tomorrow.

12. Tell us about your best friend.
My best friend is Rosie and we are opposites in almost every way. She’s kind and gentle, simple and sweet. I am not! She’s a born again Christian (but not the preachy kind) and she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, inside and out.

13. What are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid that now my children are on their own, they won’t need me anymore. I’m afraid Jacob will forget about me and Bob will someday follow through with his plans to divorce me. And I’m also afraid of someday doing something stupid and losing Rosie as a best friend.

14. What’s the best trait your author has given you? What’s the worst?
I can make people laugh and cry through my actions and thoughts. That’s my best trait and makes me a very entertaining character. I don’t hold much back. Rather, I say whatever is on my mind.
My worst trait is that I can be bossy and bitchy and I also demand everything be done my way. Since I’ve met Rosie, though, I’ve started to adjust these attitudes. Or at least I’m trying to.

15. What do you like best about ketchup? Least?

I LOVE ketchup! My favorite snack is a ketchup and butter sandwich. Yep, you heard me. Sounds gross, but it’s delicious.
What do I like the least about Ketchup? Realizing I ran out of it after cooking something I want to put it on . . . like french fries, onion rings, burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches or scrambled eggs.

16. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I have my good days and bad days. It’s tough getting older and living on my own. About a year ago, I was so depressed, I wanted to end my life–after Bob walked out on me and my youngest son went to join his brother in California. I didn’t feel needed anymore and my future looked bleak. But my attitude has gotten better since meeting Rosie. I have some bright ideas for the future that include her and Bob is still in the picture. Plus, I’ve met Jacob. Life isn’t wonderful, but it’s pretty damn good despite all my problems. If I had to change anything, it would be to have realized this sooner in life.
17. What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?
Catherine understands me and she writes my voice well. She’s not perfect, but she’s real, and she cares. It shows through all her works. She has a simple, direct style that makes for a great fast read that is highly entertaining and also thought-provoking.
18. If your story were a movie, who would play you?
Susan Sarandon would’ve been ideal and my first choice, except she’s about 10 years older than me, so I think it should be Julianne Moore. The book would make a great movie!
19. Describe an average day in your life.
I get up, take my dog Max for a walk (later in the story I take a run in the mornings), eat breakfast, and then I go to Home Sweet Home Realty where I work and show customers several houses and do tons of paperwork. Rosie sits right next to me at the office, so we chat and sometimes she joins me for dinner. When I get home from work, I enjoy a glass of red wine (or maybe two) and always watch my favorite show House Hunters.
20. Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
She already has! The sequel in Woolen Bikinis was released in July 2013 and another sequel is in the works for release in 2014. It’s title is in Red Leather Jackets.

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