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“Run, Rose, Run,” An Insightful Interview with World-Renowned Best-Selling Author, James Patterson

Published February 11, 2022 / Last Updated February 13, 2022

James Patterson gives us a glimpse into collaborating with Dolly Parton on their forthcoming novel, “Run, Rose, Run.”

James Patterson is known around the world as one of the greatest authors of all time. With over 100 books on the New York Times Best Sellers list, it’s no wonder Dolly Parton was thrilled to receive a personal invitation from James to co-author a novel with him.

These two creative geniuses have combined their talents to bring us something incredibly special. In this interview, James tells us about the writing process and shares what it was like to collaborate with the world’s most beloved entertainment icon on “Run, Rose, Run.”

 

You have written well over 100 New York Times bestsellers, and you’re widely known as one of the most diverse writers of our time. What was your inspiration for this particular book?

I’d always admired what Dolly does to get people reading–adults and kids. Dolly’s also a gifted storyteller. Every one of her songs is a story. I thought we’d make a good team. As it turned out–I was right. I’m enjoying being on Team Dolly.

Did you develop the plot or the characters first?

I don’t think you can separate the plot and the characters. Dolly and I developed both in layers, or drafts. The plot kept getting thicker, and the characters kept getting more complex and interesting. I think readers are going to really enjoy our book.

Who is your favorite character in Run, Rose, Run?

It would have to be a tie between Ruthanna and AnnieLee. Ethan wouldn’t be far behind. One of my rules is that you have to be incredibly involved with your heroes–and really despise the villains.

What was it like to collaborate with one of the world’s most beloved superstars, and what was your favorite part about the process?

My joke about Dolly and everyone who works with her is that they’re incredibly nice, incredibly smart and relentless. Man, do I love that. My grandmother used to say, ‘Hungry dogs run faster.’ I think Dolly and I are hungry, in a good way.

What is your typical process for co-authoring a book?

I don’t have a “typical” process for co-authoring, but it usually starts with a long outline, which goes through several drafts. One of my jokes is that the other author and I alternate words. The one thing that always holds true is that the co-authors and I work really hard to make the best book we can. I know that’s what happened with “Run, Rose, Run.”

You and Dolly share a passion for literacy. You are known for campaigning to make books and reading a national priority. When was this passion ignited in you, and how has it affected your approach to writing?

Whenever I appear at a school or conference for librarians or teachers, I’ll say ‘I’m here to save lives.’ That’s what happens when you get kids reading at grade level. It gives them a chance to finish high school and go to college, if that’s appropriate, and get a better job when they get older. My mom was a teacher, and she always told the kids at school that she was there to help them look through windows, not look in mirrors.

Has music been an integral part of your life?

Yes, indeed. I like country, but I’m a rock n’ roll junkie. I was actually at Woodstock–and I was an usher for nearly two years at the Fillmore East. When I was at Vanderbilt, I also spent a few evenings at the original Grand Ole Opry.

When did you start writing?

I think when I was a year and a half. But you probably mean when did I start writing stories. I think I started composing them in my head when I was four or five. I started writing them down on paper when I was fourteen or fifteen.

Who has been the most influential person in your life with regard to your love of writing?

About a thousand unbelievably talented novelists and non-fiction writers who I’ve read–but in particular, my grandmother. She told me I could do anything I wanted to do–except maybe play basketball in the NBA. Actually, she didn’t say ‘maybe.’

Both you and Dolly are philanthropists. Is there a charity or cause that you are especially passionate about?

I concentrate on charities that help kids become better readers, help bookstores to survive and help students who want to be teachers get through school without too much debt.

 

Now available for pre-order, the “Run, Rose, Run” novel will be published simultaneously in hardcover, ebook and audiobook and will release on March 7. The album, also available for pre-order, is slated for a March 4 release.

Team Dolly“Run, Rose, Run,” An Insightful Interview with World-Renowned Best-Selling Author, James Patterson

“Run, Rose, Run,” An In-Depth Interview with Dolly Parton

Published February 11, 2022 / Last Updated March 3, 2022

Dolly Parton shares the fascinating story behind her collaboration with world-renowned best-selling author, James Patterson, on “Run, Rose, Run.”

Dolly Parton is truly one of the most diverse creatives of our time. She’s a quintessential dreamer who simply never stops reaching for the stars and somehow always manages to sprinkle stardust on her faithful following of ardent fans. Dolly doesn’t just dream big dreams for herself. The beauty of who she is and what she does is that she brings us all along on her magical journey.

So when world-renowned author, James Patterson, reached out to her about collaborating with him on a novel, Dolly did what she does best. She created another work of art for us to treasure. We sat down with her for a Q&A to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the amazing collaboration on the forthcoming book, “Run, Rose, Run,” that she and James are releasing into the world on March 7.

 

We know how passionate you are about literacy. Your children’s book, Coat of Many Colors, is a favorite among children enrolled in your Imagination Library book gifting program, but you’ve also written autobiographical and inspirational books for adults. Was it a dream for you to write a novel, and how did this project come about?

The way this came about, James Patterson called me out of the blue and asked if I would like to write a book with him. I thought, ‘What in the world does James Patterson need me for? He’s doing all right.’ I told him, “Well, I don’t know…I’ve never thought about it. I’ve read all of your books but have never thought about writing one with you. What would it be about?” He said, “Well, let’s get together and we’ll figure something out.” So he flew to Nashville, and we visited for a long time. We realized we liked each other a lot. I told him I couldn’t be involved in anything that I’m not personally very involved in. I don’t want to just put my name on something and it not be something I’ve really contributed to. He said he had always thought about writing a book about Nashville, which I do know something about. So we came up with the idea of what it would be about. He went back home and started writing, and I started thinking about it. We exchanged ideas and before we knew it, we had a book going, and now we have a novel.

Did you draw any inspiration from your own musical journey when writing this book?

I had to draw a lot of inspiration from my own musical journey, with all of the ups and downs, the heartaches, the tears and the joys. I’ve been at it a long time and been through it all. So yes, I drew a lot from my own musical journey.

How did you come up with the title?

Well, I did not come up with the title. We kicked around so many different titles. I’d have a few and he’d had a few. One day he called and said “What do you think about ‘Run, Rose, Run’?” I said, “Wow, I love it.” She’s on the run, and you realize that AnnieLee Keys is actually Rose McCord, thus the title is “Run Rose Run.” To me, I thought that was absolutely a great title.

Which of the characters do you relate to most, and why?

I relate to both of the characters, the young AnnieLee Keys(Rose McCord) and Ruthanna Ryder, who is the older person and is just kind of who I am now, with my own career and mentoring people, writing, having my own studio and not touring. There are a whole lot of similarities in both of those characters for me.

How did co-authoring a book compare to co-writing a song? Were there any similarities?

Any time you work with anybody, whether it’s a song or book, it’s a very creative process. You have to think about the subject matter; where this should land and where that should land. So it’s very similar, but you just don’t have to rhyme so much. Your mind is allowed to be a little freer as you go, because you don’t have to keep it down to two and a half minutes for radio or that sort of thing. So you have more freedom in writing a book than you do a song.

What was it like to co-author a novel with the iconic James Patterson?

It was amazing. James Patterson, as we all know, is one of the greatest writers of all time. I was honestly kinda floored—and flattered—when James asked me to work with him. And it was fun. When he came down to my little place at my office the first time we met, when I saw him get out of the car and come up to my doorstep, I thought ‘I like this person.’ You know how you just know if a person feels right? You just get a feeling or some sort of aura about everybody. I thought, ‘He’s so relaxed, so smart, so at peace, so in control of who he is.’ And I felt there was no BS about him…even though he is fun and has a crazy sense of humor like me. So we have really wound up being good friends. I am sure we’ll always be in touch long after this book.

You teamed up with Kelsea Ballerini and a stellar cast to record the audio book. How did that come about?

I love Kelsea Ballerini. Usually if I’ve written a book, I’ll read the whole thing myself. But we thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have the characters take on their own personality?’ I read the Ruthanna—the older woman—part. Then we thought, ‘Who should we get to read the AnnieLee Keys/Rose character?’ Of course, Kelsea’s name came up, and we all said ‘YES!’ She’s very sweet, and I thought that was a good call.

Tell us about the 12-song companion album that is releasing simultaneously with the book. Did you know from the beginning you wanted to release a companion piece, or was it an idea that came organically during the process of writing the novel?

Early on, when I started writing with James and, of course, we couldn’t be together every day, we had phone calls and exchanged emails and all the ways you work when you’re older people like us. He would send me ideas, and I’d send him my thoughts. I thought, ‘I bet I can contribute to this more by writing a lot of my thoughts about the characters and their situations in a song.’ So I started writing songs and sending them to him. He said “Wow, this is a great idea. I can expand on the characters and get more in-depth on who they are and what they’re actually thinking from a woman’s point of view, especially the AnnieLee and Ruthanna songs.” And the male character, Ethan, I know him, because I hung out with all of these guys in the music business—Porter, Kenny, Merle Haggard and all the greats. I’ve been in it a long time, so I related to all of these characters. I thought, ‘I can write songs for all of them.’ So I started doing that, and James loved it. Then I thought, ‘Wow, this is a really good album. I can put these songs in an album. Nobody’s ever really done a soundtrack for a book that I know of.’ So I thought it would be a great vehicle for promotion and marketing to have both of them come out together. James and I have a very strong publicity and marketing department, plus the publishing company. Everybody got on board, and we’ve really made it work for us, I think. I’m excited about that. You can listen to the album and know what the book is about. And if you read the book and listen to the songs, you really completely know what it’s all about and kinda link them. It’s kind of a little fun thing all on it’s own, something different.

Your breadth of writing is unparalleled, from songs to Broadway musicals to movies to books. Can we expect more novels like this from you in the future?

I really don’t know. I had always thought that I would write novels, but I thought it would be when I was older. Then I realized I am older. (HA!) So I don’t know. It will depend on how things go. I’m a creative writer, and the spirit has to hit me on what I’m going to write about, but it’s certainly not off the table. I don’t know if I’ll write another one with James. I think once is enough for something that great, but I’m not saying we won’t. But we do think this is going to turn into a movie, so we’ll be working together for years just on this one book. Whether or not I write another novel depends on how smart I am when I am older. If my mind will do it, I might.

Both you and James are known as philanthropists and giving plays a central role in who you are. Tell us about your beloved Imagination Library and how it all began.

As you know, I am very involved in a lot of things. I am proudest of the Imagination Library. Most people know how it started, I know you do, but for those who don’t, the Imagination Library is a program where we send books to children once a month from the time they’re born until they start school. They get the book in their mailbox with their name on it. They learn to love to read and love books. It’s a wonderful thing. I think it’s so important, because what inspired that was my own Dad, who couldn’t read nor write. It was the same for many of my relatives from the mountains who didn’t get a chance to go to school, because they had to work hard and help provide for their families. Plus, the schools were sometimes miles away, and they were usually one room schools. So a lot of people didn’t get an education. My Daddy was so smart, but that always embarrassed him and kinda crippled him in a weird sort of way. That always troubled me, because he was so smart and I loved him so much. So when we started the Imagination Library, I thought, ‘I’m gonna get Daddy in on it and let him feel important.’ So I would take him with me and involve him in any way I could. He lived long enough to see the Imagination Library doing good. I’m a person of faith, so I believe there’s life on the other side. So I just always know when all of those great things happen with the Imagination Library and it gets so much publicity, I feel like Mama and Daddy are looking down and trying to help bless my work. I don’t know what all of James’ inner feelings are about charities, but I’m sure he has many of them as well, based on some sort of truth and personal emotion. I will always try to do my best. I believe that when you are in a position to help, you should help.

 

Now available for pre-order, the “Run, Rose, Run” novel will be published simultaneously in hardcover, ebook and audiobook and will release on March 7. The album, also available for pre-order, is slated for a March 4 release.

Team Dolly“Run, Rose, Run,” An In-Depth Interview with Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton Releases “Blue Bonnet Breeze” From Her Upcoming “Run, Rose, Run” Album

Published February 10, 2022 / Last Updated February 11, 2022

Dolly Parton releases her second single and lyric video from “Run, Rose, Run,” the companion album to her upcoming novel, co-authored with James Patterson.

Dolly Parton has given fans another taste of her upcoming “Run, Rose, Run” album, with the release of her latest single, “Blue Bonnet Breeze,” in conjunction with the track’s whimsical lyric video. This is the second song to be released from the upcoming album, following the release of “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans” last month. The highly-anticipated recording, available March 4, serves as a companion to Dolly’s first novel, “Run, Rose, Run,” co-authored with James Patterson, which releases on March 7. Dolly shared,

“I came up with the idea for ‘Blue Bonnet Breeze’ because two of the characters decide to begin working together on a song. I thought, what song would that be? What song would they write? So, I just chose a Romeo and Juliet kind of story and made the music very slow, very emotional, and it’s actually one of my very favorites from this album. It could be a movie of its own!”

“Run, Rose, Run”

“Run, Rose, Run” marks the first time a #1 bestselling author and an entertainment icon have collaborated on a book and an album. The album enhances the novel, with twelve original songs written by Dolly that tie into the story line, making for a unique experience that only she could create. In celebration of the book’s release, Dolly and James recently announced that they will be kicking off a Virtual Book Tour on March 6, with tickets available for purchase online.

Pre-Order Now

Dolly’s groundbreaking album, “Run, Rose, Run,” is now available for pre-order and will be available on all digital streaming platforms, as well as digital download. It will also be available on CD and standard vinyl, with some special vinyl color variations. The novel will be published in hardcover, ebook and audiobook on March 7, 2022, and is now available for pre-order.

Team DollyDolly Parton Releases “Blue Bonnet Breeze” From Her Upcoming “Run, Rose, Run” Album

Dollywood Company Employees to Receive 100% Free Tuition

Published February 10, 2022 / Last Updated February 11, 2022

Dollywood Launches Substantial Education Benefit, Available to All Team Members, Starting Day One of Employment

Officials with Dollywood Parks & Resorts announced today that the company will cover 100% of tuition, fees and books for any employee who chooses to pursue further education.

The significant investment in employee education will be made possible by Herschend’s GROW U., a new program piloted by Herschend Enterprises, Dolly Parton’s operating partner in Dollywood. The program makes it exponentially easier for employees, known at Dollywood as hosts, to pursue their personal and professional dreams through education. The program officially launches February 24 for all seasonal, part-time and full-time employees at Dollywood Parks & Resorts. Hosts can enroll in the program on their first day of employment. Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company, said,

“Our goal at Dollywood Parks and Resorts is to provide the best possible experience for both our guests and our hosts. We know when our hosts are happy and feel cared for that they are going to pass that along to our guests. The creation of the program allows another avenue for us to care for our hosts.

“One of The Dollywood Foundation’s key tenets is to ‘learn more,’” Naughton continued. “This program is created with that very tenet in mind. We want our hosts to develop themselves through advanced learning to fulfill the foundation’s other tenets: care more, dream more and be more. When our hosts strive to grow themselves, it makes our business and our community a truly better place. We care about our hosts’ development and we want their future to grow because of love—not loans.”

Herschend’s GROW U.

Herschend’s GROW U. offers eligible seasonal, part-time and full-time hosts more than 100 fully-funded (100% free) diploma, degree and certificate programs across 30 learning partners, including programs in high-demand fields, such as business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology and marketing. The company will also provide partial funding, up to $5,250 per year, for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and art design.

“Herschend’s GROW U. is not only a significant and transformational investment in our employee’s growth, but also our love culture in action,” said Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises. “Herschend is rooted in love – it’s evident at every Herschend property, every day – in the way we treat and support each other, how we Create Memories Worth Repeating for guests, and most importantly, how we care for our employees.”

Guild Education, the nation’s leading education and upskilling platform, powers the program. Guild was selected because of their strong reputation for connecting employers and high-value learning providers to create opportunities for America’s workforce. Dollywood Parks & Resorts hosts will have access to Guild’s proprietary Learning Marketplace to select from more than 30 learning providers and utilize resources like professional coaches to support their educational journey.

Dollywood Career Opportunities

For anyone looking to take advantage of the opportunity, as well as the other unparalleled benefits Herschend and The Dollywood Company provides, positions are available at each of the company’s properties and are posted at Dollywoodjobs.com. Upcoming hiring events are slated for Seymour Heights Christian Church (Saturday, February 19) and Sevier County High School (Saturday, February 26). Both hiring events take place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Most event attendees are hired on the spot, with a position for the 2022 season at either Dollywood, Dollywood’s Splash Country or Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.

Park Perks and Benefits

Dollywood Parks & Resorts hosts receive a variety of unique benefits, including access to the Dollywood Family Healthcare Center, along with complimentary Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country admission for family and friends. Hosts are provided free meals for every working shift and also take part in Dollywood’s Park Perks program, which provides free or reduced admission to a large number of regional attractions, theaters and experiences. A comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision, is available for qualified full-time employees.

Dollywood also pays a portion of childcare costs for hosts whose children are cared for at a WeeCare-affiliated provider. Additionally, numerous development opportunities are available to help employees develop leadership skills, including an apprenticeship program in conjunction with Walters State Community College.

For more information about working at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, please visit dollywoodjobs.com.

Team DollyDollywood Company Employees to Receive 100% Free Tuition

Dolly Parton’s Stampede Opening February 11 in Pigeon Forge

Published February 9, 2022 / Last Updated February 14, 2022

Dolly Parton’s Stampede Hosts 35th Season of Fun and Adventure in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

For 35 years, spectacular equestrian feats, vibrant music and storytelling, comedic escapades, exciting audience interactions and a delicious four-course feast have been the hallmarks of Dolly Parton’s Stampede. This unique dinner and show was the first of its kind in the Smoky Mountains, and tens of millions of guests have enjoyed this entertainment experience for the past three and a half decades.

Known as “The Smokies Most Fun Place To Eat,” Dolly Parton’s Stampede features an exciting line-up that provides an unmatched show combined with dinner experience. The result is an entertainment experience that is the highlight of any getaway or night out, and the unique dinner show is known for creating memories for its guests that they will hold onto for a lifetime.

“What a privilege it has been to provide an amazing show and dinner experience for millions of guests to the Smokies for more than three decades, and we’ve got more fun and excitement planned for the 2022 season as we celebrate our 35th year of performing for Pigeon Forge visitors,” said Travis Randall, Stampede’s General Manager. “We will be introducing some new elements to the show during the season that will add even more entertainment to the Stampede experience, and our dedicated cast members are looking forward to making this special anniversary season the best ever for our dinner and show.”

The Smokies Most Fun Place To Eat

From the moment guests arrive, there are unique and memorable experiences to be made around every corner. Guests can start by visiting the signature Horse Walk to snap a picture with a few of the show’s stars. Everything in Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner and show – from the first feat of the talented equestrian performers to the last bite of the delicious four-course feast – is bigger than life. Guests enter the 35,000 square-foot arena where the main show begins with the cast leading the show’s 32 magnificent horses through a series of truly extraordinary equestrian feats of skill and daring. Thanks to a state-of-the-art LED backdrop wall, guests are immersed into an experience set in America’s Great Plains of yesteryear, where live buffalo and thundering longhorns roam and settlers bring the American West to life. With singing, dancing, special effects and impressive displays of horse-riding skills, guests truly feel like they are on the American frontier and then nestled under the stars in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Fabulous Four-Course Feast

Dinner, the other star of the show, includes Stampede’s signature four-course feast featuring its very own creamy vegetable soup, a homemade buttery biscuit, a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, buttery corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, Stampede’s own specialty dessert and unlimited beverages including Coca-Cola® products, tea and coffee. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals available upon request.

Laughter also has a starring role, with comedic fun from audience-favorite Skeeter and other hilarious acts. The Stampede experience concludes as the arena fills with the talented riders and their horses taking center-stage for a patriotic red, white and blue salute to America, featuring a special song written and recorded by Dolly Parton.

Plan Your Visit

Show times and reservations are available by calling 865-453-4400 or visiting dpstampede.com.

Team DollyDolly Parton’s Stampede Opening February 11 in Pigeon Forge