Jolana writes contemporary romance as Jolana Malkston and science fiction romance as JL Malkston. She began her writing career at age 3 1/2, carving her name onto her mom’s favorite credenza. She has since graduated to a MacBook Pro. What follows next are her answers to nearly everything you ever (or never) wanted to know about her but were afraid to ask.
BIRTHPLACE: Brooklyn, New York [That explains so, so much, believe me.]
BIRTHDAY: February 4 [I can’t seem to remember the year.]
HEIGHT: 5’ 4”
WEIGHT: [I can’t remember that either.]
EYE COLOR: Dark Brown
HAIR COLOR: Salt and Pepper [Originally, my hair color matched my eyes and continued to do so for many years (see photo above) until I stopped dying it.]
RACE: The one hundred meter dash [I always faded in the distance runs and had enough sense not to attempt the hurdles—my legs are too short.]
EDUCATION: B.A. Degree in English Lit; M.S. Degree in Education; MRS. Degree courtesy of Macho Guy
Junior Housekeeper: This job violated child labor laws. My parents exploited me by compelling me to clean my own room. Required tasks involved making my bed, and picking up my books, toys and dirty clothes off the floor and putting them away neatly. My compensation for this intense labor was room, board and a measly weekly allowance of $0.25. [My baby sister and I missed a bet; we should have unionized all the kids on our block.] References—my parents, who went to their eternal reward and thus cannot dispute my claim that I completed all tasks satisfactorily, which I did. I was a very good child. Honestly. I was. Trust me.
Door-to-Door Sales. I was responsible for traipsing through the neighborhood ringing doorbells, taking orders, and delivering baked goods. Reference—The Girl Scouts of America.
Salesclerk at Macy’s Herald Square. This job required me to smile constantly while on my feet for hours at a time, sell the most undecorative wallpaper I had ever seen, operate a pre-computer age cash register that had to be on loan from The Smithsonian, and make change without benefit of a calculator. A Miracle on 34th Street occurred whenever I made the correct change. References—all my satisfied customers [Thanks, Mom and Dad!] and two pathetically obvious Undercover Store Shoppers the veteran clerks warned me about.
Student Council Publicity Chair. A volunteer position in which my team of college coeds and I dreamed up totally out of the box, daring and unorthodox campaigns to publicize student council activities such as elections. Reference—the unimaginative Dean of Women [Her name escapes me.]
Advertising Administrative Assistant (aka Secretary/Receptionist). Madison Avenue Ad Agency types are very odd. (You’ve seen their commercials, so…) The term “mindbenders” does not begin to cover the ground. As a consequence, this job defied description. Suffice it to say I wore many hats and eventually smoked cherry-flavored tobacco from a pipe just to blend in. Reference—I am not suggesting for a moment that I was indispensable, but after I left the ad agency to go into teaching, the agency folded so there isn’t anyone to respond to inquiries about my job performance, which happened to be outstanding.
Teacher. Job description—Imparter of Wisdom, Confidante, Glorified Baby-sitter, and Moving Target. References—several principals who grew old before their time.
Motherhood. OMG! A multi-tasking nightmare. I don’t even want to go there. There aren’t enough megabytes of space on this site for a description anyway.
School Volunteer Mom. This position involved dialing the phone and begging, pounding on doors and begging, and turning on the oven and baking. References—The PTA and my neighbors, who drew the drapes and refused to answer the door when my kids and I approached their homes.
Journalist. In this job I was the eyes and ears of the readership community the newspaper served. I frequently invaded the privacy of local politicians by asking them questions they didn’t want to answer, writing down their non-answers, publishing the resultant article, and then listening to the politicians howl and claim they were misquoted. I also wrote a weekly general interest (sometimes humorous) column. References—my honest, loyal and trustworthy readers [and a handful of disgruntled politicians who cannot be believed and thus should be ignored].
Aspiring Author. At last I can be my own boss, I can write novels in my pajamas, I can play God with my characters, and I hope I can do away with the “aspiring” part of aspiring author very soon.
FAVORITE BOOKS: Lucky You and the other darkly humorous crime novels by the diabolically witty and satirical Carl Hiaasen. Crazy For You, and the other wacky romantic comedies by the hilariously witty Jennifer Crusie. Games of Command; Finders, Keepers; and more by Linnea Sinclair, the reigning Queen of Science Fiction Romance. Dune by Frank Herbert. [You thought one of them would be Pride and Prejudice, didn’t you? Remember, I was born in Brooklyn. I gotta be me.]
FAVORITE MOVIES: Singin’ in the Rain, The Princess Bride, Some Like it Hot, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Vertigo, Psycho (1960), Sunset Boulevard, The Fugitive, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Shane, True Grit (1969), The Thing From Another World (1951), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and too many more to list.
FAVORITE SONG: Bridge Over Troubled Water
HOBBIES: Reading, watching classic films, computers, photography, painting, and getting out of cooking dinner whenever I can.
FAVORITE FOOD: Take out [see last hobby listed above].
PET PEEVE: My driver’s license photo. I look as if I had the mumps when it was taken. If anyone can recognize me from that photo, it makes me suicidal. (No, I absolutely will not show it to you, no matter how badly you need a good laugh.)