Dolly Parton Talks New Novel “Run, Rose, Run” With James Patterson

Dolly Parton poured herself a large cup of ambition to pen a fiction thriller with bestselling author James Patterson.

Country music legend Dolly Parton joined forces with award-winning novelist James Patterson to co-write the music-inspired thriller, “Run, Rose, Run.” The action-packed hardcover debuted Monday, March 7, at No.1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers book list.

Just days before the highly anticipated release, the multi-platinum artist opened up about working alongside the prominent author in a Clubhouse conversation with TED speaker Adam Grant.

Before Patterson placed his creative wheels in motion, he was toying with a storyline about a music hopeful with big dreams. So, he turned to the country music icon to help drive the narrative and bring his tale to the next level.

“James Patterson, one of the world’s greatest writers, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in writing a book with him,” she told Grant full of excitement. “I thought, ’Why me? You seem to be doing all right on your own.’ He said, ’I have an idea.’ And I said, ’well… I’d love to hear what you got to say.'”

She continued to share that the beloved writer jumped on a flight to Music City to meet face-to-face to talk in detail about the potential plot.

“He flew to Nashville, and we got together. He told me that he had gone to school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and had always loved It,” she recalled. “He always wanted to write a book about Nashville, and I thought, ’well you have come to the right girl…I know a whole lot about Nashville.’ We talked about it, and we came up with an idea to write about a young girl’s struggles. Her story is complex,” she added.

The page-turner is about a young female named AnnieLee with high hopes to become a star in the honky tonk town. The aspiring musician is on the run from her past, but the darkness she fled from may sneak up to haunt and destroy her while she tirelessly tries to “claim her destiny” in Nashville. During AnnieLee’s time in music city, she is approached by a retired country legend.

Parton mentioned that she was working on the cliff-hanging chapters and captivating twists when a light bulb suddenly went off in her head.

“I thought, I’m from Nashville, I’m a songwriter…why don’t I just write an album to go along with it. Almost like a soundtrack to the book,” she gushed. “I don’t know that it’s been done before, but it seemed to me to make sense. So, I wrote songs based on the characters and the situation that they find themselves in.”

Before the book hit the shelves, Parton dropped the 12-track album of the same title, “Run Rose Run,” on Friday, March 4. The hitmaker revealed that she was pleasantly surprised by the writing process, as it was a breeze because Patterson’s creative thoughts inspired each song.

“He would send stuff to me, and I would get a great idea for a song about something that he had sent while he was off doing his part,” she explained. “I would send him the lyrics, and he would incorporate a lot of my lyrics into the characters. In certain situations, that would inspire him to come up with other ideas. So, it was really amazing how it all turned out…even better than we thought. We never discussed me doing the album, but all of a sudden, it seemed to be my contribution to the book,” she added before clarifying that writing this novel was like a Nashville-style writers round.

“To be honest with you…I don’t have many co-writers when I write songs, very few actually. I like the process of writing alone, it’s a very sacred time to me, but I have written songs with a few other people. So, it was kind of like working with a co-writer on a book,” Parton declared.

Parton mentioned that the entire process was “pretty comfortable” and not “foreign,” as she’s a storyteller at heart and so is he. “All my songs tell stories, and he’s a storyteller,” confirming that the two were a match made in heaven.

The “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans” singer told CBS News that she would love to turn the Southern thriller into a movie one day and would love to play the country icon.

“I’m hoping to get to play that character when we do a movie of the book, which we hope to do, at some point,” she told the publication.

“Run, Rose, Run” the novel is currently available for purchase via Amazon and Indiebound. Parton and Patterson also included an audiobook featuring country music star Kelsea Ballerini.