Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Jodi Thomas (Amarillo).
Comment below and subscribe via Feedburner by June 10 to win a signed copy of her historical novel, Texas Blue or Welcome to Harmony.
Giveaway for two U.S. residents.
With a degree in Family Studies, Jodi Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.
“My door is usually open to students all morning,” explains Thomas, who talks to the classes at the University and on other campuses during her many speaking engagements when not writing in her spacious office in WTAMU’s Cornette Library. “They come by to visit and ask questions about being a writer. When I was a child, being a writer wasn’t an option. All the people I knew had regular jobs. I’m hoping that students will see that being a writer is a possibility. This is particularly important in these days when programs in the arts are being cut in the public schools.”
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”
While the author toured the country speaking to Desk and Derrick clubs about her 2003 novel, THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY, the members of various chapters formed a Jodi Thomas Fan Club. The group enthusiastically promotes her novels and public appearances and even volunteers to provide drivers for her out-of-town engagements.
The stories Jodi Thomas has committed to paper have earned her an impressive list of distinguished awards. Her first book, BENEATH THE TEXAS SKY (1988), won the National Press Women’s Novel of the Year in its category. Book two, NORTHERN STAR (1990), was named best novel by the (Texas) Panhandle Professional Writers and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., an organization of writers’ groups from several states. Book three, THE TENDER TEXAN (1991), was Thomas’s first national bestseller and won her the first of three Romance Writers of America RITA’s, the $1.5 billion romance publishing industry’s equivalent of an “Oscar.”
Book twelve, TO KISS A TEXAN (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY Best-selling Books list. For THE TEXAN’S WAGER (2002), sixteen was the magic number. As Thomas’s sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen on the NEW YORK TIMES extended bestseller list. FINDING MARY BLAINE, (2004) received the National Readers’ Choice Award in 2005. Thomas was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame in 2006 for winning her third RITA for THE TEXAN’S REWARD (2005). In 2009, Jodi received the National Readers’ Choice Award for two of her books: TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK, and TEXAN (2008). In 2010, THE LONE TEXAN won the Reader’s Choice 2009 Best Western Romance from Love Western Romances.com.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, and renovating their historic home.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. My family farmed at the Texas/Oklahoma border. I was born in Oklahoma but my family is 5 generations of Texans. I’ve lived in Texas since I was 2.
Q. How did you end up writing historical fiction?
A. I always loved historical fiction. A read sometimes a book a day and often would be frustrated with plots or facts that weren’t right. Like most writers starting out I thought I could do better—and after all it would only take me a few months. Five years later, and thousands of hours of writing and studying, I finally sold.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. Early in my career I would travel around the state doing twenty are more signings and a dozen talks with each book. Sometimes I’d do two or three a day. I wrote the best books I could and entered them in contests. When I began to win, I don’t know how much it helped sales, but it gave me the pat-on-the back to keep going.
Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?
A. I’m in the middle of two series now. One is historical: The Whispering Mountain Series. Book 5—the next generation at Whispering Mountain—came out in April. It is Texas Blue and set in the Hill Country of Texas of course. There will be three more in that Series and I’m loving writing it.
My mainstream series is Harmony. The second book in it came out in November 2010 and the third will be out October of 2011. The first book, Welcome to Harmony is up for a RITA this year at Romance Writers of America and also it’s up for the National Readers Choice Award. All these books are about the people in a small Texas town called Harmony.
Both series are running at full speed and I’m loving them both.
I also write an anthology a year. The next one will be called Give Me a Texas Outlaw. It will be out in July 2011.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
Drop by my website any time www.jodithomas.com or check out my book videos on YouTube.
I love writing about Texas. I also love teaching writing but because of my schedule I only teach one week a year at WTAMU Writing Academy in Canyon, Texas. So, in June I move into the dorm for a week and we talk writing all day.