An Interview of Author Jodi Thomas
Historical Romance and Mainstream
August 2005 - The world of book sales is vast, with world wide sales totaling approximately $90 billion dollars yearly, a third of those sales being in the United States.
One Texas lady has carved her notch in the world of historical and mainstream writing and has dug her heals in to claim her territory.
Jodi Thomas, a novelist and writer in residency at West Texas A&M University truly enjoys her career and hopes to write professionally for many more years to come. "I see myself as just getting started good in my carrier," expressed Thomas.
Thomas has been a writer in residency of WTAMU for almost three years. She is the second resident writer at WT in the past thirty years. Lola Grace Erdman being the first in 1975.
"The first year I taught school in Amarillo I took a creative writing class that she was teaching, she was in her sixties. At the end of the class she had autographed a book for us, A Time to Write, and in it she wrote 'someday you will be signing books for others," stated Jodi.
Thomas continued, "I think that was her main role and that really is what I see my main role here at the university is, to encourage people."
Jodi began her writing career with the intentions of writing "a" book. But since the birth of her first there has been many there after, twenty-two to be exact.
But after twenty books, Jodi feels she has settled into her career.
Thomas is now writing a new genre, mainstream. "I had an idea for a main stream womens novel. Mostly because I wanted to tell a story of how women bound and how they help each other and how they really bond friendships," expressed Jodi. "I wanted to write that story, so it had to be on a mainstream format. It took me about three years."
When asked if she enjoys her job, Thomas proclaimed, "Oh yes. There are stories in my head that I will tell myself sometimes that will probally never make it to print, but all my life its been apart of my life. Its fun to be able to sort of open your brain and let people see whats inside."
And do you have a relationship with your characters? "Oh yes. At the dinner table we talk about my characters as if they were real. Its more like 'what did the neighbor do today, what did the character do today.' The whole family kinda follow the characters through the book, and when their hurt we'll sit around and talk about how bad their hurt and how much care they need."
Thomas continued, "People ask how can you think of that many ideas, I think they don't realize I have a hundred ideas. Its more of a decision of which one will I write next."
"I don't think in terms of the whole book because it just to massive of a project. Usually I just concentrate on trying to write the first chapter, and then try to write the second chapter. I'm not to much of 'O.K., I'm going to write a book," stated Jodi.
But in the beginning, Thomas wasn't solely committed to the cowboys of the plains. "First thing I sold before a novel was an article for the Oklahoma Daily and it was about Lano Cemetery in Amarillo. I just wrote it because I knew so much about Llano Cemetery."
Jodi also wrote and sold childrens short stories, the little books recieved at Sunday school, "They were really fun. Their 244 words, and I got where I could sit down and write three or four of them an hour. So it was fun."
Thomas is a USA and New York Times Best Seller. She is also a two time recipient of the Romance Writers of American RITA Award, the highest award in the romance novel industry for excellence.
When asked if things can get any better she replied, "Of course, I can dream. I can dream of watching one of my movies."
Jodi is striving to hit the bottum ten of the New York Times Best Seller list. "That's harder to do. I've hit above ten, but never below ten," stated Thomas.
Since Jodi's last visit to Wellington, she has published six books and one short story collection. Originally from Hollis, Oklahoma, Thomas attributes her talent from "a long line of liars" and the ability to story tell.
If you are a new or old fan of Jodi's and would like to share your thoughts with her, you can visit her website at www.jodithomas.com . While there you can also join the Jodi Thomas fan club.
--By Karen M Hale
Copyright of Wellington Leader 2005 Texas Press Association