Today we’re happy to have Jodi Thomas return to tell us all about her upcoming release, Just Down the Road. She’s given us a fun interview with Reagan Truman, one of the characters from her Harmony series. So, now I turn the stage over to Jodi.
Reagan: I was just a kid running away from foster care. I’d been working part-time cleaning rooms at a nursing home and I meet a great old lady named Miss Beverly. She told me about her home town and it sounded like a place I’d like to be from. So, when I ran, I thought I’d stop by Harmony.
The night I arrived a waitress thought I was part of the Truman clan and the first thing I knew I was heading out to Jeremiah Truman’s place. He was a hard old man, but he was never mean or unfair to me. He was the first person who ever claimed me as kin.
(story of Reagan’s arrival in WELCOME TO HARMONY)
Jodi: How’d you meet Noah McAllen?
Reagan: We went to high school together. I didn’t plan to make any friends, that had never worked out before when I drifted from school to school. Only Noah wasn’t the kind of kid to listen. Even as a man I have to hit him in the head to wake him up now and then. Everyone loves Noah, he’s got a real talent for rodeo, but he’s stubborn. Now and then I have to remind him that the world doesn’t revolve around him.
He saved my life once. I think I’ve loved him since the first time he made me talk to him at school.
(story of Noah saving her life in SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY.)
I think in a lot of ways I grew up faster than he did. Girls do that sometimes.
Reagan: Sure, Big. When I first met him he was the biggest thug you can imagine. But, like salsa, he kind of grows on you. He’s my friend and that fact drives Noah crazy.
Reagan: I love the wildness about him. I love the way he loves like he rides bulls in the rodeo—all out, without fear of falling.
He’s brave, really brave like only one in a thousand can be.
Reagan: The place will grow on you. It did me. I started growing roots when Uncle Jeremiah talked me into helping him with the orchard and now they are so deep I never want to leave. Even the folks like Miss Beverly, who do leave carry Harmony in their heart.
Reagan: Into forever.
I’ve been waiting for JUST DOWN THE ROAD to hit the stands for months. When I was writing it, the story flew. Harmony, Texas, is a town I’ve lived in for a while but this time the characters new and old danced off the pages as fast as I could type. I love that the readers go on this adventure with me and this time I promise to keep them up.
I think I fell in love with Tinch Turner when I first met him sitting outside the emergency room waiting to make sure all the guys he just beat up were going home with little more than bruised egos. He’s the kind of guy Addison Spencer, the new town doctor, sees as tall, lean, walking trouble. She thinks she wants nothing to do with him until she catches a glimpse of Tinch through his four year old nephew’s eyes.
JUST DOWN THE ROAD is about letting go of the past and stepping into new beginnings. It’s about learning to recognize what’s important in life. What lies closest to your heart. The stories in this little town blend together as the people touch each others’ lives and I think when the reader finishes, they’ll be surprised how much my characters have grown to matter to them.
I hope everyone will walk into Harmony with me, stop off at the diner and stay a while. You might just feel right at home.
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 34 novels and 11 short story collections. In June 2011, WELCOME TO HARMONY won a RITA, the highest award for women’s fiction. Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
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