Jen: Today we welcome Jodi Thomas back to Romancing the Book as she celebrates her newest release. Jodi, please tell us about Chance of a Lifetime.
Jodi: CHANCE OF A LIFETIME is a story sit in Harmony, Texas. I love writing stories of the people in a small town and how their lives weave together forever changing and enriching their worlds. CHANCE OF A LIFETIME began for me when Emily, a librarian, finds a set of old mystery books tucked away in one of the book shelves along the staircase. In the book two loves send notes back and forth written in the margins of the years of their lives.
The idea of how we all love, from young first love to passion to friendship so deep we understand each other so well that almost without thought we adjust our lives to fix together, begin to mold this story. The mystery in my story is the catalyst that makes everyone take action and, as crisis often does, makes each person realize how much others mean in their lives.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write?
Jodi: I don’t really think of myself as writing a genre. I just like to write about people. I want the reader to see my characters come alive just as I do. Since I can remember I’ve loved love stories. It’s a part of life. A part of who we are. The reason why we often do what we do. So, I write love stories.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Jodi: The hardest part for me is time management. Sometimes I feel like I’m fighting, storming the castle, trying to get up to my study to write. Everything tries to get in my way. Then, when I make it up and begin to write I lose all track of time and sometimes write the night away. Then next day I’m brain dead.
I’m a fighter, I’m a dreamer, and I’m brain dead—-story of my life.
The easiest part of writing—there is no easy part. Writing, rewriting, editing, marketing, signing books—-it’s all hard. I must be a crazy to love it so much. But, to me honest I meet the nicest people as a writer and some of them are even real.
Most rewarding part: When fans write me or come up to me at a signing and tell me how much my book meant to them. It’s like all at once, we’re best friends because they’ve gone of this adventure with me.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character?
Jodi: I’ve had lots of characters that I loved writing. All are a tiny part of me, but they are so much more—braver, stronger, more outgoing, more honest, more intelligent.
However, lately I’ve caught myself quoting Martha Q from CHANCE OF A LIFETIME as if she were a real person.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Jodi: We had so many parties to celebrate the sale of my first book—dinners with family, friends, critique group, writing class, people I worked with. I think we spent more money partying than I made on the advance, but BENEATH THE TEXAS SKY was a book I couldn’t wait to hold in my hands.
Now when I finish a book I usually celebrate by taking a few days or weeks off and traveling with my husband. We may go to a cabin in Red River, or England, but I take time off to read all the books I missed while writing and then I watch all the movies I missed. Then after a week or two the next story in my head starts banging around wanting out.
Jen: What is next for you?
Jodi: I’m working on a historical, the last of the Whispering Mountain series called PROMISE ME TEXAS (out in Nov ’13) and finishing rewrites on the next Harmony, CAN’T STOP BELIEVING (out in June, 2013).
I’m not sure where I’m going in 2014, but you can bet I’ll be somewhere lost in fiction.
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Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 36 novels and 11 short story collections. In June 2011, WELCOME TO HARMONY, the first book in the Harmony series, 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.