Q&A with Jodi Thomas – Sunrise Crossing
1) Community is very important in all your books. How are you involved with your community in Texas?
I often feel like I live in two towns. My home is in the historical part of Amarillo where I grew up and taught school. Fifteen years ago I accepted an appointment as Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 15 miles from my home. Now, I very much feel like I live in both towns. I’ve volunteered in the schools, churches, museums and art galleries. I’m a member of library boards, book clubs and historical societies.
But, the most fun thing I do is work with beginning writers in both communities. Last month I spoke to the writing rally at a grade school and the same week I gave a talk on writing memories for grandchildren. My office doors are always open to students who are writing and we often fill a table at the local coffee house as we talk writing.
2) Sunrise Crossing is the fifth book in the Ransom Canyon series, how does that feel?
It feels great. I couldn’t wait to get started on this book. The characters had been dancing in my mind waiting for their turn. Sunrise Crossing has one of the most tender love stories I’ve ever written plus a layered mystery that will keep readers awake. Yancy stepped into the series in the first book and readers couldn’t help but love him. In this story, he gets his chance at love.
3) Where do you draw inspiration for Crossroads, Texas?
I wanted to use a very small town that most people simply drive through. If readers stop, they’ll step into lives and loves that are deep and fascinating. I also saw the town as a crossroads for people where their lives could go in more than one direction. We all face those times thinking that we’ll turn down another road for a while without ever realizing that we’ll never pass that crossroad again.
4) Parker Lacey manages an art gallery. Do you have a personal favorite?
The first time I went to the MET in New York I was lost to the real world for hours. When I saw Mona’s Lilies at MMOA I cried they were so beautiful. No matter how many times I go I will never have enough time to see the wonder of it all.I went to Paris last spring and didn’t get to see the Louvre. I’ve got to go back!
5) What would you say is your one writing quirk?
I like to write in total silence. No music. Then I can hear my characters talking to me. All other times I listen to music.
6) Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
I have a hundred places I want to go back too. Ireland, Paris, Alaska, New York, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon.
But best of all is that first look at new land. That excitement of an explorer about to discover a new world. I understand why my ancestors came west. I love the excitement of what is just over the horizon yet to explore.
7) Do you write every day?
Yes. I think a part of my brain is always writing. Like a pack rat picking up bits of stories, phrases I hear, dreams that linger. I may not have a notepad or computer in sight, but I’m cobbling together stories in my mind.
8) The covers of your Ransom Canyon series are always stunning! Does your original idea of the cover end up as the final?
I work with a great team. Sometimes we go through several cover ideas. They do the work because I see the world in words. My friend laughed at me once when I told her that sometimes I dream in words.
9) What’s one question that you wish someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Why do you put so many twins in books?
I often put twins in books because I have twin sisters two years younger than me. To me, the average family has twins. My sisters are identical. Our father couldn’t tell them apart. I’ve said I am against cloning because look what happened when the egg split with them. I had two great years of childhood and from then on my job seemed to be watching over them.---I’m still doing it.
10) What are you working on next?
I’m putting the finishing touches on book five in the series WILD HORSE SPRINGS. It’s going to have a few surprises for Crossroads.
As soon as I finish I’m heading to New Mexico. We have a place on the Red River where I’ll take some time to think about Book 6. “See you on the Red.”
Return to peaceful Crossroads, Texas, where community comes first and love thrives in the unlikeliest places…
Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?
The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…
Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.
Buy links: Amazon / BN / Harlequin
About Jodi Thomas:
A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.
With a degree in Family Studies, 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.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and "checking up" on their two grown sons.