Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today's Special -- Jodi Thomas

We are thrilled to welcome back New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas to The Romance Dish! As a fifth generation Texan, Jodi chooses to set the majority of her books in her home state. Perhaps this is why she has enjoyed such a long and prolific writing career and is a fan favorite! Her books have won many awards, including the coveted RITA, and grace many readers' keeper shelves. Jodi's latest, Somewhere Along the Way, releases November 2nd and is her thirtieth novel and the second in her popular Harmony series. Check out Janga's review here. Please give Jodi a warm welcome!


Thanks for asking me to drop by and tell everyone about my thirtieth novel and what I think is the best one I’ve ever written. These characters came alive for me and I hope they will for you. So, let’s step into the second book about a small town in Texas, Harmony called SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY.

In this book I had a great time writing about love at different ages and how we all fall in love different ways. Sometime it comes softly after growing up with someone and until you realize there was never a time you didn’t love them and sometimes it slams into you all at once with a kiss.

Liz and Gabe’s story from SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY:

“I’ll take it in the living room,” she said. Liz walked across the hall, picked up the phone, and waited for the click from the kitchen before speaking.

“Elizabeth Matheson,” she said in her most professional voice.

“I need your help.”

He hadn’t said his name; he hadn’t needed to. She’d know Gabriel’s voice anywhere.

“Where are you?”

“County sheriff’s office,” he said. “They’re about to take me up to a holding cell. Ask for Gabe Leary, Elizabeth, not Smith, and get here as fast as you can.”

She’s already figured out that Smith probably wasn’t his real name. “What did you do?”

“Nothing,” he answered. “But they think I may have killed someone.”

Liz told herself she was a lawyer. Whether he did or didn’t commit the crime, he had a right to counsel. Only she wasn’t sure she could go through with it if he had. She wasn’t sure which bothered her most: that he might be lying, or that if he was, she’d kissed a murderer.

She gripped the phone for a minute, trying to think.

“Elizabeth,” he whispered again. “Are you still there? I’m no good around people. I seem to be causing more trouble for myself than helping.” He was quiet as if listening to her breathe, and then he added, “I need you.”

She straightened. “I’ll be right there.”

She hung up and walked back into the dining room, where everyone was having dessert. “I have to go. I’m needed over at the jail.”

“A client,” Claire said. “Oh, how exciting. Little sister has a real client.”

Liz grabbed her coat and purse. As she walked out the door, she yelled back, “No. A date.”


In SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY you’ll follow the people of Harmony as they go about their lives helping one another. When crisis comes they stand together. I think you’ll laugh as you get to know my people and care all the way to your heart about them when they are in trouble.

Come along with me on this journey back to Harmony.

~Jodi


*******


Jodi was gracious enough to answer a few questions from Janga and Andrea:


Janga: You said in another interview that you are "a storyteller, not a wordsmith." Do you see writers as one or the other?

Jodi: Not always. I love when I book pulls me in with the story and I end up rereading lines because the words flow so beautifully. But, for me when I write I’m usually trying to get the story down as fast as possible. Then after I’ve told the story, I go back and add color. I think if you tell a good story readers will forgive much, but no matter how beautifully the words flow, if they don’t tell a story readers will not finish the book.

Janga: You've written more than 30 books now. Do you ever feel burned out? What do you do to keep the creative well full?

Jodi: I’ve never had burn out. Sometimes I get tired and take a few days off. To ‘refill the well’ I like to travel----not to exciting places where there are tons of people, but to different places. I may drive through the country or stop at towns I’ve never been to, find a B&B or a lake house and spend some time. I’ll go to movies, or plays or rodeos. I’ll walk in the cemetery or visit museums. When we first started doing this my husband always wanted to take video of the places, but I never looked at it. I wanted to set it up in my memory and let it shift and change when a character visited the location, not remember every detail as it really was.

Andrea: A lot of your books grace the keeper shelves of many readers. Which authors' books grace your keeper shelves?

Jodi: I looked over in my study and saw hundreds of books running the wall. I keep favorites and books of friends and books I’ve helped beginning writers work on, but I rarely reread a book. Why? Because like a kid at Christmas, I can’t wait to open the next treasure. Writers are readers too. I love finding that story that takes me away for a few hours. Maybe that’s why I teach writing. People always ask me which of my books is my favorite---which is the best---I always answer, ‘the next one’.

Andrea: Do you plan your books out in advance or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Jodi: I plan my characters, learn them, see them in my mind right down to the stains of their clothes and in their hearts. Then, I sit down and let them tell me their story.

Janga: When can we look for the next Harmony book? Will it be the story of Tyler and Kate? Will Reagan have her own book, or is she slated to have pieces of her story revealed in each book?

Jodi: I will begin book 3 with Tyler and Kate. There will be new characters and characters you know well in the next one. Reagan’s story will run through every book.



Thanks so much, Jodi! So, dear readers, do you like small town stories? Why or why not? Comment for a chance to win one of two copies of Jodi's Somewhere Along the Way!

For more information about Jodi, please visit her website at http://www.jodithomas.com/.

31 comments:

  1. I love small town stories, where everyone knows everyone else, and has to get in their business. I think they're a lot of fun. So totally not like where I grew up or have lived. I've always wanted to live in a small town like that.

    I'm looking forward to reading Somewhere Along the Way.

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  2. I love small town stories. Probably cause I come from, and live in a small town. It’s familiar, comforting and has almost a loving simplicity about it. I like it that the people know each other or look out for one another. It creates such an intimate blanket round the main characters & makes me feel close to them.

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  3. What a great interview Ladies and in answer to your question I love small town stories I love the closeness of the community and the willingness to help each other out and of course there is always the gossip nice of course.

    Congrats on the release Jodi I look forward to reading it

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  4. I love small town stories i like how they feel close knit and full of warmth and love it rocks really this book soudns awesome and deff one id wanna read with my mom


    mortalsinn@yahoo.com

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  5. Barbara, I grew up in exactly that kind of town. It drove me nuts as a teen but, as an adult, I can look back and be grateful for the experience. It really was a terrific place to grow up, nosy busybodies and all! :)

    Like you, I'm looking forward to reading Jodi's Harmony books.

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  6. I like it that the people know each other or look out for one another. It creates such an intimate blanket round the main characters & makes me feel close to them.

    Kirsten, what a lovely description! That's exactly how I feel when reading a small-town romance.

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  7. Great interview! Somewhere Along the Way looks wonderful!
    I love small town stories. They are some of my favorites because you get to know everyone so well. I'd rather live in a small town than a big city.

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  8. I love the closeness of the community and the willingness to help each other out and of course there is always the gossip nice of course.

    LOL! Sounds like my neighborhood, Helen!

    I love that several contemporary authors have returned to stories set in small towns for the same reasons you state above.

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  9. SiNn, I love that you read books with your mom!

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  10. Welcome back, Jodi! We're delighted to have you here to celebrate the release of Somewhere Along the Way. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I love your answer to Janga's question about "wordsmith vs storyteller." You said; I think if you tell a good story readers will forgive much, but no matter how beautifully the words flow, if they don’t tell a story readers will not finish the book.

    This is exactly why I've enjoyed your books for the past 20 years and continue to do so today.

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  11. Good morning, Jodi! Thanks again for visiting with us today to celebrate your latest release. I can't wait to read it!

    I love small town stories. It makes for a much more intimate story and allows the reader to get to know the characters well. :)

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  12. Barbara E. said: So totally not like where I grew up or have lived. I've always wanted to live in a small town like that.

    Well said, Barbara. This is exactly why I love to read about them, too!

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  13. Kirsten said: I like it that the people know each other or look out for one another. It creates such an intimate blanket round the main characters & makes me feel close to them.

    I love how you put this, Kirsten!

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  14. Thanks, Helen, SiNn, and Trisha! I hope you all enjoy Jodi's newest!

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  15. I love small town stories. I fell in love with them from Gilmore Girls. ^^ I love how close and into everyones business everyone can be. It makes revels and relationships sometimes more tasty.

    Melissa
    jedisakora@msn.com

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  16. Jodi, this is such a treat! I met you at the RWA signing this past summer and walked away with a signed bookmark, because I had been too impatient to wait till July to get a signed book.

    Thanks to Janga, I was introduced to your books and now own every copy that I could buy used or new. My question to you is: Will your earliest books be reprinted in the near future? I haven't been able to find those anywhere yet.

    Thanks to the Romance Dish for this wonderful opportunity to "meet" with Jodi.

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  17. Loved the excerpt. Would enjoy being a fly on the wall when Liz gets to the holding cell. Oh! I guess I will be when I read this book, LOL!
    Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

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  18. Melissa, I've watched a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls and enjoyed them. I'd love to rent the seasons to watch in order. Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. It's our pleasure, Keira! What a great question! One that I would love to know the answer to. ;-)

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  20. That was a great hook, wasn't it Laney?? I love excerpts like that--ones that makes me want to read the book. Now. *g*

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  21. Thanks for your gracious answers to my questions, Jodi. I really do love this series. Do you have a release date for the next Harmony book?

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  22. I like small town stories, has a cozy feel to it. Love your books Jodi, all the best for your release!

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  23. Welcome to Harmony was one of my favorite reads this year and I’m so looking forward to Somewhere Along the Way.

    I like the neighborliness of small-town stories. Sure, everybody knows everybody’s business, but they also appreciate and take care of one another. Small-town folks seem friendly and being with them (as a reader) feels cozy. Thanks for visiting.

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  24. I like small town stories because I don't live in one so it's fun to read about places where everyone knows one another and have done so since they were little.

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  25. Hi, Jodi! I'm looking forward to reading the Harmony series. I love small town stories. Having grown up in a small town and living in one now, I can relate on so many levels.

    Thanks for being with us today!

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  26. I like small town stories. Things just happen differently when everyone knows everyone else.

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  27. I do like small town stories, I grew up in one of those, actually, I didn't even live in the little town but I was close...LOL
    I like that everyone knows everyone else and if you are in trouble, you have back up.

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  28. It looks like small town stories and their charm are a favorite for most of us! Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Hopefully Jodi can pop in and answer those of you who asked questions! :)

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  29. I do love small town stories!! I also LOVE, LOVE Jodi's books, they are just fantastic.. Please enter me.

    follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  30. Jodi, I love your books I love escaping into your world and look forward to each book...Keep 'em coming


    Donna

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  31. I am a recent fan of Ms. Thomas'. Her hero's are so strong and determined. Just swoonable! Please enter me!


    annfesATyahooDOTcom

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