Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 26 novels and 6 short story collections. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted in to RWA Hall of Fame. She is also currently serving as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Please welcome USA Today and New York Times Best-selling author Jodi Thomas.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.
REWRITING MONDAY is a story about a woman who made a mistake that cost her a big city reporter job. At first she thinks she’d like to rewrite one moment in her life, but as she moves to a small town she realizes that maybe she needs to rewrite her entire life.
Pepper Malone hides out in a small town and takes a job on a little newspaper run by Luke McCulloch. She’s done, pretty much, what she wanted to do all her life and he’d done what was expected of him. They have nothing in common but when trouble begins to haunt the newspaper office, they have to band together to fight.
I like to take readers into a small town and introduce them to people who will become so alive that they’ll want to invite them to dinner. My stories are character-driven and will keep them up late into the night reading. REWRITING MONDAY is available everywhere April 7, 2009.
How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?
You’ve just discovered the dragon I fight every day of my life. I give about a hundred talks a year, keeping up with my website takes a few hours a day, I teach a class on creative writing and serve as Writer-in-Residence for West Texas A&M University, I write two books a year and my family is very important to me.
How do I do it?? Sometimes not very well, I think, but most of the time I manage to not only handle it, but enjoy every minute. I do have a few secrets I learned years ago.
1) I begin each day by making a list, then working down the list.
2) I try, no matter what I’m doing, to be there. We’ve all heard that the hardest part is showing up—I follow that rule. When I’m writing, I’m lost in that world. When I’m with my kids, I’m there. When I’m on vacation, I’m totally there.
3) I set goals. Whenever I start a book the number of pages always overwhelms me. That’s usually when my husband walks by and says, ‘How do you eat an elephant’ and I smile and always answer, ‘one bite at a time.’ Then, I get to work. If I write every day, this many pages, this chapter, this draft, I finish. I’ve eaten that elephant about 30 times and every time I thought I couldn’t do it at the beginning.
Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?
I usually go to my office on campus about nine, sometimes ten if the writing went well the night before. I always start the day by answering mail and doing all the business of writing. Then I usually go to lunch with people. I find this is a great break in the day and lets me spend time with other writers, friends and family. When I come back to my office, I moved across the room to my other desk and write. (or in most cases, rewrite) I usually work about two or three hours before heading him. Then, after dinner most nights I go upstairs to my office at home and work from about 8 to midnight. This is my most productive time.
If I’ve finished my goal for the week, I take off the weekend, but usually, I write off and on all day at least one day of the weekend.
About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?
In truth, I never heard that there were rules until I’d published three books. When I won my first RITA someone said, ‘you didn’t follow the rules’ That was the first I’d heard. I think the only rule I follow is that I write what I’d like to read. I think there are rules that help you get published—like proper manuscript format and knowing the market.
What music do you listen to when you write?
None. My office is on the second floor of the university library. On Friday afternoons I try to clean up all the clutter on my desk and organize. Then I play an old Eagle’s CD called Hell Freezes Over.
Has a song inspired you to write?
Holding Out For a Hero from Footloose
Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?
I don’t watch much TV. News while I’m getting dressed. Sometimes a movie.
If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I really don’t think I’d like to collaborate. A story has to roll around in my head for a long time. When I let people read early drafts I get confused if they want to make the story go this way or that.
What are your thoughts on promotion for books?
I’ve found the most productive things I’ve done on the web. Interviews, blogs, and videos of what the book is about.
What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?
I tell them to keep trying. Some might need classes. I’m part of a writing academy this summer that is going to be great. The whole week is designed to help writers to make the step into publishing. The information will be up on my website soon or you can check http://www.lindarohrbough.com/home/pdfs/Writing_to_Sell_Brochure_2009.pdf
For those who have taken all the classes and written the best book they can, all they need to do is keep knocking on doors. They might enjoy watching
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFTRvVINZV0 This tells why I kept going.
Thank you for allowing me to visit with you. Jodi Thomas