Award-Winning Author Jodi ThomasJodi Thomas is a fifth generation Texan who taught family living. She chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. "Id tell them stories at night that made them too scared to get up and go to the bathroom. I got in trouble for that," Thomas claims. "I told them wild stories of school until they cried not to go. I got in trouble for that too. Mother said shes not sure, but she thinks I was 10 before I ever told the truth about anything. And all my life stories have always been in my head." On Thursday, November 18, at Barnes & Noble Westlake in Austin, Thomas delighted audiences with her Texas stories about writing, and discuss the craft of "Switching Hats: The Art of Changing Genres." The stories Thomas has committed to paper have earned her an impressive list of distinguished awards. Her first book, Beneath the Texas Sky (1988), won the National Press Womens Novel of the Year in its category. Book two, Northern Star (1990), was named best novel by the (Texas) Panhandle Professional Writers and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., an organization of writers groups from several states. Book three, The Tender Texan (1991), was Thomass first national bestseller and won her the first of two Romance Writers of America RITAs, the $1.5 billion romance publishing industrys equivalent of an "Oscar." Book twelve, To Kiss a Texan (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY Best-selling Books list. For The Texans Wager (2002), sixteen was the magic number. As Thomass sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen on the NEW YORK TIMES extended bestseller list. While the author toured the country last year, 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. More information is available at the authors website, www.jodithomas.com
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue w writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband and renovating an historical home they bought in Amarillo. Her next contemporary novel for MIRA Books, to be published in 2005, will be The Secrets of Rosalee. She is currently working on this sequel to The Widows of Wichita County, in response to enthusiastic readers requests.