Jodi will be sharing her thoughts, answering some questions and sharing an excerpt from her new book. In addition, she is giving away one print copy of RUSTLER’S MOON to a lucky visitor here. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.
On a dirt road marked by haunting secrets, three strangers caught at life's crossroads must decide what to sacrifice to protect their own agendas…and what they're each willing to risk for love.
If there's any place that can convince Angela Harrell to stop running, it's Ransom Canyon. And if there's any man who can reveal desires more deeply hidden than her every fear, it's Wilkes Wagner. Beneath the rancher's honorable exterior is something that just might keep her safe…or unwittingly put her in danger's path.
With his dreams of leaving this small Texas town swallowed up by hard, dusty reality, all Wilkes has to show for his life is the Devil's Fork Ranch. Though not one to let false hope seduce him, he can't deny the quiet and cautious beauty who slips into his world and changes everything.
HQN Books; January 26, 2015
$7.99; 368 pages
Join me in giving a warm welcome to Jodi as she talks about her new book. Welcome, Jodi.
In this second book of the RANSOM CANYON series called RUSTLER’S MOON, I wanted to add a mystery whispering through my story. Angela Harold is running for her life after her father is killed. She has no family she can trust and no close friends she wants involved. Applying for a job as a curator for a small museum in Crossroads, Texas seems her only way out.
It was great fun to bring someone to Texas for the first time. Angela is surprised how fast the whole community takes her in as one of their own.
Wilkes Wager was fun to meet. I felt like he walked into my study and sat down for a talk already fully formed. Writers love that when it happens. He considers himself a simple man who has given up on love but the reader soon learns that he’s far more complicated than he seems.
The setting for RUSTLER’S MOON is a ranch called the Devil’s Fork and a museum set on the edge of Ransom Canyon. Since I grew up going to the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas, it was easy to build a museum in my mind. I had one character, Carter, who really brought my museum and the canyon alive in my story.
He’s long retired and comes to Crossroads, Texas, every summer to walk the canyon and search for a childhood memory. One rainy night when Carter was five, he and his father found a cave that had drawings of stickmen on the walls. Carter believes that if he’d fallen asleep they would have killed him. The stickmen haunt him through Vietnam and in his nightmares for years. He thinks he has to find them before he dies.
I loved the way this story wound around Angela’s mystery and the surprises he finds not only in the canyon, but also within himself.
Come along with me to the adventure in RUSTLER’S MOON. You might just fall in love again for the first time. I love writing about the people in this place and Texas is my home. I like watching how peoples’ lives bump into others and change their courses ever so slightly.
This is your second book in the Ransom Canyon series. Tell us about the town.
In RUSTLER’S MOON the town of Crossroads has grown. After allowing their museum to sit empty for a year, the book opens with a new curator coming. The museum comes alive and brings the town together as Angela Harold wakes up to life and loving for the first time. The quiet, shy curator carries a secret that will threaten the whole town and leave rancher Wilkes Wagner fighting for his life as he protects Angela.
We’ve heard you have an inspiration room for your writing. Tell us about the spot.
|Ransom Canyon Room|
Ransom Canyon room: When I began the series, I moved my computer to a little room out back of my house. We call it the bunkhouse. It’s not big, mission designed and almost a hundred years old. I took down all the western art and put up white boards. Removed all books except those on ranching, horses, Texas, or research I might need. Family histories of characters fill one wall. Plot lines another. When I step into the bunkhouse, I step into the world of Ransom Canyon. One by one my characters come in and sit down to tell me their story.
I even have pictures of the flowers of Texas taped up in the bathroom and a Jack Sorenson print of horses running into the canyon on the door.
Are there any characters in the series you’d consider for a spin-off?
Yes. There are characters outlined on one board of my study that may not make it into this series. Who knows? Maybe they’ll find their way in the future.
If RUSTLER’S MOON were made into a movie, who would you cast as the lead characters?
Like many of my readers I spent my Christmas holidays snowed in and watching Hallmark movies. Almost every movie I’d say, “That actor would be perfect as this character.” I’d love to hear from my readers about who they see as playing Wilkes Wagner in RANSOM CANYON.
What’s up next for the series?
Coming this spring will be LONE HEART PASS. Another modern day ranching story set in Texas. It opens with a woman giving up on a career and taking what she thinks is her last chance to survive by coming to a small ranch her grandfather left her. She hires a cowboy to help who has a pickup full of baggage, a five-year-old daughter and a determination that surprises her.
If you had to wear a t-shirt with the same saying every single day, what would it say?
That is an easy one. When I started writing I went to a writer’s conference in Oklahoma one year and bought a t-shirt. Every night when I stepped into my closet sized study, I put on that shirt. I wore it out, but I wore it until I sold. It said, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, in training.
If you were a punctuation mark, which one best suits your personality?
If I were a punctuation mark, I think I’d be a semi-colon. Half the time I don’t know where I belong. No one really understands me. I think I’m kin to a comma. Which were left on earth millions of years ago by aliens just to confuse us so we’d never evolve completely.
If you didn’t live in Texas, where would you most like to call home?
I love traveling. Wherever I go, I always think I’d love to live there. I was twenty-one when I first crossed the Mississippi heading east. I spent so much time pointing out all the trees my new husband stopped the car. “We’re heading to Fort Mammoth, New Jersey. There are trees from now on, Jodi, so stop yelling every time you see one.” The next three years we crossed the USA several times in a 1970 Camaro and everywhere we went I was excited at all there was to see.
But, in truth, when the time comes, bury me in Texas with the open sky and land so flat you can see the curve of the earth. It’s where I belong. It’s in my blood.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I’d be a teacher. Teachers change the landscape of your life. Mrs. Dickerson in the fourth grade saw that I couldn’t read. She took the time to learn why and send me to a school for two summers. She opened the world of fiction for me. Without her, I would have been fine. With her, I’ve lived a much richer life.
I’m the writer in residence at West Texas A&M University and the best part of my job is sitting down with students in my office and beginning our journey with, ‘So, you want to be a writer?”
What authors do you most like to read?
I can’t answer that question because the answer changes every day. I love curling up with an old book and reading it for the second or third time. I love discovering an author and seeing a new fresh voice.
I have a loose grip on reality. Give me a good story. Take me away into another world for a few hours. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me fall in love again for the first time.
Jodi, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing this insight into your writing. I especially love the room where this series comes to life.
Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Jodi, here’s a bit of background on her.
|Author Jodi Thomas, Photo Credit Tracy L. Fuqua|
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas 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.
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.
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.”
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.
An Excerpt from RUSTLER’S MOON ……
This giveaway is for one print copy of RUSTLER’S MOON. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Rustler’s Moon Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decide for whatever reason you don’t want to win, once again PLEASE let me know.
Thanks so much for stopping by today during Jodi’s visit. Are you a fan of books from the western/romance genre? As you read a book do you think about which actor and actress would be perfect for the main characters?
a Rafflecopter giveaway