A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.
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 Women's 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 Thomas's first national bestseller and won her the first of her Romance Writers of America RITA's, the $1.5 billion romance publishing industry's equivalent of an "Oscar." Jodi won her second RITA for TO TAME A TEXAN’S HEART (1994). Book twelve, TO KISS A TEXAN (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY Best-selling Books list. For THE TEXAN'S WAGER (2002), sixteen was the magic number. As Thomas's sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen on the NEW YORK TIMES extended bestseller list. FINDING MARY BLAINE, (2004) received the National Readers' Choice Award in 2005. Thomas was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame in 2006 for winning her third RITA for THE TEXAN'S REWARD (2005). In 2009, Jodi received the National Readers' Choice Award for two of her books: TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK, and TEXAN (2008). In 2010, THE LONE TEXAN won the Reader's Choice 2009 Best Western Romance from Love Western Romances.com. Jodi received a RITA for WELCOME TO HARMONY (2010) and the Booksellers’ Best Award for SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY (2010) at Romance Writers of America in 2011. At the 2012 Romantic Times Conference, Jodi won the Romance Pioneer Award and the 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Award for TEXAS BLUE. JUST DOWN THE ROAD (2012) scored number 15 on the New York Times Best Seller List.
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.