WELCOME TO HARMONY is hitting the stands as we speak. Sometimes I feel like one of those dime novel writers from a hundred years ago. They’d write their stories, mail the book off to a press back east and wait at the train station for the first copies to come in with the newspapers. It’s a kick to know that people all over the country will be stepping into my world in a few days.
I began the book at a Bed and Breakfast built in 1851 near Tyler, Texas. I was the only guest at the huge old plantation house and thought as soon as the housekeeping staff left I would wander, but as soon as the door was closed and I realized I was alone, I ran to my room and locked the door. That night, with ghosts (I was sure) just outside my door I began the story of a small town called Harmony.
Harmony is a place we all wish we were from. You’ll fall in love with not only the Fire Chief who tries to take care of all the women in his life—a mother, two widowed aunts, two divorced sisters and a four year old niece—but you’ll also understand the Funeral Director who loves his job of helping people in crisis. Everyone in town knows him, but he can’t remember names. He’s lonely but can’t see himself ever leaving his home or his responsibilities. He’s kind to everyone, but has no one to love him.
The thread that holds them all together is a runaway who hits town one night. She’s really not looking to stay, but just wants to visit Harmony so she’ll have a place to be from. What she finds is a place to belong. Reagen Truman is one of the strongest characters I’ve ever written. She’ places an important role in all three of the Harmony books to come.
The settings are pulled from my memories of small town rodeos and families who argue for generations but fight to help one another when trouble comes. The prairie fires of 2006 that burned a million acres of land near my home in the Texas Panhandle influenced the plot as did the funny ways that small town folks are so very unique.
I hope Harmony and its people touch you as deeply as they did me. The last month of writing the book I found I had trouble making myself write the ending because I didn’t want to leave Harmony.
So, come along with me to a town you’ll feel like you are from by the time you finish reading. You’ll laugh, maybe cry a little and fall in love.
Thanks for reading,
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 30 novels and 8 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.
About Welcome to Harmony:
Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else's. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.
I have been given 1 copy of Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas to giveaway to the readers of this blog. Simply comment to enter. Additional entries for following (rss, email, blogger, networked blogs, etc.), tweeting (1 per day), posting on your blog (sidebar is fine). Please comment for each entry - it makes the accounting easier. Giveaway open to US/Canada only. Don't worry if you are first or last - I'm starting to randomize all entries before using random.org to draw a number - so it's more like drawing a name out of a hat. Giveaway runs through June 10, 2010.