My first trilogy was five books, my second was four and my third trilogy was six. I think the editor finally gave up on me and said, “How about you write a series.”
All series come with an overall theme. And in my new series Ransom Canyon, I wanted to use the beauty of a canyon near where I went to school at Texas Tech University. Having grown up in Amarillo, I’ve spent years both walking the canyons of Palo Duro and riding them on horseback. When I got homesick at Tech, I’d drove out to where the flat land turned to canyons.
The history of the canyon fascinated me. In the early days of Texas the Panhandle, top square part at the top of Texas, was the last part to be settled. This was beyond the fort line, which meant anyone settling in these parts did not have protection to call on.
All kinds of outlaws and traders moved through this area. In the fall, just as the leaves fell, it’s said that the groups would meet for trade days. They’d set aside their differences and trade for food supplies, horses and weapons. One of the things they traded was hostages captured in raids.
When I walked through Ransom Canyon and learned the history I knew I’d have to write about the place. Not just the early days (written in Winter’s Camp) but this part of the country today. A place founded by strong independent people who’ve formed generations of bonds starting with the first families who settled there.
The book Ransom Canyon begins the series with a rancher named Staten Kirkland. He loves his land and one woman and he’s willing to fight to save both.
Rustler’s Moon comes next. It’s a romance with a strong mystery mixed in. There will be six books in the series, as least that’s what I plan, but math is not my strong point and sometimes characters refuse to leave my office.
How do I know these people: I’m born and bred into the life. My grandmother really was born in a covered wagon near what is now Quanah, Texas. I have my great-grandmother’s roll top chest, that traveled west with her, in my study.
The canyon plays a character in every story. Few people outside of this area realize how many canyons drop off cutting through the flat land. The canyons are filled with hidden mysteries and unexpected dangers.
So if you can’t come to Texas and see Ransom Canyon, Caprock Canyon, or Palo Duro Canyon, step into my stories and I’ll take you there.
Ms. Thomas is giving away a print copy of Rustler’s Moon. Make a comment below to be entered in a drawing for the book.
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.