WTAMU has hired Jodi Thomas, a nationally recognized author, to be it's first writer in residence since 1975.
Author hired as writer in residence By Jennifer Davis & Zenobia Harris Staff Writer & General Assignments Reporter WTAMU has hired Jodi Thomas, a nationally recognized author, to be its first writer in residence since 1975. Loula Grace Erdman was WT's first writer in residence, said Thomas, a New York Times best selling author. "I actually met Erdman when I was still a student," Thomas said. "She signed the cover of her book for me and wished me luck withmy writing in the future." Now, almost 30 years later, Thomas is the second person in history to take the position. Thomas said she did not begin to think about being a novelist until it was almost time for her sons to go to college while she was ateacher at Amarillo High School. "I knew we wouldn't be able to send our sons to college on teacher's salaries," Thomas said. "So, I figured if I wrote one book a year,we could afford to put them through school. Both of my sons are college grads as of this year." "Beneath the Texas Sky" (1988) was the first book Thomas published. Thomas' face lights up as she thinks of what she considers hergreatest accomplishment, her sons. "The New York Times wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't taken the time to raise them," Thomas said. The position, as writer in residence, doesn't involve writing for WT, said Pam Wilson, professor of business communication andThomas' best friend. "Jodi is a spokesperson for the university," Wilson said. "She's important because she has a lot of books published and she does booksignings and speeches. When she's doing engagements, she publicizes WT. When she introduces herself, she isn't just Jodi Thomas thewriter; she's also Jodi Thomas, WT's writer in residence." "I do what I do," she said. "I write. I want to be here for students who, right now, may be going a hundred different directions, but inthe back of their minds they want to write. I want to be here to answer their questions." Thomas explained that she never thought she had what it takes to be a writer. "I thought you had to at least be able to spell to be awriter," said Thomas. "I'm a horrible speller. Thanks to computers and editors (I can). But I've always enjoyed reading." For a person who has accomplished as much as Thomas, she sells herself short, said Wilson. "Jodi and I've known each other for sixyears," Wilson said. "She is one of the most creative and talented people I know. She's also one of the best off-the-cuff speakers I've everheard. She always has something to say." Now Thomas is looking forward to seeing her first mainstream book come out in July. She hopes to see it hit the top 15, though she'sheard it takes selling half a million books a week to reach that goal. "Writing is a fun way to make a living. Start out by reading everything. Read across the board. Keep a journal of ideas. Take writingclasses; go to seminars; read books on writing. Most of all, write. You have to write if you want to be a writer. I work seven days a week,even if it's only for two hours a day; there is no vacation. A writer writes."