With the virtual book tour for Me Tarzan–You Jane in full swing, I decided to share what (or better said who) inspired me to write the story.
In May 2011 I went to Arizona Dreamin’ Conference, my very first writers’ conference. At that time my debut novel Hidden Heart was out since March and I was working on my second one titled A World Apart.
Ecstatic about my very first novel to finally be in readers’ hands, stuck with the plot for the second novel, I went to the conference extremely nervous. I’m a shy person by nature so being among strangers terrifies me. I only knew one author, the lovely Deena Remiel but I also knew she won’t have time to babysit me. So, here I was in the middle of a mass of strangers with me, myself and I.
Some memories are meant to stay with you forever and this is one of them: I walked in a room full of people for the wine reception prior to the conference. My heart hammered in my chest and I had this panicked voice in my head screaming, “Ruuuuuuun!” I told myself I’d only be there for five minutes and then leave as unnoticed as I came.
Women of all ages and sizes grouped around four godly looking guys. Think Chippendale x 10 times better looking. Intrigued about their presence I went to the improvised bar and helped myself to a plastic cup of chardonnay all the while observing the guys. Who were they? What were they doing here? Were they authors like the rest of us?
I eventually spotted Deena and went to say hi. She introduced me to the ladies she was talking to and even though minutes later she left us, I remained with my newfound friends. From them, I found out that the guys were models there for the contest called Men Of Our Dreams. I also found out that they were nothing compared with Jimmy Thomas, famous cover model for thousands of romance novels. Topping that?—how was that even possible?
(I wasn’t going to post pictures of Jimmy but decided at the last minute to do it, sparing you the search for his covers–over 7,000 last I heard. I’m sure you’re recognizing him now, right?)
I decided to stick a bit longer, not because of Jimmy Thomas—who at the time wasn’t among us, but because I enjoyed spending time with people who too heard voices in their heads and they were happy about them. Relieved I wasn’t crazy and the voices were just imaginary friends to any authors, I bounced from one group to another until this euphoria spread around the room like a blast of hot air, followed by cheers and applauses.
Being only 5”1’ tall it took me a while to see what or who had such impact on an entire room of people: famous Jimmy Thomas had walked into the room.
He doesn’t know I exist since I never had the courage to introduce myself, nor asked for a picture like every woman at the conference. In fact I bet my royalties I was the only woman not being photographed with him.
I don’t regret not being introduced to Jimmy. Or not owning a photo with a celebrity such as him. Because I have something better than that, something that not even time or history can take away from me. I have Me Tarzan—You Jane, my novel inspired by him.