THE JAMES GANG
Each month I interview an author or publishing insider who has "James" in his/her name. My October James Gang interviewee is international cover model, Jimmy Thomas.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
Well, Jimmy is the standard nickname for James. My father's name was James and I was his first born son, so he wanted to name me after him. Jimmy is typical of a name as a kid; then as I got older (early 20's, lol), I wanted to be looked at as older, so I went with Jim, but everyone still called me Jimmy, so it stuck; and then as I REALLY got older (30's, lol), I wanted to have the youthful name, hence my real name and stage name Jimmy Thomas :) Wow, nobody has ever asked me that. ;)
2. In addition to modeling, you have several professions, such as architecture. Do you enjoy new challenges or are you really great at time management? ;-)
I LOVE new challenges and I am thinking up new ideas, projects, inventions, businesses, etc. almost daily. The hard part is working on them all... And no, I am horrible at time management. I think I can do everything today! The optimistic and positive person that I am...to a fault, but hey, it makes me me. :)
3. How did your cover model career get started, and what types of modeling did you do in addition to book covers?
I was invited to be a contestant in the RT2002 cover model contest in Kansas City [at the RT Booklovers' Convention]. I wanted to be on novel covers after that, so I've made it happen. :) Other than novel covers, I've always done fitness, commercial print, stock, catalog, music videos, TV commercials, you name it!
4. Publishers are always looking for great cover shots, and authors are now creating their own covers for their Kindle-released backlist. Tell us about your Romance Novel Covers website
Well, it has just what you described. :) I regularly set-up shoots, solo and with various-looking female models, for images that you would typically see on romance novel covers, from Romantic, Sensual and Erotica to Historical, Paranormal and Suspense/Adventure. My stock image website is much like all the others out there for being a place to purchase images to use for your media or even personal use, although I gear all my shoots SPECIFICALLY towards the romance novel industry. So no 18-year-old, skinny boys with spiked hair, or bodybuilders (male or female) with shaved heads and attitudes on their faces, or laymen's couples looking at the camera smiling. I've been modeling and doing couples' shoots for 12+ years, have been in the romance novel industry since 2002, and I'm a long-time entrepreneur. I know what is needed, so I create it and make it happen. :)
5. Many authors are also making book videos to promote their novels and using romantic and sexy images on their websites. Do you sell images for those, too?
Yes, my stock images are also licensed for novel trailers and are in many of them. They are also licensed for bookmarks, banners, promotional material, and website designs, you name it. :) http://www.jimmythomas.com/websites.html
6. You produce and direct -- as well as star in -- your cover shoots. How do you pick your female models, as well as the wardrobe and setting for the shoots?
I first select my female co-models by their looks, but then I HAVE to chat with them via email and phone for a while before booking them. If they don't have a great personality, if they aren't excited to shoot, if their responses are once every week or two of only 3-4 words, then I won't shoot with them, no matter how great they look. It's not their looks that make for great "couples' images", it's completely their personality and attitude and passion.
7. You have a lot of talents and interests outside of your cover model work, such as kickboxing. Have you worked some of those into your cover shoots?
No, not yet. I haven't really seen a need for it. I have many other looks to still do; it's just a matter of time to fit everything in when you're a one-man band. ;)
8. Will you be in Los Angeles at the RT Booklovers' Convention in April 2011? Do you enjoy meeting readers and authors? Do they keep their hands to themselves? ;-D
Oh, yes, I will DEFINITELY be there as I live here in L.A. and I have BIG things happening to announce then!!! I LOVE going to see everyone more than anything else. I don't need to go there to network; I've already established that. ;) I go to see everyone as it is a family reunion for me! I've been going for 8 years, I can't stop! ;) And yes, the guests there are definitely respectful to me. I don't understand the stories I hear of these women manhandling the guys, as in the 8 years going not ONE has ever touched me inappropriately.
9. Would you like to write a book? You tell a story with your photo shoots, so maybe you could have a picture book for adults that shows in photos a relationship from beginning to Happily Ever After?
Already in the works, among many other things. ;)
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote or philosophy?
I am FULL of quotes that I LOVE and follow daily, and they are in my email signature to be seen in every email I send to hopefully help others:
"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." -- Phyllis Diller
"Don't think you are, know you are" -- Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix
"Nothing is real unless you believe in who you are."-- Sylvester Stallone, Rocky III
"It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you."-- Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." -- Theologian Pierre Tielhard de Chardin
"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn." -- Chinese proverb
"Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do." -- Bruce Lee
"If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always be what you've always been." -- T.J. Jakes
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” -- Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
"One who lacks courage to start has already finished" -- Unknown Author
Thanks, Jimmy! Next month I'll interview The Wild Rose Press author, Silver James.
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