Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome Jimmy Thomas to the Manor! Day One:

Do you ever wonder where in the world they find those guys who grace the covers of your fav romance book covers? Are they real, or the artistic concept of someones' vivid imagination? Today and tomorrow , here at the manor, we are fortunate to have visiting with us, cover model, Jimmy Thomas. From his humble beginnings in Plymouth, Massachusetts to receiving awards for his architectural design and international acclaim as a fitness model, there is a whole lot more going on with this guy than just a pretty face and a fine physique!!

Amanda: So lets start at the beginning...that's a very fine place to start(*humming the tune as I rifle through your bio pics! AHA!...sorry, Jimmy, I can't help myself-this pic is just too darn cute. Must share it;) You're the one on the far right;)

As I read through your bio, it looks like you've always been involved with something physical, pushing your level of endurance. Precision sculpting and strength of the body obviously quite important for doing modeling. I understand it was around 1998 when you got actively involved in the modeling industry. But give us the inside scoop ;) Its not like you were standing at a bus stop and someone came up to and asked if you were a cover model, right?

Jimmy: I had a few people say I should model, but I never saw myself as the model type at all (look-wise), then a DROP DEAD GORGEOUS girl approached me in a club (yes, she was sober, lol) with a huge smile and said... "Wow, tell me you model?" I looked behind me to see who she was talking to, lol. So I got into it then...... and started dating her! ;)

Amanda: She was an agent?? Probably not, eh? Okay, so what happened then?

Jimmy: I began test shooting for many photographers and very quickly picked up representation by 13 agencies throughout Florida alone. From commercial print, retail ads, catalogs & magazines, I've worked with company's like Tommy Hilfiger, Dillard's, Disney, Sports Authority, & many fitness magazines. I've worked with celebrity Model/Actress Amanda Swisten ("American Pie III"), and starred in music videos like the Persian Artist Ebi: Sedam Kardi. and Persian Artist Shohreh: Shabe Shekar.

Amanda: You've been a very busy man, besides your real-life job which is in architecture, correct? How did you go from that to pursuing a career in modeling?

Jimmy: I worked for an engineering firm in his first few years in Florida, then onto working for the largest architecture firm in the state of Florida, which was also the largest franchised architecture firm in America. I was there for 4 years where I custom designed up to 4-story, multi-million dollar homes, and left the firm as one of their Senior Designers, and with 2 "Designer of the Quarter" awards. In 2002, I moved to Los Angeles to further my interests. I still designed upper-scale homes, trained clients independently and also for 'CBS Television Studios' for the cast & crew. I continued his modeling and still taught self defense & kickboxing.

Amanda: The grass does not grow beneath your feet , does it? That was then, what about now? What do you have going on?

Jimmy: I have been studying martial arts off and on since 1992 where I used to teach it (including kickboxing), where I still do on a freelance basis, mostly for free if the timing is convenient, as I just really enjoy giving to others the knowledge I have learned. I've also been a Personal Trainer since the late 90's certified through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), which I also teach, train and guide people with their diets and workouts for free a lot. I'm a freelance Architectural Designer for a few companies throughout Los Angeles, which is the work I've been doing since the early/mid 90's. I've written an action-adventure screenplay, I've designed many websites including my own, and I used to manage about 50 Models where I've gotten many of them published in magazines like FHM and various fitness magazines, in catalogs, on commercials, to trade shows, etc. My latest projects I'm working on are a new cardio fitness concept similar to Tae-Bo only much better, 6 retail inventions in prototype stages, an organic product, a self help book, my romance novel stock photo website, and an animal abuse prevention organization.

Amanda: So you've been on a number of book covers in the past few years and really , we're not talking too long since 2001. That's quite an accomplishment! In talking to other cover models, I think its harder to break into this end of the business than it is to get a book published! Congratulations on your accomplishments! Here then is your latest? Now this just brings to mind a whole host of questions about this book!
In all of your portfolio pics, you look so natural, like you're really having a good time. And we haven't even touched on the portfolio for your newest endeavor! Whew! Those are "scorching!" Tell us, what do you like best about being a cover model?

Jimmy: Well, of course there's the holding beautiful female models close to me ;) but also that I can present a character for readers to envision as they're reading the stories, the chemistry between the female character and me to come through on the cover, or the boldness, strength, and heroic attitude of the character if I'm alone on the cover.

Amanda: Funny, thats usually the fantasy of the female readers as they look at those covers! LOL
But I think the writers (who are readers also, of course) would have to agree that those pics serve to inspire our imagination in creating our characters as well! So, um...thanks for that!!;)) Is there anything you don't like about being a cover model?

Jimmy: Not a single thing! I LOVE shooting for, and being on, novel covers.

Amanda:With that, I would like to post a few more covers and give our bloggers a chance to ask you some questions. Tomorrow; the second half of our interview with the quintessential "Renaissance man" Jimmy Thomas. We'll be talking about a brilliant new idea that Jimmy launching at RT that is bound to do very well in this industry! Additionally, I've muscle-armed Jimmy (yeah, tough guy, me;) into giving up one of his promo publicity collage pics, featuring nine of his book covers-one at random from all who leave a comment on the blog! Good luck!


Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

Wow--Amanda hit the nail on the head when she described you as a 'modern Renaissance' man! That's a *lot* of accomplishments--how do you have time to sleep?!

It's great to have you here at the LIT Manor today, Jimmy. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us. It's fascinating to learn something about the models gracing our industry's covers--other than seeing some of them at the RT Convention, they're mostly a mystery to us.

I particularly love the Susan Kearney covers--they're all fabulous!

We all know that the majority of romance readers are female....just out of curiosity, do you ever read the books you appear on?

And do the photographers mostly go for a certain look/pose, or are you ever told any specific information about the particular 'hero' that you're portraying?

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Amanda & Jimmy! I also loved looking at the covers.

I'm a cover junkie, I'll admit, I've bought books solely based on the cover art. I also refuse to get rid of certian books--even if they weren't my cup of tea--just because I love the cover. Hey, no shame in my game.

If I had my way I'd have entire library stocked to the brim with romance novels and the walls would be filled with gorgeous cover art.

Sigh...some day.

Cecile said...

That was an amazing interview!
I agree with Kristina, you have lots of accomplishments under your belt. My hat goes off to you.

Thank you for allowing us to learn about your life. Because as a reader, just looking at the picture is always nice *grinning*, but knowing what is behind the picture is always a bonus!
My question is the same as Kristina, I am curious if you ever read the book you grace the front of?
Oh and did you wind up marrying the DROP DEAD GORGEOUS girl from the bar who aapproached you about modeling?

Genella deGrey said...

Hi Jimmy -

The story of how you started modeling is the stuff dreams are made of. :D

And - DANG! I thought I was busy!

I look forward to reading the rest of your interview.

BTW - I'm in Culver City

Amanda McIntyre said...

It has been a typical Monday at my house (spring break here in the big A) and Im still battling the dredges of this creepy virus! arrgh*
I did hear from Jimmy earlier today and hope that he will be able to join us a bit later today when his work allows.

Meantime, hope each of you is having a wonderful start to your week;)

there is a bit of resemblence to Mr. Thomas and our own Lord C. M. Look closely at the jawline...


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Manor Jimmy! I hope you like your visit here!
With all your accomplishments are you shy when someone you know points out a cover your on?
What was your reaction the frist time you saw yourself on a romance cover?

Jimmy Thomas said...

Hi Kristina/Kristi :)

Thanks for the welcoming! Sleep? What's that? lol. I sleep 5 hours every night. That's all my body wants/needs. I'm full of FIRE! I need to stay up and burn that candle at both ends ;)

I have read a few of the novels I've been on, as well as a few of the novels I did the trailers for as I wanted to know my character I was portraying.

As for poses, It tends to always be all the basic poses, with some additional specific poses for that character/story. I'm at a point where I have a numbering system for each typical pose now, lol ;)

Thanks for your questions :)

Jimmy Thomas said...

I agree with you Barbara! The covers are works of art! Especially the historical painted covers! I have a collection of them myself... although most are the ones I'm on the cover of ;)

Jimmy Thomas said...

Hi Cecile :)

Thanks! I've always been one to do a lot, want to do a lot, and to do more and more. I love learning and experiencing new things. I wish I didn't have to sleep and that I would never diet so I could do and see and experience EVERYTHING :)

Anyone can at anytime email me to chat or ask me questions. I don't have to just be that mystery man on the cover ;) I'm real, and I don't bite... hard ;)

Jimmy Thomas said...


And no, I never married her, lol. We've remained friends ever since (friends with benefits that is ;))

Jimmy Thomas said...

Hi Genella :)

Well well well, you're my neighbor :)

Thanks, glad you liked my stories. My list of things I'm working on is only a fraction of all that I do each day, lol. I didn't want to bore you all ;)

Jimmy Thomas said...

Yes Amanda, I was on location redesigning a few new kitchens... duty called ;) I'll be spending all night putting engineering calculations on a 4-story condo remodel in West Hollywood that I did, and final specifications for a restaurant redesign in Los Angeles.

Oh, and I also need to go train next season's lead actor of 90210 later tonight... and did I mention do laundry, cook my meals for the next 3 days (I eat every 2 hours), and continue working on everything that I have going on at RT when I'm there.

Yes, the coffee pot is a brewing ;)

Jimmy Thomas said...

Hi Ranearia :)

I'm ONLY shy at FIRST meeting a girl in person. Otherwise I'm not shy at all, nor do I ever get embarrassed, ever have any regrets, feel ashamed, let people frustrate me, or see anything but a positive outcome in everything :)

I friend recently told me she was sitting next to someone on a plane who was reading Solar Heat and SHE felt shy to tell the lady she knows that guy on the cover, lol. I would've said "Wow, what a handsome guy on the cover!" To see if she would notice.

I've gone into the bookstore with friends who insist on telling everyone around that it is me on the cover of the novels I'm buying, lol. I just laugh.

Tomorrow there will be a surprise announcement... clue word: "Easter" ;)

Amanda McIntyre said...

it sounds like you are having quite the day, Jimmy? What do you do for "down time"? How does Jimmy Thomas relax?

You mentioned that you need to prepare your meals (you eat every two hours?) I know I appreciate a man who can cook! Do you have any special foods that you enjoy preparing?


Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

Hmmmm.....Easter. Sounds intriguing!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Welcome to the manor, Jimmy! I'm the other LIT lady. Sorry I'm late to the party. I was working yesterday!

So, I was wondering if you ever have any jealousy issues with your wife/girlfriend after she sees the covers of your books?

Gladys said...

Wow, awesome interview!!! Love hearing about everything you have done and am looking forward to part 2 xx