Interview with Jimmy Thomas

February 22, 2012

Most of the time, I'm interviewing the authors who write the words that create the stories inside the pages of romance novels, but what about the outside and those scintillating book covers? We all know that beautiful packaging can really help to sell what's inside, and I think that most romance readers (even if they won't admit it ;-) ) have been guilty of drooling over those decadent covers every once in a while. That's why I'm very excited to have as my special guest today, romance cover model, Jimmy Thomas. 

 Jimmy Thomas

 Solar Heat

Jimmy started modeling in 1998 after a gorgeous woman (who he ended up dating) approached him at a club and insisted that he had to be a model. He decided to give it a shot, and over the years since, he has worked in a wide variety of media including print, commercials, and music videos. In 2002, he was invited to be a contestant in the Romantic Times Mr. Romance cover model contest. After that, Jimmy chose to pursue a career modeling for romance novel covers. The first book cover he appeared on was Susan Kearney's Solar Heat

Jimmy soon discovered that most book covers are created from stock photos and that there was a lack of quality stock photos suitable for romance covers. From there, he put his entrepreneurial skills to work building his website,, a database which currently offers over 3500 romantic, sensual and erotic images to romance authors, publishers, and book cover designers with new photos being added weekly. Jimmy produces all of his own photo shoots down to the last detail including, but not limited to, choosing female models, photographers, wardrobe, props, themes, and poses, as well as doing all the post-production work of editing and deciding which images will be uploaded to RNC. Jimmy has now appeared on over 2500 romance novel covers which makes him the #1 romance cover model and one of the most recognizable faces in the business.

 Out of Left Field Jimmy's 2500th Cover

But, lest you think that Jimmy is just another handsome face, think again. Jimmy is actually a multi-talented guy. In addition to his modeling, he is an award-winning architect who has worked on design projects for self-sustaining, eco-friendly homes, as well as low-cost housing for the displaced citizens of Afghanistan. He is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a Self Defense & Kickboxing Instructor. He has written a sci-fi/action-adventure screenplay, is working on a self-help book, has ideas for several inventions and wants to start an animal abuse prevention organization. Whew! All that's making me tired just thinking about it. Jimmy is definitely a man with the positive energy and creative drive to make things happen, and his busy schedule makes me all the more appreciative to have him here with me today. So without further ado...

Welcome to The Hope Chest Reviews, Jimmy!

1. I'm the type of girl who likes to know something about the man behind the handsome face and buff body, so let's start with giving me five to ten words that best describe your personality.

Passionate, determined, hardworking, go-getter, inventive, sweet, kind, caring, loving, helpful.

2. If you could be magically transported inside the pages of a romance novel for a day, what type of romance hero would you like to be?

Well, I don't see a hero to be a type, a hero is a hero, so if you meant which genre hero I would see myself as, that would either be one in the Regency/Renaissance days, a Vampire or Vampire slayer, or a wolf shape-shifter.

3. For many romance readers, you have become the embodiment of the perfect romantic hero. If you were to write the perfect romantic heroine, what would she be like?

Well thank you for starters.:-) I would see her to be the same as me, fearless, determined, good-hearted, and of course beautiful, like a Salma Hayek or Catherine Zeta Jones.

4. What is your idea of the perfect romantic evening?

Home cooked meal made together, cuddling on the couch watching a movie, washing each other and relaxing in the tub to candle light and earth/nature sounds playing.

5. Have you ever read any of the books you've appeared on?

I wish I had the time.

6. Pamela* asks: Did you ever think or dream of being a model as a child?

Not at all. Never saw myself as the model type.

7. Lisa Kay* asks: Is there one photo shoot that stands out as having been particularly fun or memorable, and is it also the one with which you were most pleased with the end result?

There are a few; one with a model I had been emailing with for many, many years, but never met until our shoot (those images are amazing and some of the most popular and loved, we've since shot 7 times together ;)). One that was all day and all night and I actually fell asleep while we were naked in bed together, and they kept shooting with her looking sweet at me while I was asleep (one of those sleeping images is on a cover).

8. I've seen a number of romance novels that have the irresistible combination of hot guys and cute animals on the cover. I know you are an animal lover, so have you ever worked with animals in your photo shoots?

Yes I am,:-) but no, they have all been superimposed by cover artists.

9. Cheryl* & Lisa* ask: We would like to know, have you ever been teased or razzed by your male buddies for being a romance novel cover model (even though I bet they're all envious!)?

Nope, and because they are all envious/jealous.

10. Since authors, publishers and cover designers are purchasing your stock photos from, I'm wondering how you find out when you'll be appearing on a new cover. Is that something they tell you up front, or do you find out another way?

Most of them post them on my Facebook page, my Facebook fan page, or they email them to me. Otherwise, every now and then I go to a number of various publisher sites and check their "Coming Soon" pages.

11. You've done so many different things in your life. Is there one accomplishment that stands out as having given you the greatest sense of satisfaction?

Yes... RNC! It has been a LOT of work! I've single-handedly produced and directed over 150 shoots to feed my stock image website, shot with 160+ different girls, came up with all the themes, styles, wardrobe, poses, settings, etc., for each shoot, then the lengthy part of going through about 1000 images from each shoot to separate out the 5 to 20 sets (outfits/poses) from them, to hand-select the top best 5-20 images from each set, then clean, edit and crop them just right to give the viewer the most impactful impression, and upload them and their details of each image onto RNC, where I still have THOUSANDS more images to go through of about 500 more sets, so another 2,500 to 10,000 more images to post without even shooting again. But wait, there's more! I am launching something within the next month that will revolutionize the romance novel industry and make everyone in it a lot more money! :-)

12. Here's an interesting question inspired by a book I just read: If you knew you had only one month to live and had virtually unlimited resources, what three things would you want to do?

Provide unlimited food, shelter and health care resources to 3rd World countries in need. Create a fund for families of fallen and permanently injured/amputated soldiers. Create large no-kill animal shelters in every state.

13. If you didn't have to concern yourself with day to day stuff like earning a living and could do anything at all, what would you be doing?

Traveling the world as there is so much I haven't seen yet.

14. So what's next - what plans do you have for the next year or two?

I can't reveal it just yet, but you'll know within a month. :-)

*Jimmy's secret project was revealed. It's Romance Novel Center, a networking website for anyone in the romance novel industry and the readers who love romances. Check it out!

15. Since The Hope Chest Reviews is born out of my passion for books, I can't end this interview without asking: What is your favorite book (and it can't be your own ;-))?

Well I've only read two books in my life (ducking from the spoiled vegetables being thrown at me followed by waves of boo's), "Old Man In The Sea" in middle school, and "Jurassic Park" just before they launched the previews for the movie, where when I finished it I thought "This would be a killer movie!". I've always been a movie watcher rather than a book reader. My self-diagnosed A.D.H.D. doesn't let me sit still for too long to read even a chapter of a book ;)

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Jimmy. It's been a delight having you. Good luck with all your projects. We wish you all the best!:-)

Thank you for the interest and best wishes :-)

*I also want to thank my readers, Pamela, Lisa Kay, Cheryl and Lisa for contributing questions.

Visit Jimmy on the Web

Jimmy's Website

 Romance Novel Covers


 Model Mayhem