Author Interview: Jessica Yinka Thomas

Posted on 03/26/2012 in Author Interview / 2 Comments

Please help me welcome Jessica Yinka Thomas, author of How Not To Save the World to The Bawdy Book Blog today!


About Jessica Yinka Thomas Jessica Yinka Thomas is the author of How Not To Save the World, as well as several award-winning academic articles. When she’s not spending her time as Managing Director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, she enjoys knitting and competing in triathlons. She holds a BS in Engineering from Stanford University, as well as an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and How Not To Save the World is her debut novel.



~Who/what inspires your writing and characters? I’m inspired to write because I see storytelling as a compelling mode to engage people in big ideas. My hope is that everyone who reads my work will think about how they can find their personal path to leaving this world better than the way they found it. I also love writing because the page is the one place I can funnel all of the ideas swirling around in my head. With a generous amount of editing, those ideas can be transformed into a story and even a novel, or two or three.

~Who is your favorite character you’ve ever written? Definitely Izi (aka Isabella Marley) from my first novel How Not to Save the World. She’s a brilliant beautiful fashion designer-cum-inventor, she’s six feet tall, who helps save her best friend, the novel’s protagonist with her super cool high fashion gadgets. I love her because I aspire to be like her; a ton of fun, a great friend, and a kick-ass fashionista.

~What’s your writing schedule like? Recently I’ve had the flexibility to scale back my day job to half time. These days I can usually commit at least 2 hours to marketing and promoting my first novel and two hours to working on the second novel. I’ll often write on my lap using my laptop on my living room couch or at the local library if I’m going to put in several hours. And I’ve definitely become that person hanging out at the café, pounding away at a laptop, in the middle of the day.

~Where do you write? Much of the writing so far for the sequel to How Not to Save the World involves idea generation and so I’ll make notes about dialogue, character development, and settings just about anywhere. The woman who runs my fitness class is probably frustrated that I will often type on my phone in between sets. She probably thinks I’m texting my friends, but it keeps me distracted during the bicep curls and keeps me writing!

~Describe the last book you read in a tweet (140 characters or less): It Happened on the Way to War. A marine starts an NGO in Africa’s largest slum. Brilliant, heart-breaking, inspiring. A must read!

~Can you, uhhh, explain how you went from engineer/toy designer to author?! Sure! It’s all about saving the world, one age demographic at a time:) In my engineering days, I saved children by designed educational toys that taught kids to love reading, math and science. Now, my writing focuses on inspiring adults to find their personal path to make the world a better place. Next up, seniors!

~If I showed up at your house one day, begging for an autograph, would that weird you out? (I live in Reston)  Okay, you don’t really have to answer that question. I promise I’m not a stalker.  🙂 Not at all! I love interacting with my readers! You’re not a stalker, are you? [for the record, no! hahaha]

~If you didn’t have writing and toy design, what could you see yourself doing?  What would you LOVE to do if you were not doing one of those two things? Traveling the world, discovering new cultures, meeting new people, discussing new ideas. But then I would have to find a way to share it all. Perhaps in the form of a film. Now that’s an interesting idea…

~If you could vacation anywhere, without regard to time or money, where would you go? Brazil! Rio and Salvador in particular. I had a chance to visit both cities in 2010 and fell in love with the passionate vibrant culture that takes its inspiration from the four corners of the globe. The sequel to How Not to Save the World opens in Rio so I get to go back to Brazil frequently in my writing.

~Do you remember the very first book you ever read? Wow! I can’t remember that far back but I’ve always been an avid reader. I won the Multiple Sclerosis Read-a-Thon in my county when I was in third grade by reading 364 books in one month!

~And finally…how would you NOT save the world? What a perfect setup. For a complete answer, read my novel How Not to Save the World!

Favorites: ~Drink?  Caipirinha, yum. ~Exotic food?  Plantains. ~TV show?  So You Think You Can Dance and yes I do. ~Book?  Ouch, how could you! [sorry! I wasn’t thinking…] ~Song?  Cyndi Lauper, Girls Just Want to Have Fun! Either/or: ~Coffee or tea?  Definitely tea! ~Paper book or ebook?  Until very recently paper book but now ebook all the way. ~Spring or fall?  Spring because next come summer. ~Dogs or cats?  I have a 3 year old! ~Morning person or night person?  Gotta be a morning and night person to find time to write.


Connect with Jessica Yinka Thomas Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Purchase Link Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Remi Austin is a fundraiser for the African Peace Collaborative (APC), a conflict resolution nonprofit founded by her late mother. Frustrated by her inability to raise funds and faced with the imminent closure of the APC, Remi turns to a life of crime to keep her nonprofit afloat.

From Sydney, to Tokyo, Geneva and Cape Town, Remi transforms from a fundraiser too shy to speak during staff meetings into a daring international art thief who must stop a war from breaking out and figure out how to save herself from a life behind bars.

With the help of her best friend, a designer and inventor who creates gadget-packed gowns, Remi eludes a dashing insurance agent and a terrifying stalker, all while redistributing the wealth of the world, one work of art at a time.


Thank you, Jessica, for stopping by and answering a few questions, it was great having you!

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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.


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