Born into a family gospel/ bluegrass band, I grew up on stage, opening for huge-haired, sequin-bedazzled country-western legends of the 1960s. I always loved setting words in rows and started seriously writing in the 1980s while living on a fire tower in California's Trinity Wilderness with my husband. I kept writing for the love of it as a young mom, working as a voiceover artist until I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a virulent blood cancer, at age 32.
I used the chemo downtime to finish my first two novels, Crazy for Trying and Sugarland, both of which were published to critical acclaim. The German translation of Sugarland was a bestseller in Europe, which blew my tiny mind and took me to the next level with an agent and a big publisher and all that jazz. Bald in the Land of Big Hair, my memoir about the chemo thing, was published by HarperCollins in 2001 and was well received in the USA, UK and Europe. Extraordinary people started asking me to help them tell their stories, which is how I ended up ghostwriting, book-doctoring, and editing between novels.
In 2011, I started my own indie e-press, Stella Link Books, to publish a 10th Anniversary Ebook Edition of BLBH (foreword by fabulous Elizabeth Berg!), my backlist books, new novels, and whatever else I feel like publishing on my own label. I still ghostwrite for Big 5 publishers, but I'm addicted to the creative freedom I have as an indie, and I love assisting other talented indies who are as zealous as I am about the art and craft of writing. It's a thrilling time to be in the book business.
Meanwhile, I've been married for 30-something years to jet mechanic/ painter/ winemaker Gary Rodgers, and we have been blessed with awesome offspring. I can't believe how I lucked out: My husband makes wine, my son married a psychotherapist, and my daughter is a freelance editor. Writing life hat trick, baby!
Grace is real, and I am extremely grateful.
Where to find Joni Rodgers online
Where to buy in print