"Rodgers' strength is her knack for realistic characters and a womanly wise, laugh-through-tears appreciation of life."
Joni Rodgers is the author of five critically acclaimed novels and a bestselling memoir. As a ghostwriter specializing in high-profile memoirs and screenplay-to-novel adaptations, she's collaborated with celebrities and other extraordinary people on a wide range of bestselling books and an Oscar-nominated screenplay. Joni has been published by all six of the Big 5 plus a slew of national magazines and is known for top-drawer craft skills, dedication to deadline, and nurturing collaborative style.
I grew up on stage, performing in a family gospel/bluegrass band with my parents (aka The Dakota Ramblers) and five siblings. Between gigs, I was at the library, consuming books like a little wood chipper. Like many voracious readers, I dabbled in writing and entered the publishing trade in 8th grade, selling my hand-written, vaguely off-color romance novellas for a dollar in the girls' bathroom at a local rollerskating rink.
I majored in Theatre and minored in English in college. Over the next ten years, my voice was heard on more than 3,000 radio and TV commercials and special programs, many of which I also wrote and produced. In 1994, when I was 32 and my kids were 5 and 7, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a virulent blood cancer with a stinko prognosis and permanently scarring effect on my throat, which effectively ended my stage and voiceover career.
SILVER LINING ALERT
I used the chemo downtime to finish writing my first two novels, both of which were published to critical acclaim, much to my surprise. Another unexpected turn of events: I lived! Becoming a writer is not a common side effect of chemo, and chemo is definitely not the easiest way to become a bestselling author, but hey, whatever works, right?
Bald in the Land of Big Hair, my memoir about my cancer experience, was published by HarperCollins in 2001. A lot of people read it, and a few amazing individuals asked me to help them tell their own stories, which is how I started ghostwriting high profile memoirs. I love the collaborative process. Over the past 20 years and 20+ books, I've had my feet held to the fire by a host of brutally fantastic editors, which has been a stellar education and overwhelmingly good time.
BETWEEN THE LINES
I've been married for 35+ years to artist Gary Rodgers. We live on the blustery beach in Washington State, where I shepherd small group and solo writing retreats at Westport Lighthouse Writers Retreat. (Yes, there is an actual lighthouse, and yes, you may climb up in it.) I spend my spare time reading, tracking the movement of my driftwood menagerie, and texting ukulele videos to my little granddaughter.
Life is good, and I am profoundly grateful.