Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spotlight On...Shirley Jump

This week The Pink Heart Society spotlights author Shirley Jump.

Shirley Jump didn't have the willpower to diet nor the talent to master under-eye concealer, so she bowed out of a career in television and opted instead for a career where she could be paid to eat at her desk—writing.

Shirley has sold twenty-five novels and now writes stories for Harlequin/Silhouette and Kensington Books about love, family and food—the three most important things in her life (though, there are many days when the order is reversed), using that English degree everyone said would be so useless.

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

Some weird part of my mind that gives me an excuse to escape from housework and making dinner. Hey, I have two kids, a husband, and way too many animals in my house. I write romantic comedy because I have to. If I didn’t laugh at my life, I think I’d go crazy. Things like the Tennessee fainting goat and the kissing pig (THE MARINE’S KISS, August 2005), were real, at a debacle of a birthday party I had for my son. I own Max, the incorrigible German short-haired pointer (THE OTHER WIFE, November 2006). The rest is just coming from somewhere in my imagination and it literally pops up on the page.

What makes you mad?

Finding really cool shoes and then being told they are all out of my size. Life just isn’t fair.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

Anytime my husband says “I’ll cook dinner” works for me ;-) but seriously, one time, I was really sick, and had had a very, very bad week. He took an entire package of bright pink Post-It notes and covered the whole house with them so that when I woke up, I found all the housework done, the coffee made, etc., with little notes on every single thing telling me he loved me and had done each of those things so that I didn’t have to worry about a thing for the whole day.

What in a hero makes you drool?

For me, it’s the simple things. A man whose heart is broken, yet he offers it up to the heroine for one more try. A man who will put everything on the line for the people he loves. Or a man who will make the woman he loves laugh in a moment that should be so tragic, but he knows she needs that mental hug.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

A Macy’s checkout girl. Good discount ;-). Seriously, a teacher. I used to be a teacher and still teach writing. I love teaching and would go back to that in a heartbeat.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

Drink heavily. It worked for Hemingway.

No, I don’t. I shop. Probably cheaper to drink heavily, now that I think about it, LOL. But I go to the mall. Nothing relaxes a girl like a trip to the shoe department and a new pair of heels.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I don’t believe in them, simple as that. I used to be a reporter for a newspaper and learned early on that you write every day, whether you feel like it or not. The paper goes out every single morning, and you come up with a story to put in those pages. You put your butt in that chair, and get to work. There are no ruts, there are no muses, there are no blocks. There are just good days and bad days. Some days I get more done than other days, some days the writing goes smoothly, some days it doesn’t. Just as with any job. The difference is this is a job I totally love, and I get to wear my slippers.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Anywhere warm and with a beach. Living in the Midwest makes it kind of hard to get any ocean views. I’m originally from Massachusetts and I miss seafood and the ocean. My husband I vacation on the beach as often as possible.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

It’d have to be a group hug. And I’d hope the people would like hugging each other. But here’s my list: Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Guest, Deborah Smith, Susan Wiggs, Linda Goodnight, Melissa James, Melissa McClone, Susan Meier and Myrna Mackenzie. I think we could squeeze Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Patricia Gaffney in there, too, because they’re pretty skinny :-).

What music do you listen to when writing?

I am such a geek and a total embarrassment to my kids--remakes of all the old standards. Michael BublĂ©, Renee Olstead, Steve Tyrell, and Rod Stewart’s remakes, too. My children just shake their heads and pretend they don’t know me. They swear their DNA came from a communal Petri dish.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you...

In high school, I was asked to “leave” the color guard team because I had no natural rhythm. When I tell people I have no natural rhythm, I really mean it. They all laugh and tell me I must have some, but I couldn’t carry a beat if you put it in a basket.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I have so many. I am a walking embarrassing moment :-). There was the time I took skiing lessons and ran over the skiing instructor--literally--and he told me to think about trying another sport. The color guard thing. Just last week, I tripped on the altar at a wedding. I think they need yellow caution tape on those things.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

I could talk about my career, but honestly, what I celebrate are my kids and husband. I look at how fast the time goes with my kids, and think every single day with them is a celebration.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

Chocolate I am trying to pretend I don’t see, won’t eat and am not craving. And a cat who is constantly sticking herself between me and my monitor because she believes she is the only thing in the world I should focus on.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

I already do kiss him every day. :-)

What are you working on now?

More the question, what am I not working on? ;-). I write eight books a year, so I’m usually working on a proposal and a book and a revision all at once. Right now, I’m working on a Next and a single title for Kensington, then have another Romance to get to this spring..


For more of Shirley, check out her website, blog, or pick up the Deluxe Reader Basket she donated to Brenda Novak's auction for Juvenile Diabetes Research.


  1. 8 books a year? Phew!

  2. Thanks for the hug, Shirley! You'd be right there on my list, too!!!!!

    Happy Mother's Day, too!

  3. Great interview, Shirley!

    Eight books a year! I know it's already been expressed, but I just have to say it again--WOW.

    What an inspiration!


  4. I thought my job was hard. You really have you're work cut out for you. You know the more I read the author blogs the more I learn from you guys. I have to hand it to you, you really do stay busy.
    Happy Mother's Day.

  5. Thanks, all! I just got back from my daughter's 8th grade trip to Washington DC and had to take a couple days to sleep, LOL. There was no sleep on the bus, that's for sure!

    But thanks for the welcome!


  6. I'm impressed by the eight books a year too! Great interview.