Friday, October 1, 2010

Interview with Shirley Jump

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Shirley Jump. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called IF THE RED SLIPPER FITS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Like Cinders, gossip writer Sarah Griffin has lost a shoe! But this is no glass slipper—it's an exclusive designer stiletto that could cost Sarah her job!

Playboy CEO Caleb Lewis is no Prince Charming, but he does have Sarah's shoe. He offers the intriguing Sarah an ultimatum: in return for her precious shoe, she'll assist him with a commercial proposition—and this means getting up close and personal!

Sarah learned long ago never to believe in fairy tales, but if the red slipper fits…

IF THE RED SLIPPER FITS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s part of the “In Her Shoes” series for Harlequin Romance. I love shoes, so when my editor asked me to write a book centered around shoes, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This story is all about a lost red “slipper”—a one-of-a-kind designer shoe—that forces arch enemies to work together.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’m a firm believer in happy endings, and writing in romance just seemed a perfect fit for someone like me. Every book makes me believe in love all over again.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I’m definitely a pantser. I have absolutely no idea how a book is going to end until I go to write the end. It makes every page I write an adventure, because I honestly don’t know what’s around the corner. That first draft is almost like reading the book as a reader.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

For this book, since I’m a total shoe-a-holic, there wasn’t a ton of research. It centers around Fashion Week in NYC, and as a frequent reader of anything style-related, I had lots of basic knowledge of that.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I always try to think of the worst thing that could possibly happen to a character. For my heroine, it was losing this one-of-a-kind, exclusive shoe that was the key to her career. And even worse, having to work with the man she has vilified in the press in order to get the shoe back.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I love creating secondary characters that are quirky and larger-than-life. I always love my hero and heroine—that’s a given—but adding in a quirky secondary character like the shoe’s designer, Frederick K, adds a whole other level of fun to the writing.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I do none of the above, LOL. Truly, they form themselves on the page as I write. I get to know more about them as I go along, and a ton of what I used to do on paper (meaning mapping out the characters and their pasts) happens in my head. It kind of “cooks” while I’m writing. After I come up with a what-if situation for the book, I try to figure out who would be in that situation and why. The rest just kind of morphs from there.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many! I love to read great fiction (Kristin Hannah, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Jodi Picoult) and then try to learn from these fabulous authors who have crafted such strong, memorable stories. I know an author’s good if I get all the way to the end and realize I didn’t dissect a thing—I just loved the book.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Promotion is, IMO, a funny thing. So much of it, if you ask me, is about timing. I had a book come out on 9-11 and at that time, I could have done all the promoting in the world and I know it wouldn’t have affected sales at all (I, like most of the country, was stunned, and didn’t even think about the book then). Another author once told me the only thing you can control is the words you put on the page, so I try to concentrate most on that and not let the rest get me too worked up.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have another AJ Whitten horror novel out in May, called THE CELLAR. Another romance out early next year called THE LOVE LOTTERY, and am working on several more.

Thanks, Shirley!

To celebrate her book release, Shirley Jump is offering a free copy of THE BRIDESMAID AND THE BILLIONAIRE to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing women’s fiction and romantic comedies (Vegas Pregnancy Surprise, July 2010) to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. As AJ Whitten (, she also writes horror young adult novels for Houghton Mifflin’s Graphia imprint with her daughter (The Well, September 2009). She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners. Visit her website at or read recipes and life adventures at

Check out author’s website at



Anonymous said...

Good morning Shirley. Sorry I'm off to a late start but with the sun rising later, it seems I am too. Your chocolate will be out shortly. Of all the fairy tale stories out there I like Cinderella stories the best. Can't wait to step into this one. :) Enjoy yourself today.

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I think it is cool that you write such different genres.

Tia Dani said...

Oh, boy. As a shoe-a-holic this is a book right up my alley. IF THE RED SLIPPER FITS, definitely is going in my TBR pile. Shirley, you are a new author for me and I am looking forward to reading your books. Thanks for the great interview, it's fun to get to know you. I also love how you write. You just sit down and do it. If it were only that easy for me. I gotta plot it out, much to the chagrin of my writing partner who is a panster. LOL
Have a great day,

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Shirley, and welcome! I like to find out about my characters as I am writing them, too. They can come up with some real surprises! All the best...

Estella said...

Enjoyed the interview!
Have read your contemporaries, but did not know you wrote horror and YA.

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, Kim! Had a delay getting here myself, but now I'm here!

Thanks, Crystal! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

And Tia--a fellow shoe addict! LOL

Thanks, Liana--it's always good to know I'm not the only pantser out there, lol.

Estella, I do like writing in the other genres. It's so much fun and such a different experience!

Vincent H. O'Neil said...

Excellent interview, Shirley! I didn't know you were a true seat-of-the-pants writer (especially the part about not knowing how the story ends until you're almost there) and I'm very impressed. As an inveterate outliner, I'd never be able to write that way -- I'd go nuts.

Didn't know you wrote horror as well--it's certainly the right season, isn't it?

Shelley Mosley said...

Hi Shirley!

I love your humor--THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE is still a favorite of mine!

Keep on writing!

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Vincent! Though I shudder in horror at the thought of an outline, LOL. My method is definitely a crazy one, lol.

Shelley! So great to see you here! And thanks for the sweet words about BRIDE. I love that book too! :-)

Crystal Laine Miller said...

It gives me hope, Shirley, that a fun and good storyteller like you is a panster! I seem to get all lost with a spreadsheet....

I just got a new Kindle (at last!) and already downloaded one of your books, and this one sounds like a winner, too.

Fun interview!

Shirley Jump said...

So nice to see you over here, Crystal! And cool on the Kindle! I have a Kobo and love it. Would love an iPad too, LOL. Someday!