I have known Shirley online for YEARS. We belong to an online group called Momwriters and were there as both of our careers took off. Like me, Shirley started as a nonfiction writer, but always longed to write fiction. She has now written more books than I can count and is a huge inspiration for me. Enjoy the interview!
Name: Shirley Jump
Most recent release: The Sweetheart Bargain
Bio: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. 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. Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Sisters series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN in September 2013. Visit her website at www.shirleyjump.com or read recipes and life adventures at www.shirleyjump.blogspot.com.
What exactly is Jumpstart Writing Institute?
It’s an online home for writers of all levels to find courses, get weekly motivation, and interact with each other for support and knowledge. We offer webinars, brainstorming with me, monthly Q&As on writing with me, and all kinds of other cool services for members like webpages and book videos.
Why did you start it?
I teach all the time for a variety of online and in person venues and I really wanted to be able to offer more than I could through others and also be more in control of the process. With my own webinars, I can set my own schedule and tailor each one to meet the current membership. And I am a strong believer in giving back to the writing community—this is my way of helping them all achieve their dreams.
What do you think of the term hybrid author? Are you a hybrid author?
I would say any smart author is a hybrid, meaning you keep your eggs in multiple baskets. I write for three houses (Berkley, Harlequin, Entangled) and also do some of my own self-pubbed backlist work on ebook platforms. It keeps me employed, keeps me with a steady income, and allows me to keep fresh by working on different types of things all the time.
Can you tell me a bit about what you think of the changes occurring in the publishing industry and how you and Jumpstart Writing Institute fit into that?
The great part about JSWI is that it’s a partnership between myself and Judy Jackson, who has a great background in networking and online sales and distribution. She provides the other side of the coin that I just don’t have—I’m the creative writer, who can teach you how to write a book, but she offers the rest of the components. That allows us to address all sides of writing and this ever-evolving industry by providing a variety of content and support.
Tell me why you feel a budding author should join Jumpstart?
We have two fabulous programs that really help support budding authors. First, is the weekly members-only emails that offer motivation on Mondays and quick writing tips the rest of the week. That gives you a great start to your writing week and delivers tips you can use immediately. In addition, members get the opportunity to interact with me every month, through our Brainstorming and Q&A webinars. It’s not often that you get to pick the brain of an author and get feedback on your plot, your characters, or how to sell the book.
Secondly, we have this fabulous Book in a Year webinar program that gives you everything you need from plotting to submitting, all in one webinar package. We’re finishing up the last couple components of that at the end of this year, and anyone can buy those and have handouts and webinars on the writing process. I like to make it as step-by-step as possible, so any new writer can learn how to put a book together. That’s what JumpStart Writing Institute is all about—helping other writers climb that ladder of success!