FAQs

Q: Where can I get autographed copies of your books?
A: You can buy autographed copies of books at The JumpStart Writing Institute Store, here.

Q: What’s the order of your linked books?
A: I have dedicated pages for each of my series here:

Q: What about the “Wedding Planners” Series?
A: I wrote the first book in that series, and all the books are still available online: Also, visit our blog for wedding fun!

The Wedding Planners

  • Book 1- SWEETHEART LOST AND FOUND by Shirley Jump

    Florist: will Callie catch a bouquet, and reunite with her childhood sweetheart?
    Read an Excerpt!

    From Romantic Times BOOKClub: “Four stars: “…Shirley Jump begins The Wedding Planners with Sweetheart Lost and Found (4). It’s smart, funny and quite moving at times, and the characters have a lot of depth.” —Catherine Witmer
    Read an excerpt here!
    And read a BONUS online read (FREE!) story at eHarlequin and get a preview of The Belles!

  • Book 2 – THE HEIR’S CONVENIENT WIFE by Myrna Mackenzie

    Photographer: Regina’s wedding album is perfect. Now she needs her husband to say I love you!

    From Romantic Times BOOKClub:  “Myrna Mackenzie continues The Wedding Planners with The Heir’s Convenient Wife (4.5), making an old-fashioned scenario work like a charm thanks to complex characters and a romance that develops slowly and sweetly.” Catherine Witmer

  • Book 3 – SOS, MARRY ME! by Melissa McClone

    Designer: Serena’s already made her dress, but a rebel has won her heart…

  • Book 4 – WINNING THE SINGLE MOM’S HEART, by Linda Goodnight
    Chef: who will Natalie cut her own wedding cake with…?
  • Book 5 – MILLIONAIRE DAD, NANNY NEEDED by Susan Meier
    Accountant: will Audra’s budget for the big day include a millionaire groom?
  • Book 6 – THE BRIDEGROOM’S SECRET by Melissa James
    Planner: Julie’s always been the wedding planner. Will she ever be the bride?

Every book contains wedding planner tips and author reminisces. And, as a bonus, readers can visit The Wedding Planners blog for wedding tips from experts, fun, interactive character blogs, and more!

Q: Where do you get all your ideas?
A: Honestly, I don’t know. I read voraciously (if you put a cereal box in front of me, I’ll read it), and lots of things trigger ideas. Sometimes, I’ll find something in a magazine or newspaper and put it aside for later. Once in a while, I go through the idea file, pulling a few that will work in a book. If I don’t think the idea is big enough for a book, it either gets tossed or put aside to be combined with another later.

Q: What books (romance, writing reference, or other) have been the most helpful to you as a writer? And how?
A: My number one best book for a learning experience has been other people’s work. Read people who do it right and do it well (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Suzanne Brockmann, Jenny Crusie, Lisa Gardner, Pat Gaffney were my favorites) and analyze the heck out of them. You have to see WHY these books move you. WHY these authors are so good. WHAT makes you keep turning the pages and HOW you can incorporate those lessons into your own work.

For writing reference, hands-down, it’s:

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. This was one of two books that gave me huge light bulb moments. This one also has a workbook for those who like filling out forms. I bought the workbook with good intentions, but hate filling out forms, so I never filled it out

Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. If you want the basics of how a book goes together, this is THE book to get. It was a huge WOW moment for me when I realized the plot structure based on scene endings. That turned everything around for me and really improved my writing. The first book I sold was written after reading that book 🙂

There are loads of others I have on my shelves that have been great at one time or another (Dwight Swain’s in particular), but I love those two the best.

Q: Are you on Facebook or Bebo?
A: Both! Here is a link to my Facebook page. I do have a Bebo page and a MySpace page, but have to admit I rarely have time to update both. All that book writing, folks. Sorry!.

And I have a forum on Coffee Time Romance where readers can visit and post and writers can ask questions, too.

Q: Any plans on writing your autobiography?
A:  No, no plans on writing my autobiography. My life definitely isn’t interesting enough. 🙂

Q: Which book is your favorite?
A: I know it’s a cliche, but it’s always the current one. By the time a book hits bookstores, it’s 18 months in the past for me, so I’m done being excited about it and have moved on to another new, shiny toy. I have a few that are closer to my heart specifically, THE DEVIL SERVED TORTELLINI because of the roosters (my mother, who passed away last year, collected roosters) and RESCUED BY MR RIGHT, which came out in October 2006.

Q: What is your writing schedule like?
A: I write whenever I can find a moment. My kids are busy with school activities, so I’m always running here and there, trying to get them to practices, games, etc. I do get a few hours while they’re at school, but find my day quickly eaten up with the house, eating, and letting the dog out, LOL.

Q: With all the ‘thou shalt nots’ in writing rules ringing in a writer’s ear, how do we know which ones to heed and which ones to ignore?
A: Well, I think you can decide for yourself if you keep in mind one thing: EVERYTHING is a plot tool. Dialogue, actions, conflicts it’s all designed to propel your plot forward. If your plot is stalled, then you’ve done something wrong. For example, I have no idea how my car works. If you tried to tell me, my eyes would glaze over and I’d fall asleep in boredom :-). However, I do know the basics, that the engine is there to keep the car moving and if the car isn’t moving, or it’s making a weird noise, something is wrong with that engine. I’m stalled and I need to figure out why. That’s when I go back to the “rules” and look to see if I have made any of the more common mistakes dumped a lot of backstory into one chapter, forgotten to keep continually raising the stakes, gone light on characterization or made things too easy for my characters.

Secondly, trust your gut. This gets a LOT easier the more you write, so the only way to learn how to write, IMO, is to do it. Read what works (and what doesn’t) and write. Don’t worry so much about rules, just write and then get really quiet with yourself when you re-read the work to see if it’s working or not. That little feeling of doubt about a scene is very often spot-on, so listen to it.

We’re writers. We’re very often insecure creatures who think everything we write is hideous. I have yet to meet a writer who DOESN’T think that, myself included. You have to learn to separate the self-doubt from the basic feeling of “right” for a book. If you read a lot and read many people who are doing it right you develop an intuitive feeling for what’s right. For the rhythm of a book, the pacing of characters, the usage of everything from that lamp in the hero’s living room to the heroine’s ice cream addiction.

Q: Where can readers write to you?
A: Write to me at: Shirley Jump, PO Box 5126, Fort Wayne, IN 46895. If you want to receive bookmarks, please include an SASE. Thanks!

Want to ask Shirley a question? E-mail her at: shirley@shirleyjump.com and you might just see your question here!

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