With over 50 titles, 5 million books in print in 24 countries and literary elite status as a New York Times bestselling author, Fort Wayne resident Shirley Jump is a massive inexorable force when it comes to romance novels. What looks like a stellar career (because it is) didn’t start out that way. Jump did it the old-fashioned way; she earned it.Jump sold her first newspaper article at 11, and then went to work for the paper when she was 12. Realizing that she was quite good with words, her natural progression was to begin her career as an author. In the process of getting there, she also continued to write articles and has over 3,000 to date (including many for whatzup). Success did not come instantly or easily. She traveled the same bittersweet path to which any published author can relate – one of anticipation, anxiety and rejection. The highs and lows are incredible, and the lows very nearly got the best of her while she was trying to get that first book deal. In the For Writers section of her website, www.shirleyjump.com, you can find her short article “How to Quit Writing and End up on the Bestsellers Lists” and read how in 2001, after much hope and many rejections, Jump decided to give up her dream of being published. Obviously, fate intervened.
Jump was born in Massachusetts and ended up in Fort Wayne where her husband has roots. One might imagine that a writer with a career as big as Jump’s would by now be spending most of her time in the Caribbean, working on her tan and sipping coconut drinks with umbrellas in them. Not so. Along with working with three different publishers and churning out seven to eight new titles a year, she has a passion for assisting new authors in our community.
Monthly workshops help Shirley Jump wannabees with insights into the nuts and bolts of the business that she didn’t have on her path to success. Aspiring authors would be well served to attend the free writers sessions held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month in the café at the Jefferson Pointe’s Barnes & Noble location. The formats are progressive, and topics vary from month to month. In writing, as in most everything else, one’s level of success usually hinges on both talent and practice, and writers group sessions are a great way to fortify one’s efforts.
Jump’s advice on self improvement is, “Read, read, read. Write, write, write.” Jump loves interacting with aspiring authors, chatting and connecting on social media. Information for her writers group can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bnwritersgroup/.
Jump’s first book, The Virgin’s Proposal, actually won the Booksellers’ Best Award for Traditional Romance of 2003. Many more accolades followed, including: Golden Quill Award, Madcap Awards, Reviewer Choice Award, Holt Medallion and the coveted New York Times Bestselling Author moniker which, once established, puts you in same league as the greatest authors of all time. That said, she doesn’t live on her computer furiously banging on the keyboard 18 hours a day. The talented author enjoys a normal home life, Writing is her career, but she also manages to spend quality time with her husband and two children. She loves running and cooling, two “decompression activities” she finds both relaxing and enjoyable. She is currently in training for the Indianapolis Half Marathon. She often mixes cooking and recipes into her storylines and loves exchanging recipes with talented cooks.
The great thing about Jump is that success hasn’t gone to her head. If anything, it has taught her what it means to get there and has provided her with the drive to pay it forward with her outreach to those starting at the bottom rung of that difficult ladder.
Jump’s career has evolved with the proliferation of ebooks, and you can access the majority of her books in both ebook and print at Amazon, in libraries and at major re-sellers. In keeping with the times she also has released the ebook-only Sweet and Savory Romances for those who like to get their romance novel groove on digitally.
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June 20 • The Clyde