Episode 002: The Nature of Authors

Transcript from The Nature of Authors Episode 002: Writing as Therapy with Shannon Jump

Chrissy Holm (00:02):

Do you love to talk about books? Do you wonder how authors build their stories each month? I'll take you on the journey of discovering how authors work, listen to how writers explain their craft and the mission behind their writing. What's the nature of authors. I'm your host, Chrissy Holm. Let's talk books. It's time to welcome our second guest Shannon Jump author of, Even Though It's Breaking. Today, we're going to be talking about psychological suspense thrillers, and writing as therapy. Thanks for being here, Shannon.

Shannon Jump (00:39):

Thank you for having me. I so appreciate it. I'm really excited.

Chrissy Holm (00:43):

Yes, definitely. And a fun icebreaker that I think we can all start off with is, would you rather, so you ready Shannon for a, would you rather.

Shannon Jump (00:54):

[inaudible 00:00:54]

Chrissy Holm (00:54):

Okay, cool. So would you rather read a physical book or an audio book?

Shannon Jump (00:58):

Physical, for sure.

Chrissy Holm (01:00):

Nice. And on that same note, what's your favorite type or what's your favorite genre of book?

Shannon Jump (01:06):

I kind of go back and forth. I tend to switch it up every once in a while just to make sure they don't all start to sound the same, but lately psychological thrillers have really been my jam. And that's probably because that's what I'm writing right now, too. So, but yeah, I do dabble in romance and other types of thrillers and all that kind of stuff too, but yeah, psychological thrillers.

Chrissy Holm (01:29):

I love it. And I know I saw some questions come in beforehand that are really on the thrillers.

Shannon Jump (01:35):

Oh good.

Chrissy Holm (01:36):

So we're excited to learn some more of how you feel about thrillers and some of the other questions of course I'll get to later on. But yeah, I love that, because I think there has to be that variety to keep yourself interested. And do you kind of read to a mood, whatever you're in the mood for too.

Shannon Jump (01:53):

For sure. Yeah. And I think I must have been in some kind of mood in August because I DNF to, did not finish probably four books in a row. Couldn't get into a single one of them I'm like, "screw this goodbye". And then I think everything I read was just, it wasn't quite that five star read. So I was really moody I think. But yeah, I tend to... My mood really, it's kind of like music, right? You listen to music that kind of coincides with your mood. I'm the same way with reading.

Chrissy Holm (02:24):

Absolutely. Yeah. I've been in this weird mood too. I'm not finishing them, but I'm reading seven books at once that I'm... because I'm not finishing them.

Shannon Jump (02:35):

Makes sense. Yeah. And that's so hard, right? I really struggle with reading more than one book at a time. So for me, it's if I'm going to start another one. Usually that means I'm not going to finish the one I was reading.

Chrissy Holm (02:46):

Absolutely. Yeah. Which is funny that you said that because so I was going to play a quick little game and one of the questions you've already answered, so we'll have to ask another question, but maybe we'll start with a fun. Well, I think it's fun. Maybe it's not that fun, but a question about nature and the weather. I know I'm in the sun. The sun is supposed to be setting a little bit more, but...

Shannon Jump (03:07):

Yeah, not quite yet.

Chrissy Holm (03:10):

No. So it's a little blinding. But so if you were to pick your favorite type of weather, what would it be? Sunny, snowy, rainy, overcast. What would you choose and why?

Shannon Jump (03:19):

So, I love this question. And so we're heading into the best part of the year in Minnesota in my opinion, fall. So I am very much a 70, 75 and sunny kind of girl. I like to be able to be outside in a t-shirt during the day and then into a sweatshirt at night and still be comfortable. But yeah, that's my ideal. I absolutely love fall here and I love the trees and all the changing colors. It's my favorite time.

Chrissy Holm (03:44):

I do. Yep. I second that I think it's a beautiful, I mean we go through such a long winter that it's nice to be able to just have that balance of you're saying in the daytime just walking around, enjoying the sun, but then I don't mind a sweatshirt every now and then, you know?

Shannon Jump (04:01):

Yeah. It's cozy. Right. And I like to, I love to read on my porch in the fall. So even at night, if I've got enough light, I can throw on a hoodie and just go sit out there. So that's my favorite spot.

Chrissy Holm (04:12):

I love that. Yeah. I think I find myself sitting on... We don't have a porch, but we have a front stoop kind of thing. And I'll just sit there and look up every now and then and people watch a little bit. So, it's such a beautiful time of the year to do that.

Shannon Jump (04:26):


Chrissy Holm (04:26):

And it's finally cooling down, right?

Shannon Jump (04:29):

Yeah. I was getting pretty hot for a while there.

Chrissy Holm (04:32):

Yeah. But awesome. All right. Well, I see some more people here as well. Hello. Hello. Hope you're having a lovely-

Speaker 4 (04:38):

Hello, and I agree. DNF is a term. Yes. I love it.

Chrissy Holm (04:43):

Yeah. I know. I hadn't actually heard that until recently, which is kind of embarrassing that [inaudible 00:04:49]

Shannon Jump (04:49):

Not don't even feel that way because until I got into the whole bookstagram side of Instagram, I hadn't heard of it either. I was just, it was just, I didn't finish that book.

Chrissy Holm (04:59):

Yeah. So I love that. I said to my sister earlier today, I was like, "I think it's a DNR" and I'm like, "Wait a minute. No, no, no, not DNR."

Shannon Jump (05:06):

No, no, no. Well, it could be if you really are not going to go back to that push.

Chrissy Holm (05:11):

Yeah. Right. Exactly. That's hilarious. All right. Well, I have another fun little game before we dive into your book and some of the questions that the audience had asked and it's kind of a rapid fire game. Like a yes, no, it won't go that fast. Because I've only got what? Three questions. Which one of them you already answered. So. All right. So have you ever read a more than one book at a time?

Shannon Jump (05:35):

Yes. Hated it.

Chrissy Holm (05:36):

Oh good to know. Do you like to listen to audio books?

Shannon Jump (05:43):


Chrissy Holm (05:45):

I was like, here comes the truth.

Shannon Jump (05:46):

I don't. Well, and I feel so bad because... And I am of the opinion that audio books are books. It's not that they're not, I just, I can't get into them and I kind of always want to strangle the narrators because they're just not reading it the way that I would. And it drives me nuts. So no, but I will say when I'm old in senile and can't see anymore, I will be on that audio book train till the day I die. But right now, no.

Chrissy Holm (06:12):

Yeah, no, I know I have a hard time focusing almost on the audio. I just, I'd rather sit and read and I don't know.

Shannon Jump (06:20):

Yes. Yeah.

Chrissy Holm (06:26):

I'm probably that way too. That's hilarious. All right. So the last one, I guess. Have you ever been in a book group before? Like a book club?

Shannon Jump (06:31):

Yeah, I think not a local one, which I would really love to do one day. But no, not an in person one, but I've done a lot of the online book clubs, especially through bookstagram and joining read alongs and things like that. But the problem is once I'm told, not told, but once I have to read a book, I don't want to read that book. And because I'm such a mood reader, I'm like, "God, it's the 31st of the month and the thing is tomorrow and I haven't even picked it up and it's because you told me I had to read it." And so I kind of go back and forth. So I really struggle with being told what to put on my TBR.

Chrissy Holm (07:07):

Yeah, no, I totally get that too. It's ideally it sounds nice going into it cause you're like, oh, all these different books that I might not read, but then you get it. And you're like, "I don't actually really want to read this."

Shannon Jump (07:20):

Yeah. Or you just, you don't see the hype around the book. Right. It's supposed to be this great five star read. Everybody's loving it. And I can't get past page 30 without wanting to throw it. I mean, and then I feel bad. I don't want to join a group and talk trash about a book, especially now that I'm an author. I don't want to do that. So if I don't like it, I'm probably going to just tap out of that group real quick.

Chrissy Holm (07:42):

Yeah. Like, "oh, all right. Peace out guys." I just can't.

Shannon Jump (07:45):


Chrissy Holm (07:48):

Oh, wonderful. Well, thank you, Shannon. Thanks for playing that fun little game and yeah.

Shannon Jump (07:53):

Great question.

Chrissy Holm (07:53):

It's always interesting. Yeah, it's always interesting to see what people do. And I know you're in such that not only are you an author, which we're going to talk about here in a moment, but that bookstagrammer type piece. So it's kind of a fun, little unique piece I think. But going back to your book. Well, I know you've got two books. One, Even Though It's Breaking and then My Only Sunshine, correct?

Shannon Jump (08:16):


Chrissy Holm (08:17):

Cool. And if you want to just explain, maybe I know the main focus is Even Though It's Breaking right now, but feel free to describe both of them. Yeah. We'd love to kind of hear what the title is and the genre and just a little bit about

Shannon Jump (08:29):

It. Awesome. Well thank you. And hello Cole. I see you and Erica. So yeah, I'll start with, Even Though It's Breaking and I just got my very first paperback print copy over the weekend and I absolutely love it. So, this is my sophomore novel. It is a completely different genre than my first book. And the reason for that is because my first book is actually based on a true story. It based on portions of my life, but it's not a memoir. It is a fiction novel. And I like to kind of refer to it as a fictional memoir where it's based on true, but it's not nonfiction. So that book kind of in my as a writer and knowing that I wanted to branch out into the writing community and self-publish a book. That one had to be first, for me. It had to be my book baby, the very first one that got me out there.

Shannon Jump (09:23):

And if I didn't do it first, I would probably never do it. So that's why the genre's different because while maybe in my opinion, part of what I went through is psychological thriller. Right. But it's not a psychological thriller. So, but that's really, my niche is the psycho thrillers and that type of novel with writing. So that's why the genres differ. But the new book coming out October 26th is called, Even Though It's Breaking. And this book, I'm so excited about it because this is the first thing I got to write. That's 100% fiction. And it was so fun to go from A to Z and pull the whole thing together, creating characters and plot and all of that. And it was challenging, especially when it came to those little mundane things of like, okay, what's their hair color? What's their eye color. And Cole on here actually was one of my data readers.

Shannon Jump (10:11):

So, they read some versions of it and were like, "Hey, your eye colors, aren't matching up here."

Chrissy Holm (10:16):

Oh no.

Shannon Jump (10:17):

Two chapters ago they were blue eyes and now they're green. And I'm like, "Yeah, I'll deal with that later."

Chrissy Holm (10:21):

Yeah. Minor details.

Shannon Jump (10:25):

Little. Yeah, exactly. So little things like that just, I wasn't even thinking of that, but my first book, My Only Sunshine was obvious, these characters were real people. So I kind of had something to go by, but Even Though It's Breaking, like I said, is a psychological thriller and it is told by the main character, Allie, and also by a secondary narrator named Owen. So Allie is this young woman she's in her mid twenties and she has kind of like this perfect life. I like to refer to it as happy.

Shannon Jump (10:52):

Everything, which fun fact was the original title of the book was Happy Everything. And the irony of it is that nothing about the book ends up being happy, right. In certain parts. But I kind of decided that I wanted to go with this... I'm totally going off topic now, but...

Chrissy Holm (11:09):

No you're good.

Shannon Jump (11:11):

All of my books are going to relate to a song lyric in one way, shape or form. So My Only Sunshine, Even Though iI's Breaking, both of those are lyrics from songs. And so the title changed once I realized that was the world I wanted to take, but happy everything is in there, it's in the synopsis. So I still got to got to use that. But anyway, so Allie's in her mid twenties, she's got this perfect life, great job, great boyfriend. She has everything going for her. And something changes to where she no longer has everything going for her.

Shannon Jump (11:41):

She reaches this point where she starts to question everything, she's questioning her relationship and whether or not she wants to move forward with it. And in the midst of all that, she goes through a really traumatic event and the book takes place. It opens up kind of at the start of that traumatic event. And then it goes back to before. And then towards the end, it splits into the after. So it's broken down into different sections. And this is content warning because apparently I can't write a book without a content warning, but she is sexually assaulted and doesn't remember anything. She wakes up in the hospital and has no memory of what happened to her. And so she ends up going back home and she's with the boyfriend and all this stuff. And then the secondary narrator comes into play who turns out to be her stalker.

Shannon Jump (12:26):

So we get to see both sides of things. We see Allie's point of view as the victim of the assault and the main narrator. And then we get Owen's side of things and the story kind of intermingles too, to where one chapter is Allie. And then it starts right back up with Owen's opinion of that same kind of event. So we piggyback back and forth through multiple years.

Shannon Jump (12:48):

I think the whole book takes place in like four or five year period. But yeah, and for me, Owen is my favorite character and some of my, a readers, they, the arcs just went out last weekend and some of the arc readers are absolutely loving him too, which is great. But he's this damaged guy, right? I mean, he's stalking somebody. So obviously there's something a little bit off with him, but he's got this tough past, he's been through something and Erica just said, she loves Owen. She [inaudible 00:13:15] And Cole, both of them are on my arc team, but yeah. So he's got this troubled past and you start to feel for him and you want to hug him. And at the same time you want to be like, what is wrong with you for what he is doing. So, yeah, that's the gist of the book. It just kind of go ahead and goes back and forth between those two narrators and we kind of see how, how those events changed their lives.

Chrissy Holm (13:36):

Wow. Wow. That sounds so incredible. Oh no, but it sounds so good.

Shannon Jump (13:42):

You know, It's so funny. I was picking my daughter up from work today and on the drive over there, it literally takes me five to six minutes to drive there, to get her. I was reciting this to myself in the car because I'm so bad at explaining it. I just want to tell you the whole story. So I'm like, okay, I have to reign this in. I can't give away stuff. So yeah. That's my new elevator speech show stories.

Chrissy Holm (14:04):

It beautiful. You nailed it.

Shannon Jump (14:06):

Thank you.

Chrissy Holm (14:06):

That was so... It's, I'm so intrigued and I love stories that kind of go back and forth between the different perspectives because... Not only is it good storytelling, but I think to it show... you can see empathy a little bit. And I believe empathy is a big key to just life in general. So you get to understand the different character's perspectives and stuff.

Shannon Jump (14:28):

Yeah. Well, and I think for me, this was my first time writing a dual narrative as well. And I tried to kind of, when I was going into it as like I knew who Owen was going to be, and I knew the kind of depth I wanted him to have. I wanted people to go into it being like, oh my God, I hate this guy. Oh, poor Owen, I love him, just kind of wishy washy with how they feel about him, because it feels wrong to love him, you know?

Chrissy Holm (14:50):

Right. Yeah.

Shannon Jump (14:52):

So I thought that the best way to do that would be to give him his own voice. I did both of the narrators and first person present tense or present yeah, present. I had it mixed up. It's happening now. Okay.

Chrissy Holm (15:06):

It's all right.

Shannon Jump (15:06):

So, yeah. And I was trying to think back of what are some of my favorite psychological thrillers? What elements did they have that really made me like, whoa, this was so good? And that dual narrative kept coming back to me. And I was like, okay, well, I'm going to have to put myself in two people's shoes and let's do this.

Chrissy Holm (15:23):

I love that. Well, was that difficult? Or how did you go about kind of doing that dual narrative? I mean, how did get in that mindset?

Shannon Jump (15:33):

It was definitely tough. I obviously struggled more with Owen than I did with Allie. Writing a female character and kind of the content warning in there as going through a sexual assault and things like that. And I personally am a domestic abuse survivor. I've been through some of what she went through. So, for me to be able to take that experience and put it into her life and relate it to someone who's not me or not based on someone from my other book. So, Yeah. So she wasn't too tough to write. It was just coming up with her backstory and finding her voice. But Owen, man. Okay. So I had to just, okay. I don't know if you know a song creeped by Radiohead?

Chrissy Holm (16:12):

I do, yes.

Shannon Jump (16:14):

Okay. That song played on the loop. Every time I had to write an Owen chapter, it was headphones on full blast and just get me in that mindset. So Owen-

Chrissy Holm (16:24):