Sunday, June 3, 2012

WHY GOOD SHOES MAKE ME A BETTER AUTHOR

I'm thrilled to welcome Award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump. She has written over 30 novels in women's fiction and romance, and also horror young adult as AJ Whitten.



As I look over THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, released to Nook First just this week, and read all about the dress and shoe shopping of my heroine, Candace, I am convinced that shoes are the reason I am where I am today as an author. No, not because I walked from here toNew York, or because some editor spied my shoes and instantly said “Sign her up; she’s got good taste in Nine Wests,” but because the shoes forced me to work harder. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



How can that be, you ask? Well, bear with me, because I’m making a case to my husband,too. Macy’s has a big sale coming up and I need him to understand the vital role cool shoes play in my career.

1. SHOES ARE A GREAT INCENTIVE. I love shoes. I mean, really love them. If I had to choose between a chocolate cake and a pair of killer high heels, I’d be hard pressed to make the choice (though chocolate comes pretty darn close, just as it does for my heroine in THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE). When Macy’s or Penney’s has a sale, it’s all I can do to keep myself from hopping in the car and scooping up a half a dozen pairs, plowing other shoe shoppers out of the way of those awesome red heels I saw last week. So, I play a little game with myself. If I finish this difficult scene, hit a certain page count--whatever my goal is for that day--then I can go shoe shopping,. If I don’t make it, then I have to wait until I do. Trust, me there’s nothing like a pair of platforms to get my fingers flying across that keyboard.

2. SHOES MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A GROWNUP. I’m a mom, which means my wardrobe more often contains sweats than skirts. Sure, I’ve seen “What Not to Wear” and heard Stacy andClinton’s arguments for throwing together a nice little ensemble every day, but geez, there are days when I don’t see the point. Someone is inevitably going to get peanut butter or milk or dog hair on me, so I save the nice clothes--and thus, the nice shoes--for the days when I get to go out and play with other grownups.

When I slip on a pair of heels I instantly feel like a grownup and I act like one, too. I’m professional, smart, and not some rundown mommy who can’t remember if she fed the cat today, never mind her children.

3. SHOES ARE GREAT INSPIRATIONS FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, or so the adage goes. Just see a bunch of women at a conference or a wedding. They’re checking out each other’s foot adornments, exclaiming over the cool ones, passing by the ordinary brown loafer types. So, when I dress a character I give her shoes that speak to her character. Some get Prada heels, others get sensible flats (and the horrible mother-in-law to be in THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE gets sensible, ugly shoes for her oversized feet). And, I can incorporate a trip to the mall into my research. (See my thinking? The shopping was research, honey, honest. Will you please tell the nice IRS man that shoes are a necessary part of my office d├ęcor?).

4. SHOES MAKE GOOD FRIENDS. Shoes don’t need to be walked, fed, petted, told they did a good job wiping the kitchen counter. They sit there, patiently waiting for you to be ready for their next outing. And if you bypass the black ones in favor of those strappy red ones, the black pair doesn’t get all put out and refuse to talk to you for a week.

5. SHOES INSPIRE ME TO BE GOOD IN OTHER AREAS. Shoes don’t just impact my writing productivity, but my whole life. If I have on nice shoes, I want a pedicure. If I get a pedicure, I want to shave my legs (remember I’m a mom. Time to myself is about as plentiful as cheese on Mars). Once I shave my legs, I want to put on nice clothes. Do my hair. Wear make-up. It’s like a whole chain reaction, inspired by a little simple footwear.

6. SHOES ARE AN AUTHOR TREAT. Most of us sit around a home office all day, barefoot or socked, never venturing outside. My sole outing for the day is when I walk a few houses down to get my mail from the box. But when I put on a pair of nice heels, I want to take on the town. Go to dinner. Dance. Take in a movie. There’s just something about slipping into some fancy shoes that gets me going, transporting me from my silent, in-my-head world of books and into the real world.

7. SHOES ARE THE GREAT CONNECTOR. I have struck up more conversations with perfect strangers over a pair of heels. Made best friends over a pair of sandals. Women understand shoes and through that, they understand each other. It’s a sisterhood, built one shiny rhinestone buckle at a time.

Okay, so maybe my husband isn’t going to buy this argument. He’s a man who owns three pairs of shoes total--dress, work and sports. He sees no necessity in having his shoes match his outfits or in getting one pair for the black suit, another for the brown pants, a third for the navy Dockers (don’t even get me started on matching handbags).

Maybe the next time I go shopping with him, and he’s pacing the shoe department, asking me if I REALLY need another pair of back heels, I can rally a group of women. We’ll persuade him that shoes are a female necessity. That they help us be happier, more productive, friendlier humans.

In the meantime, I’ll work on convincing the IRS that shoes should be a deduction. Research can take many forms, from pump to stiletto. As I said, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, with a little Dr. Scholl’s to back me up.

And if you want to read along with me about adventures with chocolate, dresses and shoes, pick up a copy of THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE today. All three books in the Sweet and Savory romance series feature food, friendship and fashion. Fun reads for everyone, along with recipes from the characters. In BRIDE, Candace wakes up in the wrong man’s bed two weeks before her wedding—an event that drives her to desperate measures, like stealing the chocolate in the church office. It’s a hilarious romp through the planning of a wedding with the man she thought was all right for her, until Mr. Gorgeous shows up and detours her plans!


                                                     The Bride Wore Chocolate (book link)
 
http://www.shirleyjump.com

http://www.shirleyjump.blogspot.com



6 comments:

  1. This is too funny! I'll never look at shoe-buying the same way again. Thanks for perking up my Monday morning!

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  2. Thank you Shirley for being my guest. What a delightful way to present your case. I'll have to try it on my husband. After all, a girl can never have too many shoes.

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  3. Thanks so much for having me, Janna!

    Shirley

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  4. What a fabulous blog post, Shirley! I, too, have a shoe "thing". One of my ultimate dreams is to purchase a killer pair of Christian Louboutins. One of these days.... Happy sigh.

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  5. I would love a pair of those, too! They are definitely on my wish list :-)

    Shirley

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