An interview with Tyler Reiss and Mark Benzer of the Buffalo Community Podcast.

The community podcast is a bi-weekly audio and visual discussion about our small town, the people in it, and how it all works together.


S1 E2: Life Versus Fiction with Author Shannon Jump

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Q&A with Rockford author, Shannon Jump
Sam Jones | Apr 16, 2021



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Wouldn't You Love to Love Her: a look beyond the story

This one has been a labor of love! I initially started writing this book while my debut, My Only Sunshine, was in the final stages of editing. It was the first book other than My Only Sunshine that I tried my hand at, and is the project that answered a looming question in my head: can I really do this? Can I be a writer and write fiction that doesn’t stem from life events and doesn’t take me 13 years to publish?

This story virtually came out of nowhere and these characters quickly took up residence in my head. But, about a quarter of the way through my first draft, I realized I needed something else in between this one and My Only Sunshine—it was too far of a leap from My Only Sunshine, and I felt that jumping from a contemporary fiction novel about domestic violence to a dark and provocative psychological thriller would do both books a disservice.

Hard as it was to do so, I paused work on this project to write something else. What stemmed next was my sophomore novel, Even Though it’s Breaking—and I’m so glad I had the sense that something else needed to fill the space between these books because had I not done so, Even Though it’s Breaking never would have come to life.

When it was time to return to this project it took me a minute to wrap my head around these characters again, to hear their voices, and let the rest of the book write itself. But once it clicked, I couldn’t stop the words from flowing. I even added a secondary narrative that didn’t previously exist, a male POV since readers have really fallen in love with Owen from Even Though it’s Breaking! The result is a provocative and dark psychological thriller that I think you’re gonna love!

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The Allie & Owen of Even Though It's Breaking

Even Though It's Breaking tells the story of Allie and Owen. It was the first dual narrative of my writing career, and Owen has quickly become a fan favorite! 

When I sat down to begin work on this project, I had little to no idea where the story would go, where these characters would take me. I am 100% a pantser when I sit down to write, and while some writers would find that stressful, I happen to do my best writing when I skip the plotting and see what happens. I've never written a book chronologically, always random chapters at a time that eventually fit together to form a story. 

This one started with a one-sentence prompt that became the opening line of the book: "I remember the sounds." It truly is amazing that four measly words could birth an entire book. 

Allie was originally the only narrator I had in mind for the book, but as I started writing and developing the story, Owen's voice was born, too. Writing him was a challenge in many ways, but he's very much an old soul with a troubled past and a heart of gold that sometimes makes him do bad things. Nonetheless, he's a character that will stick with me for a long time. 

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The Truth Behind My Only Sunshine

Every author knows there are stories out there that are meant to be told. Not every one of them will come wrapped in a pretty bow, complete with a happy ending. And even the ones that do need a little conflict somewhere in the middle. 

My Only Sunshine is a contemporary fiction novel loosely based on true events. The Author's Note at the front of the book tells a bit more about where the story stemmed from and how each of the characters inside represents a real person. 

While the book is not a memoir or autobiography, there is a basis of truth within the pages and that makes the story feel very real to the reader. It's raw and emotional and hits hard.

I spent about 13 years developing this story. I didn't know if I would ever be able to publish it as a book, but in the end, I felt compelled to share Brynn and Nathan's story, to speak up for victims and survivors of domestic violence. 

This story is the most important one I'll ever write, and despite the difficult content, I hope its message will be shared for years to come.