Day 11: Interview with Jill Shure

Jen: Today’s guest is Jill Shure. Jill, will you please share a short bio with us?
Jill: Jill Shure, a New York native, had a creative knack since she was young. Making her stage debut at the ripe old age of 10, she knew she was destined for greatness. Moving became a family pastime and the constant uprooting and changes in her life encouraged her to seek creative outlets in both the theater and writing. Shure majored in Language and Fine Arts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

After graduating, Shure moved to Washington, D.C., and worked on Capitol Hill. After three years, Shure packed her bags and headed for Southern California where she attended graduate school in San Diego for teaching. She then pursued writing and worked with screenwriter Howard Browne and later on with novelist Joan Oppenhiemer. During this time, Shure kept her foot in the performance arena, starring in a production at San Diego State University and working in Children’s Theater.

Shure has written several novels from Young Adult to a Psychological Suspense Thriller. Her first script, The Levy’s Tomb, was optioned by a 20th Century Fox executive. Shure became a finalist in both The Austin Heart of Film Screenwriting Competition and twice in The Academy of Motion’s Pictures’ Nicholl Fellowship. Shure also studied screenwriting at UCLA, and with such notable gurus as Syd Field and Linda Seger.

Her fiction harvested awards at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and twice at the San Diego State’s Writers Conferences from editors at Berkley Putnam and Harper Collins. Jill’s writings appear in The Love of Friends (Berkley Putnam 1997). In 2002, she won the BEN FRANKLIN AWARD for Popular Fiction for her novel, Night Jazz.

Jill is currently active in Sisters-In-Crime, Scripteasers, The Southwest Writers Association, Women in Film, and The National Writers’ Association, among others. An avid supporter of animal rights, Jill is a benefactor at The Helen Woodward Center in Fairbanks Ranch, California.

Jen: Tell us about A Clause for Murder and where it’s available.
Jill: A Clause for Murder is a hilarious cozy, the first in a series featuring amateur sleuth Betsy Ross. Betsy is an attractive single mom who sells insurance in San Diego until bad girl and fortune hunter Courtney Farrow, a toxic acquaintance of Betsy’s, is murdered.

Betsy becomes a suspect and has to prove her innocence by discovering who killed Courtney. Betsy soon discovers that Courtney, who claimed to be a trust fund baby, was actually a struggling pole dancer, who seduced married men then blackmailed them to pay for her lavish lifestyle.

It’s available everywhere from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, to Booksamillion.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Jill: I started writing in my twenties but it took years to reach my stride as a writer. I worked with different instructors and then turned to screenwriting. After winning awards, etc., I returned to prose and began with my time-travel novels, Night Jazz and Night Glitter. I received the Ben Franklin Award for popular fiction for Night Jazz. While writing Night Glitter and the companion drink book Nightcaps, I also wrote A Clause for Murder. It made me and New York editor Caroline Tolley laugh, meaning there was a good chance my readers would find the book funny, too.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Jill: No, but I have a very small family.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Jill: I plot with dozens of short outlines. Then I toss a great many of these outlines out as I discover the true plot, and my characters begin to emerge with their own ideas.

Jen: Have you noticed your writer’s voice has changed over the years due to your experience? If so, how?
Jill: I think I’m more confident so my voice is stronger and my writing is tighter. But every book is a challenge.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Jill: I find writing to be a blast but very much like scaling a mountain, too. Making a book both fresh and intoxicating to a reader isn’t easy. Especially since I want my material to surprise my readers.

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Jill: When a book I’m working on begins to take shape, and I find my own writing intriguing after all the rewrites and hours I’ve poured into the project.

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Jill: I usually identify on some level with my main characters. So I’d have to say both Betsy Ross and Jeri Devlin have aspects of me in them.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Jill: I began penning YA novels because my first teacher/mentor was YA writer, Joan Oppenheimer. If I had the energy and time, I might consider writing for young adults again. I probably won’t write a vampire novel, because I’m not fascinated by fantasy books.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Jill: I can’t remember. I believe I probably spent most of my time trying to promote it, so I don’t recall one event. I celebrate the work and not the results. Because results vary and depend on so many intangibles. But a great day of writing is what inspires me.

Jen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?
Jill: Winning the Ben Franklin Award, being a Nicholl Fellowship finalist for screenwriting twice. But mostly, having people tell me how much they enjoyed a book of mine.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Jill: That one of my books was too sexy.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Jill: I’m a huge fan of Herman Wouk. Currently, I adore Michael Connelly. But I love a large variety of literature. I love historical novels, mysteries, YA, and mainstream fiction. I’m currently reading The Caveman’s Valentine by George Dawes Green. But I just finished a YA novel, called The Mother-Daughter Book Club.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Jill: I am writing sequel to A Clause for Murder. I may jump into another book simultaneously. Perhaps a sequel to Night Glitter.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jill: jillshure.com, my Amazon.com page, as well as Facebook and Linkedin

Jill: Today I am giving away a copy of A Clause for Murder to a lucky commenter. The winner can be a U.S. and Canada resident. To enter the drawing, just leave me a comment or question and include your email address in your post. The winner will be chosen on Monday, December 13th.