Featured Author: Charity Shumway

I had an amazing couple of weeks in February and March, traveling to promote The Good Daughter, and one of the fun weekends included the Tucson Book Festival where I met terrific authors like Jen Lancaster, Amy Hatvany, and the lovely, bright, and talented Charity Shumway.

I so enjoyed the panel I was on with Amy and Charity, and since you all met Amy when I featured her here for the release day of her new book, I thought it was time to introduce you to Charity!

Charity, what did you want to be when you were a kid?

Weirdly enough, I wanted to be a lawyer. I think I must have gotten enough late night glimpses of L.A. Law (after I was supposed to be in bed, which made it all the more exciting) to think that lawyering was really sexy. Later, when I was a teenager, I started dreaming about being a writer, but it always felt like such a far-fetched fantasy. It wasn’t until a few years after college and a lot of time spent actually writing that I finally had to own up to how much I wanted the far-fetched fantasy.

What inspires you? 

I’m always inspired by the idea that I’m the only one who can do certain things. Ten other people can have the exact same idea for a story as I do, but we’re all going to write it a different way. Maybe my version will be great, maybe it won’t be, but it’ll always be my unique contribution. Ditto for other people and what they create. The idea of our uniqueness is very touching to me.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a collection of essays by Jill Lepore called The Mansion of Happiness. She’s such a smart, straight-forward writer, and the essays cover such unexpected but delightfully interesting topics (breastfeeding, eugenics and the origins of marriage counseling, and board games about life and morality, just to name a few) that I’ve been totally hooked.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a novel about a conservative woman running for state legislature in Utah (my home state). She has five grown children who are all more liberal than she is but who are working on her campaign anyway. Lots of good family and politics and religion mixed up in there, and I’m having a great time with it so far.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

There are two bits of advice that really stand out to me. One was a visiting writer in grad school who told all of us eager MFA students, “the way to make it as a writer is just to keep writing.” Sounds reductionist, but it’s so true! It’s hard not to get discouraged as a writer. There’s so much rejection, and it can be lonely, and projects can take eons to come to fruition. I think back to that advice all the time, and it helps me to just keep going. The other bit of advice that stands out to me came from a mentor who was helping me make a decision about my first novel. He said, “Work with people you like. You’ll be a lot happier.” Again, simple but true! It’s because of that advice that I ended up with the agent I did and the editor that I did, and he was absolutely right. I couldn’t have made a better, happier choice.

More about Ten Girls To Watch

A radiant debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood and a love letter to the role models who light the way.

Like so many other recent graduates, Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that’s gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column.

So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. After all, she’s being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. As Dawn gets to know their life stories, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she’ll learn that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending.


As a thank you to Charity for being a guest author on my blog, I’m giving away two copies of Ten Girls to Watch along with a fat, fluffy beach towel, a $5 Starbucks drink card, a signed copy of Mrs. Perfect, and lots of fun JP giveaways.  To enter to win, just leave a comment in the comment section below here on my JaneBlog and you’re set.  Then please, please check back to see if you won, as I still have tons of unclaimed prize boxes stacked in the corner of my office…prizes from Anita Hughes’ contest, Megan Crane’s, and so many many more.  Whatever isn’t claimed by Wednesday, will be given away as a bonus prize this week!

Charity’s contest runs through Wednesday night, with the winners announced Thursday morning.

Good luck and have a wonderful week!


  1. “the way to make it as a writer is just to keep writing.” Good advice for anything destined for procrastination (especially). As Nike says, “Just do it!”

  2. Thanks for introducing me to this new author who is talented and special. the book sounds captivating and lovely.

  3. So nice to meet you Charity and thanks Jane for the introduction. Sometimes things just come together at one moment in time and today is that day…like Charity I am reading a book about happiness. Mine is Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss and today in the book Bread for the Journey Henri J. M. Nouwen said, “One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: ‘I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to.’ This…is not a good argument for not writing. Each human being is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived….What we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for other as well. Writing can be a creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.” Thanks for writing Jane and Charity! I am so grateful for those of you who write and encouraged to keep writing myself.

  4. I love the simple, but good advice Charity gave. The debut novel sounds fun and that’s cool she’s working on the next. Thanks for introduction!

  5. This book looks and sounds great, I am adding it to my TBR list. Thank you Jane for doing the interview with Charity and introducing her to us. I am looking forward to see what else Charity writes for us.

  6. Another must read author thanks for the intro, I like her book cover. I love writers cheering on other writers. Thanks again Jane!

  7. This book sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read it. If you’re looking for a new home for the Anita and Megan prize boxes you know my address 🙂 xoxoxo

  8. It sure sounds like you had a wonderful book tour getting to meet so many other authors and your readers. I still am amazed with the amount of energy you have to do all that traveling. Ten Girls to Watch sounds like it will be an interesting book, something I would like to read.

  9. Love hearing about new authors I’ll definitely have to add Charity to my must read list. I think the advice she mentioned about the people you work with is so true and really applies to all career fields. I think that makes a job so much more satisfying. I have been trying to find the work environment with the right fit for me and hope I am getting closer to finding that perfect match of people. Looking forward to checking out her book!

  10. thanks for introducing Charity to us; am interested in this book and the goodies (love your giveaways).
    Take care Jane and keep penning those awesome books.

  11. oooh I remember when TEN GIRLS TO WATCH came out! I wanted it, but I never added it to my goodreads wishlist–eeks adding it now! Thanks for another amazing giveaway, Jane!!

  12. Thanks Jane for introducing us to fun, new authors. I am glad you have fun and hopefully enjoyed meeting Jen Lancaster. She is one of my all time favs (and a Pi Phi too) along with you. Happy Monday!

  13. I have read my friend’s copy of Charity’s book Ten Girls to Watch and loved it. So neat that you got to be on a panel together at the Tuscan Book Festival. Thanks for the opportunity to win some great goodies Jane!!

  14. Sounds interesting – and how do we see the winners? Are they posted in the comments section or an edit to the original post? (So I can go back and check if I won something and wasn`t aware)

  15. I just love it when you introduce us to new authors. At least new to me:-)
    I’ll put the book in my TBR pile.

    Have a great week:-)

  16. Hi Jane,

    I hope you’re having a nice start to your week. Thank you for introducing us to yet another wonder book to read. I’ll be sure to pick this one up.

  17. She sounds like another great author who has written an enterainting book that I will have to check out. Thanks, Jane.

  18. I will add to my TBR pile, it sounds like a great read that I would enjoy. Thanks Jane for always introducing us to new writers.

    Have a great week!


  19. This sounds like a really cute book and I would love to read it. That is some great advise for writers and I can see how this would help with other things also.

  20. This sounds like a great book. I always appreciate you bring attention to different authors that some of us haven’t discovered yet.

  21. Another great book that will go on my pile on the night table. It is getting so big, because I did not have a lot of time to read lately, but I will make time, especially during the summer.
    It must be wonderful to have the opportunity to meet so many great women during your promotion tours. Can’t wait for your next book to be released!

  22. Hi Jane,
    You always have the best blogs. This is another book that sounds great and I hope to get my little hands on it soon.


  23. Keep the author interviews coming, I like to learn about new authors! 🙂 Would love to read Charity’s book!

  24. I love how you feature authors on your blog. Since I’ve read all of your books, I like having new authors to read and I have started reading their books and love them too! I’m sure they are getting a lot of new readers because you are spreading the word!

  25. I’m always happy to get a new author recommended. There are a lot of gems out there, and you help us find them.

  26. Sounds like an awesome book! that cover is so cute I love when you feature new to me authors ive found so many great reads that I wouldn’t normally have found or tried until you posted them ty for that!

  27. thanks for introducing me to a new author, her book sounds so good, just like yours…sounds like a really good book to take to the beach or anywhere but thats my favorite place to read is the beach!

  28. Ten Girls to Watch is definitely going on my “to-read” list. I love how you introduce new authors and books beside your own. Keep up the great work!!

  29. Hi Jane,
    I read Ten Girls to Watch. It was really good. I can’t wait for Charity’s next book.

  30. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for all the great comments! The two winners for Charity’s novel are –

    #85 Bethany Nikola
    #15 Nila

    And I went ahead and picked 4 bonus winners too –

    #28 Karen Mangold
    #76 Jamie
    #20 Barbara Shoaf
    #45 Dawn Wickund

    Please email me asap with your mailing address and comment # and also include the name of the blog in your email. I’ll get prizes out soon!

    I leave for Montana soon and am looking forward to the trip. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend too!

    Jane xoxo

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