Sassy Grannies: Shirley Jump's Real-Life and Fictional Grandmas
Who doesn’t love a sassy granny? She tells you what’s what — sometimes over cocktails — she’s got your best interests at heart, and if you’re really, really good, she’ll let you borrow some of her vintage wardrobe. RT reviewer Sabrina Cooper loved Shirley Jump’s sassy granny-featuring, series starter The Sweetheart Bargain so much she gave it an RT Top Pick!, saying, it’s “a story that will have readers laughing and then crying in turns.”
We had to hear more about Jump’s new series The Sweetheart Sisters, starring a trio sassy, well-meaning grannies (who aren’t against a sip of bourbon with breakfast), who are ready to dispense advice and encourage happy endings with a little of what they do best — meddling. Jump talked her new series, and her own awesome grandmas.
A family Christmas with Nana, in blue
I had so much fun creating the Sweetheart Sisters! People often ask me if I modeled the sassy, well-meaning grannies in Rescue Bay on real life people, and I’d have to say, yes, in part. My Nana, my mother’s mom, lived with my family when I was a little girl, and was the type of grandmother to always give great, to-the-point, well-meaning advice. She inspired my love of music (though I lack her amazing musical ability; she was a pianist who once played for Arthur Fiedler) and my love for creativity. I remember her encouraging me when our family did a performance for a 1976, 200th anniversary of the United States celebration. She donned a tricorn hat, I believe, and read about the revolutionary war, while my cousins and I did a little skit. She was fun like that, and always unexpected.
Grandma Ella as a young lady
My other grandmother, my dad’s mom, was the one who was fond of windmill cookies, like my character Greta. My Grandma Ella decided to have cookies and dessert every day after she reached her eighties. I vow to follow her lead, and always choose cupcakes over salad when I get old. She was raised in the same era and town as my Nana, and had that same direct way of speaking. Maybe it was the Boston in my grandmothers, but they were both strong, capable and sassy women who provided a great role model for me and my siblings. I miss them both dearly.
When I create characters, they’re often a little of me and a little of people who have influenced me over the years. I’d like to think there’s a little of the sassiness of Greta in me, and the caution of Esther, too. I’d also like to think that I have that same powerful love for family that made Greta such a wonderful grandmother. I know my own grandmothers were like that — all their advice came couched in the same soft blanket of love and concern. That’s the legacy I remember most, and the one that I hope someday to give to my own grandchildren. For now, there are the Sweetheart Sisters, and their own blend of sass and concern, living within the pages of The Sweetheart Bargain ready to dispense a warm and fuzzy hug — and a wake-up call when needed — to those they love.
- Shirley Jump