Today I'm SO excited to have authors Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz stopping by today for an interview about their Georgetown Academy series! I'm so addicted to these books, guys. Reading them is the equivalent to eating potato chips. Once you start you just can't stop :) Thanks to Coliloquy Publishing we're also hosting a giveaway of Georgetown Academy: Book 2 so make sure you scroll to the bottom to enter! Check out the synopsis:
“In the halls of Georgetown Academy, gossip and rumor abound. But when photographic proof shows up on the front page of The Huffington Post? Then it’s a national scandal.
While Ellie tries to put her life back together, Evan just might get everything she’s ever wanted—the perfect boyfriend and her dream career. But her loyalties will be put to the test when it turns out to be the very people she’s closest to who are standing in her way.
Brinley is determined to find out who is behind the photo leak, all while her own dirty secret spirals out of control. And California girl Taryn is sick of being walked all over and ready to start playing by the rules of D.C., for better or for worse.
In a world where reputation and appearances are everything, knowledge is power. But you’ll have to learn how to use it if you want to come out on top.”
Tell us about yourselves.
We are pop culture fanatics, political junkies and obsessed with all things fashion…which is pretty much why we’re writing a series like Georgetown Academy! It combines all our loves in life!
We’ve been best friends since we met freshman year at University of Southern California and have been writing films and television shows since we graduated. But books have always been our first love and we always vowed to write a YA series together one day because of our mutual obsessions with the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series back in the day.
We grew up on opposite coasts...Jess was born and raised in L.A. and has a love for platform shoes and all things animal print (kind of like that other L.A. girl, Taryn Reyes…) while Alyssa hails from the East Coast and went to a traditional school more like Georgetown Academy (where everyone really did have assigned seats for lunch!). But we’ve been friends for so long, it feels like we’ve become the same person. We totally finish each other’s sentences and speak in a language so full of inside jokes and slang that no one else can understand it.
To this day, there’s nothing we enjoy more, whether we’re relaxing on a beach or nestling in with some blankets near a fire, then diving into a great, new book.
How did you come up with the idea for Georgetown Academy?
We have a lot of friends who grew up in D.C. and went to prep schools very similar to Georgetown Academy where they were surrounded by children of high-ranking politicians. Every time they told us a story from their high school days, we were in disbelief at how unique and unbelievable some of their experiences were. It just struck as the perfect, natural setting for a YA series – so much fun, scandal and built-in drama! We really felt like it was an untapped world and we immediately started coming up with potential characters and storylines.
I love pretty much all of the GA girls, and can't quite make up my mind as to my favorite. And my love just keeps growing with each book in the series. Do you have a favorite female character from the series, or one that you prefer writing about?
Ellie was the first character we conceived of when first brainstorming this series and her overall journey has always been the most intriguing to us. The question of whether she can carve out a personal life for herself when her mother is a very prominent, public and powerful senator has always fueled our creativity. We love imagining what it would be like to have to live like that, for better or for worse, and her story with Gabe has that quintessential Romeo and Juliet pressure to it.
However, at various points in the writing process, we will have different favorite characters depending on what they’re doing! For example, in book two, we found ourselves really enjoying Evan as she went from seeing Hunter as an unattainable crush into a seemingly viable option.
And though unabashed snob Brinley has always been one of the most fun characters to write (as are all the Madisons), over time, it’s her dynamic with bohemian Taryn that’s truly become one of our favorite elements of the series. Their interplay cracks us up…we fight over who gets to write those chapters!
Same question, but this time what about the boys of GA? Is there one boy you prefer to the others? I've got to admit, I've got a small crush on Brooks, but Gabe, Hunter, and Luke are all favorites too!
We have massive crushes on Brooks, too! Honestly, he’s probably our favorite and he’s so much fun to write, which is funny because he started out as a more minor character. We definitely waver, though, from book to book. We’re writing Book Four right now and Gabe has had a bit of a resurgence on our crush front!
I love asking authors about their favorite lines from their books. I like to see if it's a line I picked out as a favorite or one that made me laugh or cry or, well you know. Do you have a favorite line (or lines) from the Georgetown Academy books, and if so why is it your favorite?
In Book One, there are two we love for different reasons. The first is a line that occurs during Ellie and Gabe’s encounter in the vodka room and the Rookie Party.
“His eyes slowly peeled off the layers of her hesitation, leaving her standing before him, raw and exposed.”
We like it because It’s the instant Ellie goes from being angry at Gabe to letting her guard down, a moment of pure intensity between the two.
The second is from Brinley, a threat she issues to Nathan, her Adderall dealer.
“Just remember, Nathan, I could shut down this operation in one second with a call to the Commissioner of the FDA…or as I call him, Uncle Jeff.”
For us, this line isn’t just about Brinley, but it really speaks to the entire environment at a place like Georgetown Academy, where most of the students are just a phone call away from someone very powerful and frequently use that to their advantage.
From Book Two, our personal favorite comes from Brooks right after he tried (and failed) to manipulate Taryn, and is explaining to Brinley the sacrifices he had to make on her behalf.
“For God’s sake, I had to eat tart frozen yogurt and pretend to like it. I had to sprinkle my own toppings with a communal spoon! So don’t tell me I didn’t go above and beyond!”
It made us smile through every draft and edit…it speaks so much to his character and the way the Madisons operate (and truthfully, we love every convo between Brinley and Brooks!)
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