In the United States, today the President is doing a private swearing in for his second term of office. Tomorrow is the big public affair with the speeches and parties. We thought there was no better way to celebrate that to share with you Georgetown Academy by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz (click the covers to learn more from goodreads), a fun new action fiction series from Coliloquy. We’ll be posting reviews and how you can participate in the Inauguration fun throughout the day.
Georgetown Academy is an elite prep-school in Washington D.C. where the children of the D.C. power players attend and their parent’s politics and the politics of high school collide. The series follows 4 girls, Ellie, Evan, Taryn and Brinly, each has their personal issues to deal with, but when those personal issues starts to influence the politics of D.C. Things get a little more complicated.
The first three books in this action fiction (think “grown up” choose your own adventure type stories, you get to choose how to view the story through a pivotal scene) series are currently out and I’m hooked. It totally lives up to it’s billing as Gossip Girl meets The West Wing, and I’m loving every page! We hope you enjoy our interview with authors Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz.
Georgetown Academy starts shortly after the inauguration. We meet the kids who are permanent residents of DC’s elite and those who are new to the world of being DC high powered teens. What kind of research did you do to get into the minds of this world of high powered teens?
We did a ton of research on this usually closed-door world! Luckily, we were able to sit down and speak with several different alumni from schools like Georgetown Academy, many of whom had powerful parents or were classmates of extremely prominent politicians’ children. Their insight as to the social hierarchy at schools like this, as well as their amazing only-in-D.C. stories helped to shape and color the series, providing lots of fun, authentic details.
We also read many interviews of political children, past and present, to help us understand the rollercoaster having a politician for a parent can be. Many of our characters are loosely based on real politicians (or their children) whom have captivated us for one reason or another.
I loved how you structured Georgetown Academy as an action novel. I read all four POVs for the “action novel” scenes and I loved how they could be read separably, but they also built on each other. How did you go about writing and structuring these scenes?
The “choice” scenes in which you can follow the POV of any of the four main characters are the most difficult, fun and ultimately, rewarding to write.
When we first outline the book, we decide which scene would be best to showcase the four girls’ perspectives. Though the reader can go back and read all the characters POV’s (and we totally think they should!), as the writers, we have to assume that a reader may only read one or two paths, and thus, have to ensure that the main bones of the scene are understood no matter which character you’re following. By far, the trickiest part is establishing a cohesive timeline that stretches across all four characters’ scenes, so that if you do read all of them, they seamlessly come together.
Our favorite part of writing these is when we include the same conversation within two different characters’ POV’s. We think it’s so interesting in life how two people can walk away from the same conversation with completely different impressions as to what just happened. These choice points allow us (and the readers) to really explore and have fun with that conceit.
Book one has us meeting Brinley, Ellie, Evan & Taryn and all of their friends. Why did you choose these four girls to narrate our story? Will we get more points of views as the series goes along?
D.C. is a multi-faceted, complex place so for that reason, it was important to us to tell the story of Georgetown Academy from multiple, extremely different perspectives.
Ellie, our central character, has a mother who is a prominent Senator, and through her, we get to experience what it’s like to have such a public figure for a mom, for better or for worse. Brinley represents the old guard of D.C., those that live in a completely different stratosphere of wealth and power than the rest of us. Conversely, Taryn represents the new school of D.C. Her father is an up-and-coming politician with a lot of heat who is rumored to become the country’s first Hispanic president and Taryn is living in D.C. for the first time after moving there from Los Angeles. And finally, we have Evan, whose parents are NOT involved in politics and who is at Georgetown Academy on scholarship. Because of that, she often has a radically different perspective on the drama at G.A. than the rest of the characters.
Though we’ve toyed with adding new perspectives eventually, for now, we’re sticking with our main four girls because they’ve given us a TON to explore! We think it would be fun, though, to do a choice point for one of the books from Gabe, Brooks and Hunter’s perspectives.
What advice would you give to the newbies starting Georgetown Academy on January 21st to help them navigate the world of politics meets high school?
Grow a thick skin because GA is going to be a lot different from your typical high school. Don’t send a text or an email you wouldn’t want to see on The Huffington Post. As a rookie, don’t try to jump the social hierarchy too quickly. And don’t get on Brinley Madison’s bad side.
Every set of co-authors have their own unique way of penning a story together, how do you two write together?
Whether it’s for a book, television show or a movie, we do all our brainstorming and outlining together. And by “together”, we mean via Skype because we live across the country from each other (and added bonus—we never have to get out of our P.J.’s).
For the Georgetown Academy series, after we do our very detailed, type-A outline of all the story and character beats, we split up the chapters evenly and send each other our work over email. Then we edit each other’s work and keep revising until our perfectionist selves are happy.
The main question we always get is how we end up with a cohesive final project if we write separately, especially with a book like Georgetown Academy with four different POV’s. The truth is, we are best friends who basically share a brain. We often get the same ideas at the same time and constantly finish each other’s sentences. We’re sort of like the werewolves in Twilight.
If you could do a spin-off series for one of your characters after their time at GTA who would you be most excited to follow?
Brinley and the Madisons. Maybe it’s because we have a not-so-secret crush on Brooks, but we are obsessed with the whole fam and love all the drama of their household.
Thanks to Coliloquy, we have the first three Georgetown Academy ebooks to giveaway!!!
The winner will receive the first three Georgetown Academy books in an electronic format of their choice, NOOK, Kindle or Android. Use the widget below to enter and we will email the winner to get the format they would like. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to our email and we’ll confirm receipt of your email within 24 hours. All of our other standard rules apply.