"GUTTER GIRL" Interview with Authors Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount
Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount talk collaborating and writing an authentic coming of age story
I had the absolute pleasure interviewing authors Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount about their latest venture co-writing Gutter Girl for Entangled Teen, where the inspiration came from and what readers can expect from Jace and McKenna!
What inspired you to write this novel?
Kelly Anne & Lynn: Lynn and I came up with a number of ideas for the Twin River High books. GUTTER GIRL was one of our favorite ideas because it involved a writer (we love writers, lol!) with a secret, a girl with a tumultuous home life, and a love story that brings back all of the first love feels!
What is your writing process like?
Kelly Anne: Before we start writing, we work up story ideas, blurbs, chapter outlines, and character bios. That allows us to have a solid base. Also, when we were writing our first book together, IN THE PENALTY BOX, we decided that I’d take the female POV and Lynn would write the male POV. With all of the background and basics covered, we’re usually ready to start writing! We’ve kept this going through all of the books we’ve written together since then and it works really well!
Lynn: We swap out after each chapter. I take the male point of view, so when I’m done with my chapter, I text or call Kelly and say, “Tag, you’re it!” So then she writes the next chapter. It’s a fun process. Now, if life steps in and we can’t write our chapter, the other author will come in and write a draft of it so as to not stop the process. But during the editing process, we’ll make sure the voice matches the character. :)
How do you approach writing your characters and bringing their relationships to life?
Kelly Anne: I’m a firm believer that characters need to be three dimensional. We need to know what they look like, smell like, sound like, etc. We also need to know what’s going through their brains. Are they stressed out, living a happy-go-lucky life, etc. Also, who are their family members? What is their relationship with them? Same goes for their friends. Once you know your characters inside and out, you can start to figure out how their relationship with a significant other can start to form.
Lynn: There’s a lot of brainstorming involved, that’s for sure. We’ll open a document and just start writing out characteristics we might want to include. Some of the traits might stick, some might not. But it’s fun working through some of the ideas and finding those that make well-rounded characters.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Kelly Anne: Hmmm… Good question. In third grade, someone wrote the “F word” on an egg that we had in our classroom for a science experiment. Our teacher spoke to the entire class about it. I remember being shocked. Who would write that word? Why? My young brain was in disarray. I look back at that innocent moment and realize that that was probably one of the first times I realized that language had power.
Lynn: Grade school. I think specifically sixth grade. I was mouthing off about my sixth grade teacher, Miss Simon, and she was right behind me. Talk about embarrassing. But it sure taught me to watch my words. Closely. I’m kind of known for being positive, both in the writing world and out on the trails I’m running. I think that stems with all the negativity out there in the world. I want to be a positive influence to those I meet, both online and in person!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Kelly Anne: Having enough time to write! LOL! It’s tough with a little one at home. Also, Lynn has a really great point below! An author’s mind is a very unique place. It can be really tough to explain the process of writing a book and having it published. Luckily, I have Lynn as a co-author and she and I practically share a brain. Ha ha! For real though, we are on a different plane of existence. It’s so nice to have her by my side and being able to talk about all things writing and life!
Lynn: People don’t understand me. An author’s mind is pretty different, and it’s only other authors who can understand it. That’s why I’m so thankful to have a writing partner who understands me. As far as the artistic process when it comes to actually starting to write a novel through publication and marketing of that novel, I think the editing process is tough. It’s something I like to do, because editing makes the story shine. But tight deadlines and then that final review of the galley proofs...I’m always so nervous I’m missing something. That’s a little stressful.
What do you hope readers take from this story?
From Kelly Anne: I hope GUTTER GIRL serves as a reminder that people go through both good and bad times in their lives, but that they may not outwardly display their emotions or share what’s going on with others. As Lynn says below, don’t judge people. You really don’t know what could be going on in their lives. Also, BE KIND! It’s so much better than being mean to people. You never know when a simple act of kindness can literally make someone’s day. Oh, and, live your dreams!
From Lynn: Remember to not to judge people. You don’t know everything going on in their life that might impact the reason they behave a certain way.
If you could tell your younger writing selves anything, what would it be?
Kelly Anne: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Lynn: Be patient. Don’t try and rush things.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
Kelly Anne: Under-appreciated novel… Hmmm… I’m a huge fan of Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy, but that’s pretty well known! :) It inspired me to write my first book, Grishma. Perhaps Suzanne Collins middle grade series, Gregor the Overlander series. Everyone knows Hunger Games, but when I mention her middle grade books, people usually haven’t read them. They are brilliant! Definitely check them out!
Lynn: Twilight. **LOL** Kidding. That novel is appreciated. But it’s one of my favorites. Seriously, though, This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti. That novel will always be near and dear to my heart as it sparked the idea for my first novels.
What would your advice be to any aspiring writers?
Kelly Anne: Writing is a long game. Be prepared to work hard, learn about your craft, read as many books as possible, and most importantly, practice patience. I also agree with Lynn’s advice below! Be sure to check it out!
Lynn: Get a critique partner. Someone other than a friend or family, who will give you honest feedback on your novel. And don’t be in a rush to submit it to agents/editors. Spend the time editing it and working through critique partner suggestions to make your novel shine.
What are you writing next?
Kelly Anne: In addition to upcoming Twin River High books, a hilarious YA romance novel with the Kiss App, I’m also working on two thrillers. If only there were more hours in the day… Ha ha!
Lynn: We’re actively working on the upcoming Twin River High books, but we also have another project releasing some time this year with Crazy Maple Studio. So stay tuned for details on that. I also have a solo project coming out with Crazy Maple Studio called Limitless, which will be coming out this summer. We’re super happy to be as busy as we are, that’s for sure!
Star football player Jace Rovers has a secret. And not just any secret—a shocking secret… He writes romance. The kind with swords. And dresses. And kissing.
Nobody knows. Not the other kids at Twin River High. Not his overbearing parents. And certainly not the millions of fans who’ve read his book on the writing platform Scribbles. And that’s the way he plans to keep it.
Except suddenly one of the other football players grabs his notebook in jest and starts reading a kissing scene out loud…and Jace knows he’s busted.
But then McKenna Storm, resident goth girl who avoids the spotlight like a virus, snatches up the notebook and tells everyone she's the author. And lucky for Jace, she later agrees to continue the ruse...for a price.
Heck, he'd give her anything not to reveal his secret. But when they start to fall for each other, he knows he'll have to keep the biggest secret of all—his darkest character is based on her…
About The Authors
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Lynn Rush, is a full-time writer, wife, and trail runner living in the Sonoran Desert, despite her fear of rattle snakes. Known as #TheRunningWriter, Lynn can’t resist posting epic sunrise pictures while running in the desert with her trail sisters, even if she has to occasionally hop a scorpion.
When she’s not running or writing, she’s watching movies that fuel her everlasting love of superheroes, vampires, and all things Supernatural. The books she reads usually carry the same theme, but this former college athlete loves reading sweet sports romances as well. She’s madly in love with her Ironman husband of 20+ years who is the inspiration for what true love is. You can find her on social media as @LynnRushWrites
Kelly Anne Blount
KELLY ANNE BLOUNT is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult novels. When she’s not writing, she’s probably lost in a book, watching Twilight, snuggling her five furry rescues, or having an adventure with her handsome husband and their darling daughter. After living in a palace in Scotland, across from the Caribbean Sea, and in the snowy land of Wisconsin, Kelly and her family reside in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Kelly loves connecting with readers on social media! Stop by and say, “Hi!” or ask a question. You can find her everywhere @KellyAnneBlount.
Thank you again to Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount for a fantastic interview and make sure to follow them for upcoming news and exciting reads!