When I first heard about The Long Game, I was interested. Why? It didn't see like a book I'd read before. It didn't fit the cookie cutter mold of many young adult and new adult books that are out today.
Thankfully, just prior to the recent release of The Long Game, J.L.Fynn took off her mask. Tyler over at Almost There had the exclusive reveal.
J.L. Fynn wasn't one author. J.L. Fynn is two!
J.L. Fynn is a collaboration between TWO fabulous authors, Katherine Ernst and Chelle Bruhn.
Naturally, you can imagine my excitement when these two ladies, collectively known under the pen name J.L. Fynn, agreed to sit down with me and do an interview! But first, a little bit about the book!
About The Long Game
Smooth talking. Ambitious. Loyal. Twenty-year-old Shay Reilly has proven himself to his Irish-American Gypsy clan on small-scale cons, but now the clan leader has a bigger mission for him: playing the long game.
To rake in the big score he’s after, he needs to con coed Spencer into falling in love with him. He knows he should see Spencer as a mere means to an end, but that’s easier said than done when there’s a witty, attractive girl in your arms.
Now the only thing that can keep them apart is the thing that brought them together: Shay’s plans of revenge against someone who wronged his clan and family years before—Spencer’s father.
InterviewHi ladies! Thank you so much for offering up your time, I know you two are busy! I’m so excited to have you on the blog today, so let’s move on and go straight to the interview.
You have an awesome set-up co-writing with your good friend under the pen name J.L. Fynn. What does that process look like?
Each book is a little bit different, but on the whole, we’ll first beat sheet out the book using a modified version of the “Save the Cat” method. (That is, we’ll figure out the major turning points in the book.) Then we’ll outline the book together. Then we’ll each take a section and write that section. Then we both heavily revise each other’s sections, going back and forth multiple times, until you can’t tell who wrote each section, including ourselves—we often can’t remember who wrote any particular line.
I love your process. It sounds like it's very fluid! So, that makes me wonder. How long have you two been writing? Is The Long Game your first published novel?
We’ve been writing together for about three years. The Long Game is actually a much-changed version of the first book we ever wrote, but we've written other books since then, both together and separately.
I see. So, are you two currently working on a new novel? If so, what is the genre and what is it about?
We’re currently working on the follow up to The Long Game, titled The Waiting Game as well as an untitled short story also set in the same world.
*Claps hands together* Good. I loved The Long Game and I was hoping you wouldn't make me wait too long between books. Speaking of, what book do you wish you could have written?
Katherine: The Chronicles of Narnia
Chelle: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
What is your favorite book in the entire world?
Katherine: Too many to choose from, but this second I’d say The Secret Garden.
Chelle: This question! Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger is the book I’ve re-read most often, so I’ll go with that.
What writing tips or advice do you have to offer others writers and authors?
Katherine: Writing isn’t one size fits all, so I’d say: do what works for you! Outline or don’t outline. (I do.) Write every day or don’t write every day. (I don’t write on weekends and I take a week off here and there.) Have a large critique group or only have your spouse read your manuscript. (I go back and forth.) There’s no right or wrong process.
Chelle: Write the story you want to tell. Don’t worry about what’s hot, or what editors aren’t interested in at the moment. That stuff will just make you crazy. Write whatever is begging to be written, even if (hey, especially if!) it’s not something you’ve ever read or heard of before. If you don’t love your work or connect to it, you can’t expect readers to either.
Do you have any writing habits/practices? Tea and music? Silence?
Katherine: Not really. I write in silence for the most part, drinking water at most. Unless my husband’s around—then he’ll make me tea.
Chelle: I tend to write in short bursts when I can find a quiet moment. Honestly, though, even if I was on a silent writers retreat, I’d still have to take frequent breaks, poke around in something else for a little while, and then come back to what I’m working on. My mind wanders too often to stay focused on one thing for long.
Who is your favorite book villain?
Katherine: Severus Snape. (Enough said.)
Chelle:Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. He was unabashedly wicked in every book, and yet somehow I totally felt sorry for him by the end of the series.
Which novel would you love to see made into a movie?
Katherine: I’m usually happy with novels not being turned into movies. (Unless they’re mine—then I’m very pro-movie!) I used to really wantThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to become a movie, but when itdid, it wasn’t nearly as amazing as Narnia was in my head. So maybe it’s better to allow book worlds to live in my imagination.
Chelle: I’d love to see Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells series turned into movies.
Random question...what is your favorite vampire novel?
Katherine: Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox. I’m not a big vampire person, but this was funny and set in New Orleans, one of my favorite places.
Chelle:A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which is pretty amazing whether you like vampires or not.
Oh! Love those answers. Actually I just bought A Discovery of Witches. Methinks I need to start reading. Now, if you could pick actors to cast some of your characters, who would you pick?
Katherine: I’ll let Chelle handle this. She’s been having a running cast in her head since we started writing.
Chelle: Kevin McKidd has been Tommy Costello in my mind from day one (which is probably why I love that character so damn much). I could definitely see Jennifer Lawrence as Spencer. It was recently suggested by one our street team members that Shay could be played by an actor named Adam Gregory, and now I can’t imagine anyone else but him. That’s how I also ended up with Rachel Weisz in mind for Maggie. For me, Judd (the villain) will always be Bill Skarsgård.
Where can readers find out more about your writing?
The best place would be www.jlfynn.com. From there you can find all of our social networking links or any other information about us or our books.
If you ladies ran a radio show, tell me about it. What would you talk about? When would you broadcast?
Our show would probably run from about 10pm-11pm. That’s when we tend to hang out anyway, and we’d talk about everything: politics, entertainment, books. (Incidentally, Katherine used to appear on student run television in college, and Chelle appeared on a political radio show when she was in graduate school.)
Is there a street team people can join if they want to support you and your writing?
Yes there is. They can find out more about it here: http://www.jlfynn.com/p/street-team.html
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Katherine: “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson
Chelle:“Painting by Chagall” by The Weepies
Which do you prefer?
Skittles or M&Ms?
Katherine: Peanut M&Ms
Chelle:Peanutbutter M&Ms ;)
Coke or Pepsi?
Katherine: Fountain cola of either type
Chelle: Coke. Hands down.
Night or day?
Coffee or tea?
Chelle: Coffee, and lots of it.
Sour or sweet?
Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
Katherine: Star Wars
Chelle: Lord of the Rings
Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty?
Chelle: Sleeping Beauty
Hermione Granger or Harry Potter?
Chelle: Can I choose Ginny?
The Goonies or The Sandlot?
Katherine: The Goonies
Chelle: The Goonies
Pirates or Ninjas? Pirate-ninjas?
J.L. Fynn is the public face of the writing collaboration between Katherine Ernst and Chelle Bruhn. Katherine and Chelle have been writing together since they were 14-years-old and are happy to be able to team up professionally after all these years. They both live outside of Philadelphia, PA and look forward to years of fruitful work together.