The Georgetown Duo

The GEORGETOWN ACADEMY series is burning up the stands with its unique take on political intrigue, being in the public eye and the explosive way youth and power can mix. Co-authors Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz talk to us here about the series’ creation and their cozy joint writing process.

YOUNG ADULT: You have been referred to as a ‘Hollywood Writing couple’. Can you elaborate on that moniker?
Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz: We’ve written over a dozen television shows and films and we’ve been best friends for fourteen years and feel like we’re married so it’s a pretty appropriate title on all levels! We lived together after college for a few years right off of Melrose Avenue and were writing several different projects full time so it was an even better moniker back then. Our husbands agree, though, that we still share a brain.

YA: Tell us a little bit about your latest work. What is timely about GEORGETOWN ACADEMY?
JKE & AES: The series takes readers inside Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, where the daughters and sons of politicians practice their own brand of mud-slinging, sex scandals and power plays, and where one innocent teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal faster than you can say CNN. It’s told from the perspectives of four girls with four very different agendas.
It’s the perfect time for this kind of series because for the past two decades, political daughters have been thrust into the spotlight—from the Bush twins’ partying to Bristol’s drama to the Hunstman daughters’ Twitter feed. And now with Malia Obama coming of age, everyone is more curious than ever about what it’s like to grow up under the scrutiny of both the press and your parents’ political enemies. It’s not like Chelsea Clinton had to deal with anyone snapping her doing something embarrassing on an iPhone.

YA: What made you decide to start writing? What advice would you give to young hopeful authors today?
JKE & AES: We each grew up loving creative writing and devouring every book we could get our hands on. But we didn’t figure out how to make it a career until we finished college and were living in a dumpy apartment together and both working three jobs. We were barely supporting ourselves anyway so we figured we should at least try doing something we loved to pay the bills. We wrote about the hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking experiences we were having in our early twenties and ended up selling it as a TV series to Fox. We’ve been writing together ever since.
One thing we both do that we find helpful is we carry around a notebook everywhere we go and write down funny tidbits we overhear (especially at Starbucks) or stories that make us laugh or cry—you never know when something is going to spark a great idea. 

YA: Take us through a typical writing day for you.
JKE & AES: First, we caffeinate. Then we both get on Skype with each other to discuss what needs to be written that day (though we used to often work in the same room, the invention of video chat allows us to each stay in our cozy homes and work in our pajamas). Once we split up the workload, we each write our own sections…and while we do, we text and call each other a million times a day with our progress or commentary! We usually aim to send our sections to each other by end of day so we can read and edit them in the evenings.

YA: Can you describe the path to getting this work published? What were the challenges? What was easy about it?
JKE & AES: We are typically screenwriters, but when we had the idea for a series set at a school like Georgetown Academy we felt it was the perfect opportunity to branch into writing YA fiction (which we love reading). After brainstorming about the world and creating our four main characters, we wrote the first hundred pages of the book for our agent to send to various publishers. Sadly, one of the challenges in getting our books published was that many publishing houses weren’t confident teens would be interested in a book with political undertones. But our agent helped us keep the faith that the book would find the right home. Believe it or not, writing the books is the easiest part for us! After all the character development and outlining we do, it’s actually pretty liberating to put pen to paper and let it all unfold.

YA: If you could cast the Dream Film Adaptation of your work, who would you cast? 
JKE & AES: Not surprisingly, we’ve thought a lot about this! ELLIE would be Hailee Steinfeld. BRINLEY: Chloe Moretz. EVAN: Abigail Breslin. TARYN: Selena Gomez. GABE: Thomas McDonell. HUNTER: Alexander Ludwig. Not that we’ve thought about it at all or anything!


It’s all eyes on American politics and the perfect time to delve into Georgetown Academy, the hot new young adult mini-series that Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl and the OC, calls “smart, sexy and insanely addictive” and “the new ‘Must-Read’ series.”
Georgetown Academy takes readers inside Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, where the daughters and sons of politicians practice their own brand of mud-slinging, sex scandals and power plays, and where the only rule is: whatever you do, don’t get caught.
Georgetown Academy is being published as an interactive mini-series, with four novellas coming out twice a year, beginning in November 2012. Using the Coliloquy publishing platform, authors Alyssa and Jessica add an element of interactivity, letting readers choose which of the main girls to follow: Brinley Madison, who can chart her family tree back to the founding fathers, Evan Hartnett, an ambitious young journalist protecting her own secrets, Ellie Walker, whose love life is inextricably linked with her mother’s political career, or Taryn Reyes, with her laid-back California vibe trying to find her place in DC’s immutable social hierarchy. Depending on their choices, readers will see different shades of scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals.

You can read Georgetown Academy Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3 on any ereader or mobile device, including Kindle, NOOK, iOS, and Android.
Twitter: Follow @GTownAcademy




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