Author Crush Friday with Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to NY Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lynn Rush, and USA Today bestselling author, Kelly Anne Blount, co-authors of the new young adult contemporary sports romance novel, In the Penalty Box (January 5, 2021; Entangled Teen).

Thank you for talking to us today, Kelly and Lynn! We’re honored!  If you haven’t picked up In the Penalty Box yet, run, don’t walk, to grab it because you’ll love the banter between Willow and Brodie! Pick up a copy of In the Penalty Box and you’ll find out why.

Hi, Everyone! Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush here. We are so excited to be here for Author Crush Friday! Before we get started, we wanted to say, “THANK YOU!” to everyone at Glitter Magazine for featuring IN THE PENALTY BOX. We hope our sweet YA sports romance warms your heart and puts a massive smile on your face!

GLITTER:What is it like writing with a writing partner? Was it harder or easier to have someone to bounce ideas off of?
KELLY:-
Writing with a partner is amazing! I hit the jackpot when Lynn agreed to write a book with me. We both have very similar writing voices, processes, and overall storytelling style. Having someone to bounce ideas off is worth its weight in gold. Having someone who is completely invested in the same book as you leads to great brainstorming sessions and solutions to problems that arise while writing.

LYNN: I love co-writing. We get to bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm, and I’ll echo what Kelly said about how awesome it is having someone equally invested in the project. Nobody understands a writer like another writer, and I’m lucky to have found Kelly Anne!

GLITTER: Where was the idea for the book, In the Penalty Box, born?
KELLY & LYNN: The idea for In the Penalty Box was born after we had a quick brainstorming session over the phone. We are both from the midwest, I’m from Wisconsin and Lynn is from Minnesota, and we love winter sports! I figure skated for a while (I’m nowhere, in any realm, even one tenth as good as Willow, LOL!) and used to go to loads of hockey games. There’s a really unique and special feeling when you enter an ice arena / ice den. The chill in the air, the fast paced action on the ice, and the sounds of blades on the ice, it’s all so amazing! We also love the small town setting. Woodhaven is the fictional town where our characters live, but let me tell you, I’d love to live there! Ha ha!

GLITTER: How would you describe In the Penalty Box to a new reader?
KELLY & LYNN: Picture Friday Night Lights meets The Cutting Edge. A small town, ruled by hockey, is in for a shock when Willow Covington, an elite figure skater, ends up filling in for an injured goalie during a pick up game. Rehabbing a devastating injury, Willow is focused on two things, getting her spot back on her training team and making it to the Olympics. The more ice time, the better, right? Too bad not everyone in Woodhaven feels the same way. To make matters more complicated, the swoon worthy Brodie “Wind” Windom, captain of the boys hockey team, wants her to join the town’s summer league. He’s down a goalie and Willow’s got skills. Brodie is instantly attracted to Willow, but he doesn’t have time for relationships or any other distractions for that matter. He needs to keep his head down and adhere to the team’s strict no fraternization rule.

GLITTER: How much research went into writing your characters?
KELLY: We definitely did a lot of research while writing IN THE PENALTY BOX. However, most of the research went into the sports that Willow and Brodie excelled in. While I have experience figure skating and watching a lot of hockey games, neither myself nor Lynn ever played hockey. After doing extensive research on the sport and writing the first draft, we reached out to a large group of former hockey players and fans. They read the manuscript and helped us iron out all of the hockey scenes. Their help was so incredibly important to the creation of the final version of IN THE PENALTY BOX and we are forever grateful!

LYNN: You’ll find some unique and interesting characters within the pages of IN THE PENALTY BOX. Initially, we spent time figuring out the plot and doing a basic outline of each character. Identifying what their “issues” were and basic physical features. As the story developed and we started writing it, we fine-tuned the traits as things came up with the storyline. I usually try to let the characters fully develop as I write the first draft of a novel. Heck, I’ve been known to write an entire first draft without a character name. I just put in JOHN DOE or JANE DOE, then as I get a feel for the story and how it progresses, I solidify what I want my characters to feel and look like. It was really fun having a co-writer to help find and develop unique characters. 

GLITTER: In your book, In the Penalty Box, what was your favorite chapter/scene to write and why?
KELLY: I have a lot of favorite scenes, but one that really stands out in my mind is when Willow is trying to land a jump, but failing. She’s angry and in pain. As she’s exiting the ice, completely disappointed and in her own world, BOOM, she runs into Brodie, literally. With Willow’s knee slamming into a very sensitive area, they both end up on the ice. Physical scenes like this are so fun to write!
LYNN:  I loved writing Brodie and his little brother, Caleb. Their banter, their playing around at the house, and mostly their brotherly bond. It just made my heart smile.  Chapter Seven was fun. It starts out with Brodie saying to his little brother, “Careful, Limp Lungs…” It’s a nod to a particular movie they both like, and then they fall into some fun horseplay. I really liked writing  that scene. It showcases their relationship really well and just makes me smile.

GLITTER: How do you find your emotional truths in your writing?
KELLY: While most of us can’t relate with being an elite, Olympic-bound, figure skater, we can picture or imagine ourselves reaching for a goal. When I wrote Willow, I thought of a goal that I was aiming to achieve, and I channeled those feelings, the devotion, the ups and downs, the motivation, and I crafted a relatable character. A three-dimensional character who is a badass, but experiences failure, as well as regular life challenges, all on top of rehabbing a busted Achilles. There’s something special about creating a character that readers around the world can see a piece of themselves in. It’s one of the many things that makes me so happy to be a full time author!

Lynn: In the book, I wrote Brodie’s character. As you read his character you’ll find that his family is struggling. Lots of emotional turmoil there, lots of stress and pressure on Brodie and some seriously bad choices on his father’s part. But learning that your parents are human, too, and prone to mistakes is something that tugged at me while writing the story. But the main thing the reader will see through that thread in the story is that anything can be redeemed. How you get to that point, though, can be pretty tricky, emotional, and very very complicated. In life, I’ve learned that while someone might be making bad choices, it doesn’t mean you should give up on them. I hope people see that through my writing as well.

GLITTER: What was the first book that you ever wrote, even if it wasn’t published?
KELLY: Ooh! The first book I ever wrote was a YA fantasy novel titled, GRISHMA. Here’s a quick description: Worlds collide when high school senior Brooklyn runs into Ryder, a mysterious young man, who takes her to the mystical world of Necoh, where he is on a mission to avenge his father’s death and rescue his mother and sister from the clutches of the heinous creature Grishma.
GRISHMA was so fun to write! It was seriously magical. I get goosebumps just thinking about the process. Keep an eye on my Amazon page, as it will be available again in the future!

LYNN:Great question. The first book I ever wrote was called LIGHT OF TRUTH. It wasn’t ever published. Just for fun, I dug out the blurb… 
The fate of God’s Chosen Ones lies in the hands of a girl who couldn’t hate Him more.  In this Supernatural meets This Present Darkness adventure of faith, eighteen-year-old Shelby Daniels faces off with a destiny she wants nothing to do with and a God she despises.
Wow. That brings back memories. It’s a dark upper YA paranormal adventure filled with anger, demons, and epic battle scenes. Thanks for the blast to the past question. I might have to dust that one off….

GLITTER: Do you have anything that you need to have while writing?
KELLY: Hmmm… My laptop! Ha ha! Seriously though, I almost always write on the couch with a pillow under my laptop. I usually have the TV on in the background. I like to have a movie or TV show I’ve watched dozens of times on, so I don’t get too distracted. There are usually at least three drinks, coffee, water, and possibly a Diet Pepsi, at my side as well. Oh, and I like to have a sweater nearby in case I get cold!

LYNN:  Over the thirteen years I’ve been writing, I’ve had a variety of things… Back when I was young and it didn’t matter how badly I ate, I always had malted milk balls from Sprouts. They were soooo amazing. Then it was Red Vines. Then, as I got more serious about competing in sports and healthy eating, I switched to mostly just water and tea. But for sure, through it all, I have to have music. During my action scenes, I like hard rock songs. Sometimes I like it quiet if the scene calls for it, but mostly I’ll have music on in the background.

GLITTER: Did any of the authors you read in high school affect how you write now?
KELLY: I loved to read! I started in preschool and I haven’t stopped! Ha ha! I loved going to the library when I was in school and I checked out everything from JURASSIC PARK to sweet YA romance books. There’s one thing that has always remained true about my reading and writing habits, I connect with stories with relatable characters, lush worlds, and plots that demonstrate growth.

LYNN:  To tell you the truth, I didn’t read a ton growing up. Didn’t write much either. I wasn’t in the newspaper, journalism, or year book clubs, and I never aspired to be an author. I fell into writing after reading This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. I loved how he portrayed the demons in that duology and it triggered a story in my brain. So I went with it, and I’ve been on a journey of a lifetime! So, in a nutshell, I’d say Frank Peretti had the most impact on me for sure.

GLITTER: What are you passionate about in life?
KELLY: I’m passionate about my family, friends, health, animal rights, and my career. Each holds a special place in my heart and helps spark my creativity and fuel my motivation. 

LYNN:  Faith, my husband, and health. I’m an ultra-runner, so I spend a lot of time out in the desert, running trails, hopping over snakes and scorpions and facing off with javelina. It gives me tons of time to pray, relax, and process stories. Just last August, my husband of 24 years and I renewed our marriage vows out on the trails. It was amazing. Those are the top three things I’m passionate about. 

GLITTER:What are you both working on right now?
KELLY: Lynn and I have fourteen books under contract with Entangled Publishing. I’m excited for the spin-off sequel to IN THE PENALTY BOX, which will release next year. Then, Lynn and I have a twelve book series that’s described as Sweet Valley Twins meets Gossip Girl! The cast of characters in these books are some of my favorite creations of all time! Woo hoo! I also have a gritty YA dark thriller in development with Komixx Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Stay tuned for updates on this project by visiting me on social media (I’m @KellyAnneBlount everywhere).

LYNN: As you might have noticed in Kelly’s answer above, we’ve got our work cut out for us in the coming years! I’m so excited for what’s to come. I love working with Kelly so much. Personally I have a few solo projects in the works, both contemporary and paranormal Young Adult stories. It’s an exciting time, that’s for sure.

Photo Credit: A Shot of Yaeger

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, she can’t resist posting epic sunrise pictures while running in the desert with her trail sisters, even if she has to occasionally hop over a scorpion. When she’s not running, writing, or reading, she and her Ironman husband are watching movies that fuel her undying love of superheroes, vampires, and all things Supernatural.

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Photo Credit: Maegan Kelly

KELLY ANNE BLOUNT is a USA Today bestselling author who loves writing addictive young adult novels. Her YA psychological thriller, CAPTURED (19 million reads on Wattpad), has been optioned and is being produced by Sony Pictures Television and Komixx Entertainment (The Kissing Booth).
 
In addition to writing addictive YA stories, she contributes text style stories to Hooked, Chapters, and Tap, where her stories have been “tapped” over 50 million times. She’s also a writer and reviewer for SpoilerTV. When she’s not writing, Kelly loves spending time with her sweet husband and their adorable little girl, cuddling with their fur babies, hanging with her friends, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
 
Find Kelly on social media @KellyAnneBlount and be sure to sign up to her newsletter for exclusive content, giveaways, and more!

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