YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED…
Q: What were your biggest challenges to date? What were your biggest accomplishments / proudest moments to date?
My biggest accomplishment was quitting my corporate job that I had for a decade in March 2020 to write full-time as KF. Quitting that job was one of my greatest LIFE accomplishments next to graduating from college and marrying the love of my life. I started writing in 2011, published my first book in 2014, and my number one dream goal, bucket list item when I was a baby author was to be able to write full-time and make this my career. Thanks to all the hard work, late nights, ridiculous deadlines, and super big thanks to our readers who continue to support our work, it happened. I cried, and I’ll forever be grateful for having that extra time with my dad. I’ll never be able to repay anyone for that. I like to think everything worked out the way it was supposed to and timing was absolutely everything.
Brooke: My biggest challenge will always be time management and work/life balance. I love working from home and being on my own schedule, but it’s hard to turn off my brain. It’s always working, whether it’s about book ideas, scenes, dialogue, marketing stuff, etc. It’s so hard for me to turn off, which means I’m glued to my laptop or phone.
My biggest accomplishment is dropping everything in 2016 to co-write with my partner. I took a HUGE leap, the biggest risk ever, and dove right in. I had a 6-figure solo writing career and even though I took a break, I knew I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to move forward WITH someone. For whatever the reason, the universe brought us together under the oddest circumstances, and it’s been the best decision. One of my proud moments is that within that first year of publishing as Kennedy Fox, we hit the USA Today bestseller’s list 4x. It was HUGE for us!!
Q: What’s been your favorite character and why?
Court/Lyra: I seriously can’t answer this. Lol. THEY ARE ALL MY FAV WHEN I’M WRITING THEM!
Brooke: Same! Every couple is a favorite while writing them. It’s too hard to pick. They all have a piece of my heart!
Q: What’s been your favorite book/series and why?
Court/Lyra: You can’t ask a parent who their favorite kid is because it changes, depending. I love every book we’re writing while we’re writing it. It’s hard to narrow it down because they each hold a different place in my heart, and also have been written during a different time in my life. It’s all dependent on those things. Of course, This is War will always be special because it was the first. But, I don’t think I can give a favorite. They’re all my favorite for different reasons.
Brooke: My favorite series to WRITE is the Circle B Ranch series. My favorite series as a whole is the Bishop brothers. While writing them, I really felt at home and I really love how much our readers adore them. I enjoy seeing our readers talk about them and recommending them to others. There’s just something about them that makes this Wisconsin girl want to move to a Texas ranch. With that said, I’ve enjoyed EVERY book and series we’ve written because each was a different experience and time in my life. And This is War will always be a top favorite since it was our first KF baby. That first beloved child syndrome 😜
Q: When you get an idea for a book, where do you start? What is your process before you start?
Court/Lyra: Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I’ll be driving or listening to music, or watching a show, or even reading something completely unrelated. Also, I read a lot of news articles and forums to wind down and people share just way too much information about their relationships on the internet. Since we write in series, we usually have a trope idea, and build from there. Even if we don’t know much about the characters, the trope tends to set the stage. We like to delve deep in character development and make sure they’re not one dimensional . We also bring a lot of our own life experiences into the mix too, which helps do that. When we’re plotting, we throw out different ideas until the best one sticks. Usually, Brooke and I are on the same page, or have the same types of ideas for characters, it’s probably why it’s so easy for us to write together.
Q: What part of author life is the most rewarding for each of you?
Court/Lyra: Releasing something that we worked really hard on and having people enjoy it. We work around the clock to finish books and upload them on time, and a lot of times our blinders are on so it’s hard to know how people will respond to our work. Everytime someone is like “this is the best book KF has ever written” … I’m always completely blown away. We hope that’s the response, but never really know until it’s out of our hands.
Q: What’s been your biggest inspiration?
Court/Lyra: My biggest inspiration lately has been my dad. He was so proud of me and loved to hear about my releases and tell everyone that I wrote ROMANCE (loud and proud) at the most inappropriate times. Knowing that he would want me to continue writing and being successful, inspires me every damn day!
Q: What has been your favorite experience?
Court/Lyra: My favorite experience has been co-writing as a whole. It’s nice to have someone to keep me accountable, to discuss different marketing tactics, to bring new and fresh ideas, and to be a built-in beta readers/critique partner who has the same goals. Before co-writing, I’d never successfully written with anyone and the WHOLE experience has been great. Can’t recommend it enough (with the right person)!
Brooke: I agree, co-writing as a whole has been a great experience. Life changing, even. It’s helped me grow as a person and really show me where my weaknesses and strengths are. I’ve also learned a lot with my writing craft and editing. I would say another great experience is going to signings together. I’m an introvert, so it’s always nice to have someone with me so I don’t feel alone and awkward! Another great experience has been world building with someone else and being able to brainstorm and share ideas.
Q: Do you two ever disagree and how do you navigate that?
Court/Lyra: It’s funny because I was recently emailed by someone who is wanting to start co-writing and asked me what to do if you can’t agree with your writing partner. I was baffled because while we do disagree, it’s never to the point where we can’t come to an agreement. I like to tell people that we are literary married. When you’re real-life married, you have to learn to compromise. It’s the same way with writing together. There’s never a point where we can’t come to an agreement. It’s give and take, pick and choose your battles, and understanding that your way isn’t always the best way. We either agree or we don’t, and make other suggestions until we can find common ground. Honestly, I know what we have is very special, and can’t imagine working with someone who wants everything their way 100% of the time. I don’t imagine we’d have EVER gotten this far if we weren’t capable of listening to one another and couldn’t come to an understanding.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book? What is your process – start to finish?
Court/Lyra: I think it really depends on our deadlines and if the book is an interconnected stand-alone or part of a duet. We’ve written a book in as little as two weeks and have taken up to six weeks. We don’t like missing deadlines and do what we have to do to get books published, so if that means pull all-nighters, then that’s what happens. We’re dedicated with a capital D. We start out by knowing what the trope of the book will be and from there the pieces easily snap together. After we plot out each chapter (which typically takes 2-3 days) and have built our characters back stories, we start writing. Depending on how close or far our deadline is determines how fast or slow we write (though we’re trying to get better and be ahead next year!) Once the book is completely written, I’ll usually start reading through it, using suggestive changes. Brooke goes behind me and does the same thing, then we go back and forth until every suggestion is clear. Afterward, we send it to our editor who goes through the book two times and marks it up. One of us usually takes care of one round and the other does the second pass. Then Brooke and our PA format it and we say goodbye to our book baby and characters because they’re no longer just ours. Once the book is published, it’s everyone’s to enjoy and we start the process over again. We’ve pretty much figured out what works for us over the years, and that’s it!
Q: What was the inspo for Checkmate series and how did Travis & Viola come to be?
Brooke: I wish I had more to tell you, but the truth is, I started thinking about this story back in 2014. The title came to me first, from a song I think, I can’t even remember what the original title was, but I had this idea for an aggressive, asshole hero that I’d never written before. The heroine despised him and although they fought religiously, there was an underlying attraction there. I had written the first couple of chapters months before I presented the idea to Courtney. Together we decided to make it a duet, and then a 4-book series, which eventually turned into a 6-book series after I begged her for just “one more duet!” Haha… she wanted to move on but I really wanted to do one more couple. All the other details, the chess theme, the titles and character back stories we came up together in the midst of writing.