Erin Watt, the new pen name for a pair of our favorite authors, debuts a fabulous new YA series, The Royals. Read on to learn who and how this partnership came to be.
We are beyond thrilled to announce that Elle Kennedy, author of the Off Campus and Killer Instincts series, and Jen Frederick, author of the Gridiron and In the City series, have partnered up to write a new YA series called The Royals, book one of which is called Paper Princess. They have chosen to use a pen name for this new endeavor. It’s time for the world to meet Erin Watt.
We are also honored to exclusively reveal the cover for Paper Princess and give you a chance to hear from both authors as they tell us about how this project came to be. With no further ado, here is the absolutely gorgeous cover for Paper Princess, The Royals book 1, and a quick blurb to get you sufficiently excited:
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.
Isn’t that cover gorgeous?
Now hear straight from the source how The Royals came to be, and all the details as to how Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick came about becoming Erin Watt and writing the addicting series starter, Paper Princess.
Friendship and a new writing adventure
I’ve internet-known Elle Kennedy for several years. The first book I read of hers was Body Check back in 2009. I became a serious fan of her work after I read my second or third book in the Out of Uniform series. One of things I really admired about Elle’s writing was that she wrote confident female characters and I could always count on her to make me laugh. It never fails that at least once a book, I’m covering my mouth to stifle a laugh in some inappropriate public setting.
But we weren’t friends. We were acquaintances. I didn’t know she had a dog or what her favorite football team was. I only knew her as writer, Elle Kennedy. That changed in the fall of 2014 when she approached me to beta read The Deal. She asked me to read it because it was well known I loved New Adult books and that I didn’t hesitate from parceling out serious criticism. And Elle wanted that. She was venturing into a new field and wanted to make sure the book didn’t suck.
Spoiler: It did not suck. At all. The Deal was a killer book. Funny, sexy, heartfelt.
Through these email exchanges, we discovered we both love football. In fact, a review of our emails reveals that over 50% of our emails are about football. Sometimes I’d get emails that talked about writing but they’d almost always include tidbits such as “I didn’t have time to write because I’m caught up in the Dallas game. DeMarco Murray is single-handedly saving me in my fantasy playoffs!”
Fast forward a year and Elle and I were once again emailing about games and exchanging memes. And somehow it kicked off a tangent about writing, but not writing something we’ve already done, but something dramatic and cracktastic and, most of all, fun.
At first, I thought she was joking about the collaboration, but as our emails began to shuttle back and forth quicker than Tom Brady’s release, it became more serious to the point that one night I sat down and tapped out a couple thousand words.
And thus The Royals were born.
When I sent The Deal to Jen to beta read, I didn’t expect to get anything more than an honest critique. And I definitely got that—Jen’s feedback was not only valuable, but it led to me actually publishing the book, which I didn’t have any serious intention of releasing. Her encouragement gave me the kick in the butt to try self-publishing, but it’s not the only thing it gave me. I also snagged myself a friendship out of the deal (pun intended) and holy moly, am I glad for it.
I don’t have any girlfriends who watch football. Sure, my friends all know I’m obsessed with the game, but their eyes start glazing every time I try to talk about it. So when I found out there was someone else out there who 1) was as obsessed as I am and 2) wanted to talk about it all the time? Um, are we best friends now? I think we are!
Granted, we’re technically star-crossed friends because of our conflicting team loyalties, but Jen proved her loyalty to ME when I had to miss the first Sunday of the season because I was driving home from Montreal. During that five-hour drive, she texted me a hundred updates about all of my fantasy players—even those on teams she doesn’t follow.
But along with our football passion, it turned out we also had a lot of writing-related things in common. We were both dying to write something different, something fun and cracky that didn’t follow any rules and just let us do whatever we wanted. Before I knew it, we were brainstorming a project that was both in and out of our respective wheelhouses.
One of the things I love most about Jen’s writing (other than the super hot smexy scenes, of course) is her humor. It turns out we have the same sarcastic sense of humor, which I think really made the collaboration even more fun. All the crazy things our characters do and say really made Paper Princess an addictive book to write. We simply couldn’t stop writing it, to the point that it became so long we decided to turn it into a trilogy.
How and why Erin Watt was born
The book poured out of us. We were in love with all of the characters, even the ones that we hated. When we were done, it was if we’d run a marathon. We were so proud, but didn’t know what to do with it.
We loved it, but like a mother with a child, perhaps we couldn’t see its flaws. Maybe it was an ugly baby and we needed someone to tell us it was ugly. So we sent it to a friend, who said not only was it not ugly, but that she loved it too.
Then came the hard part. How would we publish this thing?
We’d both written collaborations before, using our own names, but as much as the book wrote itself, we also knew this series had to be authored under one name. The protagonist is seventeen. We specifically wrote it for the YA crowd, despite some of the older themes, situations, and language. Our personal, individual writing is definitely adult—some of it very steamy adult work.
It made sense to differentiate between this work and our other published books. But! Paper Princess still features the same steamy, fun, emotional writing of our own stories. We’re hoping that our existing readers will find us, but that the book can reach a new audience as well.
We write some pretty dirty books, guys. And we love writing them. But this series is definitely not as dirty, and Jen and I decided that we wanted to keep it separate from our other works while at the same time letting our existing readers know that we have something new up our sleeves.
The Royals is a young adult series, but as Jen said, it contains themes that are reminiscent of our adult books. So what can you expect to find in Paper Princess? A tough, no-nonsense heroine who doesn’t let anyone knock her down…angsty brooding heroes who are hot and rich and did I mention hot?…and a world of wealth and luxury and secrets.
We are beyond excited about this release. Erin Watt was born out of a love for football, books, and the desire to try something new, and we’re so happy to welcome all of you into the wild and crazy world of The Royals.
It’s a story for teens and all those who are maybe a bit too much in touch with their inner teen—like us.
Paper Princess will be available for purchase April 4!