Anniversary Shenanigans: Authors Visit + Giveaway - Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

As part of our anniversary celebration, and as a big fan of the Chaos Station series, Sunny asked Jenn and Kelly to share some of their experiences writing these stories together.

And they said yes!

And they are giving away a copy of the first book!

But first, with a warm welcome, here are Jenn and Kelly :D


Writing collaboratively is one of the most rewarding and yet challenging things. Of course, if we realized how much like roleplay it is (something we both love), we definitely would have put our pens together sooner! So here, enjoy a little chat about the things we love about having a co-writer.

Kelly: My favourite part of collaborating is waiting to get a scene back from Jenn. We outline our books, so I pretty much know where she’s going to go with her scenes, but I never know the direction she’ll take to get there. Sometimes it’s really surprising in an, “Oh cool, I’d never thought of that!” way and sometimes it’s more: “I can’t believe you just did that.”

The best example would be when we were writing book four and it was Jenn’s turn to write part of the chapter where everyone gets to meet Species Four for the first time. Because this was a huge galactic event, representatives of all the species were there—except the Guardians, who were probably spying on everything, anyway. This meant the stin were there, the bullies of our universe. The stin had been to war with the ashushk twice and humanity once. During the Human-Stin war, Felix was captured and tortured before being put to work in a POW camp for a number of years. The stin sent three representatives to the meet and greet: an ambassador and two aides. One of the aides was the same stin who tortured Felix.

I did some horrible things to Felix throughout this series. Some necessary, some… well, you know. Put a tortured character into certain situations and things happen. This, though. I’d never have done this.

Poor Felix.

Jenn: Oh, you loved it, don’t lie. ;)

Kelly: Not sure loved is the right word… (Felix is shaking a fist, just so you know)

Jenn: This is honestly one of my favourite aspects of co-writing as well. It harkens back to how Kelly and I started writing together in a play-by-post roleplaying forum. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that term, it’s a sort of game—usually based on an existing world, like that of a video game or movie universe, but not always—where you…well, play a character of your creation. You plot a thread with other players, and write a few paragraphs of your character’s thoughts and reactions to the other characters involved in the thread. There were a number of times that another character did not do at all what I was expecting…which is a lot of fun, because you have to figure out how your character is going to react and move the story forward.

Chaos Station wasn’t the first book we co-wrote. We have another finished manuscript, a dark fantasy with romantic elements, that was a huge learning experience. It was our transition piece, from writing together as roleplayers to writing together as co-authors. It took us over a year to finish that book. (In comparison, we wrote Chaos Station in about six weeks.)

One of the biggest lessons I learned with writing that first novel together (and one that’s been reiterated with every book) was how important communication is between co-authors. When you’re writing on a solo project, you can decide to go off your plan for the plot and explore a new tangent. When you’re writing with a partner, a major deviation from the agreed-upon plot can throw a huge wrench into the works. An idea you think is awesome might not work for your co-writer.

You’ve also got to be willing to make big decisions as a team, even if they’re not easy ones. I think one of the hardest we’ve made recently was to toss a 55,000-word work-in-progress and replot the entire book. We both love the concept of the world we’ve created for that series, and we’ll definitely be revisiting it, but the plot we had just wasn’t gelling. Coming to that conclusion was not fun, but it was one we both agreed with.

Kelly: I didn’t see that book as a wasted exercise, though. Probably because we’ve roleplayed together for so many years, writing together is just as much for fun as profit, you know? I can look back at that book as a couple of months spent roleplaying a pair of characters while getting to know a world we’re excited to write in.

We actually approached Chaos Station the same way. After building a world and writing up characters sheets for Felix and Zander, we roleplayed them before starting to write the first book. Together, we worked through two stories (or threads), the first being set on the evening of their graduation, which is when they admitted they were in love (with tragic results, because, omg we are so cruel), the second being their reunion five years later, and them figuring out a way to be together, finally, and stay together.

And then we put a war on. Yep.

Jenn: Yeah… we’re mean authors. Sorry, boys.

I can't wait to explore all our other shared ideas, though. When you find an author you can write with so well, so easily, it's really magical. It's truly awesome that Kelly and I have so many ideas for future characters, worlds and stories… you can definitely expect more collaborations from us in the future!

Thank you for joining us in our anniversary celebration, Jenn and Kelly! And more stories? Yes, please!

Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.

The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.

Visit our website for extra stories set in the Chaos Station universe
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Connect with Jenn: Twitter | Facebook | Website
Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Enter in our rafflecopter for a chance to win an eBook copy of 'Chaos Station', the first book in the intriguing Chaos Station series.

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The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (Eastern time) on 11/15/16. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner! 

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

 Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway here!


  1. Thanks so much for having us! Good luck to everyone in the giveaway. :)