Author Q & A with Christina Lauren
Intrepid PHS Editor, Mercy Carlisle, talks to the mega-successful writing partnership Christina Lauren about how they met, how they work together and their latest release!
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of writing partners and best friends, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They have written fifteen New York Times bestselling novels and are published in over 30 languages. They’ve also won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, been inducted into the Library Reads Hall of Fame, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards.
And I was lucky enough to ask them a few fun questions!
How did you meet? How did the idea of writing together develop?
We met online writing fanfiction. We fell in love with each other’s stories and when we met at San Diego Comic Con in 2009, we hit it off and decided to start writing together.
How did you decide on romance as your genre?
We both love reading romance, and felt that it was the genre that came most naturally to us as storytellers.
How did you approach your first book?
Our first book was actually a YA romance, and was sort of like mythology-meets-new boy in town. It was so fun, and it’s still something we are really proud of. We signed our agent with that book, but it remains unpublished (we sent it to a few editors, but haven’t pursued it much since 2012).
Were there unexpected pain points?
Writing can be lonely; business partnerships take a lot of work and care. There are always hard points – whether we’re feeling stuck, or we’re feeling overwhelmed. But the upside is that we always have someone there who knows exactly what we’re going through and how to help.
Were there things that came easier than expected?
Writing together always came surprisingly easy. A lot of other authors ask us how we can possibly do it, and it’s hard to explain. It’s easier for us to write together than solo; we are natural collaborators. There’s something about our personalities that just click perfectly.
How do you approach cover art?
Cover art is under the umbrella of publisher responsibilities, but over the past 25 books we’ve proven to have good feedback and thoughts, so we are looped in from the very early stages. We’ve definitely been shown first drafts that we don’t love, but Gallery has—every single time—completely nailed the final product. Their art department is amazing.
How do you approach co-writing? Do you each take a character or a chapter etc.?
It completely depends on the project. If there are two POVs then yes, we each take a character. But sometimes we just alternate chapters or scenes. Then we upload as soon we we’re done and write whatever comes next in the outline. When we put it all together, we edit extensively to make sure it reads like a seamless novel.
What part of the process do you find the most interesting?
We both love to revise. Drafting is often the most laborious.
Is there an element of the process that can be scary?
The scariest point is different for each of us. Christina struggles with the beginning, and figuring out who the characters are. Lauren always struggles in the middle, when it feels like every project starts to slow down and we have to rework our outline to make sure that we don’t get a mushy middle.
Who are your go-to authors to read?
We love Jandy Nelson, Laini Taylor, Sally Thorne, Alisha Rai, Sarah J Maas, Sarah Maclean, Tessa Dare, and Katherine Center. Christina also loves reading thrillers, and Lauren loves nonfiction.
What was the first romance novel you ever read?
Lauren: Palomino, by Danielle Steele.
Christina: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Can you tell us about your latest book?
Twice in a Blue Moon is a sweet, second chance romance about how it would feel to run into your first love (who also broke your heart fourteen years earlier) on the set of the movie for which you are the star, and he is . . . well, he’s there—but why? We love it!
What would you say to aspiring authors?
There is no one way to write a book. Don’t get hung up on what your process should be—just write!
Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you so much for having us! Happy reading!
Do you have other writing partnerships whose books you enjoy? Have you ever considered writing a book with an author friend? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our Social Media using #AuthorQ&A or #amreading