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This blog was featured on 11/04/2019
Christina Lauren on Co-Writing and Their Favorite Things About Writing Romance
Written by
She Writes
October 2019
Written by
She Writes
October 2019

Christina Lauren is the pen name of romance powerhouse duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings – the No. 1 international bestselling coauthors who write both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, including the Beautiful series and more than a 14 stand-alone New York Times bestselling novels.

Their latest novel, The Unhoneymooners, was released this May, and just this month the pair debuted Twice in a Blue Moon, a modern love story about what happens when your first love comes back into your life when you least expect it.

Hobbs and Billings met online in 2009 when they were both writing fan fiction and reading each other’s stories, Billings told The Atlantic. They had the opportunity to meet in person at a conference, and months later they decided to write a book together.

We rounded up Christina Lauren's best interviews over the years to bring you some of the most helpful writing advice and insight behind the scenes into their process.

On Co-Writing

Many co-writers take separate roles – drafting, revising and vice versa. The writing process between Hobbs and Billings, however, is a collaborative one, they say.

“We do everything together,” says Billings. “So usually we outline it together, in person, and then we make a spreadsheet that has like ‘what are the chapters?’ and ‘who’s writing what?’ Because our books are usually an alternating point of view, that really helps with I’ll write this guy and you write this gal.”

Together they draft – an arrangement that works smoothly for the duo who each have very different writing processes.

“I am slow. She is fast,” says Hobbs.

These excerpts were originally published in SmartBitches. Read the full interview here.

Along with different approaches to their writing process, each writer has her own strengths as well.

“Christina is great at the group dynamic, she tends to write those scenes. She's also really strong with settings and the visual scenes, atmospheric writing,” says Billings.

“Lo is great with beautiful prose. She's also the one who does the gut-wrenching, emotional and angsty parts,” says Hobbs.

This excerpt was originally published on NY Daily News. Read the full interview here.

“Outside of our writing partnership, we're best friends. And we always say that's the most important thing,” Hobbs says. “Even if we didn't write together, we would still be each other's best friends because we adore each other.”

“There was an immediate safety there,” Hobbs says of writing together. “[Writing] is a very vulnerable process, to show somebody your own words. For whatever reason, we always felt very safe with each other. That helped us kind of fumble and be bad at it [at] first together, because there wasn't any judgment and we both wanted the same success for each other and ourselves. That trust has always stayed.”

This excerpt was originally published on Shondaland. Read the full interview here.

On Writing Romance

There are several elements that go into making a romance novel great. Here, the pair share some of their favorite “ingredients.”

“I know we're both suckers for good dialogue,” says Billings. “I think that's something that really needs to be there because flirting and banter is the most fun. Those moments where your heart drops into your stomach, if you get that tension where they're not quite together yet but they're almost gonna kiss. I feel like if a book can make me feel that way a few times, it's gonna be a hit. It has that awesome tension.”

“We always say to each other, ‘Are we watching them fall in love? Are we actually seeing them become more and more and more infatuated?’ For me, I want to feel like I want them to rip each other's clothes off. You feel that connection grow, whether it happens early on or later,” says Hobbs.

“Also, I want the characters to make better people together,” Hobbs says.

“They're stronger together,” Billings adds.

This excerpt was originally published on Shondaland. Read the full interview here.

The duo talked with Bookish about their favorite parts of romances to write:

“I’m realizing I have a very specific male character that I enjoy writing,” answered Hobbs. “I love the Carters, the Ansels (of Sweet Filthy Boy), the Lukes (of Wicked Sexy Liar) – the really charming, funny guys. So for me, the scenes that are the most fun to write are the ones where the leads make each other laugh.”

“My favorite part is when the characters first meet,” answered Billings. “I love meet cutes. That’s where you set up their personalities and their dynamic. It’s so fun. When I get stuck, I write kissing, but my overall favorite part to write is that first meeting.”

On Advice

“The only way to write a book is to sit down, and write it; everyone is busy. No one has the time. But if you want to do it, you do it anyway because the story is there, demanding to be told,” they told The Reading Lists.

“And, once you have a book, find readers you trust who will give you sincere and useful feedback,” they continued. “Don’t hit publish on the first draft you write, or send it out to 40 agents. Polish, and revise, and polish, and revise some more. Books are truly born in the editorial process.”

Their start in fandom taught the pair how to take criticism – it also taught them about courtesy.

“It also taught us the golden rule of the internet: Don’t be a dick,” they told Bookish. “You might be a big author in a fandom, but you will be a nobody somewhere else, and no matter how many readers you have, or books you sell, there is always someone out there doing it better, and faster. Keep your head about you.”

On Querying

“This stage is tough, but we’ve got cookies, hugs, and we’ve found some amazing resources to help you get through it,” the pair say on their website. Here’s a few they recommend:

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