Orem Reads: Christina Lauren
October 18 | 7 PM | Orem Library, Ashton Auditorium
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling co-author duo writes both young adult and adult fiction, and together has produced 18 New York Times bestselling novels. Join us for a discussion of their work, followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Interview with Christina Lauren
Tell us about your most recent book. What’s it about, and how did it come to be?
Something Wilder is contemporary romance and could be described as a mashup of Romancing the Stone, City Slickers, and The Lost City. Imagine Indiana Jones but with more kissing! When we sat down in 2021 to write our 2022 book, it was in the midst of the pandemic and we knew we didn’t want anything that took place inside. We wanted an adventure, even if only through our characters. We’d toyed with the idea of a down and out canyoner guide who makes his living taking rich people on fake old timey treasure hunts through the desert, and the city girl he loved but lost, how they come together and realize there might actually be real treasure, but it wasn’t really working. As soon as we decided to swap their roles–making Lily our adventure guide and Leo the city boy–the rest of it all came together.
What made you decide to start writing? Let’s say one of our library patrons would like to become a writer. What advice would you give? How do you start?
Lo has been writing in one form or another her entire life, and Christina came to it much later, but the thing that really put each of us on our path was writing fanfiction. It’s where we learned how to really craft a story, how to interact with readers and receive/process praise and criticism, and where we found our writing community. Which brings us to some of our best advice: Find your people. Whether it’s having someone to brainstorm with, someone to read your work and give you feedback, or just a friend to tell you when to step away from twitter, it’s important to have a good circle around you. Also: read a lot and widely, and help lift other authors up. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.
What are some of the books that made you want to write?
We met while writing Twilight fanfiction, so we will defend those books with our last breath, but it was Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins that really made us want to write romance. We wanted to write books that made people feel like THAT.
Tell us a little about your process and habits as a writer. For example, how many books/projects have you started writing, versus finished writing? Do you have a specific time of day when you write? Any writerly rituals or superstitions?
Our process varies with each project, but we’re usually in our offices most work hours during the week. Lo writes with music, and Christina needs quiet. We’ve published most things we’ve completed, except for the first book we ever finished. It’s the project that got us our wonderful agent, Holly Root, but is still on our computers. Maybe one day! We have a few books we’ve started but put away to percolate, as was the case with Love and Other Words. We started it in 2010, and thought it would be a YA book. Years later we realized it was supposed to be a Then and Now story. We finished it and published in 2018.
Who’s your author crush?
Stephanie Perkins. She is as delightful a human as she is a writer.
Favorite thing you’ve read this year?
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosamino.
If you were a book, which genre would you be categorized in and why?
Definitely romantic comedy. Who doesn’t want to be??
What are you currently working on? Any upcoming writing or creative projects?
We are finishing up copy edits on our May 2023 book The True Love Experiment! Maybe our favorite heroine we’ve ever written.