Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 5 months ago

S1E12: Kristin Harmel with Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb; with Christina Lauren

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Kristin Harmel chats with the writing team of Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and the writing team Christina Lauren about writing as a team and collaboration.

Welcome to Friends and Fiction. Fivebest selling authors and the stories novelist mary Kay andrews. KristenHarmel, Christie Woodson, harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munroare five longtime friends With more than 80 published books to their creditIn 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviewsand fascinating insider, talk about publishing and writing and to highlightindependent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they have writtenthe books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love booksand you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. OkayFrance and fiction is sponsored by Mama Geraldine's bodacious Foods, thecompany that makes Mama Geraldine's cheese straws which come in sixvarieties and are the best selling cheese straws in the United States.Founded by former radio executive Cathy Cunningham and named for her mother.They have melt in your mouth cookies to delicious treats and a woman ownedempire. Now that is something that Friends and fiction can really getbehind try them, you'll be so glad you did get 20% off on your online order atMama Geraldine's dot com with the code. Fab five snack on y'all We are soexcited to tell you about a podcast. That's just the thing for book loversand book clubbers. It's called the Book Club Girl podcast, co host Eliza and tovia her Book Club of Two and every other week they chat about a book thatis perfect for your reading group and then they have the author on the showto discuss their work. What really sets this podcast apart is that most of thequestions for their guests come from the podcast listeners. Each episode isan easy breezy half hour long and includes an exclusive excerpt from oneof the authors, audiobooks, they have interviewed writers like Kate, Quinn,Beatrice Williams, Gregory, Maguire Talia Hibbert, upcoming guests includeKarin Slaughter and Neil Gaiman. Subscribe to the Book Club Girl podcastfrom wherever you download your podcasts and never miss an episode. Welcome to the Friends and fictionpodcast. I'm Christine Harmel and today we're talking about writing a book witha friend were fortunate enough to have not one but two incredible bestsellingwriting duos with us today, Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb who began theircareers as solo writers before deciding to team up occasionally and ChristinaHobbs and Lauren Billings who have since the beginning of their careerswritten together under the pen name Christina Lauren, I adore their books,I adore all four of these talented women and I know you will too, we'll betalking to them today about why they write together, how they write togetherand how they make it all work, especially since none of them live inthe same place. So we'll start today with hazel gainer and heather. Webhazel is the new york Times Usa Today, irish Times, an international bestselling author of the girl who came home, the Lighthouse keeper's daughterand most recently when we were young and brave Heather is the USA Today, aninternational bestselling, award winning author of becoming josephine,the phantoms apprentice and the upcoming the Next Ship Home Together.They have co written three books, Last christmas in paris, meet me in Monacoand the upcoming three words for Good...

By coming july 27th Welcome, hazel andheather. Hi, thanks for having us. Thank you Kristen, lovely to be here.Thank you so much for being here. It's so nice to hear your voices and be withyou today. I'm uh I'm missing just seeing everybody in person and givingyou both a big hug. But we'll save that. We'll save that for post pandemic. Sofirst of all I would love to talk a little bit about three words forgoodbye. Because it was a book I got an early read of a book I loved and it wassuch a beautiful book. Can you begin briefly by telling our listeners alittle bit about it, hazel, Do you want to start sure? And thank you so much.You were one of our first readers. So your response to the book was so muchappreciated. You know that that moment when you let the book out into theworld and real people apart from your dear family, start to read it. So yeah,three words for Goodbye is um it's a sister story. It tells the story of twoyoung women who are feuding when we meet them and they are asked by theirgrandmother to go on a journey to europe in order to tie up some looseends from her life and from a trip she took to europe decades earlier,inspired by very last reply and our two gorgeous girls, Madeline and Clara setoff with letters in their pockets, take some very fabulous forms of transportalong the way and we follow them on a journey really through discoveringthemselves, discovering the cities they arrive in paris venice and Vienna. Andit's a story about discovering who we are, our place in family as a whole.Families have secrets along the way. Um and it was just such a gorgeous book towrite, particularly because we found ourselves writing it when we couldn'tgo anywhere when we were both in lockdown. So, to travel virtually onthe page with Clara and Madeline and their grandmother, Violet was just anabsolute joy and really an unexpected highlight I suppose in some ways, avery difficult phase in all of our lives. Yeah. You know, I think that'sone of the things I liked so much about reading it to the idea that I could besitting in my home, you know, feeling a little stir crazy because we all feel alittle stir crazy right now right? But getting to travel with your charactersto these beautiful places and to travel back in time, but you're right, it wassuch a great exploration of who we are also. It was such a good book and Ican't wait for everyone else to get to read it. So, you know, since we'retalking today about writing duos, I would love to dig in a little bit tothe way you both work. So unlike Christina and Lauren who have writtentogether since the beginning of their careers, you to both started off yourown successful novel writing careers and then joined forces, but you stillwrite separately to heather. Do you want to start by telling me a littlebit about how the two of you met? Well we both had debuts come out around thesame time actually and we share an agent. So Michelle actually reached outto me and said you really should contact hazel gainer. She's english,she lives in Ireland with her family but you know, she's breaking into theamerican market and so are you and I think you two would get along great.And I reached out to hazel and it was, it was kind of instant magic. I hate tosay it that way because that seems cheesy, but we really did like eachother right off the bat. And not long after that I had to maybe a year and ahalf. I was working on an anthology, putting together an anthology with nineauthors total. And I had floated the idea to hazel and she was all about it.And that was called Fall of Poppies and...

Set during World War One. And fromthere actually, she reached out to me after that and said, what if we didanother one set during christmas time and then we decided maybe we shouldjust try doing a novel together instead of doing an anthology. I mean, just forsales purposes and for just to simplify things. Um, working with nine authorsis very fun, but it's also a lot of contracts and a lot of agents and a lotof authors and lots of scheduling. Um, so we found that it might be a betteroption to go at it together. And uh, we kind of fell into it instantly. It wasit was great fun to work on that first book together, So that's wonderful.Well, what a cool natural way for this to all come about novel, but I lovethat. So I'm curious specifically about how your process works. Can you tell mea little bit about how you come up with a story idea together and kind of howyou get the ball rolling, How is it at the beginning? And I don't know if youwant to start by talking about that first novel you wrote or whether youwant to kind of give me the answer in the context of three words for goodbye,but I just love to hear how it works hazel. Do you want to take a stab atthat? Sure, well, as heather said, I mean, this was really a relationshipthat came from having an agent together. And then I guess once once we hooked up,there was no getting away from each other. You know, Heather approached meabout Hall of Poppies. I approached her then about writing something together.And really, I think the beauty of working with another author is when itworks, it works. And I really believe it's something you can't force. Um andwe both came into this really quite naively, you know, we had never cowritten with anybody and any author will know how precious your words areand how valuable your time. And to put half of that book in the hands ofsomeone else's an enormous, you know, active trust, really. So,having worked together on Fall of Poppies I think was almost our littleapprenticeship heather, wasn't it was like, oh, I kind of yeah, I likeworking with her, I like her style. and I think, you know, you don'tnecessarily have to be the best of friends. I think sometimes friendsthink we could write books together and it could turn out to be disastrous. Ithink we came into this from a professional point of view and havebecome dear friends through that, which is just a wonderful turn of eventsreally. So ideas initially, the idea for last christmas in paris came out ofFall of Poppies, because we had touched on the very end of the First World Warin that anthology. And we both felt there was so much more to this eventthat spanned four years and we had only touched on a little bit. And as allhistorical novelists do, we had enormous amounts of research that wejust wanted to use elsewhere. Um and the idea of writing a story set throughthe four years of the war told in letters. So the book is told purely inletters exchanged between tom and be a guy at the front in France and even ayoung lady at home in England. And that idea really came from a very frenziedmessaging back and forth on facebook and you know, one of those sort offabulous moments where you're just bouncing ideas off each other and itcrystallizes really quickly. And I think that was that really gave us, Ithink, didn't whether the conference we were definitely on the same page, youknow, if we've been sort of grappling with, well, I want to do this and Ithink this, there would have been a sign they're saying, whoa, maybe thisisn't the beautiful thing that you'd like it to be, It just felt veryorganic, very natural. And having had such a great experience with that book.Um We then came to to write Meet Me In Monaco, which again, came quiteorganically, quite naturally having...

...written about war. Um at christmas time,the kind of complete opposite of that is the glamour of fifties, frenchRiviera and a princess marrying a prince. So, you know, we're having fun.And it was whilst we were in Monaco which was obviously a terrible turn ofevents, we had to go to Monaco together, We were sitting on a terrace having adrink one evening and started to brainstorm, what are we going to donext? And that's when we came to the idea of firstly nellie Bly, who wasjust again, this incredible woman from history. Um her journalistic endeavors,but not just that this incredible journey she took around the world, youknow, doing the 80 days around the world, but actually did it faster. Ofcourse she did. She is a woman. Um So we wanted to use an L. E. As a jumpingoff point for a novel about traveling around the world and developingrelationships within a family and within yourself. So we've heard threevery different processes of ideas, haven't we? But all equally um fun intheir own way. Well, I like this so much. I'm ready to ask you to add athird. I feel like I'd be so compatible with the two of you. We all go toMonica together anyway, just a minute, you know? So so so to, you know, I'minterested in um in exactly how you do this. I love hearing the evolution ofit, but I'm curious maybe it's from a writer's perspective, But do you startwith an outline? Do you take different characters and each right, the chapters,Can you talk me through a little bit of the nitty gritty about what goes onbehind the scenes heather? Do you want to tackle that? Yeah, sure. So westarted with you know the idea, the premise, wrote a pitch a short pitchand then we extrapolated by writing a synopsis And it's probably 4-6 pages orso for each of the books. Um that way we both have an idea of where the bookis going and then we talk about the characters like what do thesecharacters, you know, what are their goals, what do they look like? You know,where do we want them to start? How do we want them to end up? Um And then youknow there's a lot of discovery through the actual writing itself, so the bookschanged quite a bit over the course of and the characters over the course ofthe actual writing process, especially with three words for good by that onewas a little bit more challenging than some of the others because you havethree countries, two sisters, they each have their own arc, they have their ownlove interests. You've got three modes of transportation that are famous, allset to the backdrop of World War Two are the beginnings of World War Twoactually say the very early rumblings. So, uh, it was a lot, it was a lot toparse out, but, but you know, um, once we start to write, we actually openedup a google doc uh, for people who aren't familiar with google docs, itallows more than one person to work on the same software at the same time. Um,and we take turns writing chapters will choose a character. And um, and that'salways been great to, you know, we sort of talked through who do you want to be?Oh maybe I'll try this one and we swap off um I was the boy in the first book,She was the boy the second book. That's cool. And then our third novel that,you know, you have sisters. So, um and then there's also the grandmother'svoice that comes in and out a bit, that's a framing device. So, so we makethese decisions up front and then as we go through, um we try to reallypreserve their voices by keeping the initial drafting, sort of separate. Andthen um as we edit, you know, we both comb through all the pages together andwe leave comments in the margins and it goes to our email and stuff like that,so that we, you know, we're really on top of the process together the wholetime. So, um and what's amazing Hayes...

...and I have talked about this before andwe're always, it never ceases to amaze either one of us that as soon as we arehaving one of us is having this feeling that something isn't working, it'salmost simultaneous that we'd get this feeling so I'll ping her and say I'mnot loving where this is going and she'll say, I was just gonna say blahblah blah blah and then we get on the phone and we hash out, you know, whatneeds to be tweaked and um shaped and all that stuff. So there's kind of akind of joke that there is a shared brain almost, you know, you've workedwith somebody for three books, you start to know sort of what theirpatterns are, what your own patterns are and how they mesh and I thinkthat's a really cool thing, So yeah. Oh, it absolutely is. That's reallyinteresting. Has it been an obstacle to you too that you live in suchcompletely different places? Heather? I think you're in New England, right? Isthat correct? And I know hazel, you're in Ireland. Um so you know, it's noteven the kind of thing that, yeah, you live in different states, but you canhop in your car and visit. I mean there are more obstacles. I know, I know hasthat been problematic or with all of the ways we can connect these days isreally just sort of a non issue. Yeah. And, and, and actually I think, youknow, sometimes it's worked to our advantage actually because we were indifferent time zones. So what we found works really well is I'm five hoursahead, so I'll be up and I'll have started my working day, althoughheather gets up really early, so she chases my tail. I'm like, I'm not readyyet, Go back to bed. Um I I'll be, you know, working away on on my part of thenovel or my character. Um and then, because also, what what's to befactored in here when we've been co writing a novel, we've each at the sametime been working on a solo novel of our own. So we've had to juggle notjust dealing with two people writing one book. We've each at the same timebeen writing another. We really like to make things difficult for ourselves. Using the time difference is actuallygiven us a sort of start and end point to the working day for writing our cowritten a book and you know, I think we are blessed obviously now with so muchtechnology, we have had google docs, we've got hangouts, we've got zoom thatwe've all discovered in the last year, which has been really amazing. Andactually, I think surprised we haven't used this technology um, through thelast couple of books and now we have, we can, we can see each other as wellas type messages to each other. So yes, obviously something you would love tojump in the car and meet for a coffee. You know, you can't be looking someonesquare in space, can you? But we've been able to get around it and, youknow, people have questioned how on earth do you even begin to write a bookwith somebody else, let alone be in a totally different continent? Um, butit's it's possible, you know, and I think anything is possible, isn't it?If you really want to make it work, you'll find a way around the obstacles.Um and we've we've managed to do that. So yeah, it really hasn't been ahindrance really. Yeah, I suppose you can always meet in Monaco, right? Whyhop in your car when you go to Monaco together? This is the thing is that wedo have a plan. So if we can't actually see each other, we have to go somewherecompletely romantic and lovely. Sounds like a solid plan to me. So, ladies, mylast question is this how do you think that working together has shaped youindividually as writers? Because as you mentioned, hazel, I know you're bothyou know, working on your own solo projects and doing your own things todo. You think you've grown in your solo...

...projects through your work together? Idefinitely think so, yeah, I have learned an awful lot from heather. I've,you know, I think you learn to step back from your work a little bitbecause you have to to let the other person in when you're co writing andyou you don't stop doing that. Then when you're, when you're working onyour own material, you sort of have that other voice on your shoulder. AndI often imagine heather standing there going, really, would she really do that?Are you sure? Um so, I mean as any creative person, I think you just wantto surround yourself, don't you, with other creative people, and we'reendlessly fascinated with how everybody else does it. And as co writers, we getto see that day in day out and it's just all amazing to be able to thenapply that to your own work. So I've learned a huge amount from heather andshe maybe doesn't realize how much I've learned from her and from writing, butthat sounds that's great. There you go, because I feel exactly the same way Ihazel is, is so um talented, she's gifted at bringing forth thisbittersweet emotion and in a character and I've learned a lot about doing itmyself by working with her on these pieces. Um I think, you know, we bothbring a different strengths to the table or several and you combine themand I think this is why readers love our book so much because they'regetting they're getting sort of a double a double whammy in a good way,right? Um but but yeah, so I I've learned a tremendous amount myself, Ifeel like I'm a much better writer. I know that both of our platforms havereally benefited from working together, people really seem to love to see ustogether and doing stuff and that's been really, really fun. Um Yeah, we'rewe are, yeah. And I think to, you know, this whole we don't live near eachother and it's hard to meet up, but when we do and we take all thesepictures and we're posting things, we've got a slew of people following usand following our photos and heather and has all together including ouragent, which is so funny, she will, you know, retweet stuff and and make littleCute comments about us being together and um so that it's been a lot of funand you know people I think a lot of the asked the question, so what do youdo if you disagree on something? And I think people they really want to hearwhat sort of crazy arguments have and demand that something happens inchapter five and we're very boring because we don't have we don't have wedon't have big blow up arguments. Um so I think it's, you know, long may atlast and I think as I said at the beginning, if it, if it works, it works.And I don't think you can force it. I think this has to be something thatcomes from a place of creativity and then becomes a meeting of the minds inlots of ways as well. So um, argument yet to happen. Yeah, I mean in so manyways we almost didn't choose it. It feels a little bit like it found us. Imean it could have been a disaster working together. Um our agent keptsort of checking in with us separately. Was it okay working with hazel? Is itokay working with other were like, yeah, I know it's been great, you know,because she just wants to protect us, right? So, um but it's it's been great,it's been great. A lot of fun. Well speaking of great and a lot of fun,thank you both for being here with us today. And hazel as you said, Long Mayat last, I hope you have many, many more books ahead of you together, so besure to pick up three words for goodbye out this july and thanks again, hazeland heather, Thank you so much. Thank you Kristen. Now we're turning thefloor over to another incredible writing duo, Christina Hobbs and LaurenBillings who together form Christina...

Lauren, the combined pen name of theselongtime best friends and co authors, they are the number one internationaland new york times, bestselling authors of the enormously popular beautiful andwild season series, as well as standalone books such as dating you,hating you. Roomies twice in a blue Moon, the Ian honeymooners and mypersonal favorite autobiography, which was a really knockout y a novel. Iloved it. Their latest book, the Soulmate equation is out this month andit explores a fascinating premise, which I'll let Kristina and Lauren tellyou about themselves in just a minute, but for now, welcome Christina andLauren, Hi, thank you for having us, I'm so happy to have you. So ladies, Iknow that Lauren has a PhD in neuroscience, and Christina was ajunior high school counselor. So I would love to start with asking you,how did you two women from such different careers, meat and how did youstart writing together? I know it's been well over a decade now, It haslike 12 years. Um so we were both writing, yeah, we had full time jobs,this is Lauren speaking by the way, we both had full time jobs and little kids.And um we started writing fan fiction just for fun. We both had ideas forstories, we kind of didn't know what to do with them. So we were writingStories online and sharing them and that's how we met and I organized apanel um in 2009 at San Diego comic con in the summer and Christina had areally popular online story at the time, so I invited her out and that's when wemet in person and we started writing together. And it's just been amazingsince. Well it has been amazing since you two have had such an incrediblecareer Christina. How did you go from that, that meeting and connecting toactually writing and selling a first book together? Um It's it's funnybecause at the time it just felt completely like this is just what youdo, but looking back we go, well, that was that was like a really strangething to meet somebody on a weekend and just like each other so much that youjust go, hey, do you want to write something together? So we wrote a shortstory together, like a fan fiction one shot together, and that was so much funthat we just said, let's write a book. And so we started writing this reallyserious, it's kind of depressing book and we were like, what are we doing? Wethought since we were going to be real writers, we should be, you know, reallyserious. And um as soon as we started writing something about skinny dippingand kissing and it's like, did you really just putting up the shoe, werealize this is this is what we're supposed to be doing. It just neveroccurred to us that this was strange and not something people do. I thinkbecause In fandom everything is so collaborative, it just felt likecompletely normal. So we we um started writing this skinny dipping book and weeventually got an agent and eventually sold a book. And here we are, 20something books later, That is incredible. Gosh, I'm so glad you foundyour right into this and that you found the right path for you. You know, Imean, imagine if you had just gotten stuck on that wrong kind of writing, Ithink you never would have found your collective voice and moved forward, butyou found exactly the right way. I mean, for every author, I think they'reserendipity in the path, right? So yeah, ours was probably, you know, we couldwe could pinpoint each of the beats of serendipity in our path to where we are.But for sure one of them was knowing that we were not meant to be writingserious, deep literary fiction. It's so funny. All right. Well, speaking ofserious, deep literary fiction, no, I know this is can we talk about the soulmate equation? I'm so excited to talk about it and it's new this week and I Ilove the concept and the idea behind it.

And I know how well the two of you haveexecuted it because you were Christina and Lauren and everything you touchturns to magic. So can you tell us a little bit about this, this little madeequation? So the soul mate equation is um it's our first single mom. Her nameis jess, she has a seven year old daughter who is one of our favoritecharacters we've ever written. We don't write books with a lot of kids, but umthis is our first time really writing a child into the book and she is so muchfun. But the premise is that Jesse's single and sort of determined to remainsingle until her daughter is grown. And her best friend Fizzy, who is a romanceauthor, hears about this um new dating service that is based on DNA matchingtechnology. And um Jess has no interest in this at all. Fizzy is really jazz tolearn about it from sort of a romance craft perspective. And so she dragsjess along to this um company that's about to go public and kind ofconvinces just to spit into a vial and see if she matches with anyone. And itturns out that she ends up with an unprecedented score where she matcheswith the founder of the company, who she already knows and does not like. So,you know, we were really Christine and I both got very obsessed with theTheranos scandal, about the you know the blood um testing technology andjust kind of how biotech is this sort of there's this like curtain that hidesall these details and um but there's also so much excitement there andthings move so fast and there's so much money in biotech and so we were reallytrying to think about like what are some fun ways where we could bringbiotech into rom com. It was just a very weird evolution of an idea, butthis is where we landed and you know, I had a really good time because I dohave a science background and my husband is a biochemist. And so we gotto be really dorky about how okay if we were really going to create thiscompany that could find somebody's soul mate through D. N. A. What othercriteria would we want to see before we would invest in this company? And forme a lot of it would be. Do they do like testing of people who've beenmarried for a really long time and are very happy together? Do they look atlike people who are attracted and if there are certain DNA signatures thatcome up in attraction? Right. And um it was just a lot of fun to kind of figureout how that might actually work. Oh I love the concept. What a cool idea. Allright, so let's use this as a jumping off point for talking about exactly howyou to collaborate. Because in this podcast today we're talking about youknow, writing his pairs and how exactly you do it. Can you talk to us a littlebit about how you write a book like this together kind of from coming upwith the original concept, which you told us a little bit about where thatcame from, but to writing the chapters to kind of figuring out how the book isgoing to go, and then ultimately to kind of making it all come togetherChristina. Do you want to start us off? Yes. So, um obviously the pandemic,this should be a well oiled machine right now. We have 27 or whatever books,you know, we should know exactly what we're doing. But the pandemic has sortof thrown a wrench into that, because normally we outline our books in person,always in person, it's just, you know, it's different sitting across the tablefrom someone than sitting across the zoom camera from them. So, um we alwaysoutline our books in person and then um and that takes a couple of days, it'snot just something you can do, you know, in an hour over lunch or whatever, it'slike throwing out ideas and watching a movie and then that jog something andthey're talking about a book and going out to eat and you know, it just, ittakes a couple of days to kind of get a good idea of what we're doing. Um oncewe have that we go back to our house is I am in Utah's lois in California. Wedivide things up by chapter, scene or character. However we do it, we startwriting, um we upload them to dropbox or however it is, we're going to do itand at some point we start compiling.

So with the pandemic, obviously wehaven't been able to see each other in person. Um so we've had to kind ofchange that process a little bit, but since we change it every single time wehave a book anyway, it's sort of, you know, we were able to make it work. UmWe're getting ready to outline a new book this week. I'm going to low. UmAnd uh yeah, it's just, it's different every time I think if we've learnedanything as you have to be flexible because what worked for one book doesnot work for the next book and we've done so many in. Yeah, it's not a welloiled machine. No, it's just it's a machine that keeps evolving, which isgood. Right? That's a good thing. You're evolving and growing and justkeep getting better and better. It's amazing. Um So are there parts of theprocess that are more challenging for you than others? Are there parts thatgo very easily? Are there parts you kind of get stuck in or stumble at oranything like that? Lawrence? I mean, I think it's funny because we do, it'strue that we're not a well oiled machine in the sense that we change theoutlining process every time, but the drafting process is almost always thesame and By that, I mean cristina always freaks out a lot at thebeginning, like she just has a few days or a couple weeks of like what am Idoing, who are these people? I don't actually think I was ever meant towrite books and then she gets into the flow of it and we hit about the 2/3when I decide everything is garbage and nobody is ever going to read this bookand that has happened so many times in our relationship that when I actuallyget to that point it comes Christina down because it's like, okay, now we'redoing what we're supposed to be doing, this is how it goes for us. So I wouldsay if anything drafting and I think most writers would say drafting is hardbecause it's really hard to create something out of nothing and you can'tfix something that you don't make right, so once we have a book, even if it'smessy, revising is so much more satisfying because you're sculpting atthat point. So I would say drafting is the hardest part, but I still reallyenjoy every part of the process, I really, really do, I'm also slower thanlow is, so that can be a problem sometimes, but luckily we have moretime than we usually do, and low is a great schedule, er so you know, I mightbe slower, but she has like we do this this time, this, do that, and you know,you just get it done. You know, it's interesting to hear you talk aboutthose kind of freak outs you hit at the exact same points in each book becauseat least you hit them together, you know, like you know, it's coming fromthe other person and you can talk the other person down. Whereas I as awriter also just hit them alone secret, like secretly freak out myself andcompletely panic and spiral out for a little while, so at least you can bringeach other back. And I mean I do think any conversation about co authoringwould be remiss if we didn't talk about that sort of communal aspect of it. Imean sometimes we'll go to signings and they'll be you know, of course there'sauthors that are sitting alone at their table if we go to the big romancesignings or even if we're doing a signing with like, another author ofthe book store, and both of us are always like, how do you do that?Because it's just not how we've come up in in writing, Right? Um, and I mean,certainly there are challenges to co authoring that that you as a person whowrites alone wouldn't have. But I also think one of the benefits is that wealways have somebody who's at exactly the same place emotionally with it asthe other person. Or if they're not, if Christine is not in the exact sameplace I am, she understands where I am and she can get there too. And so, um,you know, writing is a very solitary endeavor. I think it can be veryisolating. And so, I am very lucky to have her with me. I'm very lucky howwonderful to get to do that together. So, I understand that you're bothworking together to adapt. Roomies your 2017 novel into a screenplay, which isso exciting. Can you tell us a little...

...bit about that film deal and how youfigured out how to write a screenplay together? Well, we did not know what wewere doing in trial in their way. All the best stories start. The difference,I mean, the difference between really writing a script and writing a book, isthat any script, every single word matters. Um every like a page of scriptis like a, like a page or a minute on screen. So you have to like, like, Idon't even remember what we were supposed to get it down to low, like109 patrons. Nine. Yeah, it's like really good. And I think like our veryfirst draft was like 128 pages. Uh so you really do learn what matters andwhat doesn't and where you're kind of like being redundant. Every you knowevery piece of dialogue should should do like two things. It should push thestory forward and maybe tell you a little bit about the person. And and soum right now we're working with oops doughnuts. Um Anti Fichman is ourdirector and Village Roadshow. Pictures is has come on to be um of producingpartner and we've done several rounds of revisions because we had our initialproducers and then Village Roadshow and they're getting ready to start casting.That's so exciting. It is yeah. Was the process of I know you talked about howwriting a screenplay is different than writing a book but how about writing ascreenplay together? Was the give and take. That U. two did togetherdifferent than the give and take you have when you're writing a book? Yeah.So when we write a book we usually outline all of the chapters and then wetry and do alternating. So whether it's dual point of view where we each takeone character or or it's a single point of view but we take every other chapter.That's how we draft our books right? And so then we kind of zipper themtogether and edit it as one whole and then read it again and again again. Butwith a screenplay you can't really break it up into chapters in the sameway and we could probably break it up into acts. But I think a lot of whatyou do when you're drafting a screenplay is about pacing. So um whatwe have done with the screen places we take turns drafting it. So one of uswill draft a section and then the other will take over and keep drafting. Or II don't even, I'm trying to think because we've written a few at thispoint um if one of us has ever drafted the whole thing, I don't think so, Ithink we'll draft like maybe 20 pages and then trade off, so it's like a backand forth thing, but it works still, I don't know. Yeah, that's amazing. Ofcourse it worked. You guys just have one amazing genius brain together.That's awesome. So since you've been collaborating for so long now, Iimagine that some things have gotten easier as you've gone along as you'vegotten to, you know, understand the rhythm of the work, of the rhythm ofeach other, all of that. But has there been anything that's gotten harder ormore challenging about your collaboration as the years have gone by?especially as your kids have gotten older life has taken different twistsand turns, you've got more and more successful. Have there been morechallenges in your path as the years have gone by? Oh my gosh, I mean, I don't, I think interms of the collaboration, no, I think if anything the collaboration getseasier with every project and for sure, it's like, you know, it's not a steadylike improvement in ease over time, there's gonna be some books that areharder to write than others, right? Just and that's like project based, notcollaboration based, but I think any author who has more than two or threebooks out with some success for those early books, finds that like we havethat um the pressures change, you know, and you can't stay in one place and dothe same thing, um you have to kind of keep evolving and finding new storiesto tell in new ways. Um and so I think, you know, that's not necessarily aboutour co authoring, that's just a thing...

...that any enduring author faces. Um andI mean I think there's been times where one or the other of us is interested inwriting something that the other is not really interested in, but because theego has always been Christina, Lauren and not Christina or Lauren, we decidethat we want what's best for that writing name versus like what's bestfor my entertainment at any given moment, right? So also the way wepromote books and things have changed. So yeah, true. I mean there was noinstagram when we first started and um one thing that helps is that we bothhave strengths um like low is such, she's so good on instagram story, likeshe just is so, it's just so good. And so, so much has changed, literally.Nothing looks the same as it did when we published our first book. Yeah, thatabsolutely makes sense. Yeah, I've been around for a while too and you'recompletely right. The whole landscape has changed absolutely. Now. They'retrying to get us on Tiktok kristen, what are we gonna do? Alright, I'm tooold for that. What was funny is that our, our like pr chris who is also achristian with and I was like, no, I don't want you on Tiktok, but I justwant your just like to see your books, but I want to see you. Thanks for theclarity, christian Dreyer. I love it. All right. Ladies last question, if youcould come back to that very first day, you decided to try to write a booktogether and give your younger selves advice about what was to come, whatwould that advice be? Oh wow. Um, I think we did everything the way Iwould want to, I think I would just tell us to trust that we're not doing it for nothing,you know, because there were times in the process that we're really hard,especially in the early days when, because, you know, we wrote, We startedwriting in the fall of 2009, we didn't sign with holly, we have the same agent,we didn't sign with holly until October 2011. So it was two years of writingand querying and um, you know, in that time, you know, I know Christina'shusband switched jobs and she had a, you know, she worked the school year,so she had three months where she wasn't getting paid and those thingskind of coincided and it was really stressful and there were times for eachof us where we thought we might not be able to afford to put so much time andmoney into flying to see each other to work on this book that like didn't evenhave an agent. Um, and so I think, you know, just reassuring those like past Cand low that like you're, you're going to be okay. You know, I think thatreassurance would have meant a lot, but honestly, like, I love that we had thepath we did. It was crazy at the beginning. I mean when we first met youwas at a party or yeah, it was artie in Dallas year, I think 2014. It was likea nutso time for all of us. It was crazy. And I feel like I remember maybean eighth of that entire year, I still wouldn't change it, you know? So Ithink I would tell, I would say um to like trust each other that you know,we say that we are married and we basically are and to, to tell us thatthere are hills and valleys and to enjoy the hills and work harder in thevalleys. That's great advice. It's great advice for all of us. Uh well,wonderful, well thank you so much Christina and Lauren for joining ustoday and thanks to, to hazel gainer and heather web. Don't forget to pickup Christina. Lawrence brand new, the soulmate equation, which sounds so good.I cannot wait to read it. And hazel's and heather's upcoming three words forgoodbye. It's been such a pleasure talking with all of you and to all ofyou out there. Thanks for joining us...

...today. Keep your ears out for morefascinating friends and fiction interviews coming up and don't forgetto tune in Wednesdays at seven p.m. eastern for our facebook live show too.In the meantime, stay safe and well and keep reading. Mhm. Thank you for tuning in, join usevery week on facebook or Youtube, Where our live show airs everyWednesday night at seven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to ourpodcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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