In this author spotlight, the duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (writing as Christina Lauren) talk about their most recent book, The Honey Don’t List, and share how their writing process changes from book to book.
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You / Hating You, Autoboyography, Love and Other Words, Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and The Unhoneymooners. Their latest novel, The Honey Don’t List, is their 25th book together.
In this post, the Christina Lauren team talks about their most recent book, The Honey Don’t List, share how their writing process changes from book to book, and more.
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Elevator pitch for the book: James and Carey are assistants to two world-famous home renovation gurus, whose very public—and very beloved—marriage is on the rocks. When tasked with keeping their bosses’ messy marriage from publicly exploding on book tour, James and Carey start to feel sparks of their own.
What prompted you to write this book?
When we were brainstorming what we wanted to write next, we realized how fun it would be to explore a relationship between two people who are tasked with keeping a toxic celebrity marriage from dissolving. There’s so much humor and heartache to draw from a situation where you are given an impossible—and secret—task and find solidarity and companionship with the only other person who truly understands what it’s like.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication?
We outlined it in early February of 2019, and the first draft was due May 1. We tend to draft quickly, and spend a lot of time in revisions, so while the idea itself didn’t change from outline to finished book, a lot of the details did. For example, in the first draft, we had a lot more of Melissa and Rusty Tripp (the celebrity couple) in there, and then slowly pared that down so that the romance between James and Carey came through more.
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
This is our 25th book, and there wasn’t anything particularly challenging or strange about the process this time. It was fun to outline, fun to write. We always have a great time working with the Gallery Art department on the cover design, and this one took a bit of back and forth but the process is always very cooperative and positive.
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?
Something that continually surprises us—and maybe shouldn’t—is how our process changes for every book. We don’t sit down and do it the same way, every time. We’ve learned to be really fluid in the drafting and revision process, and this one was no exception, particularly since this book contains other types of writing, such as police reports, twitter posts, newspaper and magazine articles, and excerpts from the celebrity couples’ book. It made the writing process feel fresh and engaging.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
As with any of our books, we hope our readers will find a bit of fun escape, the same way they would with a Netflix rom-com. The Honey Don’t List also has a personal element, as our heroine, Carey, has a movement disorder called dystonia that affects Lauren’s family. It was our intent to write a fun, lively story with a heroine with dystonia, who is neither defined by, nor in denial of, her physical limitations. Everyone gets a love story, plain and simple.
If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?
Run your own race. Don’t worry about how fast someone else writes, how much another author makes, how many followers another author has. Write what makes you excited, and the enthusiasm will come through on the page.
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