Christina Lauren on Taking the Leap from Fanfiction to Full-Time Romance Writers
When I read Sweet Filthy Boy, back in 2014, I fell in love with this author duo. That trilogy (including Dirty Rowdy Thing and Dark Wild Night) is so sexy and funny – and just the most fun to read. And I have to mention Beautiful too! From a different series and oh so good. Christina Lauren is featured on the When to Jump podcast this week, and here is some more information if you are interested.
Once part-time fanfiction writers, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings have forged successful careers as full-time romance writers under the pen name Christina Lauren. But making the jump from fanfic to fully fledged authors was no easy feat. They shared their story on When To Jump, a podcast about side hustlers turning their passions into full-time careers.
The two met in-person at San Diego Comic Con after writing online. They started writing one-sheets together, still keeping their writing and personal lives separate. When they decided to write a book, they had to figure out how to create a novel with the same passion they had for fanfiction writing. “I think mentally when we said let’s write a book, we thought that meant it had to be really serious. Our fanfiction had been really sexy, very silly, for the most part it was just a fun hobby. I think we realized just because we had to take it more seriously that it didn’t have to be a serious subject,” says the duo.
They hadn’t considered leaving their full-time jobs as a school counselor (Christina) and neuroscience researcher (Lauren) until they were halfway through publishing and doing both became unmanageable. When asked when they knew it was time, they replied, “I think there are times where you jump before you’re sure you can support yourself but you have to do it for a number of other reasons, either it’s a matter of quality of life or you’re just so passionate about it that you can’t not do it. It was all of those things for us. It was just so much more fun than anything we were doing.”
“Once we made the decision to leave our jobs, it was so exciting,” they share. It may have been exciting, but it was still scary—they had to take many steps to get an agent, sell a book, and learn to be flexible in their writing to create more stories their audience would want to read. It took them 9 months to secure an agent, dealing with rejection along the way. The two credit each other for motivation and being able to share in all the highs and lows that come along with their career path.
They’ve come a long way and jumped many hurdles since their start in the literary world. As their readers continue to grow, they still credit fanfiction as creating a platform for them to explore their love of writing. “I had never before seen so many women coming together writing for the pure joy of writing. I didn’t know I had anything to say until fanfiction gave me a voice to say it.”
Take a listen below!