I grabbed the photo above from Get Literary's "How Well Do You Know Christina Lauren?" article.
As I'm writing this post, I've read six of their twenty-plus books (and have holds on several more at multiple libraries) and decided that they're the perfect final entry for my year of monthly romance posts for two reasons.
First, their books bring me joy. I love that every character doesn't feel like a clone of the ones before. They do as great job with the enemies-to-lovers trope as with the teen-boys-struggling-with-their-religion-and-sexuality trope. (And if that second one isn't a trope yet, it ought to be.) Their protagonists aren't all M-F or white or twenty-something or rich, which so many romance novels' leads are.
Second, the primary fact of a romance novel is that two people get their happily ever after. By fixing whatever about themselves is broken, they learn to love each other, which means to see themselves together as part of something bigger and greater than each of them separately. That's what Christina Lauren are. I'm sure Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings are both strong writers on their own, but together, they make sparks fly.
I've enjoyed my year of reading and writing and writing about romance novels partly because I've had you, loyal readers, along for the ride. I haven't been on this journey alone. In this past year, I also completed by MFA in creative writing in which I had some great teachers and classmates and picked up a consistent and helpful writing partner (Hi, MC!). As much as the writing requires the solitude of butt-in-chair, every part of the work goes better if the only voices in my head aren't mine. The camaraderie and collaboration lead me to a happier life and a better product. Thank you, Christina Lauren, for setting a great example of the benefits of teamwork.
Have any of you had great collaborative experiences? Please share your best team efforts in the comments.