Lauren: The Office was kind of a play on Edward’s surliness in Twilight. At the very beginning of the story, Bella meets him and calls him a “beautiful bastard,” so that’s where we got the title for what we ended up adapting as the book. Edward, he’s just this exacting perfectionist, and he doesn’t think anyone is as good as he is at any job. But Bella, in The Office, she proves to him that she’s a match for him.
Christina: I had no intention of ever publishing The Office. It was the first thing I ever wrote. It was just silly, ridiculous, fun. But then Fifty Shades of Grey came out, and it was huge. The author of Fifty Shades was in fandom with us; Fifty Shades originated as fanfic.
Beck: That was Twilight originally as well, right?
Christina: Yeah. We used to think writing fanfic was a black mark on our writing résumé, but it turned out it was the exact opposite.
Beck: Did you know that you two wanted to write together long-term from that first book, or were you thinking, We like doing this, but maybe we’ll write by ourselves also?
Lauren: I don’t think either of us had plans to write solo, but once we published Beautiful Bastard, we had six books out that year, in 2013, and we were still working full-time. So I don’t even think we had time to take a breath and imagine a different way. We didn’t leave our jobs until December of 2013. By that point, we had such a good thing going that we were like, “Why would we stop working together? You’re my best friend, and I have the best job ever.”
Beck: Six books in one year? That is an astounding rate. Is that just the fan-fiction pace you were used to?
Lauren: I think it was. And I also think we were riding this crazy train—2013 was sort of like the renaissance for romance. But all that said, we both maintain that if there was ever a time that one of us wanted to write something that didn’t mesh with the other’s style or interests, we would be 100 percent supportive. We haven’t found anything yet where we don’t want to do it together.
Beck: You guys are co-writing these things long-distance, and, obviously we have Google Docs and whatnot, but how do you manage that at an organizational level?
Christina: We talk all day long. We’re texting nonstop. Thank God it’s the year 2019, where you can text, call, FaceTime. We always outline our books in person—I’m going to California tomorrow to do that. And then we sort of split it up. Some of the books are alternating points of view; some of them aren’t. So we split it up by chapter, or by character, or by scene. We put everything into Dropbox, and at one point we’ll combine them and start reading through.
We’ve published 22 books together now; it’s the process we did with every book. The reason that works, I think, is because we’re such good friends. It’s such a magical thing between our personalities. We seem to be stronger where the other one is not as strong.